Sunday, August 23, 2009

Italian Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of my favorite comfort foods. I love trying meatloaf recipes for different flavors and variety. Well, this is one meatloaf recipe that will be making a repeat performance. My, was it good. I made two changes to the recipe. I used ground round instead of lean ground beef. The ground round was on sale and sometimes being economical is more important to me. I also used 2 whole eggs instead of just the egg whites that the recipe called for. Again, I didn't want to waste the eggs plus I think it gave it a good flavor. Pair it up with some mashed potatoes and vegetables and your family will enjoy a homey, comfy, satisfying dinner.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Some meatloaf history......Meatloaf has European origins since the 5th century. Recipes for meatloaf began to appear in American cookbooks in the 1880's but became more popular during the Great Depression when families had to stretch their food budget. In 2007, Good Housekeeping conducted a poll and meatloaf was the 7th most popular American dish. How popular is meatloaf in your family?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tuna Salad Wrap

It's been pretty busy this past week. My daughters have one more week of summer vacation left so we've been getting ready for back to school and just enjoying the last bit of summer break. On top of that, my oven broke. (it's 18 years old & blew during a power outage from one of our normal Florida storms) Can you believe that? A food blogger without an oven! Luckily, it's a built in oven so I have a separate cook top. I also have a grill, crockpot and toaster oven, so I think I'll be ok until we can get it replaced. It's going to take about 2 weeks though since it's a special order. But the great news is (always look on the positive side) I may be getting a double oven. We have the space for it because of the built in microwave above the oven that also fried during an electrical storm last year (I'm thinking power surge protector with the new one). Anyway, have I bored you yet with my appliance woes?

Well, here is a light dinner or lunch that doesn't require an oven. I know we all know how to make tuna fish but I wanted to share my method for this wonderful wrap.

Tuna Salad Wrap
Recipe by Jamie from Mom's Cooking Club

Serving size - 3 wraps

2 - 5 oz cans of your favorite tuna - I use solid white in water
1/4 cup light mayonnaise - use more or less depending on how much mayo you like
1 celery stalk, chopped small
1 tablespoon red onion, diced small - more or less depending on how much you want
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
baby spinach leaves
tomato slices
your favorite wraps - I used Light Flatout Sundried Tomato brand

Drain tuna and place in mixing bowl. Mash and break up tuna with a fork. Add remaining ingredients through Dijon mustard and mix well. Place 1/3 of tuna mixture and place near one end of wrap. Lay 2-3 tomato slices on top of tuna. Lay about 4 baby spinach leaves on top of tomatoes. Carefully roll wrap and cut in half.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Play around with the ingredients for different flavors. You could add lettuce or alfalfa sprouts instead of spinach. You could add cheese or some herbs like dill or chives. You could even put some lemon juice in the tuna. So, what do you put in your tuna salad? I would love to hear your ideas. I may be making alot of tuna until my new oven comes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baked Red Snapper with Garlic and My Day as a Guest Blogger

Today I am honored to be a guest blogger on Shelby's blog, The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Shelby is on a cruise with her husband, so I wanted to give everyone a taste of the sea. To get the recipe and read all about it, you have to visit Shelby's site. Click here for my first guest post.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Three Cheese Tortellini Soup with Summer Vegetables

Soup? I know what you're thinking. Why would I make soup when it's so blazing hot outside. Well, because soup is a great light, healthy and comforting dinner. I had a package of tortellini's in the refrigerator and came up with this wonderful, satisfying soup. Everyone and I mean everyone loved this soup. Even my daughters ate the zucchini and squash in the soup and they normally don't eat these vegetables. The base of the soup was inspired by Prudence Pennywise's Tuscan Vegetable Soup. This is another fantastic soup that you must try. So, even though you may break a slight sweat while eating this soup, it will be worth it.

Three Cheese Tortellini Soup with Summer Vegetables
Recipe by Jamie from Mom's Cooking Club

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped in bite size rounds
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 - 14 oz can of Italian Style Diced Tomatoes (Basil, Garlic & Oregano), pureed in blender
2 - 14 oz cans of low sodium & fat-free chicken broth
1 yellow summer squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
9 oz package of fresh 3 cheese tortellini (I used Buitoni brand)
Parmesan Cheese

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened, stirring often. Add basil, pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 30 seconds. Add pureed tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Add tortellini, squash and zucchini. Bring to a simmer and cook about 8-10 minutes until pasta and vegetables are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

This is the brand of pasta I used.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: It was my sister-in-law, Pam, who turned me on to these fresh pastas. I never paid much attention to them in the grocery store. Well, they are great. I buy them when they are on sale and they last awhile in your refrigerator or you can freeze them. You don't even have to defrost them. You can use them frozen. They are convenient to have on hand when you want a quick dinner.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pan-Seared Shrimp Po' Boys - August Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club

Welcome to my second Virtual Supper Club Dinner where myself and 4 other food bloggers get together for a meal all inspired by recipes from Cooking Light. This month's theme is Regional Cuisine. We each chose a recipe that represents where we live.

I live in Pensacola, Florida (click here for visitors information) which is a very unique part of Florida. This area is also known as the Florida Panhandle or Northwest Florida. Some even call it LA which stands for Lower Alabama since we are about 15 minutes from the Alabama line.

Did you know that Pensacola is celebrating it's 450th Birthday this month. It was back on August 15, 1559 that Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna and 1500 other people came to Pensacola. This area is considered the first European settlement in the Continental U.S. We have a nickname which is The City of Five Flags because Pensacola has been ruled by Spain, France, Britain, the confederacy and the United States. There is a military base stationed here. The Pensacola Navy Yard was built in 1826 and is now called Pensacola Naval Air Station. One of the most beautiful areas we have are the beaches. Sugar white sand beaches surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico. Pensacola is a mid-sized city but with all the charm and friendliness of a small Southern town.

Pensacola is on the Gulf of Mexico so when our Virtual Supper Club chose the theme of "Regional Cuisine", I knew I wanted to do a seafood dish. Specifically, I wanted to showcase the shrimp that comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Another influence to Pensacola is the close proximity of Louisiana. We are about three hours from New Orleans, which has a great effect on the local cuisine.

A well known New Orleans dish are sandwiches called Po' Boys. Po' Boys are submarine type sandwiches that are usually made with fried shrimp or oysters. They can come "fully dressed" with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Some also include pickles and onion. So, when I saw Pan-Seared Shrimp Po' Boys in the July 2009 issue of Cooking Light Magazine, I immediately knew this was the perfect meal to represent my town, Pensacola, Florida.

This sandwich was a fantastic healthier alternative to the traditional Po' Boys with fried shrimp. The heat of the pan-seared cajun spiced shrimp was cooled off by the creamy homemade tarter sauce. We had ours "fully dressed" with lettuce, tomatoes and red onion.

What did everyone else bring to our Virtual Supper Club Dinner?
(click on name to take a closer look)

Val - Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie

Helene - Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

Aggie - Key Lime Pie

Shelby - Double Maple Cupcakes

What a wonderful meal and such a great way to learn more about where we live and how food is such a big part of our cultures and our communities. Join us next month for our Cooking Light Lunch Menu theme.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: This recipe calls for salt-free cajun seasoning. I could not find a salt-free brand at my grocery store. Click here for a salt-free cajun spice that I quickly put together at home. I did omit the white pepper since I didn't have any. Now, I have a batch made up that I can use for other purposes like grilled chicken or baked cajun fries.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

An All-Time Favorite - The Peanut Butter Cookie

When I came home from work the other day, it was a rainy afternoon. So, the girls and I decided it was a great time to make some cookies. We knew the "man of the house" would love them too. Since I had 2 large jars of peanut butter in my pantry, I knew what cookies to make, classic peanut butter cookies. To make things easier, I pulled out some of my cookbooks and decided to make the recipe from my Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook. This is a great cookbook, by the way. It's full of very good everyday recipes. Well, these cookies didn't disappoint. They are crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Great with a tall glass of cold milk.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook (Limited Edition, Pink Plaid)

Makes about 36 cookies (ours were larger so we got around 28 cookies)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour, a little at a time, until all combined.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in additional granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten by making crisscross marks with the tines of a fork. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

It's hard to resist these classic cookies.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Cover and chill dough for about 15 minutes for easier handling. Also, I sprayed the back of the fork very lightly with cooking spray which helped with sticking issues during the crisscross process.

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