Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Vermicelli with Peas May 30, 2011

I’ve been finding myself a little burned out lately. I’ve been working a lot of overtime, and just not really taking much time for myself. Even my weekends have been busy. This long weekend was much needed. I had a graduation party Saturday evening, so I went home for that. But that was my ONLY event the whole three day weekend. And OH how I relished the peace. I watched scary movies, drank some wine, visited with some friends, and caught up on my YouTube Subscriptions (PhillyD and Shaytards. I love them.). I finished a book, and started another.

Today was a little bit more productive. I cleaned my kitchen, did some laundry, made stock. I cut up a fresh pineapple and put the rind and core in vodka to infuse for a week. And the big one–I mowed my yard! Ok, just the front part. I still need to do the back half. This was the first time I’ve ever mowed. My neighbor has done it for me a few times this summer, but it was time for me to learn to do it on my own. The only problem? I couldn’t get my mower to start. I had a friend come over and take a look at it. He jostled a few bits around and got it to start for me. Oh man, mowing is hard work. I have a GIGANTIC hill in the front of my house, and that was not easy. I’m just a little too short, the mower a little too big, and the hill a little too steep. I can’t pretend that there wasn’t lots of cussing and more than a few tears. But I got it mowed. I’ll do the back half another day…or I may just find some high school kid who I can pay to do it. I’m not afraid to admit I felt more than a little defeated.

The rest of the afternoon I just relaxed. I watched a movie and listed to some music. I was planning on just popping some popcorn for dinner, but, as usually happens on my productive days, I decided to play with my food. The following is what came out of that little game. Very springy tasting, very fresh (even if the peas were frozen). The sage is what is left of my herb garden last year–it grew back! And the purple flower was mixed in with that super plant. Pretty (I didn’t eat it, don’t worry)!

Vermicelli with Peas
Original Recipe

6-8 oz vermicelli
2 Tbsp Butter
1 half white onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful Sage leaves, minced
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
Juice of one lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan, Optional

Boil and salt a pot of water, add your pasta. Cook until al dente.

While the pasta cooks, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan over med-low heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown and soft. Add garlic and sage, cook another 2 minutes.

Add peas, cook until heated through. Add lemon juice and a Tbsp of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to pea mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with Parmesan.


Eggs and Tomatoes March 23, 2011

I will always love winter. My friends give me hell for it, I mean, we live in Indiana after all. Sure it’s not the upper Midwest, but it gets COLD here. And the ice. And the snow. And did I mention ALL THAT ICE???

Don’t get me wrong, I love the spring. Summer not so much. For all of you balking at that–get sun-poisoning where you can’t walk for 3 weeks. Then you’ll understand. Plus, my migraines always hit really hard this time of year, as the temperatures and pressures go up and down and up and down.

All of that said–it is GORGEOUS out today! (I’m writing this Monday night, but you guys won’t see it until Wednesday.) I normally swim on Mondays, but I couldn’t wait to get home and head to the park for a walk. 72 degrees in March? Yes please! I’m dog sitting my Mom’s “princess” and the two of us had a blast walking around Morrow’s Meadow.

When I got home, I was hungry, but didn’t want to put a lot of effort into the meal. Eggs sounded good, but not just eggs and toast–boooooooooring. I had seen a recipe for a Moroccan-style tomato sauce with eggs on top somewhere. I don’t remember to be honest. It had a bunch of foreign ingredients that I cannot pronounce. But I figured, hey, I can do that my way! So I did. And it was awesome. I would recommend doing this with some heavy Italian bread–my white Wonderbread (don’t hate, it’s good) didn’t quite hold up to the heavy sauce. But the rich creamy yolk and the herby tomato sauce…mmmmmmm….

It wasn’t pretty, so no pictures this time. But this was a great throw-together meal. Just toss in whatever herbs or spices you have on hand. Play with your food!

Eggs and Tomatoes
Original Recipe

1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of herbs, chopped (I used rosemary and sage)
1/2-1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
2 eggs

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Toss in some onion, garlic, herbs. Let them cook for a minute or two over medium heat, until soft. Add tomatoes, cook for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully crack eggs over sauce. Cover. Cook until eggs are just set.

Serve with thick, crusty French or Italian bread. Eat in your pajamas in front of the TV. This is not a fancy dinner. Could be breakfast too, if you like savory in the morning like I do.


Mushroom and White Bean Ragout December 9, 2010

Can you believe it? I cooked AGAIN last night! I’m on a roll here. Part of it is, I bought too many mushrooms at the store last weekend and needed to use them before they rotted. (I have a really bad habit of buying mushrooms and forgetting about them until it’s too late.)

The other part is that while I’m toning up in most areas, I haven’t seen much of a difference in my weight, especially in my tummy area and it’s frustrating to me. Cooking at home is so much healthier than eating out somewhere. I’ve been using to track my calories and the difference between where I eat is astonishing.

This dish is really simple to make, and fairly rustic on the plate, but man is it delicious! I’ve always been a firm meat eater, and would never have thought of putting beans in a sauce like this. I really enjoyed the flavor and texture though of this, I think cannellini beans will make more appearances in the future.

Mushroom and White Bean Ragout

1 1/2 cups onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of Fresh thyme and sage (or 1 tsp dried)
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (I used shittake but I think button would work better in this)
1/4 cup white wine
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz diced tomatoes
Handful parsley

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Toss in onions, garlic, and herbs. Cover for 8-10 minutes until soft. (Watch the temp on your garlic, turn it down if it starts to burn.)

Add mushrooms and white wine. Cover for 6 more minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes, and parsley. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, or until some of the juice has evaporated.

Serve over polenta or some kind of heavy noodle. (I used egg, penne or bowtie would also be good.)

****I’m not at home so I’m not sure where I got this recipe from. I’ll add it later when I have the recipe in front of me. I do have pictures too!


Sauteed Carrots with Sage August 5, 2010

Filed under: Herbs,Quick and Easy,Side Dish,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 5:00 pm
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I LOVE cooked carrots. I keep boxes of the frozen steam bags in my freezer, for nights when its me and I don’t want to cook. I’ll just pop a bag in the microwave, throw on some salt and butter and enjoy. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be helping my eye sight much. Sigh. I think it’s time for new glasses.

My husband used to tell me that he didn’t like cooked carrots. I have changed that. He used to say that about mushrooms too and now he devours them whenever I fix them. I must be doing something right!

Anyway, this recipe was quick and simple to throw together while the Lemon Chicken was finishing up in the oven. I stuck with Cooking Light’s recommendation for sage because I have a TON of it, but use whatever fragrant fresh herb you have available. Dill would be fun with this.

Sautéed Carrots with Sage
Adapted from Cooking Light, November 2009

1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
4 big carrots, sliced on the bias
2 Tbsp water
Dash Salt & Pepper
Handful of fresh sage, chopped

Melt butter in nonstick pan over medium heat. Add oil, swirl to mix. Add carrot and water. Partially cover pan and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add salt, pepper, and herbs. Sauté for just a minute until sage is soft.


Linguine with Peppery Shrimp July 17, 2010

Filed under: garlic,Herbs,Italian,pasta,Quick and Easy — hmills96 @ 9:00 am
Tags: , ,

I haven’t cooked hardly at all this week–J. worked until 8 most nights, and with my new schedule I’m in bed by 9:30, so I fend for myself those nights. I did make brownies, but they were nothing special. Good, but not better than the recipe I already have posted here.

So, since J. was going to be home at 7, and it was a Friday night, I decided to cook dinner. This recipe was great because it was simple, and only has a few ingredients. It could have used more sauce, next time I think I’ll add more butter, maybe a little wine, but otherwise it was tasty. It really brought out the natural goodness of the shrimp.

Linguine with Peppery Shrimp
Adapted from Cooking Light, August 2010

2 lbs large shrimp, peeled & deveined
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp each fresh thyme, parsley, & oregano
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp butter
8 oz linguine

Toss shrimp with 1 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (this is not a recipe for the powdery stuff).

Boil water, add salt & pasta. Cook until al dente.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium- high heat with olive oil. Add shrimp, saute about 4 minutes or just until pink. Remove from pan and set aside.

To pan, add butter and let melt. Add herbs and garlic, cook for just a minute, until soft. Whisk in lemon juice and 2 Tbsp pasta water.

Toss pasta, shrimp, and sauce together. Serve with garlic bread.


Alfredo sauce for Pasta June 29, 2010

Filed under: Herbs,Italian,pasta,Quick and Easy,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 5:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

One of my favorite meals (in case you haven’t noticed already) to make is pasta. I can do ANYTHING with pasta. I always have a variety of types on hand, and my sauces will change depending on what I have in my fridge and pantry that night. You’ve seen my spaghetti sauce–that’s a regular. But last night I wanted something a little richer, and J had been craving Fettuccine Alfredo.

I didn’t use Fettuccine for this, but he did NOT mind at all. I had some of those Bertolli Ravoli in my freezer. I LOVE them. Gives a little more oomph to a meal, without a lot more work. Last night I used the Four Cheese ones, and they were awesome with this sauce.

Growing up, I think Alfredo was something we all ordered in Italian restaurants. It was familiar, and especially for picky eaters like my sister, didn’t have anything unrecognizeable. Unfortunately, it’s also usually tasteless, unless you are at a REALLY authentic Italian place (if you know if any in my area, let me know!). This recipe was fantastic. It was super easy to do, and while not so light on the diet, it was soooo flavorful. I used herbs from my garden for something extra, and since I ran out of Parmesan (*gasp!*) I substituted in half mozzerella, so it was really creamy and smooth. We will definitely be having this again.

I want to apologize to you guys for the lack of pictures lately (and the crappy cell phone pic above). It seems like by the time I get home and cook the meal, I’m just ready to sit down and eat it! I can never find my camera when the food is ready. Ha! I’ll try to do better, I promise.

Alfredo Sauce
Adapted from Pioneer Woman on Tasty Kitchen

1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic
Handful of fresh oregano & basil, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups freshly grated parmesan (or 1 each of Parm & Mozzerella)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Dash of Nutmeg

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add stick of butter and let melt.

Add garlic and herbs, cook for about 1 minute, just until soft and fragrant.

Whisk in cream, let come to boil, then turn heat to low.

Add in salt, pepper, & nutmeg.

Pour over your favorite pasta!


Spice Roasted Chicken Thighs June 8, 2010

Filed under: Chicken,Herbs,Quick and Easy,wine — hmills96 @ 8:22 pm
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Today was a pretty productive day! I started a Facebook page for the blog. Go here and Like us! It’s a great way to stay connected with other fans of the blog, share thoughts on recipes, or tell me what to cook next!

After that, I went to the grocery store. I have become one of THOSE people. You know, the woman in line who has a bazillion coupons. I saved $30 bucks today though so it was worth it! The road to Meijer was closed for construction, so I went to Marsh instead. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there, but I probably will start going back. It’s not much further than my normal store, and the service and products are so much better!

Unfortunately, there is one exception to that rule. I was so excited when I walked by the seafood counter–they had mussels! I’ve been wanting to try them for a while, but they aren’t common around here. They were pretty inexpensive, so I grabbed a pound. However, when I got them home and got ready to cook them tonight, they were all dead. For those of you who don’t know–you buy shellfish alive. The shells should be tightly closed, or if one is open, it should snap shut when tapped. These were all open and did not close. They also smelled extremely fishy, which is not a good sign. I had to throw them out.

I was disappointed. Now what was I going to cook for dinner? I knew I wanted to test an asparagus salad recipe (which will be posted tomorrow), but what should I serve with it? Luckily I had also bought some chicken thighs that were on sale today. I was worried though, because while I love chicken thighs, J. had just made a comment about how tired he was of chicken. He was going to have to battle through.

He battled. In fact, he had two helpings. And I bet we fight over the leftover thigh that’s in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. These were amazing. As good, if not better than one of my whole roast chickens, without all the time and hassle. These will be making a regular rotation in our house.

Spice Roasted Chicken Thighs

Adapted from Elly Says Opa!

5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh thyme, rosemary, sage
1 Tbsp canola oil
Tbsp white wine

Preheat oven to 450. Pat chicken dry. Mix together herbs & spices. Rub all over chicken.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes each.

Transfer pan to oven and cook skin side up, until cooked thru, about 12-18 minutes.

Remove chicken and let rest. Place skillet on high heat. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up browned bits, pour over chicken to serve.

**Note–This would be amazing next to those roasted mushrooms I made awhile back!