Sunday, March 1, 2009

Squid in Pesto sauce

My husband really likes squid. The last time I cooked Spanish-style squid was successful by all accounts if you ask the CTO (chief tasting officer). That’s why I decided to make an Italian meal using the squid. After all, everyone likes calamari and that’s a traditional Italian appetizer. I also wanted the meal to be simple and fast. I decided to cook the squid in a simple pesto sauce and serve it over pasta. This is a very easy recipe and if you’re scared to eat squid try it with shrimp or scallops. Look for this recipe at Momentous Occasions by Natasha.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bok choy with cranberries and sun-dried tomatoes

I am always interested in trying new vegetables. I especially love going to ethnic stores and looking at their produce section, where there’s often a good selection of vegetables I won’t find at Cub Foods or Rainbow.
The problem is I never know what to do with them. I often can’t even tell what the vegetable is, because the names are written in a different language, let alone know how to prepare the food.
Sometimes, when I don’t mind being annoying, I’ll ask store employees to tell me what I am looking at and how to prepare it.
“Just boil, boil,” is a typical response at Asian grocery stores. However, I suspect the food in question isn’t just boiled. It is probably cooked in a wok and seasoned with peanut oils, chili powder and soy sauce for flavor.
I had tried bok choy (a variety of Chinese cabbage) before, but never cooked it. During a recent trip to Shuang Hur Supermarket (on University Ave. 651-251-2196) I saw bok choy for 99 cents a pound. I paid $1.53 for 1.5 lb of the green leafy vegetable that resembles miniature heads of romaine lettuce. It yielded four meals. I estimate the cost of each meal at $3.
I sautéed the cabbage, which tastes like spinach, in sesame oil and soy sauce. I added cooked sun-dried tomatoes and cranberries to the dish and it was delish! This meal can be prepared in less than 10 minutes, which is another bonus.
See the full recipe at Momentous Occasions by Natasha.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shrimp in Asian peanut sauce

Seafood is very versatile and is a prominent food is many cuisines. My CTO (chief tasting officer) is a fan of Asian foods and loves peanut sauce, so I often find myself experimenting with peanut butter, peanut oils and soy sauce to incorporate the flavors into our meals.

I developed this easy recipe a few days ago and it got rave reviews. It takes 15-20 minutes to cook this meal and trust me, there won't be leftovers.

Find the full recipe on Momentous Occasions by Natasha.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Turkey Taco Pockets

Ground beef is often used in tacos, empanadas and enchiladas. But people often overlook using ground turkey as a substitute in these meals. I recently got a pound of ground turkey on sale at Cub for 99 cents. I thought about making traditional tacos or chili with the meat, but opted to make my own version of tacos instead. I used fresh tortillas instead of store-bought taco shells because they are less expensive and contain less calories and salt.
Check out Momentous Occasions for the full recipe.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A war fit for soup

Have you noticed the soup war between Campbell’s and Progresso?
Commercials from both companies filled with claims the others’ products have MSG, more calories and unhealthy ingredients have aired on television.
As I watch these organizations hurl calorie-ridden insults at each other I want to tell them I choose not to buy either soups.
Instead I head to my local Costco, where I can buy a 6-pack of Pacific Natural Foods Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. The pack costs $10.49 and contains six 32 Fl. Oz containers of soup.
That’s $1.74 per box.
Campbell’s charges $1.66 for a 26 oz container of condensed tomato soup. Progresso carries a Hearty Tomato soup in a 19 oz container that I bought on sale for $1. Normally it is around $2.
Now I am not saying the Costco soup is similar in nutrition, even though it is “organic”. Each serving (which is a cup) has 110 calories, 2 grams of fat, 10mg of cholesterol and a whopping 720mg of sodium.
Progresso’s soup has 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, no cholesterol but it has 980mg of sodium per one cup serving. Campbell’s serving size is ½ a cup. It has 90 calories, no fat and no cholesterol. But it has 710mg of sodium. If you have a cup of soup, which most people will, you’re consuming 1,420mg of salt. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet that’s 60 percent of your daily value. So, while Campbell’s and Progresso wage their duel, I think the best cost-saving and healthy alternative is Costco’s roasted red pepper and tomato soup.

Friday, January 16, 2009


It is –21 degrees in St. Paul today.
Our house, built in 1922, is creaking and popping as if to say, “Can you believe this weather? Why didn’t they build me in California?”
Believe me, I am thinking about packing our house and moving to San Francisco, which warmed up to 58 degrees today. Toasty!
Of course this will never happen because the CTO and I love St. Paul and have made many wonderful friends here.
Instead, I decide to warm myself with a nice bowl of chili. Everyone can agree it is the ultimate food on a cold winter night, if you have the time to let the pot of soup simmer for three hours.
I pulled the recipe from a combination of cookbooks and after stirring the ingredients every 15 minutes for three hours the reward was worth every turn of the wooden spoon.
You can find the recipe at Momentous Occasions by Natasha.

Make Cappuccino at Home

I am not a coffee drinker, but I know people who shell out at least $3 for cappuccino at coffee shops.
A recent article in the new Food Network magazine explaining how to make this frothy coffee drink at home caught my eye. The magazine estimates the cost of making your own cappuccino is 34 cents, versus the $3 or more you'd pay at a Starbucks or Caribou.
Here is what you do to make your own cappuccino.
1. Fill a mug halfway with skim milk and heat on high in the microwave until hot, roughly 60 seconds.
2. Place a whisk inside the mug and, with the handle between your palms, spin the whisk back and forth to froth the milk.
3. Add home-brewed coffee or espresso to the frothed milk and enjoy!