Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My new endeavor


Can I? Should I? Will I?

The first
I was thinking an Italian style one. Roasted tomato, garlic, basil and mozzarella .

The Second
Asparagus and feta. A tad boring perhaps but pish posh!

The third
Canadian Bacon, cheddar cheese, & Broccoli
I want to call it the All American but the cheese is from England, the bacon is from, well, Canada & broccoli is originally from Europe, most likely Italy.

The Fourth.
A mexican style for the husband. Chorizo, black beans, onions, queso fresco or Chihuahua cheese, avocado & slasa on top...YUMMERS!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just a test
My first post

So a couple of lists

This is a list of restaurants that I must try in 2010.
The Bellyshack

Places YOU should try
Hot Chocolate
The Publican
The Bristol
Urban Belly

And I must go here

Friday, December 18, 2009

Am I a foodie?

Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. The word was coined in 1981 by Paul Levy and Ann Barr, who used it in the title of their 1984 book The Official Foodie Handbook.

A fan, aficionado, or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking and enthusiasm for a sporting club, person (usually a celebrity), group of persons, company, product, activity, work of art, idea, or trend.

Now I guess I've become somewhat of a food snob over the past year or so. I am not exactly sure how it happened but ever since I've been with my husband, a devoted Kraft macaroni & cheese fan, I've had someone who was willing to take me to new restaurants around Chicago and someone who, with or without his permission, became my new recipe tester.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love Burger King, Taco Bell, Chipotle, the Buffalo Chicken Strips from Ruby Tuesday's and even the occasional cheeseburger meal from McDonalds (that usually follows a night of heavy ale-filled indulgences) but something has changed. I prefer quality over quantity.

Have you seen the commercial where the couple goes to the fancy restaurant that they've been waiting for forever to get into and when they sit down and get their meal the husband looks at it and says "It's like elf food." Yeah those are the places a prefer. Why? Because although the portions are small, you usually are going to leave more satisfied than if you went to Old Country Buffet.

When I was little my parents loved those restaurants that had like 97 things on the menu. I hated it because they only cooked two things well and chances are I would never be able to guess what those two things were and I got stuck eating fried mushrooms and stale pecan caramel rolls. As an adult, I've come to the learn the importance of quality. Take The Bristol for example. The burger there is about as big as my fist and yet, it is one of the most delicious burgers I've ever had in my life.

Also, with the obese country that we live in, maybe it's time we start choosing quality over quantity. Just because it's bigger doesn't make it better!

AND isn't being a foodie a good thing? I mean, at least I am not one of those people who spends my whole life without ever trying an egg because I have some preconceived notion that they are going to be terrible. Or one of those people who live off of nothing but hot dogs, chicken fingers, fish sticks, microwaved popcorn, and pizza rolls because they are too scared to step one foot out of their comfort zone and try something that can't be cooked in a microwave.

Food is sustenance. I get that, but it can also be an adventure. Some people go skydiving, bungee jumping, rock climbing or diving with the sharks. I prefer sitting down and eating a plate full of...well something new.

So am I a foodie? I'd say yes, yes I am.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This better be the best damn lasagna ever.

So I work out now. Yeah. 4 days a week.

Yesterday I was having dinner with the ladies. Correction. We were making dinner and I had the main course. It started out as spaghetti but quickly morphed into lasagna. Now I get out of work at 5pm, my work out class was at 5:30pm for 30 minutes, dinner was at 7:30pm and I had to pencil in a Jewel run as well. Plus shower and get ready. I am strapped for time but all is well until I realize...


Two of the friends don't eat meat (forgive them please) so I had to make it vegetarian. Now I strongly dislike carrots, bell peppers & whatever filler veggie in my pasta sauce. So I decided to add a mushrooms & spinach.

Now I measure NOTHING so deal with it.

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna with Smoked Mozzarella
A package of oven ready lasagna noodles (seriously, they don't get mushy & hold form better)
Ricotta cheese (whatever fat content you like)
Smoked Mozzarella
Whole Milk Mozzarella (you can do shredded, but I got a ball and shredded it myself)
Marinara Sauce (I used two large cans of crushed tomatoes, and seasoning. Make it how you like it! I like mine sweet and spicy)
Spinach (I bought a bag of fresh spinach that is organic and amazing!)
Mushrooms (Your choice. I forgot the kind I used but they were excellent)
Garlic (pre-chopped, fresh, whatever your little heart desires)
1 Egg
Spices (the usual, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, etc)
Nutmeg (SURPRISE!)

Make your sauce. However you like it. Seriously, this is YOUR lasagna and tomato marinara sauce is super simple and delicious so make it how you like it. I usually make mine the night before because I am awesome.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Shred your mozzarella's if they aren't already. Mix them together.

In a bowl add the ricotta. If you have a large container just half, but if you have one of those tinier ones throw all that crap in the bowl. Add the egg, some basil, a little salt and pepper, and a sprinkle or two (or three in my case) of the nutmeg. Mix that shit up.

Now add some olive oil to a large skillet. Heat it up. Toss in the minced garlic and then add the spinach. Let it cook down a bit and move to a dish. Throw in your sliced mushrooms and heat those suckers up as well. You know, until they are a little tender. Set aside off heat.

In a baking dish (you know the size) lay out the noodles (I had 4 noodles on the bottom. They expand to fit the dish so don't worry) and cover in the sauce. Then add a little of the cheese mix.
Then add another layer of noodles. Now spread the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. I plop down a couple of dollops on each noodle and then shmeer together. On top of the ricotta spread out the spinach and mushrooms. Add ANOTHER layer of noodles. Top that with sauce, and the mozzarella cheese mixture. Also toss some Parmesan cheese on that sucker. Cover in tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

After thirty minutes remove the tin foil, and bake an additional 10 or 15 minutes.

Serve it up!!!

I liked it. The husband liked it. My friends ate it all so...yeah. SUCCESS!