Tuesday, September 30, 2008
When I moved to California in 2001 I had yet to discover my true love for the Angels. Back then, a good friend of mine, Megan and I decided that we would support this relatively unknown team. I think it had a bit to do with us wanting to assimilate to the California culture, which was honestly a little different than the Midwest. Meeting my husband certainly helped the cause because he is a die-hard Angels fan himself.
Fast forward seven years or so and here I am. I make my own Angels shirts, my entire classroom is Angels themed, I have moved two miles from the stadium, have named my dogs Figgins and Halo, and with the exception of things like my wedding, have watched EVERY Angels game. Much more than any man I know in California. I have met (without stalking, mind you) John Lackey, Adam Kennedy, Orlando Cabrera, Jarod Weaver, Gary Mathews Jr., Scot Shields, Jeff Mathis, and I spoke to Mike Napoli at US Cellular field, but we won't count that one. Each of these players were kind and friendly (with the exception of Cabrera, but that's the White Sox's problem now!) They are the type of men who you want to root for because they give it their all on the field and they actually care about their fans. There is one player that I MUST meet someday, and that is my hero, Chone Figgins. Ever hear the story about the Little Engine that could? I believe it was written about him:)
We start the playoffs paired with Boston, we have had their number all year. The past two series we have swept them, and I can only hope we can play as strongly as we did then. I cannot wait until tomorrow, I can barely keep my mind on anything else! Wish us luck, and good luck to all of your teams! Have a great October!!
Monday, September 29, 2008
- 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
Preparation1. Place first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour oil and 1 tablespoon water through food chute; process until well blended.
CL's Chimichurri Sauce comes together in a flash. The parsley adds the freshness, while the lemon juice and garlic add some tang. The crushed red pepper kicks up the spice without being overwhelming and the rest of the ingredients blend quite nicely. At first I didn't think that the mixture was going to process up very well. As soon as the few tablespoons of liquid were poured in it became a smooth texture and was perfect for pouring over our CL Garlic Rubbed Flank Steak. This was just perfect with some sauteed zucchini and yellow squash and CL's Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. I am anxious to see what other meats and vegetables that this Chimichurri Sauce can enhance.
Garlic-Rubbed Flank Steak
8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)
- 1 (2-pound) flank steak, trimmed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Cooking spray
1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
2. Rub steak evenly with salt, pepper, and garlic. Place steak on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 6 minutes. Turn steak over; cover and grill 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from grill; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
- Calories:153 (32% from fat)
- Fat:5.5g (sat 2.3g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.2g)
The grilling time is extremely important with this, a few extra minutes on the grill and it will become tough. Extra garlic was added to this simple recipe because I add extra garlic to everything, I pretty much smell like garlic at all times. We topped this Garlic-Rubbed Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, the recipe can be found under "sauces." This combination of flavors is sensational. This was served with Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese and sauteed zucchini and yellow squash.
Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
6 Servings (serving size: about 1 ramekin)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
- Cooking spray
- 2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt; stir until cheeses melt. Discard bay leaf.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes or until almost tender, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to cheese mixture, stirring well. Place about 1/2 cup pasta mixture into each of 6 (1-cup) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. Top evenly with remaining pasta mixture. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Spray lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle with black pepper. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until heated.
Calories: 321 (28% from fat)
Fat:9.9g (sat 5.6g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.9g)
Yum, yum, yum...I think CL's Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese is my new favorite side dish. Plus, I had an excuse to buy some cute little ramekins! We only buy skim milk, so I topped it off with a little fat-free half and half. I wasn't sure Terry would dig on the the Gorgonzola, so I replaced it with some nice sharp cheddar. We enjoyed this along with Garlic Rubbed Flank Steak topped with Chimichurri sauce and sauteed zucchini and yellow squash. This meal was to die for. I can't wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow, nothing makes school go by more smoothly that a great left-over lunch!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Champion Chicken Parmesan
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 cups hot cooked linguine (about 6 ounces uncooked pasta)
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare chicken, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, Parmesan, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow dish. Place each breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Dip each breast half in egg white; dredge in flour mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Arrange in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour the tomato sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Serve over linguine.
4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half, 1 cup sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, and 3/4 cup pasta)
CALORIES 559(26% from fat); FAT 15.9g (sat 5.6g,mono 6.3g,poly 2g); PROTEIN 46.3g; CHOLESTEROL 93mg; CALCIUM 359mg; SODIUM 792mg; FIBER 6.4g; IRON 6.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 58.1g
Champion Chicken Parmesan is requested constantly by Terry. It is one of those meals that just makes you happy. I love pairing it with homemade marinara, however a store bought jar will do in a pinch. This original recipe includes a marinara recipe, (I don't use that one so I left it out) it also calls for baking the chicken with the sauce added and I always leave it off until the very end. I feel that it could make the chicken soggy, and I love the crunch that the breadcrumbs and Parmesan create. The calories are calculated to include marinara added at the end. I always double this recipe and we bring the leftovers for lunch. This recipe is just as tasty microwaved the next day and I would encourage you to try it very soon!!
Monday, September 22, 2008
My friends love to make fun of the fact that I am so obsessed with my puppies...but how could you not be? They are the cutest, most funny little people...I mean DOGS!!! I decided that since they enjoy treats so much that it would be fun to make some from scratch. Coincidentally, right around the time this urge struck, a poster on the CLBB asked the rest of us for dog biscuit recipes. Joe, everyone's absolute favorite member of the BB, recommended this recipe and the little guys can't get enough of them!
Apple Peanut Butter Biscuits
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, whisk together flours.
In a medium bowl, whisk together applesauce, peanut butter, water, oil and honey until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, one cup at a time, into the wet and stir until combined. Scoop the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until it completely comes together and is smooth, adding enough additional whole wheat flour to keep it from sticking.
Roll the dough about 1/4" thick - cut out as many shapes as you can and place them on parchment lined baking sheets. Repeat rolling and cutting until you have used up all of the dough.
Bake until the biscuits are golden, about 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway though. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Depending on your biscuit cutter size, the recipe can make a couple to several dozen biscuits.
I made these exactly as instructed (except for subbing crunchy PB) and used dinosaur shaped cookie cutters to cut the cookies from the dough. The puppies went absolutely crazy for them. Cousin Timmy tasted one "just to see" how it was. He said they were "OK" but should probably be left for the dogs, however I swear I saw him eyeing them up later!! We just ran out of the first batch, which made tons of biscuits. I guess I know what I will be making this Sunday, I wouldn't want my little guys to be deprived of their favorite treats!!
I am such a fortunate person to have moved two thousand miles away from my home and to have family in my life every day. I joke that we are the "half-way house" for my Aunt Sharon's kids, but I truly love sharing my life (and often times my home) with them. It began when Cousin Bud graduated from college and wanted to experience California. Years passed and Cousin Timmy followed. I feel as close with these boys as I do to my own brother (who coincidentally ALSO just moved out to CA.) I honestly don't know where I would be without them, I have learned a lot about life and about myself with their help.
Before this gets too sappy, I just want to give a little shout out to everybody's favorite Gangsta, Timmy!!!
Happy 25th Big Guy!!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Weekday breakfast is the ultimate quandary, as teachers we need something that is portable and can be quickly eaten. I have experimented with several different types of sweet muffins, but recently came across a unique Savory Breakfast Muffin recipe. It was posted by Canice, a long time member and extremely wise voice on the Cooking Light BB. It has an interesting combination of flavors and is a great change of pace from the norm.
Savory Breakfast Muffins
Serving Size : 12
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 ounces Canadian bacon -- diced
2 ounces cheddar cheese -- grated
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper -- finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400° F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk eggs, buttermilk, oil and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in scallions, bacon, cheese and bell pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (the cups will be very full).
Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
These Savory Breakfast Muffins are very dense and have an unusual, yet pleasing texture. I enjoyed them spilt open with a bit of butter. Deli ham was subbed for the Canadian bacon. Next time I will try the recipe as written because I felt like the ham was so thin that it was lost among the rest of the ingredients. I will use this recipe to break up the monotony of the “school” breakfast. Move over store bought English muffins and peanut butter, I’ve found something better!