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First Time Griller!

Dinner tonight was extremely simple but yet a huge accomplishment for me!  I used the grill!  The grill has always been this scary fire-breathing dragon to me.  I decided to start extremely simple and marinate some chicken breasts and steaks.

I marinated the chicken and steaks for about an hour in the fridge and then cooked them 5 minutes on each side.

I had my sister for moral support as I tackled my fear and the result was pretty good!

 Jeff joined us for dinner and the steaks were actually for him…unfortunatley I over cooked them as he likes his steaks medium and mine were more well done.  There will always be next time.  The chicken was amazing though…perfectly done and extremely juicy!

Tomorrow is my company’s picnic and then date night with Jeff so there won’t be any cooking being done tomorrow…but check back for my attempt at making blondies and mini banana chocolate chip muffins for a family dinner on Sunday.

Fish Nuggets

Tonight’s dinner was something that reminded me of being a little kid.  It was also something that I haven’t had in a very long time…Fish Nuggets!  Tonight we also had company so I had not only one person to please but TWO.  Luckily the outcome was a success!

(From the Taste of Home Cookbook Diet)

 

INGREDIENTS:

* 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs

* 1/3 cup crushed cereal

*3 Tbs grated parmesan cheese

* 1/2 tsp salt

*1/4 tsp pepper

*1-1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cereal, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

2. Coat the fish with butter-flavored spray, then roll in crumb mixture.

3. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

SERVINGS: 4

RESULT:

Everyone loved the result.  I’m starting to feel as though this cookbook is a winner.  After dinner the three of us were on a mission…to find my brother some furniture for school in a few weeks.  We headed off to Ashley Furniture to have a look around.  While we didn’t find anything we did have some fun…

There is only one thing I hate about summer…the humidity (and maybe the mosquitoes too)!  The humidity was just awful today.  Just walking from my car to the office my glasses managed to fog up!  Needless to say cooking a warm dinner tonight was not going to happen.  Flipping through my Taste of Home Comfort Food cookbook I stumbled across this recipe for Macaroni Salad Tomato Cups and I knew they were perfect for tonight.

INGREDIENTS:

* 3/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

* 2 large tomatoes

* 1/2 cup died deli ham

* 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

* 2 Tbs chopped celery

* 3 Tbs fat-free mayonnaise

* 3 Tbs reduced-fat sour cream

* 1/4 tsp onion powder

* 1/8 tsp pepper

* Lettuce

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook the macaroni according to the package.

2. Take the top off of the tomatoes and scoop out the insides leaving 1/2 inch shell.  Place the tomatoes upside down on paper towel to drain and dry.

3. In a bowl, combine the macaroni, ham, cheese and celery.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, onion powder and pepper.

5. Combine all the ingredients and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.

6. Spoon the mixture into the tomatoes and serve extra salad over a bed of lettuce.

SERVINGS: 2

RESULT:

This salad totally hit the spot!  Kim even said that this was better than last night’s dinner!

Have you ever watched the show “One Big Happy Family” on TLC?  It is an absolutely hilarious show and I highly recommend it!  Tonight Kim and I have three episodes to watch and so far we have both been laughing into tears on just the first episode.  What a good end to a hot day!

Tasty Tuna

All I could think about today was tuna casserole.  Actually my craving started this past weekend when I wanted to make Jeff and I tuna casserole for dinner but I have fallen for a “picky eater”.  Needless to say my craving was pushed down until tonight! 

I found a “Tasty Tuna Casserole” recipe from my Taste of Home Comfort Food cookbook.  The recipe seemed simple which is a plus in this woman’s world.

Ingredients:

* 2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni

* 12 ounces tuna

* 8 ounces tomato sauce

* 4 ounces reduces-fat cream cheese, cubed

* 1 small onion, finely chopped (I omited…I still live with a picky eater)

* 1/4 tsp salt

* 1/2 tsp oregano

Directions:

1. Cook macaroni according to the package.

2. Combine in a bowl the remaining ingredients.

3. Drain the macaroni; stir into tuna mixture.

4. Place mixture in a 2-qt baking dish (coated with cooking spray).  Cover and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

5. Mix the resulting casserole upon removing from the oven to mix in all the cream cheese cubes.

6. ENJOY!

The Result:

It was very tasty (I believe Kim even went back for seconds)! 

Dinner was enjoyed while the “Watch Cat” was on duty so all is safe in the K sister’s house!

 Meal # 2 was a success!

Today I was busy with work outside of the office.  I got to visit consumer homes and interview them about products they use.  It was an exciting yet very tiring day.  I was up and going at 5:30 and didn’t get home until 7.  Needless to say I didn’t get a chance to workout today (which is alright because that’s what REST days are for) and making dinner was not high on my list of exciting things to do.  Traffic wasn’t the greatest due to road construction so by the time I got home my stomach was making sounds not of this world.  So it was a great surprise to walk into the house with dinner waiting for me.  My sister surprised me with ravioli and “texas toast”.  She even made the sauce from scratch.  Everything looked so great!

 

Unfortunately that is where the greatness of the meal ended.  The sauce was just “off” a bit and the ravioli were a new brand that we will not be purchasing ever again.  I ate the toast and graciously thanked my sister for an amazing attempt at making dinner.  I then proceeded to have a bowl of cereal with cherries and veggie straws as dinner.  Sometimes things come together and sometimes things just don’t but that’s all a part of learning how to cook.  I hope this won’t deter my sister from the kitchen and surprising me with dinner again.

This past weekend Jeff and I celebrated our 18 month anniversary of dating.  I know, we are corny that way but isn’t that what being in love is all about?  🙂  Needless to say we had an amazing weekend of dinner at a great restaurant and seeing a movie of soli my choosing.  I chose Despicable Me and to my surprise Jeff even enjoyed it.  What man will go with you to see a cartoon?  A man who loves you with his whole heart!  As a gift I wanted to give him a little something he could keep with him at all times and I came up with a great idea…a picture of myself!  Jeff loved my gift and even has it prominently displayed on his counter top so he can see my smiling face whenever he wants.  It’s not just a normal picture of me but rather a picture of me with a message…

Jeff loved the picture!

With it being our anniversary this weekend I spent the weekend down at Jeff’s place so I have another man waiting for some quality “cuddle” time…

Check in tomorrow for a great dinner…(I hope!)

Returning

So maybe my life got a little more busy than I thought…I guess that’s why they call it “life”.  Needless to say these past few months have been filled with getting situated in my new job, training for and completing my 2nd triathlon, and dating one of the greatest men I know!  I feel like I have a great grasp on things to finally return to the kitchen (not that I ever really left it).

So the 300 meal challenge isn’t really going to work but that doesn’t mean I readjust the count and squeeze out maybe 100 meals by the end of the year. 🙂

Dinner tonight was a recipe from Jeff’s recipe collection: Chicken Marsala (we believe he got this from a Men’s Health magazine)

Ingredients: (reduced for two servings)

* 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts (pounded to 1/4″ thick)

* 1/4 cup Flour

* 1/2 tsp Dried Basil Leaves, Oregano, Italian Herbs

* 2 Tbs Olive Oil

* 2 Tbs Butter

* 1 cup Sliced Mushrooms

* 1/4 cup Marsala Wine

Directions:

1. Combine flour, seasonings, salt & pepper (just a few pinches) and blend well in a shallow plate / bowl.

2. Heat oil & butter in a skillet until bubbling lightly.

3. Coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off extra.

4. Cook chicken over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until lightly brown.

5. Turn chicken over, add mushrooms around chicken, cook for 2 more minutes.

6. Add wine around chicken, toss mushrooms, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

The Result:

It was delicious…Jeff even agreed!  I added some rolls and broccoli as sides for a nice completed meal.

 I have a few new cookbooks that have been added to my collection over the past few months so the options are endless. 

1 meal down 99 more to go!

New Job New Recipe

Today was my first day at my new job!  It went really great!  I am the newest Scientist / Statistician for SC Johnson & Sons.  🙂

With my new job comes a change in my daily routine.  A few big changes will be with my workout schedule.  I’ll actually get home when light is still out!  🙂  My drive is considerably less and I couldn’t be more happier.  These first few weeks will be a chance for me to figure out what works best.

Along with my new job comes a refresh in my blog.  Since I have a bit more time on my hands at night I’m really going to get back to my cooking.  Over the last week I purchased a cook book by Rachel Ray, 30 minute meals.

Tonight’s dinner was the first recipe in Rachel’s book…Puttanesca Pizza!

A few ingredients in the pizza that I’ve never tried before: Capers and Kalamata Olives.  Since I was unsure on the taste of these new ingredients I decided to make only half of the pizza according to the recipe and the other half a bit more plane.  The resulting taste: very “olivey” if that is a taste. 🙂  The salty taste of the pizza with the olives and capers was a bit too much for my liking but it was still something worth trying.  I don’t know if I’ll make this dish again but at least I tried something new tonight. 

An interesting thing I did learn from this recipe was to use can diced tomatoes as the sauce for the pizza.  If you enjoy chunky tomatoes…just heat some garlic (1 tsp minced) and extra virgin olive oil (2 Tbs) in with the tomatoes and TADA…a yummy sauce.

Tomorrow’s dinner: Sesame Noodles

 I want to leave you with a “guess who” picture.  Someone found my Kitchen-Aid Mixer box and fell in love with it!