Tuesday, April 14, 2009

tomato and red bell pepper soup

i personally dislike bell peppers, but oddly, i LOVE this soup!!! that's how delicious it is.

2 large red bell peppers
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 1/2 cups fresh vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2 14-oz cans plum tomatoes
salt and pepper
2 scallions, finely shredded, for garnish
crusty bread, to serve

preheat broiler. halve and seed bell peppers, arrange them on broiler rack and cook, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until softened and charred.

leave to cool slightly, then carefully peel off charred skin. reserving a small piece for garnish, chop bell pepper flesh and place in large saucepan.

mix in onion, celery, and garlic. add the stock and bay leaves. bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. remove from heat.

stir in tomatoes and transfer to blender. process for a few seconds until smooth. return to saucepan.

season with salt and pepper to taste and heat for 3-4 minutes until piping hot. ladle soup into warm bowls and garnish with the reserved bell pepper cut into strips and the scallion. serve with fresh crusty bread.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

I probably make this at least once or twice a month. It is always a comfort food hit for the boys. It's quick and easy to prepare, all you need to do is pop it in the oven about one hour before serving. It's also great to make ahead of time and freeze.


1 1/2 pounds lean ground meat (I switch between beef and turkey)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 envelope onion soup mix
crushed saltine crackers, about 25 squares
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly ground meat, milk, eggs, onion soup mix, and crackers.

In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar and ketchup. Divide into two equal parts. Add one part to meat mixture, and save other part for topping.

Place meat mixture in loaf pan into even shape. Spread the leftover brown sugar and ketchup mixture on top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven for one hour or until juices are clear.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Berry Compote

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit.  According to them, it should accompany Grand Marnier French toast.  However, since berries are full of antioxidants and deliciousness, I put the compote over everything from oatmeal to vanilla ice cream with white chocolate cookies.  I never use the cornstarch and usually omit the sugar (especially if the berries are frozen).  Measuring is really not necessary with this recipe.  You don't need more than a splash of rum, and you won't miss it if you take it out for the children (they might need the sugar, though).

1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup spiced rum
2 tbsps cornstarch
2 tbsps water
6 cups mixed fresh berries or thawed frozen mixed berries

Monday, November 24, 2008

no fuss peanut sauce

this was an impromptu sauce i made tonight with the bare ingredients i have in my pantry. i seemed to have run out of most of my basics, but was still able to pull together a sauce! here goes....

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
2 tsp olive oil (don't use extra virgin, the flavor is too strong)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lime juice

throw everything in food processor or blender, mix until smooth! this makes a thick sauce - i did not want a runny sauce since i was planning to serve it over a tofu stir fry and rice dish. but of course you can change the amounts according to the texture you want it to be at.

here are some optional ingredients i probably would have used if i had them:
minced garlic
red pepper flakes
chopped peanuts (add in the end after processed smooth)
rice wine vinegar (in place of water)
hoisin sauce (i actually have this, but forgot to add it)

Friday, November 21, 2008

roasted green beans

fresh green beans, trimmed
whole garlic cloves
olive oil

preheat oven to 350 degrees. on a foil-lined cookie sheet, spread green beans into single layer. add whole garlic cloves throughout (i usually use about 5 cloves). drizzle with olive oil. season with salt and pepper. roast in oven for about 45 minutes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

tawny's usual chicken

i make this chicken dish at least 2-3 times a week. i know, sounds repetitive, but the boys really like it, and it's so easy to make. i don't have measurements, but there aren't too many ingredients anyway. just go by taste :)

4 chicken breasts or thighs
whole cloves of garlic
dried rosemary
olive oil
butter (optional)

heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. add whole garlic cloves and allow to roast. on a plate, season chicken with salt, pepper, sugar, and dried rosemary on one side. place seasoned side down in pan, then season the rest of the chicken with the same seasoning. here's where you will add the butter if you want it to be richer. cook for about 10 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. done!

i usually accompany this dish with roasted green beans.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

Prep : 10 min
Inactive Prep: 10 min
Cook: 25 min
Total: 45 min
Yield: 6 Servings


  • Butter, for greasing dish
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (packed) grated Fontina
  • 3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
  • 4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.

Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham, if using, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.