Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ken and I had planned to go home for Thanksgiving since we're hosting Christmas up here, but unfortunately our plans had to change at the last minute and we had to say here in Nashville. Luckily our parents were able to adjust their plans too and make the trip here. We were very grateful to have our family around us for another first for us in the new house. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to pull dinner off at such short notice on Turkey Day, but luck was on our side and we were able to crank out a pretty impressive meal if I do say so myself. =)

Our Thanksgiving menu included, braised collard greens, creamy macaroni and cheese, homemade cornbread dressing, ham, and potato salad. And for dessert we had homemade pound cake and sweet potato pie! It was all sooooo yummy! And the spread looked quite appetizing also wouldn't you say? =)

Parent "Thank You" Meal

My mom and dad drove up last weekend to bring us their Christmas tree and to help us get the house together for the holidays. They both worked really hard helping us declutter the house and get the tree up and decorated. So as a "thank you" to them, I cooked a hearty comfort food meal for them. Ironically, this was also the first meal they've had of mine since we've been married and in the new house. They normally are only here on the weekend for one full day, so until now, I've only been able to prepare breakfast for them. So I was sooooo excited to finally be able to "feed" them for real while they were visiting. I think they were very pleased and enjoyed the gesture. =)

Roast Beef with potatoes and carrots, Green Beans, and Mac and Cheese

Unsuccessful "Quick" Recipe #2

Over this past weekend, I decided to give another Rachael Ray recipe a try. Well sadly, it was another flop for me. This is the second 30 Minute Meal recipe that I've tried and unfortunately, neither one of them have turned out as expected. This was a recipe for her Grape Tomato Basil Pasta. The recipe called for it to be served on arugula, but I didn't want to do that and decided to serve it with grilled chicken instead. The chicken tasted great, but the pasta left a lot to be desired in the way of flavor/seasoning. Here's a look at how it turned out...

It looks somewhat appetizing in the presentation, but it just didn't pack any punch with it's flavor and taste. Oh well, maybe my third try will be a charm. :-\

Monday, November 17, 2008

Seafood Surprise

I was an adult before I had my first experience with Tuna Casserole. Ken was the first to introduce it to me. He makes a very good version of it that he learned from his mom. It's been a while since we've had any, so I decided to try my hand at it. I'm quite pleased with the results! Here's how it turned out.

Tuna Casserole


3 cups cooked egg noodles
1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sweet peas
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups French fried onions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, combine the noodles, tuna, sweet peas, and soup. Mix well, and then top with cheese.
3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with fried onions, and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Broadening My Horizons

I decided to step outside of my comfort zone a little bit for dinner yesterday. I'm all for trying new things and experiencing new flavors. So while walking through the produce section at the grocery store the other day, I decided to buy some asparagus and incorporate it into a meal. So when I decided to prepare some roasted pork tenderloin (thanks to being inspired by the Food Network over the weekend) and mashed potatoes, I knew that the asparagus would be a perfect compliment! So, here's how it turned out. =)

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

I'm not a huge fan of pork roast, so I've never thought about cooking roasted pork. But thanks to watching the Food Network most of the day on Saturday, I was inspired by this quick and easy approach to roasting pork tenderloin.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin (with Apple Cider Reduction)

1 lb. pork tenderloin (cut in half crosswise)
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees F and arrange rack in the upper third.
2. Pat pork tenderloins dry with paper towels, brush with oil, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
4. Add 2 pieces of pork tenderloin and cook until brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes.
5. Place pork on baking sheet and place in oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle of the tenderloin registers 145 to 150 degrees F, about 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, place pan over high heat, add cider and vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until mixture is reduced by 2/3, about 8 minutes.
7. Reduce heat to medium, stir in maple syrup and remove from heat until pork is cooked.
8. When pork is ready, remove to a cutting board to rest about 5 minutes.
9. Warm sauce over medium-high heat, add pork and any accumulated juices and spoon sauce over meat to completely coat. When pork is warm, return pork to cutting board and slice thinly. Serve with pan sauce spooned over.

Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus spears
1 tbsp. EVOO
Salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and arrange rack in the upper third.
2. Trim the bottom 2 inches of the asparagus spears and arrange on a baking sheet.
3. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper.
4. Toss the spears with your hand to fully coat them with the EVOO and salt and pepper.
5. Cook asparagus until tender, but not overly cooked (about 10-12 minutes).