Wednesday, May 22, 2013



This is the first meal I've made since I put my kitchen back together, which was exactly two hours ago.  And when I say put back together, I mean reclaim my living room, scrub paint off the kitchen floor (I did cover it, paint just has a way of getting through), and scrub paint off my table and chairs and ceiling lights.
Before you think I'm a complete idiot, please note this is my first cabinet re-do with a spray gun.  It was more like a fire hose until we figured some things out. And in my defense, those items were on the other side of the [small] kitchen--and really, not to point any fingers, but it was my husband's pulling the paint gun.

I was so hoping to show off my cute cabinets, the same way I shamelessly showed off my new Kitchen Aid last year during a post, but alas, the doors are not hung, and you really don't want to see my exposed shelves.
Just not appropriate.

What? Oh, this is a food blog?  Sorry, I'm just a little excited about making this delicious meal in my almost-done kitchen.
I really did love this dish!
I love lo mein in restaurants, but I'm usually disappointed when I try to make it at home. It tastes too much like just soy sauce with ginger and brown sugar.  But not this time!
I though the flavor was very authentic and the recipe was fast, easy, and deliciously fresh.  It was also super filling!  And did I mention my kids loved it too?(I'm thinking something other than cereal for dinner again played a role in their opinion--but still!)
I'm giving it five stars.  Here's my break-down.
What I loved:  Authentic taste, easy, and fresh.
What I did different:  Skipped the ginger and sriracha sauce.  Ginger on purpose, but I actually had sriracha sauce and just forgot to put it in at the end.  Oh well, maybe that made it more kid-friendly.  I also added an extra teaspoon or two of cornstarch.  I've found that in this cookbook, the cornstarch they call for is just never enough.  I also halved the amount of cilantro.
I found this made way more than six servings, but I'm not complaining!
Here's the recipe:



White noodles are traditional in lo mein; however, you can substitute 12 ounces of whole-wheat spaghetti.

 3/4    cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 1/2  tablespoons oyster-flavored sauce
1 1/2  teaspoons cornstarch
12      ounces spaghetti
1        tablespoon canola oil
1        pound shiitake mushrooms, brushed  clean, stemmed, and halved
1        head napa cabbage (about 2 pounds), halved, cored, and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
2        red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
6        scallions, sliced thin
1        tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3        garlic cloves, minced
3        tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 1/2  tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2     teaspoon sriracha sauce
4 1/2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

(**Sorry, I'm not trying to be fancy with this format, it just does its own thing when I add pictures!  I've been trying to fix it but its getting late and I need to get this post up.  I hope its not too confusing!)

1.  Whisk the broth, soy sauce, oyster-flavored sauce, and cornstarch together in a bowl.

2.  Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until tender.  Drain the noodles and leave in the colander.

3.  Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes.

4.  Stir in the cabbage and bell pepper and cook until the cabbage is wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions, ginger, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

5.  Rewhisk the broth-cornstarch mixture to combine, then stir into the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta, cilantro, toasted sesame oil, and sriracha and toss until combined and hot.  Serve.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Chickpea Cakes with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

This was an interesting recipe for me.  It looked kinda good and I love a good cucumber-yogurt sauce and since I'm trying to be more healthy, I was really hoping I would like this one.
Unfortunately, I didn't.  I thought it tasted like chalky, chunky hummus.  Fried hummus.  Which is an improvement to hummus, but still.  It was eatable, but even the cucumber-yogurt sauce didn't do it for me.  

My picky four-year old, however, was super excited to eat it.  He was licking his lips and getting a plate and asking for it.  Asking. With his plate held out.  I was thrilled at his enthusiasm, right up to the moment it reached his mouth and he spit it out exclaiming, "This is NOT cake!". 

No, not cake.  Sometimes I really miss last year's cook book!

What I liked:  It was healthy 

What I would change:  The Greek yogurt to plain yogurt.  I love the benefits of the protein-rich Greek yogurt, but that chalky texture and taste that comes with it was just not a good mix with chickpeas.
Also, Amanda served hers on potato rolls with a few garnishes that looked delicious.  I wish I would have thought of that as well!

Check out Amanda's blog for the recipe, HERE.  Once you see hers, you will want to try it!  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013



I thought this was another great dish!  I love casseroles for the convenience of a meal in one heaping spoonful.  Mine was a little less healthy since I used the white noodles I had on hand and also 2% milk instead skim.  But, it was loaded with spinach so I didn't feel too guilty. This recipe gets 4 stars.

What I loved:  Lots of healthy spinach.  And the creamy sauce with noodles and chicken, but that goes without saying.

What I didn't love:  The dishes. It seems like there were a lot.  Or maybe that's because they are all still in my sink and on my counters waiting to be done.

What I did different:  I used a larger baking dish than recommended because there was no way it was all fitting into an 8-inch square baking dish!

Hop on over to Jennifer's blog, HERE, for this wonderful recipe!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Penne with Chicken, Asparagus, and Lemon

A combination of some of my favorite foods made this a really great dish!  And all--that was ALL--my children liked it and ate everything on their plate.  That makes this a five star dish!

What I didn't do:  I didn't use the reserve asparagus water for later. First, I used frozen asparagus which was just as good and quicker.  Plus, I don't know if it was just me, but a reserve of asparagus water sounded kind of gross.  And another plus, I added cornstarch to the liquid and it still didn't thicken so it didn't need to loosen up anyway.  

What I liked:  Lots of flavor without a heavy cream sauce. And the kid-friendly factor.

Head over Valerie's blog, HERE, to get this delicious recipe!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Confession:  I don't like sausage--the kind from pigs anyway.  It's just too greasy and gristly for my liking.  I do, however, love the meatless Boca sausage you can buy at the store.  And not because its meatless, but because its gristless (it always comes down to texture for me!).  It is super expensive though, so when I saw a turkey sausage recipe, I knew I had to try it. 

What I liked:  The texture (of course).  No gristle, and not too mushy.  I thought it was a great idea to cook 1/4 of the turkey first and add it to the mixture as to add substance and sausage-like texture.
The taste was good, but nothing to rave about.  However, the kids all loved it, I think because it wasn't too spicy.

What I didn't like:  The handling.  It was kind of gross molding the mixture and then it was hard to get them into the pan while keeping their link shape.  Once they started cooking, turning them was a NIGHTMARE.  More than half of my links broke apart and crumbled.  That was very frustrating and I forgot to take pictures at this stage. LINK became an inappropriate four-letter word in my house that night.

Conclusion:  Four stars for four reasons:  my kids loved it, it tasted good (even though it didn't look pretty), its healthy, and inexpensive!  Can't wait to see what the rest of you thought! Here's the recipe.


Makes 16 (4-inch) links
White bread can be substituted for the whole-wheat bread.  Do not use ground all-white meat turkey (ground turkey breast) here or the sausage will be very dry.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound ground turkey (see note above)
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 1/2 slices high-quality whole-wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1/4 pound of the ground turkey and cook, breaking it up with wooden spoon, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the meat to a large bowl and let it cool slightly. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels.

2. Mash the bread and buttermilk together into a smooth paste, then stir it into the cooked turkey along with the remaining 3/4 pound ground turkey, the maple syrup, garlic, salt, pepper  thyme, cayenne, and nutmeg until uniform.  Working with 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture at a time, use wet hands to shape the mixture into sixteen 4-inch-long links.

3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the sausages and cook until will browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a paper towel-lines plate to drain briefly before serving.

PER SERVING (2 links): Cal 110; Fat 6g; Sat Fat 1g; Chol 35mg; Carb 5g; Protein 12g; Fiber 0g; Sodium 370mg.

To Make Ahead

The raw sausages can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminium foil and frozen for up to 1 month; thaw before cooking.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Table Talk


I love a recipe that's healthy, simple, quick, AND that the family will eat.  This recipe was almost there since all the kids at least tried it and most of them liked it.  I'm giving it four stars.
I feel like it could have used a little more flavor.  Maybe next time I'll throw in some lemon pepper.  I usually serve shrimp with pasta, but I'm interested to see what everyone else did!  Check out Janet's blog, HERE, for this great low-cal shrimp recipe.

Thursday, January 24, 2013



Love this cookbook and the tips!  I think I say that every time, but I do!  Having said that, I didn't love this recipe, but I loved the way it was cooked.  My meat didn't get overdone and the veggies were perfect.  I think if the brown sauce would have been different then I would have loved the whole dish.  
What I learned:  There is a section in the cookbook that gives you a 101 on Asian ingredients.  Apparently rice vinegar and Chinese rice wine are not the same--wish I wold have read that before I cooked, maybe my sauce would have tasted less vinegary. 
What I'm glad I did:  I like oyster sauce WAY better than hoisin sauce so I used that instead.
Overall:  3 stars, based on popularity by family.
I very much recommend making this, even if its only for learning the correct way to stir-fry.  Plus, it might taste different with the correct ingredients (rice wine).
Amanda was our host this, check out her fabulous blog for the recipe, HERE.