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June Round-Up

So, there was not a lot of cooking going on in the month of June.  However, I have a plan for the month of July that I hope will work better than the one for June.

I’ve come up with a total of 8 recipes: 4 baking and 4 cooking.  I have the intention of baking one thing and cooking one thing each week.

Here’s what I’m cooking:

  • Shells with Fresh Tomato-Tarragon Sauce, from the July/August issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine
  • Farro Spaghetti, from the July/August issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine
  • Sausage with Garlic Lentils, from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book
  • Cold Chicken Satay Noodles, from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book

And here are my baking plans:

  • Simple Vanilla Cupcakes, from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Peanut Butter Birthday Cake, from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats, from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Cookie Cheesecake Bars, from The Better Crocker Baking Magazine

Clearly, I’m inspired by Joy the Baker and Rachael Ray this month, but that’s okay with me.

Now, onto something important.  I’ve been thinking about the twice-a-week posting schedule.  I like it, and since I’ll be making a couple things a week, I’m going to stick with that.  However, posts may be on the Monday/Friday schedule, but they might not be.  I’ll be blogging twice a week, I just don’t know which days.  The Monday/Friday thing isn’t working too well for me, so I want to see how a much more flexible posting schedule works out.  I’ll actually have 3 posts this week: this one, plus two others, so I’ll be back with something yummy to share!


Beef With Beer

Getting bored with the food at home I decided to make Beef With Beer on top of Mustard Mashed Potatoes.  I found the recipe in Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book.

Beefless Tips, Carrots, Flour, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Rosemary, Vegetable Broth, Tomato Paste and Garlic

Technically, though, it’s not really Beef With Beer since there’s no actual beer in the food.  One, we don’t have beer, and two, I’m not a big fan of beer.  Instead of beer and beef stock, I used vegetable broth.  I left out the onion, and used 2 carrots instead of one.  I also used dried rosemary instead of fresh rosemary, because that’s what I had on hand.

It’s getting cold again, and it seemed like it was time to start making soups and stews.  I would never think of putting beef stew over mashed potatoes, but it is a pretty good idea!

Other than chopping the carrots and browning the “meat,” I didn’t have to do much, since it spent most of the time in the oven.  I thought that was a little odd, but I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve made from Rachael Ray’s cookbooks, so I decided to just go with it.

I had 2 helpings of it, and the 2nd helping had more of a wine taste to it, which was really interesting and unexpected.

I love being in the kitchen and I can’t wait to get cooking again!

Veggie Lo Mein + Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday, I made some dinner and a dessert.  Dessert goes to anyone who can figure out what the dessert is.

First off, I made Veggie Lo Mein, found on page 91 of Veggie Meals by Rachael Ray.

The ingredients are pictured below.

Veggie Lo Mein Ingredients

Any Adaptations?  Yes!  I left out the scallions, red bell pepper, fresh ginger and sesame oil.  I didn’t have any of those ingredients, so I left them out.  I wouldn’t have used the red pepper, because I’m not a fan of peppers.  I used angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti, and crushed garlic instead of minced.  I could have sworn I had spaghetti, but nope.  No such luck.  I added in some broccoli, and kept the peas.  And I used regular soy sauce instead of Tamari.  Even though Tamari is a kind of soy sauce.  So…my version only slightly resembles the original, but it still turned out pretty good.

It was really easy to make, and I’ll definitely make it again.  Hopefully, I’ll have more of the actual ingredients next time.  The thing I love about Rachael Ray is that it’s super easy to change things if you need to.  The finished dish is pictured below.

Veggie Lo Mein

Dessert’s next on the menu, and I made Chocolate Chip Cookies.  It’s in Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Page 68).  The ingredients are below.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients

Any adaptations?  Yes.  I used mini chocolate chips instead of the 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate Greenspan recommended.  I only used the mini chocolate chips because they were the only ones I had.  I also left out the walnuts or pecans, because nuts don’t belong in chocolate chip cookies.

They were easy to make, because they’re chocolate chip cookies.  Mine turned out a lot darker (and more flat) then I expected, but that’s probably because I didn’t pay too much attention to the form of the cookies when I put the dough on the cookie sheet.  I think I’d make them again (and add them to my ever growing list of chocolate chip cookie recipes).  The cookies are pictured below.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

That’s it for today, and have a great weekend!

Mexican Rice Bowl

Last night, I did a little bit of cooking.  One of my favorite times to cook is in the middle of the night, but as far as food photography goes, not a very good time to take pictures.  I have no idea where my camera went, hence the reason why there is no picture.  And it didn’t even occur to me to take a picture until afterwards.  But from now on, I’ll make sure I get at least one picture, I promise! 

Recipe: Mexican Rice Bowl, which is in Rachael Ray’s All-Occasion Cookbook. 


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 3/4 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
  • sald and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Sazon seasoning blend by Goya
  • 1/2 cup tomato salsa or taco sauce
  • 1/4 cup drained chopped olives and pimentos
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely

Any Adaptations?: Yes- I used Gardein’s Chicken Tenders (a vegetarian alternate to chicken…from actual chickens) and vegetable broth in place of chicken and chicken broth. 

My Thoughts On The Recipe: I’ve made this recipe before, but it’s been a long time.  This is one of favorites, but this might have been my first time using salsa.  I’ll definitely be making it again.  It was really easy to make, which is fairly typical of Rachael Ray.     

A not-so-quick note about posting recipes: if it’s from a cookbook, I’ll list the ingredients, and talk about any changes I made to the recipe, but I won’t post the recipe itself.  It’s for a couple reasons. 

  1. I don’t want to spend the time typing up a recipe when it’s more about the experience of cooking.  I’m trying to become better at cooking, which requires me to cook.  It’s more about how easy I thought the recipe was to make, and the technique than the actual recipe. 
  2. It’s a copyright issue.  If I am understanding the U.S. Copyright Office correctly, you can post ingredients, but not the recipe itself.  Besides, it’s not my recipe, and I’m not comfortable just posting it.  And I definitely want to encourage everyone to check out the cookbook, which I’ll mention with every recipe.     

As for food blogs…read the above statements, because I’ll be following those self-imposed guidelines.  I’m not sure if adaptations of recipes are included, but to be on the safe side…I won’t post the recipe even if I do adapt it.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and having fun in the kitchen folks.