Friday, September 28, 2007

Green Beans Ah-mahn-DEEN

I hope that Lisa will still try these green beans even though they share a name with Amandine, the dreaded French exchange student at whose hands Lisa suffered for two entire summers. So although Amandine might not have been a delicious dish, these green beans are very easy and SUPER-tasty.

from, submitted by Brenda DuFresne


1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 C water
1/4 C slivered almonds
2 T butter
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t seasoned salt


In a saucepan, bring beans and water to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10ish minutes until crisp-tender; drain and set aside. In a large skillet, cook almonds in butter over low heat. Stir in lemon juice and seasoned salt if desired. Add beans and heat through.

Kira's notes:

I let the almonds/butter mixture go for quite awhile until the butter was brown butter and the almonds were all toasty and a bit salty-tasting. DELIGHTFUL.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Laughably Easy Lasagna

I had hoped to post a recipe for Chicken Under a Brick to the blog this week, but unfortunately it seems that Rachael Ray and I have had ANOTHER difference of opinion on what constitutes a complete and informative recipe and so let's just say that Chicken Under a Brick did NOT turn out as well as I had hoped. It tasted good in the end, but it was the "during" that was the problem. In fact, it almost set off my smoke alarm. I maintain that Rachael Ray is a LIAR.

Anyway, I have a very lazy lasagna recipe that is basically foolproof and always comes out delicious no matter what. Which is, RACHAEL, the best kind of recipe. This is a slightly jazzed-up take on my mom's lasagna recipe - thanks Kathy!



1 package lasagna noodles
1lb ground beef or sweet Italian sausage (or mix)
1 jar Newman's Own Roasted Garlic pasta sauce (<--IMPORTANT)
8oz dry curd cottage cheese (or rinse off the regular stuff)
3 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 C shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever kind you want)
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped


Boil noodles. Brown ground beef or sausage; drain grease. Mix ground beef with the pasta sauce. Layer cooked noodles, sauce/meat, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Put more cheese on the top layer than on the others, sprinkle Parmesan, and garnish with the handful of chopped parsley - evenly distributed. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour; broil for 5-10 minutes until the cheese on top is bubbly, browned, and yum-o-licious. Cool for a few minutes and serve!

Friday, September 14, 2007

"Nick's" Pizza

There's a place near Indiana University's campus called Nick's...Nick's...something. Nick's Pub? Nick's Hut? Nick's Extremely Shady-Looking Eating Establishment? Not sure. It looks pretty dreadful from the outside. If you try and go to Nick's before an IU sporting event, such as a basketball game, you'd better get there early. It's easy to find Nick's, because you'll see a line forming outside - they only let as many people inside as the restaurant can seat. Which isn't fun during basketball season for those waiting in the freezing Indiana winter. Anyway, once you are waved in, you have to wander aimlessly through the rabbit warren of a VERY CROWDED restaurant trying to find any open table, and then if you happen to find a table, you probably also need to beg some chairs. So after all of that, you'd better hope that their food is good. Well, luckily, it is FANTASTIC. I got a burger, which was good, but after I saw Ryan and his dad's pizza, I regretted my decision. Ryan absolutely fell in love with the pizza. It's very fresh-tasting. So I decided that I was going to try and re-create Nick's pizza in our kitchen. Following is my approximation of what I did - tweak to your tastes!

Sadly I do not have a picture. And that's EXTRA-unfortunate because this pizza was drop-dead gorgeous. Our camera was missing in action, packed already for our vacation, and I didn't want to hunt it down because hey...I was hungry!



1 Boboli thin crust pizza shell
1/4 lb sweet italian bulk sausage
1 green Bell pepper, cut into thin 1-inch strips
1 C baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 green onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
Pizza sauce to taste (I lazily used Contadina's "Pizza Squeeze," it was actually good)
2ish C mozzarella, mozzarella and cheddar, whatever you want cheese
1/4 C fresh-grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450. Brown the sausage, drain. Put sausage in a bowl, and mix with garlic and onions. Set aside. In the skillet, sautee the green peppers and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Spread pizza sauce on Boboli crust. Arrange sausage mixture, green peppers, and mushrooms on crust. Place crust in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove crust from oven and drench with mozzarella/cheddar/whatever cheese. Top with the fresh-grated parmesan. Place back in the oven and turn on the broiler. Broil (on bottom rack, so your cheese doesn't burn) for 5-7 minutes or until it looks like it's done. Remove, cool, cut, and serve!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chicken Cutlets with Mushroom Sauce

So this recipe represents a first for's from a "light" cookbook! I usually hate anything that says it's healthy or reduced fat or whatever because sometimes those sorts of recipes just aren't very tasty at all. Because they don't require half a stick of butter, which makes EVERYTHING tasty. Of course, in the picture, you can see that I served this with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and Green Beans Amandine, neither of which could be classified as anything less than FAT. Anyway, read on for a SHOCKINGLY healthy recipe!!

from Light and Tasty


4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4oz each)
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper, divided
2 t butter (see, not very much!)
2 T chopped green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3...hee hee)
2 C sliced fresh mushrooms (I used baby portabellos)
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 t dried tarragon
2 t cornstarch
1/4 C red wine or additional chicken stock


Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides with salt and half of the pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the green onion and garlic; saute for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, about 2 more minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, tarragon, and remaining pepper. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms are tender.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and wine or additional chicken stock until smooth. Stir into the mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Spoon mushroom sauce over chicken breasts and serve.

Serves 4.

Since this is a HEALTHY recipe, here is some nutrition info:
One serving = 169 calories, 3g fat.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Buca's Marinara Sauce

I decided to go ahead and post another recipe for Lisa because, well, first of all, Lisa is the only person who reads this blog. And I appreciate her for that! But also, she already has the Breakfast Stars recipe since I emailed it to her last week. She might not have this one yet though!

This is from my foodie coworker, Amber, and it is supposedly THE very recipe that Buca di Beppo's uses for their delightful marinara sauce. One thing you can count on with a Buca-inspired recipe...LOTS of garlic! This makes A TON of sauce, so don't whip this up for a spaghetti dinner for two. Well, I guess you could, if you were planning on eating spaghetti dinners for two for the entire rest of the week as well. I haven't tried freezing this but I'm sure it would do just fine.



1/4 C olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
6 cloves (delightful!) garlic, chopped
2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
salt to taste
3 T fresh chopped basil


Heat olive oil over medium heat inside LARGE saucepan...or even a smallish stockpot (if you need to know how large of a saucepan you will need, pay close attention to the 52oz of crushed tomatoes that you will be adding!!!!!). Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil for 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh basil before serving.

Note: If you like sweeter sauce (and Amber does, Kira does not) you can add 1-2 teaspoons of white sugar.

Breakfast Stars

Okay, so it's been awhile since I posted anything on this blog. Lisae, my apologies. I am going to start posting recipes again, though, because I have finally learned how to balance my life (meaning work and Zumba...that's not really too much of a life now that I think about it) and so I am sort of cooking again!

I made these last week for a breakfast meeting that Ryan had at our house with some work colleagues. I also brought some in for my group. These are great to make for any breakfast get-together and they always impress because they are (1) tasty and (2) ADORABLE. I didn't think to take a picture of them when I made them last, but hey...with a name like Breakfast Stars, how could they NOT be cute?



1 package won ton wrappers
1 lb sweet Italian or regular sausage
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced up really really small
2 C colby cheese, shredded
1/2 C ranch (or lite ranch, I guess) dressing

Preheat oven to 350. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Arrange won ton wrappers in mini muffin tins, folding them so that they look sort of like stars but still have room to scoop filling in the center. Bake for 5ish minutes until they are slightly browned and beginning to get crispy.

While the won ton wrappers are baking, cook sausage until no longer pink and drain. Mix sausage with the rest of the ingredients. Scoop filling into won ton wrappers - I used a teaspoon - and bake for 6-7 minutes until mixture inside is bubbly.

Serve as quickly as possible! These are good cold even hours later, but let's just say that they are much better when the won ton wrappers are still crispy. Mmmmmm....

Note: If you are lazy (like me) you can always make the sausage/veggie/cheese/ranch/fatty goodness mixture the night before and refrigerate!