Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hammered-Aluminum Champagne Bucket

Well OF COURSE this isn't a recipe, but part of cooking for me is hosting. Thus, I'm always have my eye out for awesome tools that I can use for hosting events. This afternoon, I was at the mall shopping for clothes. I was done with my clothing shopping, but I could feel Williams-Sonoma tugging me towards their heavenly store. Problem is, it was on the other side of the mall. No problem, I headed over there anyway.
I knew I had to resist going into the store, but as I passed by, I saw this beautiful champagne bucket in the window. It was like a huge diamond sitting among a so-so table setting. I just couldn't believe how gorgeous it was! I'm not made of money therefore I do not serve champagne much less have a gorgeous bucket to serve it in... but if I did...this would be the bucket that would be serving my champagne. Fortunately, it's on sale now at Williams-Sonoma!
Sale. Sale? Sale!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bob Greene's No-Cheese Vegetable Lasagna

Once again, Mrs. Courtney Mayfield contributes her expertise to Krista Kooks!

"The second recipe - No Cheese Vegetable Lasagna, I can give you only my opinion on. Apparently a lasagna without cheese and meat wasn't so appealing to Will, so he decided to hit up Wendy's with a friend instead. I would call this a "health nut" recipe in my house - very well since it is from Oprah's personal trainer, Bob Greene when he made a guest appearance on the show.
It surprised me that though it was all veggie, it was still extremely satisfying. The flavor was great and I did eat a larger looking serving because it doesn't stack more than two layers, but it was really yummy. On the serving note: I wouldn't plan on having more than three servings unless you had a couple of filling sides to accompany. Since it was just me eating, I stopped with the lasagna and said forget the sides.

If you can buy just the amounts of the ingredients that you need, I think this recipe is pretty cost friendly. I was able to buy the nuts, spinach and basil this way and if you plan another marinara meal in the near future, you can split it between two meals as this one only calls for half a jar. I also have enough lasagna noodles left over to make one more dish as well - such as the Broken Florentine Lasagna Bake that Krista posted recently =)"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grilled Chicken Salad with Caesar Dressing

Last night, we had our friends Kevin and Melissa over for dinner, and I decided to make some salad. Yea, it was pretty simple. A year ago, when I really started cooking out of Rachel Ray's cookbooks, I began making salad dressings from scratch (per the recipes), and they've always been so much better than Kraft or anything else.

So, I browsed through for one of her dressings, and I found this one. Now, I only used the dressing in this recipe. Henry bought some great lettuce mixes at HEB, and I tossed those with this dressing, Parmesan cheese, and croutons. I top the salad with grilled chicken. I used a meat tenderizer to flatten out some boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a dash of Pampered Chef Chipotle Rub.

I will say that fresh lemon juice in these types of salad dressing really makes a difference. Spring for the lemons!

I know this sounds really healthy and all, and no doubt it was tasty, but don't worry. We followed it with the remainder of the top layer of Henry and I's red velvet wedding cake!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Creole Meatloaves with Trinity Gravy and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Krista Kooks is proud to bring you...

drum roll please...

Mrs. Courtney Mayfield!

This wonderful young lady is bringing you a new realm to Krista Kooks with pork and sweet potatoes, which is something you will NEVER see me cook. That's why I was so excited she made this recipe because I told her I wanted a well rounded blog! Her hubby loved this recipe, so, without further ado...

"After many complaints by my husband of the "same ol' stuff," I decided to try this "real" cooking thing - starting with Krista's blog and her Fake Bake Rigatoni post. After surprising success with it, I started watching Rachael Ray's talk show and have tried a few of her fab recipes as well. These are both recipes that I will definitely be keeping around and making again.

For the first recipe - Creole Meatloves with Trinitiy Gravy, I have to honestly say I didn't know there was even a such thing as ground pork - beef and turkey of course and then bison if you were a little out there, but pork??? Turns out it's actually already in the prepackaged section at Central Market, so maybe I'm just naive.

We really really liked this recipe. To quote my husband Will, "This is on the verge of being not just good, but great." It was a very easy recipe, but still a nice change. I don't eat traditional meatloaf either, so the absence of the ketchup taste was quite nice for me too.

I do think I'll make a few tweaks to the recipe in the future: add salt and pepper to the meatloaf mixture and cut down on the veggies in the "gravy" - probably to one onion, maybe one and a half, and leave out a little celery and bell pepper. As you will see, our gravy was more just wet chunks of veggies and I would have preferred it a little more saucy.Rachael Ray suggested Mashed Sweet Potatoes to accompany the meal and I thought they were a very nice compliment and actually tasted great with the gravy on them. And since I already had the buttermilk for those, I made up a quick batch of buttermilk cornbread too.

As someone looking for good, but not too pricey dinner ideas, I hope these help you the same way Krista's posts help me - I can't wait to try the Golden Onion Baked Chicken this weekend!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

So many of us have no time when we come home to make a big meal. For me, it's a hobby, so I definitely don't care, but I know a ton of people that love meals in the Crock-pot. As I mentioned before, I'm trying out Lipton Secrets, and this was the second recipe on my list to try.

Sorry, I don't have pictures because we had our friends Kevin and Melissa over to share it with us :) However, all four of us can definitely attest that this is a great meal! The meat was incredibly tender and juicy. It was also fun for me because I was able to use our crockpot.

If you have a look at the recipe, you can tell that there isn't much to do to prepare. The grocery list for this recipe is pretty short as well. For the tomato paste, I highly suggest searching for the tubes of tomato paste in your grocery store, like this one. This is what we have at our HEB, and I love that I don't have to waste a whole can of tomato paste just for the amount that I need.

Good luck smelling this one! It's going to permeate your home with an amazing smell!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Golden Onion-Baked Chicken

My mother has been very successful in the past with her oven baked potatoes that are based from Lipton Onion Secrets mix. Well, as our pantry clears out of a few things, I find new things back in the pantry; one of those was a box with Lipton Golden Onion Secrets mix. I took the box, sat down at my computer, and started looking for recipes. I had no idea there was an entire website from Lipton with hundreds of recipes! This post is the first of a few that I've tried, and not one of them has been bad.

This chicken that I made,'s not just chicken. It was one of the tastier meals that we've eaten in a while. I just couldn't believe how good it was! If you click on the link, you'll see that there is only 3 ingredients; the chicken, bread crumbs, and Lipton Golden Onion Secrets mix. How much easier can it get?
It was also exciting to make because I was able to use my Rectangular Baker from my Pampered Chef stoneware collection! I'm 100% positive that this baker had something to do with the tastiness of this recipe.
You can tell my taste tester was all about this recipe!

We both highly recommend this chicken, so add this to your grocery list!


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