Monthly Archives: November 2010

Omelets & Traveling Yoga, typical Tuesday?

After a long day at work I was in the mood for a nice n’ easy dinner!  Plus we’re about to get some crazy summer-like thunderstorms apparently (confused weather much?), so I wanted to be cozied up on the couch by the time that happened 🙂

So I turned to the incredible egg!

Eggs are such a great protein source to incorporate into a weekly menu.  They are nutritious, economical and can be so versatile! 

Tonight’s Mexican inspired egg menu included:

  • Fresh side salad
  • Egg omelet w/ veggies & queso fresco
  • Caramelized plantain w/ vanilla ice cream

Step 1:  Salad chop.

Romaine, cucumber, tomato & onion.  Sea salt & pepper.

Step 2:  Omelet

More veggie chopping.

Then a quick saute.

Followed by the addition of 2 eggs + 3 egg whites (let this cook over medium-low, covered).

And then some of my favorite new cheese discovery (!!!)

Queso fresco. 

Love this stuff – it has the saltiness of feta coupled with the creaminess of a mozzarella (that’s my latest comparison at least!)

Served with a salsa topping.

These flavors were a match made in heaven 😀

The omelet kind of browned a bit at the bottom, which gave it the most wonderful flavor!  Then the creamy and salty queso fresco with the salsa… oh yummmm!

Step 3:  Plantain dessert

If you haven’t used plantains in your kitchen yet, I highly recommend giving these a try!  From a savory Chicken & Plantain Stew or Roasted Plantains w/ Chile & Cilantro to tonight’s dessert option, these things can be used in so many ways.

A little butter, cinnamon & cane sugar did the trick

The smells were amazinggggggggg!

Served warm over vanilla ice cream of course 😛

Sweet, warm, creamy… all the things a cool weather dessert should be!

And before I go, for all you Richmond readers (heyyyy!), I wanted to let you know about something new that I tried out the other day, The Traveling Yoga Sisters

A few of the girls at my work and myself had a private lunchtime yoga session with Tracy and we loved it!  Their concept of offering affordable yoga classes at different locations (no studio = no rent = $5 session, we practiced in a karate gym!) is one that definitely caught my attention. 

I was so excited at how much I loved the class!  They not only offer private small group sessions, but also weekly group yoga — and guess what, I’m going back again this weekend 🙂 

Let me know if you’d be interested in joining too!

Have a great night everyone 😛


Chobani Pasta Salad!

The Christmas tree is up!!!

And the dining room is set for a Christmas feast 😉

And I’m ready to share an easy dinner with all of you featuring one of my favorite things ever 🙂

Chobani Greek yogurt!!!

Do you not love this stuff? 

 Not only do I love the flavored ones straight up (hellllloooo pineapple lovahhhh) but also using the plain as a substitute for items such as mayo or sour cream!

And with 18g of protein, it’s a pretty great swap 😉

Don’t ya think?

So tonight I added some plain Chobani to the mix of a classic macaroni salad to come up with a low-fat, high protein version of everyone’s (or maybe just my?) favorite pasta salad!

And so what if it’s not summer anymore, this is good anytime of year IMO 😛

Italian Macaroni Salad w/ Greek Yogurt Dressing

  • macaroni noodles (about 1/3 of a large 32 oz. box), cooked & cooled
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can black olives, halved
  • pepperoni, quartered
  • cheddar cheese, cubed (about 2/3 package)
  • pepperjack cheese, cubed (about 1/4 package)


  • 1 container Chobani plain yogurt
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 5 tblsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tblsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tblsp dried basil
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

This pasta salad comes together in 1-2-3!!

While the macaroni is boiling (according to directions) get all the other salad ingredients ready to go.

Chop the veggies.

Christmas colors!  Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking it too 😉

And prep the pepperoni & cheese.

Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool.  Add to a large bowl along with the chopped veggies…

and the pepperoni & cheese.

Lookin’ good already!

At this point, pop the pasta salad in the fridge to chill while you mix up the dressing.

This dressing couldn’t be easier. And instead of being full of heavy calorie-dense mayo, it’s made creamy by the addition of the smooth & rich Greek yogurt. 

Just combine the ingredients above and give it a stir!

You will be amazed at how creamy & delicious this turns out without any mayo what-so-ever 😀

When you’re ready to serve, lightly stir the pasta salad with the dressing until the combined. 

And into the bowl it goes!

Mmmmm mmmm, this turned out great! 

I was curious to see how The Man would react to his “yogurt pasta salad” but let’s just say he had seconds and I got just a few compliments 😉  Love that he has such an open mind to trying these new combos and love even more how much he also enjoys them!

So there you go, a healthy undercover way to prepare a delicious pasta salad classic!  Even though it may not be 80 degrees outside where you are (or where I am!), I hope you’ll give this salad a try 🙂

Crying over canned beans?

Yes.  That happened.  Tonight to be exact.

Don’t know what got into me but after spending 45 minutes in the kitchen preparing my favorite white chicken chili for a dinner with my parents (including the extra effort of precooking chicken thighs and legs and shredding them off the bone…) I went to pour in the can of northern beans and noticed that there were orange sprout-thingies growing out of them?



Gross.  I’d rather not take my chances with that one.  Too bad I had already started to pour them into the entire pot of soup.  Ruined.  Thanks for nothing Kroger 😦

So guess what I did.  Called my mom and cried.  So “28 years old” of me… no?

Yep.  Not sure what got into me but after cleaning & decorating the house all day then spending an hour in the kitchen, the thought of having to throw away an entire dinner that I had prepared for Fanatic parents tonight just sent me over the edge…

So there’s my story – I cried over canned beans…

Pretty ridiculous right?

Good thing my mom always knows how to get me back on track and we came up with a last minute plan of action!

And thankfully I had some of my favorite spicy pumpkin soup stashed away in the cabinet 🙂

So after sending The Man on a quick emergency-run to the store, things actually started to look up…

Instead of the planned on chips n’ salsa to accompany our chicken chili feast, I improvised with some jalapeno pepper cheese & pepperoni for snackage.

The soup came together in 1-2-3, which was perfect for leaving me the time to catch up with the Fam!

Mom brought over a salad to go with our meal, mom’s always save the day don’t they? 😉

Plus some super fresh bread with butter, my newest obsession.


Although it was no white chicken chili (grrrr) it was definitely a great meal.  Plus seeing Fanatic Mom and Dad was the most important part anyways, since they had been gone over the turkey day holiday!

Failure turned success I guess?

Plus want to know what else I had up my sleeve?  Perhaps my own lil’ redemption for tonight’s mishap 😉

Apple Crisp

Served warm with vanilla ice cream, of course.

Holy yum.  This would wipe my tears away any day 😉

So there you have it.  A major kitchen disaster for Cookinfanatic tonight followed by a momentary emotional breakdown all caused by a can of freakin’ beans.

You’ve now seen me at my worst.  Promise we can we still be friends…?


Apple Crisp  (based off this recipe)

  • 3 granny smith apples, cored & sliced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup oats + 2 tblsp for top
  • cinnamon (about 2 tsp, or whatever you like)
  • freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 stick butter, chilled & chopped

Core and slice apples.  Squeeze lemon juice on top and stir.

Mix brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon together.  Stir mixture into apples.

Combine flour, oats and sugar.  Stir in chilled chopped butter until crumbs start to form.

Add apple mixture to a baking dish, which has been rubbed with a small amount of butter to prevent sticking.

Top with flour/oat mixture and a sprinkle of extra oats.

Bake at 375F for 45 minutes (or until it starts to brown).

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  Yum 🙂

What to do…?

Check out CookinFanatic’s holiday weekend so far, you know, just in case you just haven’t had enough of Thanksgiving already 😉

So what to do with all this leftover turkey from the holiday?!?!

Well first of all, don’t throw away those turkey bones!  I may have slightly startled The Man’s mom the other night when I excitedly requested to bring home the “turkey carcass” haha 😛

But trust me, this is well worth it.  It makes the most phenomenal stock which then turns into a most amazing soup!

I made my turkey stock the exact same way that I make my chicken stock:  onion, carrot, celery, thyme and parsley.

Into a stock pot topped with the turkey bones and enough water to cover.  Some salt & pepper too.

Then I let this cook over medium (at a low boil) for about 1.5 hours, covered, stirring occasionally.

The final product is a piping hot bowl (or two) of delicious!

The next step for this stock was to become a turkey soup!  I was craving macaroni noodles (random?) so I knew that this soup just had to have them 😛

Mirepoix (pronounced meer-pwah):  onion, celery, carrot.

If you watch Emeril then I’m sure you’ve learned this term already! 

I added these veggies plus about 12 oz. of boxed chopped tomatoes into the hot stock and let them simmer for about half an hour until close to tender.

Once the veggies were ready I added in some leftover shredded turkey too.

The last step is to add the pasta – and if you have quirky cravings like me – then macaroni is your guy.

The cool part about this soup – the pasta cooks in the soup liquid and therefore soaks up all that delicious flavor too!

We served up some hearty portions of this soup..

And topped with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese…

I highly recommend doing this 😀

Some bread and butter on the side…

And you’ve got yourself a meal!

You see, turkey leftovers don’t have to be boringggggg 😉

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some of this on the agenda for tonight

Along with setting up the Christmas tree!!!  Ahhh it’s that time of year again 😀

See ya’ll tomorrow, we’re having a little dinner get together with our “missing Thanksgiving guests” that I know you’ll enjoy!

Food Memories…

I think the thing that I love so much about food is the way it can evoke feelings and memories just with a simple smell or small taste. 

Food, in a way, is a way to keep a memory alive.  A memory of someone that you cared about or maybe of a special time in your life.

That’s what my Nanny’s sweet potato casserole is to me.

It’s more than just a few ingredients in a baking dish.  But instead, it’s a memory of my childhood, of this wonderful lady I called my grandmother and of many happy times shared amongst my family.

Maybe that’s why I insist upon having this dish each and every year.  To me, the way this dish makes me feel and the memories it evokes are so cherished that I just couldn’t imagine a Thanksgiving without it.

And I know my Nanny is smiling down on me – probably wondering when I started doing all this cooking 😉 – and is happy that her tradition will remain as the years go on…

Sweet Potato & Pineapple Casserole

Growing up this was the only sweet potato casserole that I knew.  Casseroles full of pecans and brown sugar just didn’t exist at our table, at least from what I can remember.  This was the one that everyone requested each year and this was the one that I’ll continue making for years to come!

Three ingredients, yep, that’s it.

(1) Sweet Potatoes.

Peeled & chopped.

Then boiled until tender.

(2) Canned Pineapple.


Drained, juice reserved.

Sweet potatoes & pineapple juice are whipped until smooth using an electric mixer.

Then half of them spread into a baking dish.

Followed by a layer of drained pineapple.

Sweet potatoes and pineapple are a surprising match made in heaven 🙂

And a final layer of sweet potatoes to top the pineapple.  No picture of this one but don’t forget it! 🙂

(3) Marshmallows.

The topping layer.

If your boyfriend helps you with this step you may end up with this…

Probably should have followed Mom’s instructions on leaving some space in between them 😉

Marshmallow overboard!!!

Thanksgiving plate, complete with Nanny’s sweet potato casserole.

This year shared with The Man’s family, who had never had this combination of flavors before.

The final product is warm & creamy, sweet and tangy, topped with a layer of gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside marshmallows.

I think this one was a hit 🙂

And memories of my Nanny were with us… just as she would have liked it.

Come spend Thanksgiving Day with me!

This year I spent Thanksgiving with The Man’s family and friends…

It was a glorious day full of great company and delicious food 😀

Although I missed the Fanatic Fam very much, it sure was nice to have a wonderful place to spend the holiday and the food was not to disappoint!

The Man’s Mom wanted to make sure I had some familiar family dishes at the table, so I was assigned the task of bringing two sides.  This was totally awesome, because I don’t know that it would be Thanksgiving to me without my Nanny’s sweet potato & pineapple casserole 😀

It was also great because not only were there the usual T-Day suspects, but also some new-to-me dishes that I wasn’t used to having on the holiday table.

So come on, come spend Thanksgiving Day with me!

We started the afternoon with some snacks to hold us over until an early dinner.

These olives were stuffed with full garlic cloves – oh yes – and they were delicious!

No vampires here 😛

The Man’s Mom had the table set beautifully!

Looked magazine-worthy if you ask me.

Most of the dinner prep had occurred the night before, remember the cranberry apple relish recipe from last night? 

So we didn’t have to spend all day in the kitchen, instead we got to hang out and relax… and act goofy, shocker there 😛

Cheese please?

So what ended up on our dinner plates?!

Here. We. Go!!!



My Nanny’s sweet potato casserole (wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it to me!)

Sweet potatoes, pineapple and gooey marshmallows.  Ahhh I feel like I’m 10 years old again 🙂

Recipe coming tomorrow!

Pineapple stuffing.

Yea, this stuff is pretty insane.

Mashed potatoes.

These were made with cream cheese & sour cream, skins on.  Plus they were done ahead of time and warmed in the crockpot all day, what a great idea!

More stuffing.  Plus some bubbly 😉

What did I miss?

Hmmm… let’s see.

Green bean casserole.  Cranberry Apple Relish.

Yep, I think that about covers it all.

Oh but wait, we’re not done yetttttt!

Loosen that belt loop a notch (or two) 😉

Pumpkin pie.

Baked apples w/ ice cream.

Apple Cherry Tart.

Ooooey gooey goodness.

I’m full all over again just thinking about it all 😛

What a fabulous day it was, now time to go lounge on the couch and recover from all the tasty treats that were had earlier in the day… and maybe rest up for some holiday shopping w/ the rest of the world tomorrow!

Plus be on the lookout for that sweet potato casserole recipe tomorrow, it’s a recipe that’s not only great for the Thanksgiving but also for the December holidays too 🙂




The list of things I am thankful for could go on and on:  loving family, caring boyfriend, amazing friends, cutest dog in the world, my health, my job, my blog….

I am truly blessed.

And even though Fanatic Family is currently cruising the Caribbean, I am so thankful that I have The Man’s wonderful family to share this holiday with 🙂

Wishing all of you and your families a blessed holiday as well.

I’ll be back later with a recap of all the wonderful food & good times that should be had! 😛