Friday, October 30, 2009

Tortellini Soup with Carrots, Peas and Leeks

Since Patrick started the Chipotle Challenge last Saturday, I have been on my own as far as cooking. Patrick isn't a big fan of peas so this was a perfect chance to try this soup out. It combines a lot of things I really like. I will definitely be making this again.

Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup with Carrots, Peas and Leeks

2 medium leeks (12 ounces untrimmed)
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
5 cups low-salt canned chicken broth
8 ounces frozen cheese tortellini
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

Trim the roots and dark green leaves from the leeks. Slice the white and light green part in half lengthwise and then slice the halves thinly crosswise. Rinse well and drain.

Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, leeks, and carrot. Season with a couple pinches of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for about 20 seconds, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the peas. Continue to simmer until the tortellini are cooked, 3 to 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Portion the soup into warm bowls, top each with some of the cheese, and serve.

Source: The Way The Cookie Crumbles

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Risotto & Pork Loin

We still had a ton of pork loin left over, so I made some risotto to go with it. It was a lot of work, but I still might make it on occasion in the future.

Risotto & Pork Loin

Risotto with Greens

1 bunch dandelion greens, Swiss chard, or mustard greens (12 ounces), tough bottom stems removed, leaves cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 can diced mushrooms
2 cups arborio rice (13 to 14 ounces)
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving

Cook greens in boiling salted water just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain; cool.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the canned mushrooms.

Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until wine is almost absorbed. Add 1 cup broth. Stir until broth is almost absorbed. Add remaining 4 cups broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more. Mix in greens after 10 minutes. Cook until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, 25 minutes total. Mix in cheese and remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve risotto, passing additional cheese.

Adapted From: Savory Spicy Sweet

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tomato Basil Pine Nut Soup

We needed a quick supper earlier this week and we still had a bunch of tomatoes from our garden. It is really quick to put together and went great with our grilled cheese sandwiches and pumpkin beer.

Pumpkin Beer & Tomato Pine Nut Soup

Tomato Basil Pine Nut Soup

1 Medium Onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 medium tomatoes, paste type or other red, quartered
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
3+ Tbsp. half and half
salt & pepper
splash of red wine vinegar
20+ large basil leaves, rolled like a cigar and thinly sliced

Toast pine nuts in a seperate pan, set aside. Saute onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two, stirring often. Add tomatoes, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. When tomatoes have broken down, add cream, salt, pepper, vinegar, and transfer to food processor, blender or use an immersion blender until smooth. Return to stove, add basil leaves and bring back to a simmer and serve. Makes about 5 cups. Serve with bread.

Source: It's All Happening

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Since everyone was staying at my parents' house after the bonfire at Shanna's I decided we should have something for everyone to eat for breakfast. I had wanted to make these muffins before so this was a good opportunity. They were really good, we had quite a few extras which is great for a fast breakfast.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Muffins

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Annie's Eats

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bonfire in Le Center

Shanna has been wanting to have everyone out to her parent's house for a bonfire and last weekend happened to work best for most of us. So, Saturday afternoon we all made the trek down to Le Center for the night. We went on a tour of the town, ate dinner at my parent's house and had the bonfire at Shanna's parents house.

All of us at Nathan & Nickie's house: Jachin, Patrick, Sara, Kate, Kasie, Heather, Dan & Shanna.

Group Picture

Our tour of Le Center: Kate's house and her dog Lucy, hanging out in the high school parking lot, the liquor store and the newest gem to Le Center a motel.

Tour of Le Center

Dinner at my parent's house: pork loin, potatoes, chili & more.

Pork Loin, Potatoes & Chili

All of us at Kate's house with her dad's tractor.

Tractor Group Picture

The bonfire at Shanna's: lots of fireworks, smores & caramel apples.

Shanna's Bonfire

Dan & Heather drinking out of the mason jar in front of one of the fires created by Shanna's dad.

Shanna's Bonfire - Dan & Heather

Monday, October 12, 2009

First Snow

This is what our yard looked like last year on October 13th.

Fall 2008

This is what it looked like last Saturday the 10th.


And if that wasn't bad enough, the snow melted on Sunday and today it looked like this.

More Snow

Sandra, Steve & David

Yesterday, Patrick and I went to Rochester for the afternoon. I decided a couple weeks ago that I was going to try to get more into taking portraits and if it goes well maybe start a small business. Here are our friends Steve & Sandra with their eighteen month old son David at the Oxbow Park in Byron Minnesota.


More David

Sandra, David & Steve

Sandra & David


The E Family

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Waffles & New Kitchen Aid Mixer

When we were first married we used to make waffles almost every Saturday morning. We haven't had them in a while and since we had just gotten a new Kitchen Aid Mixer I decided to make them for breakfast this morning.

Strawberry Waffles

(2-3 Belgium Waffles)

3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil or butter melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a medium bowl beat the eggs, then add milk, oil and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Pour batter into lightly greased waffle maker.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Kitchen Aid Mixer

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pot Roast & Potatoes

Even though we have tons of leftovers in the fridge, I was at Sam's Club earlier this week and got this beef roast. We have determined that the roast always tastes better if you don't freeze it so we decided to have it for dinner tonight. It was soooo good. I am not a big beef eater, but this was lean and tasty. We served it with some potatoes baked with onion soup mix. This is definitely something we will make in the future.

Pot Roast

Pot Roast

2.5-5 lb. chuck roast
kosher salt
black pepper
olive oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
3 carrots, unpeeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
beef stock (approx. 2-3 cups)
rosemary and thyme (fresh preferred, dried is fine)
garlic cloves (about 4-6), halved

Preheat the oven to 275°. Season chuck roast generously with salt. Sprinkle generously with pepper. Turn over and repeat on other side. Set aside.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2-3 tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil in the pot is hot, add the onions. Allow them to brown on one side, then turn and brown on other side. Once adequately browned, transfer to a plate. Add the carrots to the pot and toss them around until slightly brown. Remove to a plate. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the chuck roast to the pot and allow to sear on one side. When well browned, flip and brown other side. Lift up with tongs to brown edges as well. Remove the roast to a plate.

Add about 1 cup of beef broth to the pot to deglaze. Use a whisk to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the dish. Add the browned meat back to the pot and add in enough liquid to cover the meat halfway (about 2-3 cups). Add the onions and carrots back to the pot as well. Add 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, submerging the sprigs in the liquid (or add dried rosemary and thyme to taste). If desired, add garlic cloves as well.

Put the lid on the pot and place in the oven. Roast for 3 hours for a 3 lb. roast, 4 hours for a 4-5 lb. roast. Do not lift the lid during roasting.

Source: Annie's Eats

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CSA Share Week #17

We got our last share of vegetables this week. Our fridge is exploding with good food. Patrick has been taking over the cooking for the last week, which has been a really nice break for me. I will try to post some of his creations soon.

This weeks box contains: Radishes, Carrots, Pak Choi, Lettuce, Turnips, Green Bell Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Onions, Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Shallots, and Potatoes.

CSA Week 17

From left to right, top to bottom: Pok choi, carrots, green pepper & a pie pumpkin.

Pok Choy, Carrots, Pepper & Pie Pumpkin

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Patrick decided to take on the cooking today. In college we made a chicken broccoli casserole that he really liked so today he found a few recipes online and created one with elements from each.

Chicken Broccoli

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb broccoli florets, cooked
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 tbsp mayo
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup dry stuffing
1 can diced mushrooms

Bake or grill chicken and cut into bite sized pieces. Steam broccoli until crisp but tender. Mix soup, mayo & mushrooms in a small bowl.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, layer chicken, broccoli, soup mix and cheese. Sprinkle dry stuffing mix over top and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Chicken Broccoli

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Packer/Viking Game

Last weekend was filled with football for Patrick and I. There was the Gopher/Badger game on Saturday, the normal Sunday afternoon football, and the Monday night football game featuring the Packers & Vikings.

Patrick and his friend Steve ended up scalping tickets in the rain to the highly anticipated Packer/Viking game on Monday night. I had Kate, Kasie, Heather, Elysia & Nick come over to watch the game while Patrick & Steve were out scalping. The Vikings ended up winning 30-23, so Patrick wasn't too happy about that, but I thought it was a fun game to watch.

Here are some pictures from before the game. Apparently there were a lot of tailgaters even in the rain. Check out Patrick's ticket . . . $140 for a $25 seat!

Packer Viking Game 1

Packer Viking Game 2
On Patrick's way home the new Target Field was all lit up so he stopped for a picture. Hopefully, we will get a chance to go to a game next season and check out the Twins.

Target Field

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gopher/Badger Game

Today Patrick and I left the house 8:30 this morning on a mission to get tickets to the Gopher/Badger game at the new TCF Bank Stadium. We ended up getting to campus around 9:00am for the 11:00 game. We checked out prices with a couple different people, but ended up buying two tickets for $75 each in section 138, in row 9. It was kind of rainy, but it was nice to be there early to check out the new stadium and of course take lots of pictures. We didn't end up bringing the good camera because it was raining, so some of the pictures are kind of blurry since we were using the point and shoot.

Here is the outside of the stadium. The stadium is a horseshoe shape and around the outside every county in Minnesota is etched in the stone.

Outside Stadium

Here is a picture the Le Sueur County section, where I grew up. Also, check out the temperature, it wasn't a real warm day for an outdoor football game in the rain.

Stadium Details

Inside Stadium

Here we are at the new stadium.

Us at the TCF Bank Stadium

I think that my favorite part was right before the game started, the band, the cheerleaders, the fireworks, Goldy the Gopher and oh yeah the band marshall. You can just see how entertaining he was from the leap in his step.

The Gopher Entrance

Minnesota Flag


Even though I really enjoyed the pregame show, it was an entertaining game to watch. The leader switched a few times and it wasn't clear who was going to win until the last seconds. The Badgers ended up winning 31-28, but the Gophers were in it until the last seconds of the game.

Wisconsin Flag


The rivalry between the Gophers and the Badgers is the longest in the Big Ten. And there is a Paul Bunyan Axe that the winning school gets to keep for the year. I guess the Badgers have been housing the axe for the last six years, so it is too bad the Gophers weren't able to get it back this year. Anyway, so at one point in the game Buckey Badger brought the axe over to the Gopher Student section to show it off to the fans, and then Goldy stole it from Buckey and started dancing around with it. Then Goldy was stripped of his yellow t-shirt to reveal his Vikings, Brett Favre jersey. Of course the Minnesota fans went wild. It was pretty funny and very timely considering the big match up on Monday night.

Buckey & Goldy


Homemade Pizza Sauce

We made these pizzas a couple weeks ago, the sauce is really good. Patrick really didn't like the first round with the original toppings, but we both enjoyed the Hawaiian version.

Hawaiian Pizza

Pita Pizzas

Pizza Sauce:
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow or white onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15-oz. can tomato puree
1 T tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Crust and Toppings:
4 whole wheat pita bread rounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
toppings of your choice

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, wine, oregano, basil, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.

Drizzle the pitas with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Spread the sauce over the pitas, then top with the cheese and other toppings.

Place the pizzas on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp, about 20 minutes.

Cut each pizza into 4 slices and serve immediately.

Source: Savory Spicy Sweet

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pork Loin & Potatoes

Tonight we enjoyed a great dinner and it was just a mix of some of our favorites. Pork loin, tomato sauce and potatoes baked with onion soup mix.

I marinated the pork in lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard & Italian seasoning. Then I seared the pork loin on all four sides in the dutch oven on the stove top. Then I took the pork loin out and cooked a chopped up onion and some minced garlic. Then I added a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and the pork loin to the dutch oven. I cooked the pork loin in the oven at 375 degree for 45 minutes. I added the potatoes to the oven when there was 35 minutes left.

Pork Loin & Potatoes

Our Backyard

Here are pictures from our backyard. The butterfly was from a couple weeks ago and the other three are from today. The changing of seasons is evident in the pictures.



fall leaves

fall berries