Friday, January 21, 2011

New Kitchen Toys and How To Use Them

Back from vacation means back to school and the start of my new internship with the New York Islanders.  I have to say I'm loving what I'm doing, but the hours are really crappy (a.k.a. I don't have much time to cook), but as always, I will find the time.

The other day I was really craving roasted vegetables, but I didn't want to go through the hassle of preparing the baking sheets and preheating the oven (yes, I'm lazy).  Instead, I just threw some mushrooms in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

 And this is the final product... I think I might actually have liked these more than roasted ones.

I tried the same thing with onions.

But since no one else in my family ate them, and I didn't even particularly like them either, I'd much rather go through the roasting process.

This weekend on my Sunday off from work, I really really wanted to cook, and my mom picked Hungry Girl's Sloppy Joe-Chiladas recipe out of my collection of cookbooks.  All I can say is: OH MY GOD! So delicious, so filling, so easy and fast to make, and just downright amazing! PLUS - 2 of these large enchiladas are only 5 PointsPlus!!

Switching gears a bit, for my birthday in October my father got me a gift certificate for a cooking lesson for me and a friend with Raquel Rivera-Pablo, through her company A Pinch of Salt.  Well, this week that lesson finally happened.  I got to create my own menu that catered to my lower-calorie, vegetarian diet - Raquel made some suggestions and I picked the final dishes.

We made a panzanella bread salad for an appetizer.

A main course of seared tilapia, roasted vegetables, and lemon orzo (the orzo is hidden under the tilapia).

And for dessert we indulged with some crepes with banana and chocolate sauce.  Inside the crepes there's a brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum sauce that was just to die for!

While the most important thing I learned was how to hold a knife correctly, my proudest moment was when I successfully flipped a crepe in the air by just flicking my wrist.  (I screamed so loud my parents thought the house was on fire.)

Then Michelle did it too, and my ego deflated...

At the end of the day, it was an experience I'll never forget, since I'll use the techniques I learned every day.  The food was absolutely delicious, and it was fun to cook while at the same time having someone else in charge of the meal for once.  The best part was after Raquel and Michelle left, and I was left alone with a kitchen that looked like a bomb went off!!

Ok, but really, the best part was the next day when my Rachael Ray knife set that I ordered from Amazon arrived - too bad I couldn't have them a day earlier.  I can't wait to use them!!!

The reason I got orange was because for Christmas my mom bought me some Rachael Ray saute pans and kitchen utensils.  LOVE IT!

The menu for this weekend is macaroni and cheese tonight, vegetable fried rice tomorrow, and pizza night on Sunday.  Let's hope I can go dig my car out from under the snow so I can get to the store to buy the ingredients!! - Especially since the recipes I'm using allow me to use my new kitchen toys!!

As always, requests are welcome, but until next time... HAPPY EATING!
- Steph =)


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