Friday, November 30, 2012

Shells in Clam Sauce.


Guess whats happening this weekend? The packers and vikings face off. This rivalry was always a big deal when I lived in La Crosse, but now that I live in Minnesota, it's huge. My company's allegiance is split almost right down the middle because the owners and my boss are originally from Cable, Wisconsin. Believe it or not, in my interview I was asked which football team I rooted for. Forget previous experience, that's secretly the reason I am currently employed. Every year my office hosts the Packer-Viking game and the invitation mentioned bringing food. Bringing food? Yep, I can do that. 

I made this recipe on Thursday night but I really think it would be a great lazy Sunday meal. If you live in a part of the country where it is affordable to purchase fresh clams, I suggest it. Until Minnesota miraculously losses its landlocked status, or I get a promotion, which ever comes first, canned clams will have to suffice. 

Shells in Clam Sauce

What you need:
- 1 lb shells or linguine, cooked al dente
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup parsley
- 1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 13 ounces canned minced clams in clam juice (2 cans)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat a large saucepan and the olive oil for about 1 minute on medium heat. Add garlic, parsley, and red pepper. Saute about 1 minute and add clams with juice. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and set aside. Before adding sauce to pasta, add lemon juice, stir, and serve pre-mixed. 

I found a Christmas blogging challenge over at Peanut Butter and Jenny and thought it might be fun to try. Look out for my answers and feel free to participate in the comments! I will start on Saturday.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Venison Roast.

Big News!

I'm really exciting to reveal something that you may or may not have noticed. Yesterday, I officially purchased my own domain. This means no more-, just I was getting really sick of having that long name and I know it was confusing for readers. I didn't exactly know what it took to own your own domain, but it was a lot easier then I was expecting. All of my previous links and my previous website title will redirect you to the new domain.  I guess this means I am making a commitment to this thing, I never would have thought I would love it as much as I do

Lets talk about venison. I have only had venison a few times, mostly in the form of jerky or sticks. One of my uncles is a huge hunter and I noticed there was a lot of meat in his freezer. Being the foodie I am, quickly realized how easy it would be to make it in the crock pot and asked to take some home. He packed up seven pieces and suggested adding carrots and potatoes to the recipe. I wont lie, the meat was a bit tough, but nothing that I wasn't expecting after warnings from my mom. I know everyone is afraid of the B word (butter) but its without a doubt needed for this recipe, how do you think I keep my girlish figure? There is little to no fat on venison meat, therefore the butter will help it stay moist. If you know of a substitute to soften the meat, let me know. Luckily my dinner guests, Caitlin and Jordan (<<<woah, first time blog mention!) told me it was delicious. Whether or not they actually thought that, I'll take a little ego boost once in a while. 

Venison Roast with Red Potatoes and Carrots

What you need:
- 1 venison roast (or multiple pieces)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken/beef/vegetable stock
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon thyme
- 1 Tablespoon rosemary
- salt and pepper
- 5-7 small red potatoes
- 1 Cup chopped carrots

Place roast in crock pot and add stock. Add butter on top of roast and top with onions and spices. Place carrots and potatoes on top and cook in crock pot on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. 

She's way too happy to be doing dishes.

Silly boys...

After dinner we headed over to Ryan's pub in the downtown/Loring Park area to play sassy lassy trivia. Almost instantaneously we decided this would become some sort of tradition. Ryan's pub is located in a great location and it was somewhat comforting to be the only non-regulars playing trivia. Because all of the other teams were familiar with each other, the atmosphere was light and humorous. We placed 4th (I'm not going to mention how many teams played but we weren't last!) and won a free drink ticket, and thanks to my loving friends paid for that Bloody Mary below. Double date nights are so fun!

I can never pass up the opportunity to have a Bloody Mary.
 The tables were covered in chalk board paint so we could draw on them during breaks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quick and Healthy Chicken Fajitas.

Easy Mexican meals are the best.

Whether you are having a dinner party or just want to make something to eat for days, this is the meal for you! The most work is prepping the veggies and chicken before baking. If you know how to use a knife, you can easily make this meal in your own home. With or without the tortilla, this is perfect for all ages. 

I have lots of cooking planned for this week/weekend. I have two work parties to attend this weekend and one of them is pot luck. I decided to make my chickpea salad, because its to die for, and Sweet Potato Coins. Stay tuned for lots of recipes this week, even a few holiday ones! Christmas is right around the corner...

Baked Chicken Fajitas

What you need:
- 1 lb chicken breasts, sliced into strips
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 medium onion, sliced 
- 1 tomato, sliced 
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased baking dish. In a small bowl, combine oil, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions and stir to combine. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings. 
Lightly adapted from Just a Pinch

I served the fajitas with chips and queso dip on the side. 

I'm working with my new camera these days, so you may see a lot of different styles of photos. I suddenly remember why I love photography so much. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Zucchini Sausage Bake.

How to turn a side dish into an entire meal.

A few weeks ago I found this recipe for Zucchini Bake. I thought it looked amazing, mainly due to zucchini mixed with feta, but wanted to turn it into an entire meal. I also did this awhile back with my Greek Casserole. How do you make this transformation? Just add meat! Yep, its as easy as that. I swear bakes/ casseroles are my favorite meals to make. Its incredibly easy, fast, and there's little cleanup. On top of all that, no side dish needed for this meal! Plus, all the protein in this meal will keep you full for hours! Take out the feta cheese, and this dish is Paleo approved. 

PS. Carly, this is right up your alley. Your gonna love it!

Zucchini Sausage Bake

What you need:
- 4 medium sized yellow or green summer squash, sliced lengthwise
- 1 lb Italian sausage, taken out of casing, crumbled, cooked until brown
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 2 Tablespoon Thyme
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup light sour cream
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry squash and cut into round slices. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add garlic and thyme, and saute 45 seconds. Add squash slices and saute about 4 minutes, turning a few times. While the squash cooks, break eggs into a small bowl and beat until egg yolks and whites are combined. Stir in sour cream, feta, Parmesan  and lemon juice. Spray a glass dish with non-stick spray and layer with squash mixture. Top with cooked sausage, and  egg mixture. Use a rubber scraper to spread over and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve hot. 
Lightly adapted from Kaylns Kitchen

I have had a lot of questions lately on how I make so many meals a week on a budget. The answer is simple, meal planning. I plan the meal out the week before, grocery shop every Sunday, and try to use everything in fridge by the end of the week. I know this can be time consuming but if you use similar ingredients in recipes for the week, you can save a lot of money. Next week I will try and post my meal plan ahead of time and include the groceries we purchase. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of the method. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

RR: Galactic Pizza.

After a lot of turkey, we were craving pizza.

I can't believe we got turkey-ed out so fast! After thanksgiving food and leftovers we needed to change things up. We originally planned to order from Galactic Pizza this coming week, but decided to switch things up a bit. Galactic Pizza is located a few blocks down from our apartment on Lyndale and Lake Street. We ordered  and picked it up so we could eat at home, and much to my surprise, the restaurant was dark and quaint  not at all what I was expecting. I had read a few reviews on this place, so I knew it was a must try. We ordered pizza's off of their specialty section and had plenty for leftovers. The prices are not cheap but each pizza is made with quality ingredients and genuine care for the planet.  These are a few of the values of the company: (taken from website)
-When conditions allow, our food is delivered to your door using 100% electric vehicles.-All of the power purchased to run our restaurant is renewable wind energy.-All of our mozzarella cheeses come from cows not treated with rBGH.-We have incorporated a number of organic items into the menu.-We have the Second Harvest Heartland pizza, where $1 is donated to this hunger relief organization every time the pizza is ordered.-We strive to use packaging that is either made from recycled materials, or is 100% biodegradable.-We incorporate hemp products into each menu category, and print our menu on hemp paper. Hemp is not only good for you, it is also very good for the Earth.-In season, we try to purchase all of our produce from farms here in Minnesota or in nearby Wisconsin.-We have an in depth waste reduction program utilizing composting for food waste and recycling whenever possible.-5% of our pre-tax profits are donated to charity.

I chose the Pizza Bianca- Olive oil and garlic sauce, mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes, garlic, artichoke hearts, and topped with organic goat cheese. It was absolutely fabulous.

Damian chose the Maui Wowie- Sundried tomato pesto, mozzarella cheese, Canadian bacon, pineapple, and jalapenos

Our favorite was the Bianca because the flavors matched so well. The pizza was really good, but not my all time favorite. Its hard to find good pizza in Minnesota! I guess my search continues...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

RR: Urban Eatery.

Restaurant Review

I have been hearing great things about Urban Eatery for a while now and am happy I finally had the chance to try it. On Saturday morning, Brian and I headed out to Lake Calhoun to find some Bloody Mary's and good food. If you didn't know already, I love Bloody Mary's. I'm not a huge fan of tomato juice but mixed with spice and a variety of toppings, I couldn't ask for anything more. The trendy hotspot, lake views, and broad menu makes this a perfect post-collegiate restaurant. 

We chose from both the breakfast and regular menu.

I started with a build your own Bloody Mary filled with pickles, peppers, salami, and cheese.

I ordered the Lamb burger that was topped with goat cheese, pico de gallo, and sriracha mayo served with a side of fries.

Brian ordered the Mexican Hash- sunny side eggs, pork sausage, crispy potatoes, pico de gallo, cheddar, served with guacamole, salsa, and creme fraiche. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap through Photos.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

I thought I would show you what Thanksgiving looks like in our house via pictures. Damian and I headed to La Crosse to celebrate with my family, eat amazing food, and do a little shopping. After a couple of days away, it's nice to be back in the city. Although we were greeted with snow and winter temperatures when we arrived back, Thanksgiving could not have been any more perfect.