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Showing posts from August, 2011

Herbed Lentils

This is a great recipe I made in observance of the Orthodox Lenten season, where we do not consume meat for 40 days prior to Easter. This dish is a great side with broiled fish or alone and is a healthy source of fiber.
1 can petit diced tomatoes
4 c cooked lentils (cooking instructions below)
1 T dried oregano
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 small onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 t olive oil
1/8 t pepper
1/4 t salt

If you are starting with a bag of dried lentils, follow these cooking instructions:

Bring thre quarts of water in a large pot to boil. Add lentils and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 40 minutes. Drain lentils in a colander and gently rinse with water. Be careful not to smoosh the lentils.
In a sauce pan, heat oil and saute garlic, onion and celery until cooked, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add can of tomatoes (with juice), broth and lentils. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cover for 5 m…

Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Boeuf Bourgignon

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms)


As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good beef bourguignon.

Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.

Vegetable and wine suggestions: Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. I chose to serve it with oven-roasted red skin potatoes and buttered peas.

Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Emillion or Burgundy.

Boeuf Bourguignon

For 6 people

6-ounce chunk of bacon (I couldn't secure a full chunk of bacon and used 6 ounc…

Cant.Stop.Laughing

I had to print this out and put it on my office wall because I couldn't stop laughing at it on my computer screen. Seriously.


Fear Not the Pressure Cooker

I received a beautiful pressure cooker as a wedding gift four years ago. My parents have one, my grandmother has one, my mother-in-law, and so on -- and everyone raves about them. But how can such tender meat come from a pot after only 20 minutes together? The mystery of how the pressure cooker works, and my irrational fear of it exploding in my kitchen, have prevented me from trying it out -- until now.

My husband loves my mother-in-law's beef tips over pasta, so I decided to give it a whirl. I received the recipe from her (she measured some things in a 'handful' or 'teacup' serving, so I have adapted the recipe to use standard measurements where possible).

The Recipe for Beef Tips over Pasta (Mosxari kai Macaronia, for you Greeks at home)
1 1/2 lbs. stew beef or beef tips
1 small can tomato paste
1 1/2 c tomato sauce OR diced, stewed tomatoes in their juice, totalling 1 1/2 c liquid)
1 c chicken broth, beef broth, OR water (or any combination totalling 1 c liqui…

Great Photo Displays

Something happens once the wedding planning is done and the thank you notes are written, but you don't yet have kids -- you work on the house! (At least, that's what goes down at Chez Poulos). While I've painted every room in the house (almost) over the last 18 months, I'm starting to work more on design for each room, making the room comfortable and cohesive, etc.

For this piece, I'm focusing mainly on displaying photos and other items (post cards, notes, artwork, etc). Here is where I've been drawing some of my inspiration:






Margaritaville Chairs

Minimal words here -- a weekend project lead me to paint two old Adirondack chairs and convert them to be Buffett-ready:













Everyday Italian: White Bean and Tuna Salad

My cookbook quest continues, this time with Giada De Laurentis' Everyday Italian. I whipped up her White Bean and Tuna Salad to have on hand for lunch this week. This is an easy recipe with items you'll usually have on hand in your pantry. See my notes following the recipe to see other items you could add to this salad.

2 (6-ounce) cans of dark meat tuna, packed in oil.
1/2 t sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced and diced
6 T red wine vinegar

In a large bown, add the tuna with it's olive oil and 1/2 t of each salt and pepper. Using a fok, break up the tuna into bit-size pieces, then toss gently with the beans and onions. Drizzle the red wine vinegar and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as it or over a bed of fresh arugula.

Chef's Tips: If you can't find tuna packed in olive oil and are using tuna packed in water, dr…

Spicy Manhattan Clam Chowder

PointsPlus value 3

1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can whole tomatoes
1 medium potato, peeled and cut int 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup bottled clam juice
1/2 cup water
1 (10 oz) can whole claims, drained

In a stockpot, cook chopped onion. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add green pepper and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 more minute. Add tomatoes, potato, clam juice, and water. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until potato is tender but not falling apart.

Break up whole tomatoes with a long-handled spoon. Stir in clams and serve.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 118, Total Fat: 3 g, Sat Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 14 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 9 g, Sugars: 4 g, Sodium: 259 mg, Cholesterol: 32 mg

The Mayo Trick

This is one of this household tricks everyone shoul know about! If you get a ring on wood furniture, fret not! Wipe the area dry, slather mayo onto the stain, allow to sit for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight), and it should wipe clean with no trace of the stain.


Vegas Baby! (2011)

 Long weekend in Vegas? Heck YES. The Captain and I are there. This trip, we took our friends Sean and Kristin long for the ride a had a blast. Up on the docket, in addition to shopping, pool lounging, and gambling, is the dining! Of course we stopped at Margartiaville to pay homage to the margarita man, and then, there is CarneVino.




Where we pay omage to the man in orange Crocs -- Mario Batali. Talk about an amazing dining experience. The service, food, dessert, even the rendered pork fat served with the freshly-baked bread, were heavenly. I had been ogling the menu for weeks. The plan was set. Spago with Lamb Ragu. I never even thought twice about my decision, focused on the tasty morsel mound of goodness I had seen Batali feature on his cooking show. Of course, my husband would select a steak -- nothing new or wrong with that. But I need to know that my plate wasn't just perfectly aged beef chop, but homemade pasta, 10-hour slow-roasted lamb ragu, and a perfect marri…

Corny Cornbread

Corn .... bread .... together? Heck yes.

But this isn't your typical cornbread. We're kicking it up with an extra dose of corn and buttery goodness for an instant fan favorite. Did I mention this can be ready in 45 minutes?

2 eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 cans cream corn
1 box Jiffy mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a souffle or pyrex dish at least 3" deep (the bread will rise) with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, add butter with the eggs and beat well with a whisk. Add cream corn and mix in with a spoon. Add Jiffy mix last and mix well with a spoon. Pour into dish (I usually use a corningware dish 9" across and 3" deep).

Bake in pre-heated oven for 40 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Spoon out and enjoy!

Lazyman's Chicken Tacos

This recipe takes about 3 minutes to put into the crock pot and 3 minutes to put onto tortillas, so we're talking about a 6 minute dinner here. 6 MINUTES PEOPLE. No excuses to not make this every week. And you can change it up if you want to use beef or pork instead of chicken.

Not only is it quick, but this recipe can serve as the filling for:
TacosBurritosTostadasQuesadillasChili ReyenosTake your pick!

4 six ounce chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
6 ounces salsa (of your desired level of hotness)
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 c diced onion (I keep these on hand in the freezer; you can also purchase in your grocer's frozen food section)

Toss everything in the Crockpot and set to low for 8-10 hours. 30 minutes before serve time, remove chicken breasts from Crockpot and transfer to cutting board, where you can shred the chicken with two forks. Return to Crockpot and allow to simmer for another 30 minutes. Serve as desired!

30 Day Shred: Day 1

It hurts. It's awesome.
Today I kicked off Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. After reading countless reviews, doing some research, and deciding if I can actually commit to 30 consecutive days of anything, I decided that today was the day. It works out perfectly as well, since I'm flying to see all of my family in 31 days.
I have only one goal for the next 30 days -- to get through every of the next 30 days with the DVD.
What is the 30 Day Shred, you ask? It is a workout DVD created and lead by Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser fame. The concept is simple -- every exercise in the DVD is two exercises in one. For instance, you might be lead to do a weighted arm curl while also doing a forward lunge. This lets you pack the average 40 minute DVD into 22 minutes of painstaking awesome.
If I live, pictures will follow.