Lauren's Culinary Creations

Friday, September 7, 2007

My almost new kitchen!

We had new granite countertops and backsplash installed today, as well as a new sink and faucet. I love love love it! Did I mention that I love it? We've been living with purple laminate countertops since we moved in. I'm not quite sure where the previous owners were going with it. Next up will be stainless steel appliances, hopefully some time next year and new flooring as well. Check out my before and after pics!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

So delicious and so comforting!

The recipe I made tonight was created by nestie MaryEllen and as soon as I saw it for the first time, I knew it would be love at first bite. I've made a few minor modifications and it is just fabulous! Here is my version:

Turkey Stroganoff Casserole

- 1 package ground turkey
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 8 oz whole wheat noodles
- 2 packages dry gravy mix (enough for 2 cups)
- Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
- 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 4 oz shredded cheddar


In 3 separate pots, cook the egg noodles, gravy and meat (when you cook the meat, sauté in the crushed garlic, and spices). Once all three have cooked, combine them in a large mixing bowl (add the gravy slowly; you don’t have to use it all). Let cool for about 15 min. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 of the cheese. Mix well. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with the rest of the cheese. Bake on 375 for 20 min or until bubbly.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Beer can chicken - where have you been all my life?

A few weeks back I picked up a vertical "beer can" chicken roaster, stashed it in the garage and forgot about it until tonight. I used it for the first time and let me tell you, it was the best roasted chicken I've ever made!!! Here is what my new favorite kitchen toy looks like:

You can either put a can of beer right in the middle part, or you can pour any liquid in w/any seasonings you may like. We had bottled beer so I used that. I rubbed the chicken with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I also cubed up some red skin potatoes and tossed those with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh garlic. You place the chicken on the cylinder and I put the potatoes down around it. It goes on the grill on high indirect heat for an hour, and voila! It was cooked to perfection and so were the potatoes (they needed to be tossed about half way through).

I was so excited about making this, that I actually forgot to take a picture of it on the roaster and I didn't take a picture after I plated it because I couldn't wait to eat it. I did manage to take a picture before I carved it:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Colorful, healthy and delicious!

When DH is away, I like to make things for myself that he doesn't normally like to eat. I've made chicken fried rice for him a few times and although he'll eat it, it's not his favorite thing. I, however, absolutely love it and couldn't wait to make it tonight. I made the rice last night so it would have the right texture for tonight.

Chicken Fried Rice
2 cups cold cooked brown rice
8 oz. chicken breast
Frozen mixed veggies (whatever you like or have on hand)
1 egg
Soy sauce
2 tsp olive oil
Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
Dice the chicken into small cubes and season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a saute pan and cook the chicken until browned on the outside and almost cooked through in the middle. In the meantime, cook about a cup of frozen mixed veggies in the microwave until thawed. Add the cold rice to the chicken and mix together. Heat for a few minutes and then add the veggies. Heat a few more minutes and then push the whole mixture to the side. Crack the egg into the pan and scramble until cooked, then mix with the chicken and rice mixture. Season again if needed and then add soy sauce (again, however much you like - I probably used 1/4-1/3 cup). Mix well one last time and then serve!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mmmmmmmmeat sauce!

You can't go wrong with spaghetti and meat sauce. It is so simple, classic and delicious. I made a big pot of sauce a few weeks ago and froze some of it to use this week. We're going on vacation tomorrow so I wanted something easy to make tonight. My meat sauce is very basic:

2 links turkey Italian sausage
1 lb. of ground beef
couple cloves of garlic
1 bottle of marinara sauce (my husband only likes Ragu)
1 big can crushed tomatoes
Seasonings (oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes).

I remove the sausage from it's casings and brown in a pan with the ground beef and garlic. In the meantime, I start a pot going with the marinara sauce and tomatoes. I season the sauce with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and a little Italian seasoning mix. Once the meat is browned, I add it to the sauce mixture, cover and then let simmer for about an hour and a half. The sauce is better if you let it sit overnight and serve the following day for dinner.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

I saw this recipe on WC a while back and tweaked it a little to our tastes. They came out very good and are a nice alternative to a meat filled enchilada.

Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained or 1 ear fresh corn (run a knife down the sides to remove the kernels)
3/4 cup bottled salsa
3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
8 whole wheat tortillas
1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic, beans, and corn, and cook 2 minutes, stirring mixture frequently.

Stir in salsa, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and add cream cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spread 1/3 cup enchilada sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/3 cup black bean mixture down center of each tortilla, and roll up. Arrange enchiladas, seam sides down, crosswise in dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly over enchiladas, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

These are two very simple things I make, but both are so good. For the chicken, I take 2 bone-in split chicken breasts and put then in a baking dish. Rub a little olive oil on each one and sprinkle with your favorite spices (I use salt, fresh ground pepper, onion and garlic powders). Pour about a cup of chicken broth in the bottom of the baking dish and bake at 350 for about an hour and a half or so, until the chicken is cooked through. It comes out moist and delicious, with crispy skin on the outside.

For the potatoes, I toss cubed yukon gold potatoes with tons of fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for an hour so they get nice and crispy.

It doesn't get much easier than that!