Sunday, March 15, 2009


My mom got me a beautiful red KitchenAid for my birthday (okay, Mark picked it out, but still). We have debated getting one for a while. I couldn't figure out why anyone would pay so much for a mixer and a bowl when you can get that for like 20 bucks. So we informally interviewed about 18 owners of KitchenAids and all 18 said it's totally worth it. So, we debated some more and now we have one! Ohmigoodness, the power! The ease! We got it Monday and we've used it at least 5 times so far. We LOVE it.

Here is what we've made so far:

Homemade breadsticks (absolutely delicious!)
Chocolate chocolate chip and cinnamon chip cookies
Flan (yep, why not use the whisking attachment, too?)
Homemade Orange Rolls (wowzers!)

And it doesn't stop there! We're having so much fun in the kitchen (we really do like to cook and eat) and I recently read an inspiring post on a blog (here's a little shout out for Lena--thanks!) all about meal planning. The simple aspect that inspired me was the part about choosing a bunch of meals and simply shopping for them so you have the stuff on hand (we can get pretty buy-as-we-need-it with a 24-hour grocery store literally across the street). Well, we combined this with the fact that we all love to try new foods, so we've done the same basic thing with a twist.

As a family, we got on (my FAVORITE online recipe site with all of its reviews and ratings and suggestions) and together chose 20 new-to-us recipes (well, with some of our favorites thrown in, too) that simply look good to us. We chose sides to go with them all and Mark took the kids shopping while I got some work done. We have all the ingredients on hand and a wonderful list of meals on the fridge for us to cook and enjoy over the next month or so. YUM! Wanna hear some? No? Well, too bad. Here's the list. Lena inspired me and I want to share:

Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, coconut rice, and a green salad with mango, avocado, and fresh red grapefruit (that we brought from Florida) This was sooooooooooo good and such a big hit with everyone--it has definitely been added to our list of favorite recipes, no question.

Garlic-Lemon Double Stuffed Chicken
, oven-baked potatoes, and Caesar salad This was very good and on the rich and filling side.

Clam Chowder (the secret? Add a splash of red wine vinegar before serving--YUM!) with Mini ham and cheese rolls and salad We make whatever creamy clam chowder recipe we like and add a bit of red wine vinegar before serving--wow, what a difference a splash makes!

Twice-cooked Coconut Shrimp, sticky rice with mixed veggies This one didn't turn out so well. We might try a different recipe. Or not. This one was a mess.

Thai chicken salad with grilled Na'an bread This chicken wasn't very flavorful, but our recipe for grilled Na'an bread is one of THE most requested recipes from our friends. We discovered it when we made it with afghani chicken kebobs (also very good) for our book club when we read The Kite Runner and it has been a HUGE hit ever since!

Awesome honey pecan pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans These were good but VERY sweet, almost candied . . . but very tasty (I'd tone down the sweet next time).

Mexican baked fish with beans and rice, salad, tortillas, and virgin lime margaritas Omigosh, SO good. Everyone loved it. YUM!

Our VERY loaded lasagna (our recipe) with salad and homemade garlic bread. We basically load up our lasagna with lots of meats (ground turkey, Italian sausage), cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, etc.) and veggies (mushrooms, green peppers, olives, tomatoes, onions) and we mix some silken tofu (for health) and spinach in with the ricotta. It's a very FULL recipe and very delicious! And our homemade bread turned out PHENOMENAL. I'm seriously so proud of us for making bread that both looks and tastes so professional!

Grilled teriyaki salmon with brown rice and mixed vegetables (our recipe) This is a regular meal for us--it's pretty simple . . . grill salmon with teriyaki sauce on it, that's it! The kids LOVE it.

Rotisserie ribs with spruced up mashed potatoes and creamed spinach (using our half-a-farm-raised-hog for these pork recipes) We use the Boston Market recipe for the spinach (a favorite with our kids).

Breakfast pizza with fruit salad (We're not big on breakfast for dinner (brinner), but we'll try this) This was okay, don't know that we'd do it again.

Tex Mex corn chowder with salad Delicious!! SO delicious! And spicy. Very, very good. A very pleasant surprise. Everyone likes this recipe.

Seared tuna with wasabi butter sauce, roasted potatoes, and sesame green beans (Thing 2's favorite way to eat green beans)

Creamy chicken enchiladas (our recipe) with corn and beans (we have garden corn in the freezer and we're making room for this year's crop) This is a favorite standard recipe of ours--also very simple and delicious--you pretty much mix your chicken with cream cheese and roll them in whatever sauce you please (we like green sauces).

Tacos with refried beans It's tacos. It's simple.

St. Patrick's Day Surprise (Mark's got something up his sleeve for this) -- we also eat out at a local Irish Chippy for their Irish breakfast that they serve on St. Paddy's Day Words can not begin to express the DIVINE taste of this meal. I think I Mmmmmed and Ohhhhhed throughout the entire meal. It was PHENOMENAL. And phenomenal doesn't begin to do it justice. Oh. My. Gosh. So good. So incredibly good.

Hot and Spicy Tofu
with rice noodles and salad We LOVE this recipe--BIG hit at our house! Very different, mixes up the mundane nicely, tastes like something out of an Asian restaurant. In a very good way. Yum!

Carne de Porco Alantejano (Portuguese pork cubes with potatoes and little neck clams) with grapefruit-avocado-red onion salad (Mark is the MASTER at this recipe--it's a lot of work and no one can touch what he does with it. It's amazing! He really is the BEST Portuguese cook in the family when it comes to pork). This is Mark's favorite food. We're waiting to do this when Peter comes next week.

Chicken and shrimp kebobs with garlic angel hair, salad, and butternut squash This is the only other meal (along with the one right above this one) that we haven't made yet but it's pretty straight forward.

Grilled tips/chicken with baked sweet potato and green beans We're trying to eat sweet potatoes more--I don't know why we haven't been. They're Awesome! Think Outback stuffed. Yum.

And we're baking all kinds of breads to go along with the meals. YUM. Ah, cooking is fun. And it's nice to be stocked with groceries and good recipes. Weeha. We're on a kick and I can see this one lasting. :)


Lena said...

Looks yummy! I'm glad I inspired you and love that you posted your fabuous list too. I love an too. I love my Kitchenaid but would replace it with a Bosch in no time if I could simply for the bread making capabilities. I can get a couple of big loaves out of my mixer but my friend does 7 at a time with her Bosch. Great at the rate we go through bread here! I may have to try out some of those recipes. You'll have to critique them and let us know how they turned out.

Swawaeve said...

Sounds like fun! I love our Kitchen Aid.

emily said...

OH MAN, I am so jealous. I want one so bad!

Jagged Rocks said...

I am with Emily, I would love a Kitchenaid mixer, my grandma has one that is older then I am. A website that I love for recipes is

Robynne said...

I *love* our kitchen-aid, I'm glad you're liking yours as well! And those recipes sound DELICIOUS, too bad I don't live closer to sample... ;p

Lindsay said...

Im so glad you did it! I haven't used mine very much lately, but I love it! It is my "go to" machine. I swear, I have hardly cooked since getting preggers!

Jillo said...

Hooray! You will love it. I have one and I am glad for it. And the wire whisk makes killer chocolate pudding. =)
congrats on the new member of your family.

Boquinha said...

Lena, you totally, TOTALLY did and I thank you very much for it! I think I may follow up on these recipes and critique them because so far, MAN OH MAN, are they good!! (And easy!)

Sierra, your mom is one of the ones we've interviewed. :P

Emily, forget J. Crew! :P Put it on your wish list--it's awesome. You bake enough to make it worth it!

Kim, I've heard they last forever. That's good to hear!

Robynne, I heard a little rumor about you moving somewhat closer . . . is it true?

Lindsay, I had no idea how much we'd love this thing. We're so making our own bread much, much more now!

Jill, thanks for the whisk tip! ;) Sounds good to me. And thank you! :)

J Fo said...

I've told Greg that if I had really cute appliances like that I would probably cook more. He doesn't agree, but how would he know until we try? And it's super cute! I want an orange one!

Boquinha said...

I was worried that our use wouldn't justify it, but it does! We're baking fools!! Orange, eh? I don't think I've seen them in orange! Sounds kind of cool.