Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dinner tonight - pasta i think...

OK, its Saturday and my family has requested cannelloni for dinner -

normally I would make the pasta but I have to much to do today so after some clothes shopping with my ever growing little girl I will swing by my local upscale grocery and hope that they have some fresh pasta sheets available. Then I need to decide meat or meatless? Its spring, and actually not cold today so I think I'll go with a spinach and ricotta filling - I have a recipe for veal cannelloni on youtube, (see the end of this post.)
So I'll base this on that one, but instead of the meat filling I will make one using 1 lb ricotta cheese, 1/2 lb shredded mozeralla cheese and 1/2 cup grated parm, salt and pepper. Then I will cook a bag or two of baby spinach, drain it,cool it and squeeze out as much moisture as I can - isn't it amazing how little spinach you end up with after cooking it? Then I will add the spinach to my cheese mixture - you can add an egg here to for both protein and to help the filling hold together,oh and maybe some parsely. Oh, also saute some onion and garlic in a little olive oil and add that in too.

Now, what to go with it? Something basic like garlic bread and a salad? Or maybe more elaborate? Not sure yet - I'll update after the grocery store...been there and back, will make a simple salad (they had fresh pasta sheets - i am so happy!) and garlic time to start cooking...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fun with kids parties...

Ever since my daughter turned 1, I have had an absolute ball hosting, designing, creating and cooking for her birthday parties (ok, sometimes I hated it - but overall it has been a blast). For the first several years I made a wonderful, yet quite healthy carrot cake - but after 5 years of that she started making requests...
Last year, we made cat cupcakes and served them in a tower...which was lots of fun

Her latest birthday was the first held out of the family home, we booked a pavilion at a local, privately owned and very humanely run zoo. I made all the food, which was wonderful, transporting same was a pain. She had sandwiches shaped like animals in both cream cheese & jelly and turkey bologna and cheese - we all know peanut butter isn't allowed at these events, but the cream cheese mandated a cooler, we survived. For the grand finale I made turtle cupcakes and an Elephant cake ...these, while not my typical gourmet, healthy yet delicious fare, were a ton of fun to make. Here they are:

the turtle cupcakes couldn't be easier. I made a simply yellow cake, but feel free to use a mix. Make sure to fill your cupcake pan at least 3/4 full and use foil or paper liners. Once cool, frost cupcakes with a homemade or store bought chocolate frosting. Now for the fun part: I used large gum drops for most of the heads (in a variety of colors, though you could stick to green for greater realism) I used small gumdrops for a few of the turtles to represent babies. I used cut up chocolate twizzlers for the feet, but tootsie rolls would have worked as well. I used decorater icing for the eyes and mouths and a cut up gum drop for the tail

Sometimes we make fun animal desserts just for fun, she loved the ladybug cookies

Once we made a cantelope into a bunny and served fruit salad in it - not sure where that picture is ...

Dinner tonight, Chili Con Carne

Need to figure out what to make for dinner, again - seems to happen every night. Sort of like
the dishes, the laundry, any household chore -mundane and always there, never finished, no matter how often you get everything clean you just need to do it all over again! At least cooking can be fun and rewarding in its own right, so anyway, its cold, rainy and rather dreary on this 'spring' day in the northeast. I want something warm and comforting, thought of beef stew or beef daube or something with red meat in it- called my husband, he wants Chili - so thats what I will do. Easy, yummy and really simple...made sure to buy sour cream (the low-fat actually tastes almost as good as the real thing!) jack cheese, will pick green onions from the garden - only problem with chili is I've already posted this dish to my youtube it is wait that sticks you in youtube, maybe I should embed the thing,lets try

Embedding seems to work better -
At anyrate, if I make this for dinner I'll have nothing new to post, after 240+ cooking videos its getting hard to come up with new stuff, plus my family hungers for repeats. Thats ok - there is always tomorrow for a new cooking video, or the day after that etc. After all each day is a new reason for everyone to ask me "Whats for dinner?".

Soon I need to get my daughter from school -spent the day catching up with bills, cleaning, grocery shopping, dog training with my pup, vet for my older dog - and my husband is coming home early, which while wonderful sort of impacts my normal routine (oh, and I ran 5k this am -need to get back to every day with this)

Along with my chili con carne and garnishes I will serve some blue corn chips with a simple salsa fresca (also featured on my youtube site) to start and then maybe some cut up veggies too. Normally I would also serve the chili with some lovely homemade cornbread (and yes you can watch me make a skillet cornbread on youtube) or if pressed for time, cheat and use a cornbread mix,or even rice or egg noodles - but lately we are watching our carbs, so I'll skip the bread for tonights meal. Off to finish my chili, happy cooking everyone...