Monday, October 31, 2011

Pork Chops and Apples

We tried these recipes the other day. The pork chops ended up delicious (and they made the apartment smell amazing, while they were baking)! The roasted garlic cauliflower was a bit of a disappointment. Jeremy doesn't like cauliflower, so it was just for me. The original recipe called for, what I believe to be, too much garlic. The cauliflower wasn't bad, but it just wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. I'm going to try it again, tweaking the recipe (even more than I already did below), to give it another chance. I might try to incorporate bread crumbs, or even try it with broccoli... we'll see. Also, I'll try to remember to take pictures of the things I make more often...

Pork Chops and Apples
Adapted from

4 boneless pork chops
4 apples thinly sliced (and peeled, if desired)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbspn flour
1/4 - 1/2 tsp garlic pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

  1. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Slice apples (peel, if desired).
  3. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the sliced apples and pour into a baking dish.
  4. Mix together the flour and garlic pepper.
  5. Dust the pork chops with the flour mixture and place on top of the apples.
  6. Bake at 425ºF for about 50 minutes. The pork chops come out golden brown and moist.
Adapted from

(original recipe yields 6 servings - this one is adapted for 3 servings)

1-2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 large head cauliflower, separated into florets
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Grease a large casserole dish.
  2. Place the olive oil and garlic in a large resealable bag. Add cauliflower, and shake to mix. Pour into the prepared casserole dish (salt and pepper to taste).
  3. Bake (covered) for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alfredo Florentine Lasagna

Bertolli Recipe
I came across a recipe for Alfredo Florentine Lasagna. I don't really like lasagna (partially because I don't like ricotta cheese), but the picture just looked so delicious. So, we replaced the ricotta cheese in the recipe with a combination of mascarpone cheese and shredded mozzarella. My mom, sister, husband, and I all really enjoyed it, and will try it again.

Alfredo Florentine Lasagna
Adapted from Bertolli

15 ounces cheese (combination of mascarpone and shredded mozzarella), stirred together
1 egg
1 package (10-12 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 jar Bertolli Alfredo Sauce
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
mozzarella cheese (shredded or thinly sliced fresh) - the recipe calls for 1 pound fresh mozzarella, but we used much less shredded mozzarella... use as much as you want

  1. Cook 12 lasagna noodles in large pot, drain, lay flat on baking sheet to keep the noodles straight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  3. Combine the mascarpone and shredded mozzarella cheese combination, egg, and spinach.
  4. Spread 1/4 cup sauce in 13x9-inch baking dish.
  5. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles, then top with half the cheese mixture, 1/4 cup sauce, and some mozzarella cheese.
  6. Repeat layers, ending with noodles.
  7. Top with remaining sauce.
  8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes.
  9. Remove foil; top with more mozzarella (if desired).
  10. Bake 10 minutes more (uncovered) or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
  11. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. (Serves 8)
  12. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Second Anniversary

© 2011 Jamie Valendy.
Two years ago, I married my best friend. Jeremy continues to be the most patient, loving, and caring husband I could ever imagine. I am truly blessed to have him by my side.

This last year has been full of so many unexpected changes - me continuing to be on disability, him having several different jobs, me going through a trial and permanent implantation of a neurostimulator (I'm now Jeremy's "cyborg wife"), me deciding not to return to graduate school (at least not in the foreseeable future), us moving to Texas (for his new job), etc... I suppose we're still living out our "for sicker or poorer" part of the vows. But, God continues to be faithful, providing us with what we need. Our relationship looks different than many others, but it's right for us. Our love for one another and for God continues to grow stronger.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband. You are such a blessing, and I'm so grateful for having you in my life. I love you... you're my favorite!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turkey Porcupines

We tried this recipe, and it was pretty good. My grandma used to make something similar to this, but I don't have her recipe. So, we found one online, and gave it a try. We really enjoyed it, and will try it again.

Turkey Porcupines
Adapted from

1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  1. Combine rice and water in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 8-10 minutes (until rice is partially cooked). Drain if necessary. Set aside.
  2. In small saucepan, cook onion and garlic in butter, until tender. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  3. In large bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, partially cooked rice, onion and garlic, seasoned salt, and pepper. Mix together well (we used our hands). Shape into 16 meatballs.
  4. In large skillet (it may help to cook meatballs in two separate skillets, and then transfer into one and add tomato mixture), heat olive oil and add meatballs. Brown carefully, turning gently to cook evenly, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. In medium bowl, combine water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Sprinkle sugar and thyme over meatballs.
  7. Pour tomato mixture (from step 5) over meatballs.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes (until turkey is thoroughly cooked and rice is tender), stirring occasionally. Taste sauce and season, if desired.
  9. In small saucepan, prepare long grain white rice (not included in above listed ingredients).
  10. Serve meatball mixture over cooked rice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spinach Tomato Cheese Omelet

I've been enjoying this recipe a lot, lately. It's really easy to make, and it's delicious.

Spinach Tomato Cheese Omelet

© 2011 Jamie V.
2 eggs
fresh spinach
tomatoes (Campari), cut/chopped
bacon bits (optional)
cheese, shredded
seasoning (optional - salt, pepper, basil)

  1. Preheat skillet to medium heat.
  2. Break eggs into bowl. Beat with a fork.
  3. Stir in cut up spinach, chopped tomatoes, bacon bits, and seasoning (optional).
  4. Pour mixture into skillet, and top with shredded cheese.
  5. Cook, until eggs appear cooked (look dry) through most of the omelet.
  6. Fold omelet in half, and cook on each side, until done (1-2 minutes per side).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ground Turkey Stroganoff

We've tried this recipe twice, and it's great. The first time, we had it with egg noodles; and then we tried it with white rice. Both ways are delicious!

Ground Turkey Stroganoff
Adapted from and

Confabulation in the Kitchen
1 - 1.5 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion (or 1/2-1 tsp onion powder)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup milk
1 - 1.25 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute onions in oil for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add ground turkey to onion, and heat over medium-high heat until ground turkey is browned.
  4. Drain off fat (if needed).
  5. Add soup and milk.
  6. Cook uncovered over medium heat about 16-18 minutes (may take up to 20 minutes, if using only 1 pound of meat), stirring frequently.
  7. Add sour cream and heat through.
  8. Serve over egg noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes... OR, add fennel seed to the seasonings step, then serve over biscuits (for quick Biscuits & Gravy).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fruit Smoothies

We have the magic bullet, and we're having a great time making different smoothies in it.

Fruit Smoothie
Frozen fruit (we tend to use strawberries, cherries)
Fruit juice (we like pineapple, or orange-pineapple)
* Almond milk can be used in place of some or all of the fruit juice

  1. Place frozen fruit in blender (we use a magic bullet).
  2. Pour fruit juice over the frozen fruit (start by filling it up about three-quarters of the amount of space the frozen fruit takes up).
  3. Blend well. (if you open it and it seems too thick and/or it doesn't move at all when you tilt it, add more fruit juice and blend more)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Baked Rosemary Chicken With Tomatoes & Simmered Italian Rice

We've tried these recipes twice now, and they're delicious. The combination of the different seasonings was great. The dishes complimented each other very well. We actually didn't have any cheese, the first time, so we made the simmered Italian rice without any cheese... it was still great... We tried it with mozzerella cheese, the second time, and it was also good.

Baked Rosemary Chicken With Tomatoes
Adapted from

2-3 pounds skinned chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoon oil
3 large onions (or onion powder)
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 medium minced garlic cloves
1 cup chicken broth
28 ounce can tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)

- OR -

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions (we used frozen, and we might add even more next time - especially after the chicken has been taken out of the skillet)
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 to 2/3 cup chicken broth
14.5 ounce can tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Dust chicken pieces with flour and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet.
  4. Saute half of the onions, garlic, and rosemary.
  5. Add chicken pieces to skillet.
  6. Cook chicken pieces 4 minutes on each side, and then put in baking dish.
  7. Saute the remaining onions, garlic, and rosemary.
  8. Add tomatoes and broth to onions in skillet; cook 2 minutes.
  9. Pour liquid over chicken and bake 45 minutes, covered.
Adapted from

1-3/4 cups (14 ounces) chicken broth (can use any type of broth)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1-1/2 cups chopped (fresh or frozen) spinach
1/2 cup grated cheese (optional - parmesan, mozzerella)

  1. Heat the broth and Italian seasoning in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.\
  2. (If using frozen spinach, rinse first)
  3. Stir in spinach and rice.
  4. Reduce the heat to low.
  5. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  6. Stir in cheese. (we actually made it without any cheese, and it was great)
  7. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Flatbread Pizza

Jeremy and I love pizza! We enjoy trying different kinds of pizza crust, and combinations of toppings. We've recently been enjoying flatbread pizzas. Below is one of our favorite recipes.

Flatbread Pizza

© 2011 Jamie V.
flatbread pizza (we've enjoyed Flatout flatbread and Toufayan Bakeries whole-wheat flatbread)
pizza sauce (we use Boboli)
fresh spinach
fresh tomatoes (we like Campari tomatoes)
mozzerella cheese
olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Lightly brush oil onto both sides of the flatbread. Place on cookie sheet or stone, and bake for 4 minutes.
  3. Spread desired amount of pizza sauce. Top with spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.
  4. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and edges are golden brown.
  5. Slice, serve, and enjoy.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia & Oven-Roasted Red Potatoes

My husband and I enjoy going grocery shopping and cooking together. The problem is, though, that I often have trouble finding the energy to be able to do these things. But, we've been trying to eat better (partially because eating fresh foods limits the preservatives and potential for additives to be contributing to my pain) and try new recipes, so I thought maybe I'd share some of them here on my blog. We had parmesan-crusted tilapia with oven-roasted red potatoes and steamed (fresh) green beans. It was simply amazing! We'll definitely be repeating this meal!

Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia
Adapted from

3-4 tilapia fillets
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt, pepper, garlic powder
olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Thaw and wash tilapia fillets, if frozen. Pat dry on paper towels.
  3. Combine crumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder on a plate, mixing well.
  4. On a different plate, pour 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
  5. Working 1 at a time, place a fillet on the plate in the lemon juice, sprinkle with desired amount of salt (be careful about how much salt is in your parmesan, crumbs, and other seasonings), black pepper, and garlic powder (we actually just sprinkled garlic pepper salt seasoning on the fillets). Turn the fillet over in the lemon juice and sprinkle seasoning on the other side.
  6. Dredge fillet in the parmesan mixture, patting it all over to coat.
  7. Place in an oiled baking dish, repeat with remaining fillets.
  8. Sprinkle a little lemon juice over the fillets, and drizzle or spray them lightly with olive oil.
  9. Bake at 425ºF for 15-20 minutes (or until they easily flake with a fork and edges are browning - you can sprinkle some more parmesan on top, if desired.
Adapted from

1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
2 pounds red potatoes, halved
1/3 cup olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. In a large plastic bag, combine the soup mix, red potatoes, and olive oil. Close bag, and shake until potatoes are fully covered.
  3. Pour potatoes into a medium baking dish (we used an 8"x11.5" dish). Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.