Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No One Likes a Mr. Sniffles!

I have found it!  The one recipe I make for anyone, including myself, who is feeling under the weather.  It was my go to recipe for when my mom had to have an abrupt surgery, when Matty undergoes sinus season, or when you are trying to break up those heavy holiday meals.  I discovered it in my Giada at Home cookbook (yes, I do have more than one cookbook.  I actually have a whole collection, but like I have said before, Giada at Home is my favorite.)  I have tweaked it slightly, but I certainly cannot take credit for it.  This is Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup!

This really is one of the most perfect soup recipes.  You have all of the vitamins from the veggies, the substance of the pasta, the protein from the chicken, the comfort of the broth, and the zing of the lemon.  I don't want to sound like I am begging or demanding, but you HAVE to try this!

The star players: 1 lemon, 2 stalks of celery, 3 carrots, 1 onion, 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup of small pasta, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley, and 2 chicken breasts.  You can use left over rotisserie chicken or cook up some fresh!

Get your soup pot and drizzle 1-2 TBSP of olive oil on the bottom.

While the oil is heating up, dice up your veggies.  I peeled the carrot before I chopped it.  Try and not cry while cutting the onion.  It gets me every time.  For a recipe trying to get rid of a Mr. Sniffles, I sure created a Mrs. Sniffles.

Let your veggies tender up around 5-8 minutes.  Soup just isn't soup with crunchy vegetables.

Once the vegetables have tendered up, add your bay leaf, along with some salt and pepper.  Lots of pepper!  It clears the sinuses.

Zest your lemon into the pot and add the juice being careful not to get any of the seeds in your soup.

Pour in your broth.  I use unsalted so you can control the salt content.  Add in your chopped chicken breasts.  Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes.  

Add 1 cup of short pasta.  Giada breaks up some whole wheat spaghetti which is very delicious, but I didn't have any on hand so I used Ditalini.  If you want to make it for any little ones, this is a great time to whip out those little star pastas.  No one should grow up without chicken and stars.

Cook the pasta according to the package's directions.  While the pasta is cooking, wash and chop your parsley.

For the grand finale add your parsley.  You will be better in no time!

Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

1-2 TBSP of olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 bay leaf
1 cup of short pasta
4 cups of chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch of chopped flat leaf parsley

Drizzle the olive oil into your soup pot.  Add your vegetables and allow them to soften for 5-8 minutes.  Put the bay leaf, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper into the pot.  Add the 4 cups of chicken broth and chopped chicken breasts and let your soup simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add the 1 cup of dry pasta to your soup and let it cook according to the package's directions.  Before you serve, sprinkle in the chopped flat leaf parsley.  Soup's on!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rosemary Turkey Burgers

A few months ago, I was out to eat with some of my dearest friends, and we got to talking about how much we love love love burgers.  Each of us have our own dietary issues such as gluten allergies or not eating red meat.   I decided to throw out my recipe for Turkey Rosemary Burgers.  It is a burger, yes, but this burger is on a different level.  It is my go-to dinner if we are having friends over.  Some people feel that when they are having friends over for dinner that it needs to be super fancy to impress the people.  I have found when I do this, the atmosphere is stuffy and uncomfortable.  This is why I like to serve burgers.  Everyone feels at ease when they see a burger and this recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Rosemary Turkey Burgers: I got this idea from my Giada at Home cookbook, which is probably my favorite cookbook of all time.  I have mentioned it before with my Pasta Ponza post, and I have another post in the works for my go-to soup recipe.  I tend to take the recipes and tweak them until I get them the way I like them.  Everything Giada makes is easy, delicious, and very beautiful, so I highly recommend picking up a copy of her cookbook.

Defrost 1 lb of ground turkey.  Giada uses ground chicken, but for some reason it is difficult for me to always find ground chicken at my local Kroger.  You can use whichever one you like better.

This recipe require just a few easy ingredients: Mayo, garlic, salt, pepper, and lots of fresh rosemary.  First of all, I hate mayonnaise.  I am not a big condiment girl to begin with, but mayo is my least favorite.  The only reason I even have mayo is for this recipe...the only reason.  Second, I love rosemary!  It is probably my favorite and most used herb.  This recipe gives me a chance to display my prized herb from my garden.

Add salt and pepper to your ground turkey.  Please use less salt than I have displayed!  I got a little carried away.  You really do not need much seasoning since you have the fragrant rosemary and the hint of garlic.

Give your rosemary a rough chop

The smell will hit you and you will feel like you are in a forest...but without the durn mosquitos!  

Add 2 minced garlic cloves and 2-3 tablespoons of mayo.  I also got carried away with the mayo!  I typically get 92% turkey with 8% fat (for which this much mayo would be okay), but this time accidentally got 85/15 and the excess mayo was not necessary.  If you add too much mayo, the burgers don't stick together well when you are cooking them. 

Add a few tablespoons of mayo to a separate bowl.  To the mayo, add 1 TBSP of minced rosemary and 1 minced garlic clove.  Sprinkle in some salt and pepper.

Instead of regular buns, I tend to use wheat Kaiser rolls.  They are more filling than regular buns.  I do not like people leaving my house hungry!

Form your burgers.  I leave a little indention in the middle of my burgers.  It is a little trick I learned from Food Network.  It makes nice flat burgers instead of rounded tops.  I do not know how; it just works!

Slather your buns with the mayo mixture

Throw your burgers on the grill/grill pan.  Let the burgers cook until they have reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  While the burgers are cooking, I throw the buns on the middle of my grill pan and toast them.  The mayo kinda browns up and you can't even tell that is what it was...thankfully!  Whew!  Let me re-emphasize: Mayo...not my fav...

Ta Da... My favorite way to eat a burger.  It looks impressive, but it is still just a burger.  Your company and you will love it!  You can add any of the usual things to enhance your burger.  We usually add spinach, provolone cheese, and a slice of tomato.  If you are like my hubby, you can add lots and lots of ketchup :)

I typically serve these burgers with some sort of potatoes.  This time it was my baked fries.  Wash your potatoes.  I know it looks like a lot of potatoes, but they go quick!

The key to baked fries is to cut them really thin.  Make thin lengthwise cuts down your potatoes.

Then make thin strips out of your potatoes.

Since Matt and I try to keep our sodium low, we have to enhance the flavor of our fries with other seasonings.  Fresh herbs are great for this, but my plants were running low at this time, so I made the executive decision to use dried herbs.  Here I used rosemary, oregano, salt, black pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves.  I know this looks like a lot, but I haven't mixed it in yet.  I use about 2 TBSP of vegetable oil to make them crispy.  

The last important thing is to make sure you do not crowd your baking sheet.  If you do, the potatoes will steam instead of crisping up.  I lay down some tin foil to make clean up super easy then I spray the foil with Pam to keep the fries from sticking to the pan.  Bake them at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  You can turn them halfway, but I always forget and they still turn out yummy!

Rosemary Turkey Burgers

1 lb of ground turkey, defrosted
3 TBSP of minced fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 TBSP of mayonnaise
4 Hamberger buns or Kaiser rolls
Salt and pepper

Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium high heat.

Mix ground turkey with 2 TBSP of rosemary, 2 garlic cloves, 3 TBSP of mayo, and salt and pepper.  Form burgers and place on grill.  Cook until the burgers reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

In a separate small bowl, mix together 2 TBSP of mayo, 1 TBSP of rosemary, 1 minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper.  Slather the buns, tops and bottoms, with the mayo mixture.  Grill the buns on low heat until toasted.

Assemble your burgers and enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

For There Your Heart Will Be

As many of you know, we recently had a devastating event occur for my Milling family.  Early Sunday morning around 4:00 am, I received a call.  It was an unknown number, but since my husband was away on a hunting trip, I thought maybe he was calling me to say 'hello' before he went out for the day.  When I answered the phone, I was surprised to hear my father-in-law's voice.  Immediately, I knew something was very, very wrong.

"Emilee, This is David.  The house is burned down.  Everything is gone.  We lost everything.  I am calling you from a neighbor's house because we do not have phones.  We barely escaped with our lives."
The reality of what I am hearing hits me hard.  "What?  What do I need to do?"
"I...I don't know.  I don't know."
"Do you know what caused it?"
Pause "Yes...I put out a space heater for the cats..."

Over the following few minutes, I try and get in touch with Matt.  I had not heard from him the night before which is unusual, but this made me think his battery was dead on his phone.  After calling several numbers, I get in touch with him and deliver the terrible news.  One of the reasons I love my wonderful husband is that he never panics.  I always feel so safe with him because no matter what happens, he keeps a level head and knows the best course of action.  He is a true leader and I wish I had the strength he has.

Needless to say, we were all very much in shock the day that it happened, but I can't help but see God's hand in this situation.  Although the fire alarms did not go off, Mrs. Lisa and Mr. David made it out safely.  All of their pets are safe and sound.  Even though the rooms were burned and the ceiling caved in, money, checkbooks, credit cards, driver's licenses were found and untouched.  Even though the destruction was devastating, the things we care about most are safe.

I was brought into a reality check this week.  The point of my entire blog is not about yummy food, growing my herbs, or any of this material stuff.  It should be about having our hearts in the right place and treasuring the right things. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

As always, we appreciate your continued prayers for us during this time.  It means more to us than you may ever know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busy Day Dinner

Just a short blog post today!  I feel like lately I have been so busy, I haven't been able to take a second to breathe.  I have found that being an adult by definition means you have ten or more things thrown at you in a day and you have to find a way to balance everything.  Every one of us is faced with these challenges, whether you be a student, working professional, or a stay at home mother.  With our busy lives, it can be so easy to cave and pick up a fast food, heavily processed meal for dinner.  Try out my easy calzones!  You could finish them in less time than it takes to drive to your local Wendy's, sit in line, pay for your food, and head home.  This is a recipe I found years back that is super simple, kid-friendly, and very delicious.

I like to cover my cookie sheets with tin foil because it makes clean up so easy!

Unroll premade pizza dough.  This is Pillsbury's new whole wheat crust.  It is so yummy!

Cut it into 4 rectangles

Lets make our filling!  Pour about 1/4 cup of Ranch salad dressing into a bowl.  I used Light Ranch but feel free to use the real stuff or if you are really good, the Fat Free.

Add 1/2-3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and mix together.  If you have one on hand, I like to add 1 diced tomato to the mixture.  

Put 1-2 slices of deli ham on each dough rectangle

Divide the filling among your calzones

Fold the calzones in half and crimp the edges with a fork

Bake according to the dough's packaging instructions.  You may need to add a few minutes to make sure the  dough gets cooked through.

I served our calzones up with some raw fruit and veggies.  A side salad would also be a great side!  These calzones are so versatile, and you can use whatever you have on hand.  I have even made them with broccoli, cheese, and ham or breakfast calzones!  When you are making these for just you and your hubby, the other two calzones make a perfect lunch for the next day.  I hope you enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sibling Appreciation Day

Over the past year or so, I have felt some new responsiblities.  When Mom goes out of town, I feel like it is my place/joy/pleasure to make dinner for my three brothers.  Now, I know that they would be perfectly fine without me doing this, but when I have the time, it is something I enjoy doing.  Mom and Dad went out of town this weekend with a few friends, and it is so rare that all of my brothers are in town and not busy, so I invited them over.  We also asked Matt's sister, Anna, to join us so the entire family would be complete.  We did not even realize that it was National Sibling Appreciation Day until after we invited everyone.  Does God have awesome timing or what?

I started thinking about what I was going to make.  I knew it needed to be a lot of food.  My family is notorious for eating large quantities of food very very quickly.  If you do not eat fast, you do not eat.  What do guys like to eat?  Hmmm?  Poppy seed chicken casserole...good but that may not fill them up.  Pizza...we had that last weekend.  Meat!  Yes...lots and lots of meat!

Let there be meat!!

And potatoes!!

And family time!!

 These were a deer backstrap that Matt had collected from this previous deer season...super manly food.  All I did was cut it into little steaks and let it marinade in a Kroger chop house marinade while I was at school.  I threw it on a smokin' hot grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side, and it was a perfect medium-rare.

This meat was so tender and delicious.  Jeff keeps saying, "That is steak?" and we would say, "No, deer." "No wait.  This is steak." "No, deer backstrap."  "This is backstrap?  There is no way this is backstrap.  It tastes just like steak."  Needless to say, the boys went crazy for it.  

This is my new favorite way to eat chicken!  I have served it to several different people and every time it is completely devoured.  I cut the chicken into cubes and let it marinade in the zest of 2 limes, along with the juice, 2-3 cloves of garlic minced, 1 TBSP of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Put them on skewers and grill until they are cooked through.  They are delicious just like this, but to bump it up a notch, we brought out some honey barbecue sauce.  The tang of the lime and the sweetness of the sauce hits all of the right notes!

I also made some roasted potatoes and baby bella mushrooms.  I cut russet potatoes into cubes and the mushrooms in half then sprinkled them with salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, thyme and a little olive oil.  I roasted them in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.  They were a perfect side to my manly meal.

But enough about the food!  Lets get to the important stuff...

No one would take the time to pose for my pictures since the food had already been laid out, so I sincerly apologize for the quality of these pictures.

There's that, and there's that...

My ST (MC social tribe...long story... don't worry about it) sister, Sara Kyzar, also joined us!

Poor, lonely piece of sausage, a few potatoes, and a heap full of green beans were all that was left over.  Apparently our carnivorous sides won out tonight.

Jonathan was happily full while James and Jeff were just full.  Everytime I told them to smile, they just stared at me.  I don't think my brothers like me telling them what to do.  I almost expected a, "You're not the boss of me!"

Sweet brother and seester sharing the big, comfy chair

I love how we can just sit and watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory together.  I love how we disturb our neighbors by singing the Veruca Salt song at the top of our lungs.  I love how the snozberries always taste like snozberries.  But I especially love all of these people that I know as my brothers and my sisters.

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way. -Pamela Dugdale