Friday, May 30, 2014

Magazines in May: Red Rice

This recipe has been floating around, waiting for me to try it, since before I left North Carolina.

It looked easy enough, and I've always liked Mexican red rice, so it seemed like a sure thing.

I finally made it last week, and it was a big hit.  Huge.  I loved it, Dennis loved it -- I'm sure if the cat were allowed to eat onions and I'd let her try it, Zelda would have loved it, too.  It was just so good.  And easy!

I made it in conjunction with a recipe that will go up not next week, but the week after, so stay tuned for that.  (You can call this a sneak peek!)

Thank you guys for joining me for my Magazines in May extravaganza.  It was so much fun pulling out the archives and I'll have to try something like this again some time.  June will be a regular cookbook month, and then (I think) I'll have some more church cookbook recipes like I did last year, so stay tuned for that!

Red Rice
Makes 6-8 servings
From Real Simple -- March 2012


2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups white rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened.

Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice is opaque, 3-5 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until the rice is tender, 25-30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork before serving.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Magazines in May: Pasta with Spicy Zucchini-Tomato Sauce

Sometimes I make recipes, and I think to myself, "Sarah, this might be the best thing you've ever made in your life."

Sometimes I make recipes and I think to myself, "Sarah, never do that again.  Do not release this plague on humanity."  (Like the deep fried hot dogs.)  Incidentally, I had someone ask me what happened to the deep fried hot dogs post.  No, I'm not hiding it -- I'm vaguely proud of my cooking misadventures.  What happened (I think) was that I deleted the pictures from that post from my G+ account, where all my pictures go, and so they were deleted from the post, so there were just a bunch of "Where are your pictures??" errors.  Once I find them, I'll put that back up.

The third kind of recipe is this one.  Those are the recipes I make and think to myself, "That was fine."  It wasn't wonderful, it wasn't awful. . .it was just food I put in my face that I don't regret putting in my face.
Dennis, however, wholeheartedly disagrees.  He called this the best pasta dish I've ever made.  I don't fully understand it, but I'll take the ringing endorsement.  

(Also, he wasn't in California yet when I made this, which might actually be the best pasta dish I've ever made, so he's not fully informed.)

Finally, the "spicy" bit of the recipe title is misleading -- I doubled the amount of red pepper flakes the recipe called for, and it wasn't spicy to me at all.  I'll give you the amount I put in, and you can cut it in half if you want, if you're not a huge spicy fan.

Oh, and one more thing.  You may or may not notice that I used two different kinds of pasta in this recipe (rotini and bowties).  That's only because I was trying to use up the pasta.  You can really use whatever you want, but I would recommend rotini.

Rotini with Spicy Zucchini-Tomato Sauce
Serves 4


3 Tbsp. olive oil 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes
2 zucchinis, cut into small chunks
1/2 lb. rotini
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Prepare pasta as indicated on package directions.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until the garlic is golden.

Crush the tomatoes into the skillet with your hands, and add the juice.

And 1/2 tsp. salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes, until thickened.  Add the zucchini and cook until crisp tender, 8 minutes or so.  Season with salt.

Combine the pasta and sauce and toss to coat.

Top with Parmesan.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Magazines in May: Acorn Squash

I love a good "stuff-stuffed-in-acorn-squash" recipe.  I did one before here, but that one was one where all the ingredients were pre-set for me, so it was nice to be able to work with the recipe a little bit.

When I made this, I roasted the squash a smidge too long, and so it was kind of weak and collapsing under its own weight.  Since I wasn't planning to eat the skin anyway, I just scooped everything out into a bowl and ate it that way.  (Incidentally, that's the way to took it to work for lunch the next day, and it made really excellent leftovers.

I've had extraordinarily good luck with my magazine recipes (except the hot dog bites, which we won't discuss).  It's kind of made me think I should look to my magazine files more often.

Sausage and Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4
From Cooking Light -- December 2012


4 small acorn squashes
2 links Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
3 Tbsp. green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place whole squashes in a roasting pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until just tender.

Remove squashes from oven and let stand for 15 minutes, then halve the squashes and scoop out the seeds.  Discard the seeds.

Preheat your broiler to high.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add Italian sausage to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Remove the sausage from the pan and use a paper towel to wipe the drippings from the pan.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and coat with oil.  Add the onion and saute 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the celery and saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in sausage, rice, onions, salt, pepper, and Parmesan and Swiss cheeses.

Divide the rice mixture evenly among squash halves.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Magazines in May: Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette

This salad was actually the first Magazines in May recipe I made, and I absolutely fell in love with it.  You guys, this salad is delicious.  And it's pretty!

It's vaguely labor-intensive, but trust me when I tell you it is 100% worth the effort.  Make this for your best vegetarian friend, to show that you are OK with their lifestyle choice.

Along the same lines, I'm a big fan of any recipe that calls for you to make your own croutons.  In this case, I'd let the bread sit so long, it became croutons on its own, but I'll include how to make them if you're not a procrastinator like me.

This also has another one of my favorite things in it -- goat cheese.  Pretty much, if you gave me a log of goat cheese and a spoon, I'd be a happy person.  This salad makes that whole process vaguely more civilized.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette
Serves 4
From Every Day with Rachael Ray -- September 2010


6 carrots, sliced on the diagonal, about 1/4 inch thick
2 onions, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/3 cup plus 5 Tbsp. olive oil 
Salt and pepper 
A handful of bite-sized cubes from the ends of a loaf of French bread
1 clove garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 bunches kale, tough stems removed, and thinly sliced
One 4-oz. log goat cheese, quartered

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots, onions, and tomatoes with 3 Tbsp. olive oil.  Spread onto the baking sheet in a single layer.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

On another baking sheet, spread out your bread cubes and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss.  Bake until crisp, about 7 minutes.  

(Or, let your bread get almost stale like mine did, and toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper without baking it.)

While your veggies and/or bread are roasting, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt in a small bowl.  Whisk in the lemon juice, and whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

When everything is out of the oven, in a large bowl, combine the kale, roasted vegetables, and dressing.  Toss.

Divide the salad among four plates, and top each with croutons and a round of goat cheese.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Magazines in May: French Onion Soup

I don't know about you guys, but I love French Onion Soup.  I'm not even ashamed that cheese and salt are two of my favorite things in food, and this has both in spades.

Supposedly, this soup is better for you than regular French Onion Soup because beef broth isn't used and olive oil is used instead of butter.  I don't really know how much of a difference that makes, but man oh man is this soup amazing.  It's SO GOOD.  

The best part is, it was even better the next day.

You need to make this immediately.  Right this second.  Go.

French Onion Soup
Makes 4 main dish servings
From Good Housekeeping -- I don't know which month, though. :(


1 Tbsp. olive oil 
3 large onions, very thinly sliced (I used 2 yellow onions and one red onion)
3 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (14-14.5 oz.) chicken broth
2 1/4 cups water
2 tsp. soy sauce
4 thick slices baguette-like bread
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
4 slices Swiss cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepot on medium-high heat.  

Stir in onions, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, partially covered, for 15 minutes (or until onions are very tender).

Add wine and simmer for 2 minutes until reduced by half.  Add broth, water, and soy sauce.  Heat to boiling, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Put 1 piece of bread in each serving bowl.

In another small bowl, stir the cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. soup liquid from the pot until the cornstarch dissolves. 

Stir this mixture into the soup and simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  

Remove and discard thyme.  Divide soup among bowls.

Sprinkle Gruyere evenly over soup, then place 1 slice Swiss cheese on top of each bowl.

If you want to, broil the bowls 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown on top.  (I didn't do this -- it melted fine.)

Serve hot.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Magazines in May: Cheese Rotini with Broccoli

I'm going to tell you something about this pasta.  You may find yourself wanting to discount it because it's yet another pasta dish, and then, if you did decide to make it, you may find yourself leaving out the nutmeg or the Dijon mustard, because you've never heard of nutmeg in pasta, or you don't have any in your pantry, or whatever.

Do not do any of this.  Seriously.  Don't do it.  Not only will I be mad (which you probably don't care much about), but you will have missed out on a really, really amazing pasta dish.  Just trust me on this one.  Bust this one out for date night.  It's super easy to make, but it's also delicious.

Cheesy Rotini with Broccoli
Serves 4


3 cups uncooked rotini (or penne or farfalle or whatever you want, really)
5 cups broccoli (about 1 head of broccoli)
1 1/3 cups milk, divided
2 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. cream cheese
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on package, excluding any salt called for.  During the last three minutes of the pasta's cooking time, add the broccoli to the pot.

Drain the water from the pot and place pasta mixture in a large bowl.

Combine the milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Cook until slightly thickened, about five minutes.  

Remove from heat, and add 3 Tbsp. Parmesan and the remaining ingredients.  Stir with a whisk until smooth. 

Add the cheese mixture to the pasta mixture and toss until combined.

Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

Eat the heck out of this, because it's amazing.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Magazines in May: Warm Potato, Green Bean, and Rhubarb Salad

From what I understand, rhubarb isn't particularly in season right this minute, so I now understand why I had such an issue finding it.

That being said, you should make this salad, and make it immediately.  It's really easy to make, and delicious, and since I found it in Weight Watchers Magazine, it's pretty good for you!  It also has really great color.  (If you're wondering, the WW Points value on this one is 3!)

Warm Potato, Green Bean, and Rhubarb Salad
Serves 6 (supposedly)


1/2 lb. rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (I used two long stalks of it)
2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt, divided in half
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided in half
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed

 Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper (or aluminum foil, like I did because I didn't have parchment paper.)

Spread the rhubarb in a single layer over one of the baking sheets.  Sift the sugar evenly over the top.

Toss the potatoes, shallots, oil, garlic, half the salt and half the pepper on the second baking sheet.

Place both sheets in the oven at the same time, rhubarb on the upper rack and the potatoes on a lower one.

Roast until potatoes and rhubarb are tender.  This will take about 13 minutes for the rhubarb and 23-25 minutes for the potatoes.

Remove the pans from the oven and cool.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the green beans, and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the potato mixture and rhubarb to the bowl with the rest of the salt and pepper, and toss gently to mix.

This really is the prettiest salad I've ever made!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Magazines in May: Pigs in a Poke

So this was an interesting thing.

Not only had I never made grits before, I'd also never cooked eggs in this manner.  I don't even remember what it's called -- soft boiled?  Over easy?  I have no idea.

This was really good, though.  I made it during the time before Dennis got here, because he feels like grits that aren't sweet are sacrilegious.  For my part, I'd only had grits once before in my life, and it was a traumatic experience.  I swore I'd never eat grits again. 

I lied, apparently.  It is a little weird, though, that it took me moving out of the South to make me try them again.

You can make this for breakfast or lunch or dinner or bedtime snack or whatever.


Speaking of versatility, the recipe called for andouille sausage, but I used Trader Joe's chicken sausage.  Use whatever you'd like!

Pigs in a Poke
Serves 4


1 Tbsp. butter
3 oz. chicken sausage
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 cup uncooked grits
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
1/3 cup shredded Gouda cheese
8 cups water
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. oregano

Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Stir in the milk and 1/4 tsp. salt and bring to a boil.  

Add grits.  Reduce heat and cook until properly thickened, 15 minutes or so.

Divide grits evenly amongst four bowls.

Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 tsp. pepper and cheese.

Mix water and vinegar in a pot and bring to a simmer.  Crack each egg into a small bowl, and slide the eggs into the water.  Cook for 3 minutes or until whites are just set.

Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place one egg in each bowl.

Sprinkle servings with remaining salt and pepper, and oregano.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Magazines in May: Watermelon Smoothie with a Hint of Mint

You guys?

It's going to be hot this week.

Like, hot hot hot.

For real.

I think I'll need to make this drink (another Magazines in May offering!) again, and soon.  Luckily, there's not humidity like there is back in North Carolina, so I might not have to be scraped off the pavement, but there's still a distinct chance that will happen.

We'll see.

As far as this recipe goes, it's really tasty.  It came out of Cooking Light, and, if you wondered, contains 98 calories.  You're going to expect it to be a lot thicker than it actually is, so don't worry if it seems a little runny.  It's OK!

Watermelon Smoothie with a Hint of Mint
Makes 1 serving


2 cups seedless watermelon
2 Tbsp. fresh mint
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (vanilla would probably be good, too)

Literally, all you do with this recipe is blend all the ingredients together and mix in a blender, either regular or immersion.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Magazines in May: Chicken Waldorf Salad

Happy Friday, everyone!  By the time you read this, I'll be back in North Carolina.  Not to stay, don't worry.  My sister is graduating from college today, so I'm back in Raleigh for the festivities.  

Katie (who is 7 years younger than me) is graduating with a degree in Urban Planning, and she's also going to grad school for an MBA.  

I thought I had mentioned that our aunt used to buy us matching outfits when we were younger, but when I went back and looked, it turns out I never mentioned it in my posts.

But it happened.

Oh yes.  It happened.

My favorite part of that last picture is my white. . .sweat socks?. . .pulled halfway up my calves.  You can't see them, but I'm wearing those with little white sandals.  Because why wouldn't I be?

So now Katie's going on to be a productive member of society, and I'm feeling super, super old.

This recipe is for Chicken Waldorf Salad, which sounds like something old people would eat.  To be completely honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this salad, but that may have something to do with the fact that I used canned chicken instead of chicken off a rotisserie.  I don't know.

The salad recipe came from Bon Appetit, in their Readers' Favorite Restaurant Recipes column, and it is apparently from a restaurant that, before it closed, was in Scottsdale, AZ, called Crew.

Give it a shot and tell me me what you think!

Chicken Waldorf Salad
Serves 4
From Bon Appetit -- December 2007


1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup apple juice
1/4 mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

2 cans chicken
1 1/2 cups diced, cored Granny Smith Apples
1 1/2 cups halved seedless red grapes
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup walnuts
1 bag salad mix

To make the dressing:

Put pineapple and apple juice into a medium saucepan.  Boil until the mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

Whisk mayo, honey, mustard, and turmeric in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk in the juice mixture, and then the oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the salad:

Mix chicken, apples, grapes, celery, onion, and walnuts in a large bowl.  Add the dressing; toss to coat.

Add the lettuce.  Toss again to coat.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Magazines in May: Farmers' Market Squash Saute

My second Magazines in May offering was one that, for whatever reason, I kept putting off making.  I had all the ingredients sitting there. . .and sitting there. . .and sitting there.  Then the basil plant I bought for this and other recipes was knocked off the ledge on the porch and I didn't realize it until days later when it was all dirty and smooshed.

And then the remaining ingredients sat.  And sat.  And sat.

And then I did the prep for this recipe, sliced the squash and zucchini and. . .stuck it in the fridge.  Where it sat.  And sat.  And sat.

All of that to say, if you look at the picture of the ingredients and see that the squash looks dried out and frozen simultaneously. . .that's because it was.  I picked out the pieces of the squash that were edible, but there you go.

Also along the way, this became a Big Recipe Change recipe.  It's the same basic idea as the original, but I put in kale instead of basil, and instead of that canned Parmesan, I used fresh cheese.  I think it makes all the difference.  I also added oregano, and it really brought out the flavor.

Finally, if you've ever wondered exactly why hot olive oil freaks me out, it's because it pops when some things (for instance, partially frozen squash) touches it.  And this happens:

Those spots are hot olive oil.

Farmers' Market Squash Saute
Makes 4 servings
Inspired by Food & Family -- Summer 2008


2 zucchini, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
2 cups kale, torn
3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. oregano

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat.  Saute zucchini and squash in pan for 3 minutes.  

Add garlic, oregano, and kale.  Cook for 3 more minutes.

(Whoops!  Runaway squash!)

Remove from heat; stir in both cheeses.  Serve warm.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Magazines in May: Mexican Sangria

Happy Cinco de Mayo and happy first day of the Sarah Cooks the Books Magazines in May and, most importantly, happy birthday to Zelda!  CatFace is 2 years old today, and we're going to celebrate with a little Mexican Sangria.

A little more about my Magazines in May project. . .I have, no exaggeration, hundreds of recipes I've ripped out of magazines over the years, and I very rarely go through the archives looking for new stuff to make.  Throughout the month of May, I'll be sharing 12 recipes I've pulled out of various magazines throughout the years, and,where I can, I'll let you know which magazine and from which month and date they came.  (Some of the shorter recipes, I trimmed down, it's difficult to know exactly when I got them.)

This sangria is much lighter than a typical sangria -- there aren't tons of fruit chunks floating in it, and the use of alcohol is surprisingly low-key, as red wine is the only alcohol in it.  When I made this recipe, I cut it in half, but I'll give you the full recipe below.  You'll be able to see from the pictures how much a half recipe is, and you can judge for yourself if you want the full enchilada or not.

I really loved this drink. It wasn't overpowering and it was really refreshing on some super hot days we had here recently.

Mexican Sangria
From Southern Living Magazine -- April 2012
Full recipe makes about 1 1/2 gallons


3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups lime juice (fresh is best, but bottled is fine)
12 cups water
1 1-liter bottle sparkling water
1 bottle red wine (I used Shiraz.)
Limes and oranges (optional, for garnish)

Stir together the sugar and lime juice in a large punch bowl until the sugar is dissolved.

Stir in the waters, both regular and sparkling, and the wine.

If using, slice the limes and oranges and float on top of the bowl.  I stored the extra sangria in a pitcher in the fridge, and left the fruit slices in it. It gave it a really nice flavor for subsequent drinks.  Serve over ice.

Yes, kitten, you are expected to share.  Don't give me that look.

Go home, kitten.  You're drunk.