Easy and nutritious! I usually sneak in a little extra pasta :-)
Source: Rachael Ray Mag
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta or thick-cut prosciutto, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into strips lengthwise (discarding the seedy centers), then cut into small pieces
  • 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 32 ounce container  (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15 ounce can  cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can  tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 pound whole wheat penne or other short-cut pasta
  • A handful basil, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 thick slices italian bread
  • About 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta or prosciutto, if using, and cook until browned, a couple of minutes. Add the zucchini, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf and 2 cloves garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. reheat the broiler and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Stir the chicken stock, beans and tomatoes into the soup and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Stir in the basil and lower the heat to low.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add in the remaining 1 clove garlic and swirl for a minute or so; remove from the heat.
  4. Broil the bread on both sides until lightly toasted. Brush the bread with the garlic butter and sprinkle with the cheese and parsley. Broil to melt the cheese. Serve the soup in shallow bowls, each topped with a crouton.
I haven't cooked in a while because I had a bad case of strep throat, but I'm feeling much better now and today I was ready for some food that didn't come frozen in a carton.  
This sounded like a great idea in theory but I'm really not used to eating fried food so it was heavy for me.  I also thought the house kind of smelled like the funnel cake stand at a carnival.  Matt loved them and I caught him eating "the beer crunchies" as I pulled them off a little to pare this down.  I think sometimes when you're married, you just gotta turn your head and let your husband eat the beer crunchies and pretend not to notice :-)

Source: food.com
  • 2 lbs best-quarity large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour (available at Latin or Asian Markets)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried whole Mexican oregano, rubbed to a powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle cold beer, plus more
  • beer, to thin the batter if necessary
to fry
  • vegetable oil
Avocado Sauce
  • 1/4 ripe avocado, peeled
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 3 drops of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 -2 tablespoon water or 1 -2 tablespoon milk
  • 2 fresh fresh cilantro stems, stemmed and chopped (optional)
Mayonesa Secret Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 cup lime mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water or 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
to serve
  • fresh corn tortilla, warmed
  • salsa, de chiles de arbol or bottled hot sauce
  • shredded iceberg lettuce or green cabbage
  • pico de gallo
  • diced red onion, mixed with chopped
  • fresh cilantro (optional)
  • lime wedge
  1. Cut each shrimp into two or three pieces, Spritz a little lime over the shrimp to moisten- don't overdo it - and refrigerate.
  2. Make the batter: Combine the flour and seasonings in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Add the beer all at once, whisk until smooth, and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the oil into a deep, wide pan to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium-high heat to 365 degrees.
  4. Check the batter; it should be a thick coating consistency. If it seems too thick, add beer, water, or milk, 1 teaspoons at a time, until the right consistency is achieved. It's better to be slightly too thick than too thin!
  5. Pat the shrimp dry and add to the batter. Fish out a ew pieces at a time and fry until golden brown. Drain the shrimp on paper towels.
  6. To prepare hold a tortilla in your hand and add a spoonful of avocado sauce (directions for sauce are in the following step). Add the shrimp, a squeeze of secret sauce (recipe follows), and a healthy shot of hot salsa. Top with lettuce, pico de gallo, and onion and cilantro. Squeeze lime over the whole thing.
  7. Avocado Sauce: Place the avocado, salt, and lime juice ina blender or small food processor. Add 1 tablespoon water and pulse. Add more liquid as necessary to make a sauce the consistency of thick cream. Add the cilantro and pulse again just to blend. Taste for seasoning; it should be a little bland.
  8. Mayo Secret Sauce: Place the mayonnaise in a bowl and use a fork to slowly stir in vinegar to taste. Add water to loosen to the consistency of thick cream.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/shrimp-tacos-286365#ixzz1wPH3JGHk 
Yum!  Loved this!  The amount of breadcrumbs is off in this recipe - you'll need about 1/3 of this amount.  I thought that potatoes in a salad was kind of strange but it paired with well with the creamy goat cheese :-)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
  • 3 large red potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 twelve-ounce log fresh goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces mesclun or mixed salad greens
  1. Heat the broiler. Brush a baking sheet with oil; set aside. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Simmer until fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse potatoes under cold water until cool enough to handle, and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl. Slice goat cheese into 8 rounds, and pat each into a disc about 1/2 inch thick. Dip disks in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs, coating evenly. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Slowly add 1/4 cup oil, whisking to emulsify. Set aside.
  4. Brush disks lightly with remaining 1/4 cup oil, and broil until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.
  5. Toss mesclun and potatoes in the dressing. Spoon salads onto plates, and top each with two cheese disks.
More baking!  This chocolate cake recipe is delicious!  It has a secret ingredient - one cup of hot coffee.  This keeps the cake very moist and flavorful.  If you don't like coffee, you might want to cut this down to 1/2 cup because you can definitely taste the coffee.  
I would not use the frosting recipe again.  There is so much butter in it , that when it is refrigerated, it turns to it's previous butter state - which is solid.  Yuck.  Also, the coffee in the frosting is too much; I would omit it completely.
Finally, I decided to stuff the cake with Bavarian cream.  I like it a lot, but it made too much.  I would cut this half.  
Overall, the cake recipe is great - I will definitely make it again.
By the way, this is a terrible picture - don't judge the recipe by what it looks like, I promise it's good!

Source: Food Network
  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch roundcake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:
  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Bavarian Cream Filling
Source: Recipe Goldmine
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 small boxes instant French Vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup cold milk
1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed

Blend the cream cheese until smooth, then add milk slowly. Beat in pudding mixes until completely blended. Fold in the whipped topping. Refrigerate until needed.

Use for filling cream puffs, clairs, sweet yeast rolls, coffee cakes or cakes, etc.

Note: You can make a chocolate version by using chocolate puddings and chocolate flavored whipped topping, or by adding chocolate milk drink powder or even cocoa (add confectioners' sugar in the cream cheese) or by melting milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate to add with the cream cheese.

Many variations can be made using this basic recipe. A coffee version can be made using instant coffee dissolved in the milk. Mocha is made using instant coffee in the chocolate version. Try butterscotch or lemon pudding mixes.

Keep refrigerated after mixing or using in a recipe. 

My second try at from-scratch pasta with my Kitchen-Aid.  It's a lot of work because I'm still getting the hang of it, but I think I'm getting it down and I loved to see the finished product.  For the sauce, I wanted to do something very light so I could taste the pasta, so this is just a simple combination of oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs.

Disaster struck in the kitchen tonight!  Well not really, but it was hilarious.  I was in a hurry and got my oil way too hot.  When I added in the pasta water, the oil went crazy and was popping everywhere!  I backed up several steps and then fell butt first right into my open dishwasher.  I kind of broke the door.  Matt was able to sort of finagle it shut, but...it's still not quite right.  The best part of this was Matt's reenactment of the fall - we're still laughing!
Pasta (Kitchen-Aid)

3 1/2 cups of sifted all purpose flour
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Mix with flat beater for thirty seconds then 2 minutes with the dough hook.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes then divide into four sections.  Run through pasta roller on 1 about 3 times, folding in half the first two times.  Then run through on the second, third, and fourth settings, trimming the length as needed.  Finally, cut with the wide noodle cutter.  Drop noodles into a pot of boiling salted water and cook for about 5 minutes then drain.  

Sauce (Giadia) 
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, plus more if desired
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until light brown and fragrant. It's important not too burn the garlic or else it will become bitter. Remove and discard the browned garlic. Add the red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Carefully add the reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Place the spaghetti into the pan and mix well for 1 minute.

Remove pan from heat and top with fresh herbs.
I've never made chicken cacciatore and I don't know why.  Loved this!  I finished this off with a big slice of whole grain cornbread.
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.
Yum! To make this a complete meal, I steamed baby potatoes and spooned this mixture over them.   This was a little spicy for me, but a lot of folks will think the heat is just right.
Source: Giadia
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

Fast, easy, and healthy.  You'll be able to substitute what you'd like with these recipes.  The sauce was good but I'm still looking for something with a bit more flavor.  Anyone have any ideas?
How to Stir Fry Anything from ehow.com
    • Invest in a nonstick or carbon-steel wok (you need to season a carbon-steel wok). While you can stir-fry in any old skillet, the wok's depth and sloping sides (it's cooler there, so you can move ingredients away from the hot bottom to the sides) are ideal.

    • Prepare everything you need before you begin to stir-fry. Cut all your vegetables and meats and prepare your sauce. Stir-frying is fast; you won't really have time to chop the broccoli while the onion is cooking.

    • Make sure that your vegetables and meats are all cut approximately the same size - bite size, as a matter of fact. Stir-frying uses high heat, so pieces must be small enough to cook through without burning.

    • Learn the different cooking times of meats and vegetables. You'll need to stagger additions to the stir-fry according to how long they take to cook. (For example, you'd add onions first, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add broccoli florets and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then add red bell pepper and stir-fry for 2 more minutes.)

    • If you've got a wok full, stir-fry the meat completely first, then add it back in at the end. (This works well for a large assemblage of ingredients, because you ensure the meat cooks fully but not too much.)

    • Heat the pan first, then add oil. When the oil is hot, add aromatics, such as ginger and garlic, and stir-fry for a few seconds, or until you smell them.

    • Start adding your other ingredients, according to their approximate cooking times. When the food is about two-thirds done, add your sauce. If the food will take more than a few minutes more to cook, cover and steam until done. If it will take less time, continue to stir-fry.

    • Practice the basic technique of lifting under the food in the wok with a spatula or other flat utensil and moving it to the side.

Stir Fry Sauce from Yummly.com
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1-3 tsps ginger (grated)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
1.5 tbsps cider vinegar
2 tbsps sherry wine
3 tbsps cornstarch

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch.  Place cornstarch in a separate bowl and slowly whisk in everything else until desired consistency.  When your stir-fried vegetables are done, pour the sauce in and stir from the bottom, keeping the wok or pan at a higher heat. In a few minutes the sauce will thicken.
I can't remember where I originally saw this recipe.  I have it memorized and I don't measure anything out so the recipe is approximate.  Lean turkey breast meat is much better for you than beef and I think it tastes just as good!
1 lb turkey breast 
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of red wine 
1/ teaspoon of black pepper 

Combine all and form into four patties.  Grill until cooked through 5-7 minutes.
In an attempt to bake more, I'm vowing to make a cake of each of my coworkers' birthdays.  This is the first one.  I loved it!  I used springform pans to more easily remove the cakes after baking.  I was a bit disappointed with how thin they were at first, but the cake really plumped up when filled with berries and cream.
I used my own whipped cream recipe: Beat 1 quart of heavy cream (you heard me) with 12 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until cream forms.  Delicious! 
Source: Food Network
  • Non-stick vegetable spray, for coating the pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (I omitted this)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries
  • 1 recipe whipped cream frosting
Whipped Cream Frosting:
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly coat 2 (9-inch) cake pans with nonstick vegetable spray. Line the bottoms with a circle of baking parchment.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, 3 times. In a small saucepan, bring themilk and butter to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and lemon extracts. In separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow, and fluffy, and doubled in volume. While still beating, drizzle in the hot milk mixture. Fold in the flour mixture. Spread the batter in the prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden, the center springs back when lightly pressed, and a cake tester comes out clean. Set the pans on a rack to cool. Run the tip of a knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them, and turn them out of the pans.

Whipped Cream Frosting: In a medium bowl, mix together the gelatin and 1/4 cup of the cream. Let rest for 5 minutes to soften, then place the bowl over barely simmering water until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool to tepid. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until slightly thickened. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and whip to the consistency of shaving cream. Fold 1/2 cup of the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture, then fold in the rest.

Wash and dry the strawberries. Pick out the 12 best. Stem and slice the rest. Lay the sliced berries over 1 cake, then spread a 1/2-inch layer of whipped cream on top. Place the second cake over the first. Frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Top with the 12 whole berries.