Birthday Goodies

Yesterday was my birthday… the big 23! Not one of those get down and crazy birthdays, but one of my best friends came over for dinner, and that was just fine for me. Not everything has to be extravagant, right?

I decided that I wanted to make dinner on my birthday. Confused mom a little bit. But I like to cook, and I don’t get to do it a lot anymore, so it was a treat for me.

I started off making a Berry Coffee Cake. Now, what I haven’t told you yet, was that this was the second try on this cake. I made it a couple days ago and much to my dismay and frustration, it came out way undercooked. I followed the instructions, may have added a little too much liquid, and the cooking time just wasn’t adequate. Teach me to just eyeball amounts when baking.

What’s cool about this coffee cake is that even though it’s light and fluffy (when you cook it right), and tastes like it should be utterly fat-filled and unhealthy, it came out of a fantastic new cookbook by Marlene Koch, called Eat What You Love. She takes every day recipes that people love (it’s a book filled with comfort food) and makes it healthy. What’s super cool about this cookbook is that she doesn’t substitute flavor for calories. There’s even a paragraph in which she goes into detail about how if substituting a “low-fat” versus “non-fat” item will decrease the level of flavor, she’ll opt for “low-fat.” I like this lady. Thank you Grandpa for introducing me to my new favorite cookbook!

Anyway, I had the first piece with my coffee this morning, and it was delectable and believe it or not, filling! Score for low calorie items! I’ve put in the bibliography and the recipe on the appropriate pages for your cooking pleasure.

And on to dinner. Once again editing one of my favorites, I made a creamy version of my Medling. And since the recipe was requested by my best friend, here it is… Mom said it was a little too spicy for her tastes, but she ate her portion worth, which means it was good enough to overcome the spiciness. The difference here is that I added artichoke hearts, a little bit of parmesan cheese (freshly grated of course) and more sauce than I normally would. Let’s just say there was more goodies than pasta and I was totally OK with that. And of course, I made my favorite garlic bread to go with it. Like I would have it any other way with my obsession for garlic.

Oh yeah, and thanks dad for cleaning up the disaster I made in the kitchen. I really need to learn how to be a cleaner cook. Though it’s not quite as much fun that way…

Accidentally Amazing

Why is it, that every time I make something that is absolutely to die for delicious, it’s completely on accident?

So this concoction was made solely so that I could get rid of some of the veggies that I had stocked in the fridge before they went bad. The end result was accidentally amazing.

Pasta – check. Asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions, bell pepper and garlic, all chopped to about the same size, tossed in basil, rosemary, dill (lots of it), parsley, and a pinch of cayenne. Sauteed in garlic butter, then placed to the side. I saute spinach in garlic butter, then toss the rest of the veggies back in with it, because the spinach only takes a tenth of the time.

Before this all got started, I grilled up some sweet Italian sausage and got the water boiling. Let that drain before mixing it, otherwise it makes the veggies greasy. Oh! And don’t forget to pay the salt tax to the veggies either.

Toss everything together with cheese, and enjoy. Again and again…because I happily ate this three days in a row.

Find the recipe here.

Full Comfort Meal

smothered chops

Smothered pork chops, salad and the ultimate garlic bread.

Pork chops were one of the last types of meat in the freezer. So I had to do something I haven’t done before. I looked up pork chops and improvised off another recipe I found. So simple, only one pan, a cutting board and knife were dirtied in the making of this dinner.

This would have probably been better with boneless chops, but these were really good regardless. I admit it, I was gnawing on the bone. I paired those with a tasty, veggie-filled salad, with avocado and croutons and sun-dried tomatoes. A little bit of Italian dressing and voila! Scrumptious at its best. And then there’s the garlic bread.

Thanks to Guy Fieri and the Food Network, I have found the best garlic bread recipe ever. It was so good and so bad at the same time. The bad part being how many calories have to be in it. But it was melt-in-your-mouth good. I have to admit that we (the roomie and I) were slightly skeptical about the mayo that gets mixed with the butter to go on the bread. But I have definitely not lost my faith in Guy. He was right, the mayo cannot be gone without, it makes the butter combination creamy and gives it just a little bit of a kick.

This was probably the most tantalizing and filling meal that I’ve had in weeks, given how little time I’ve had to cook lately. I definitely don’t mind the time I put into it (about an hour and a half), because it was just what my body was craving.