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Monday, October 10, 2016

Kale Artichoke Dip

Finally!!  It is starting to feel a bit like Fall here in the deep South!  Fall is such an inspiring time...especially for cooking.  Today I felt like Spinach Artichoke dip, but wanted to make it a little different.  I decided to try Kale instead of Spinach.  The result was delicious!

1 10 oz. bag Frozen Chopped Kale (thawed)
1/2 cup Whole Milk (more if you want it creamier)
2 cups Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 jar Artichoke Hearts (chopped)
a generous sprinkling of Garlic Powder
a sprinkling of Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2.  Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3.  Transfer to decorative oven-safe dish.
4.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly.
5.  Serve with your choice of chips.
(if you want to make it a little less healthy and a little more delectable, you could add butter!)

This mixture of flavors would also be delicious in pasta shells, topped with Marinara or Arrabiata Sauce.  That is how I will serve it next time...and I'll let you know how it goes.  I'll probably go with homemade Arrabiatta, just because its fancier and more delicious!  Haha!  Happy Fall, all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Are you thinking. "what in the world is Pasticcio?"  It is Greek lasagna.  Pasticcio consists of three separate layers that blend together to make a lovely flavor.  On the bottom, you have ziti noodles.  The middle layer is a mix of meat, vegetables and spices (including cinnamon, of all things) that give this dish a very interesting flavor.  The top is a soft and creamy Bechamel Sauce.  This sauce is prepared carefully, by adding flour, warm cream and cheese to melted butter in a sauce pan.  The result is a thick, creamy and lovely layer to top off this interesting dish.

I have not been in much of a cooking mood lately.  I'm in the third trimester of pregnancy and it has been tough.  However, we had several friends over the other night and I made Pasticcio.  I always get excited about cooking this Greek dish.

Here is the recipe I always use:

Try it soon!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Hollars and My Claim to Fame

So what happens after you live in a beloved neighborhood and home for four years, bring both your babies home from the hospital to this home, and make a thousand great memories there?  I'll tell you what happened to me.  John Krasinski (yes, Jim from The Office), decided to direct a movie in my neighborhood....and wait for it....some scenes in my beloved house!  You may have heard of The Hollars.  It premiered at Sundance last Spring and is now coming out for the masses.  Take a look at the preview!


The house with the red front door was mine.

It was probably a week after we had moved out and headed to Birmingham, AL for my husband's medical fellowships.  My former neighbor called and, knowing what a celebrity-stalker I am, said "Lauren, you're not going to believe this!  A guy with the movie (because by that time, we knew that a movie was to be filmed in Fondren) was just in your driveway asking to speak to the owner of the house."  Well, as you can imagine, I had very mixed feelings.  I was so excited!...But also a little sick because we had JUST left.  We wouldn't be there to experience all the hoopla.  However, I made up my mind right then that I would go back for filming.

The "redecorated for the movie" inside of my ex-house.

What was the master bedroom had been transformed into two little girls' room.  It was so strange to walk in and see my bedroom painted pink.  I sat in my old next-door neighbors' front yard all night long watching them film a scene where Sharlto Copley crawled through the window of this room.  I guess we'll have to see the movie to understand why.  But I watched him do it over and over and over.  I hadn't realized how long it takes to film one scene for a movie.  It took almost all night to perfect the window sneak-in.  He also climbed over our ex-fence and on top of our ex-recycling bins.  Very interesting.

When I went back to Jackson to ogle the moviemakers, I stayed with my next-door neighbor.  The night before filming at my house, this letter was taped to her front door.  I was so excited to see it!!

with Emily Blunt, Sharlto Copley and Ashley Dyke.  Emily Blunt is not in the movie.  She was there because she is married to John Krasinski.  Charlie Day actually took this picture.  But I didn't know who he was because I haven't seen Horrible Bosses.  Apparently he's a big deal too.  Oh well!  

And a few more shots of my old house with a movie being filmed inside of it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Homemade Green Tea Ice Cream

Welcome to the first blog post since our big move!  We moved from Birmingham, AL to Tupelo, MS for my husband's job.  We are originally from this area of the world, so we came to a very familiar place.  

As you know well, this time of year is brutal, as in HOT!  Especially in North Mississippi!  Especially for a pregnant lady!!  So what do you do?  You make lots of homemade ice cream. We have been doing a recipe for chocolate ice cream that I found on Pinterest.  Tonight, I got creative with Matcha and tweaked the recipe to make Green Tea Ice Cream.  It turned out delicious!

An old school ice cream freezer that came from my husband's grandmother's house, and our new dog, Lucy in the window.

All done!  And here's the recipe:

Homemade Green Tea
Ice Cream

8 cups 2% White Milk
1 container Cool Whip
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 heaping tablespoons Jade Leaf Matcha
(Rock Salt and Ice for the sides of the ice cream freezer)
Mix all ingredients in the ice cream holder and set to spin for about 30-35 minutes, or until done.

This recipe is so simple!  I mean only 4 ingredients!  I served it in ice cream bowls, topped with honey drizzle.  You could also top ripe fresh peach halves with it and finish it off with a drizzle of honey.  Do whatever suits your fancy!  Just try this recipe soon, when you need refreshment on a hot day!

To order your own bag of Matcha, go check out my friends at Jade Leaf Matcha!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The 1cookingchick Signature Salad!

So I threw together this salad the other night for some friends.  The flavor combo turned out rather delicious!  I always feel that a salad should be the perfect blend of savory/garlicky/sweet.  That is what I was going for when I tossed these ingredients together.  The garlic is in the dressing, there is perfect saltiness from the bacon, and fresh grapes add the perfect amount of sweetness.  Buttery, toasted almonds and creamy goat cheese bring a richness to the flavor that blends nicely with the fresh elements.  My friends literally cleaned the bowl!  Right there and then, I decided to make this my signature salad.  

The 1cookingchick
Signature Salad

A large bowlful of Fresh Kale 
about 1 cup halved Red Grapes
4 strips Cooked Bacon (crumbled)
4 oz. crumbled Goat Cheese
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds
1 Tbsp Butter
Garlic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1.  Go ahead and mix up the dressing.  Thoroughly wash the kale and tear into bite-sized pieces.  Place kale in the salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.  (Do this early because it allows the flavors to blend and the kale, which can be tough, to soften and soak up the vinaigrette).
2.  Melt the butter in a pan over Medium-Low heat.  Toast the almonds just until warmed and starting to brown (maybe about 10-15 minutes).  Watch it and don't let it burn!
3.  Add the grapes, bacon, goat cheese and toasted almonds to the kale in the bowl and toss together.  
4.  Serve and enjoy!

Garlic Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 and 1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
the juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1 clove minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
-Blend all ingredients in a measuring cup.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bifteki Meatballs with Dill Tzatziki

Greek-themed food is my favorite thing right now!  It is the pregnancy craving of the moment.  If it has feta cheese in it, I'm there!  Tzatziki sauce, kalamatas...even better!!  Bifteki is a Greek food I have made several times before.  It is, by definition, simply a Greek stuffed hamburger.  You really can't go wrong with that type of dish!  It would be hard not to please anyone with cheese-stuffed beef.  

Tonight, I decided to change up the recipe a bit.  Instead of doing the larger Biftekis as usual, I cooked a more fun, bite-sized version of this Greek favorite.  Here is what I came up with:

Bifteki Meatballs

1 lb.Ground Beef
1 container Feta Cheese
1 Egg
1/2 cup Plain Bread Crumbs
1 clove minced Garlic
1 Tbsp chopped Fresh Dill
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Mix all ingredients with your hand in a large mixing bowl.
3.  Line a sided roasting pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4.  Form meatballs (about golf ball size) out of the mixture and place onto the pan.
5.  Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes and serve hot.

Dill Tzatziki Recipe
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cucumber (peeled)
1 clove Garlic
about 1 Tbsp Fresh Dill
1.  In a food processor, blend the cucumber, garlic and dill until just ground up.  
2.  Blot mixture with a paper towel to soak in excess moisture.
3.  In a decorative bowl, combine the yogurt with the cucumber mixture and serve.

I served mine with toasted naan and very ripe tomato slices.  Not pictured: sautéed whole okra from the farmer's market.  This meal was the essence of summer!  

I know what its like to have just no ideas for what to cook for dinner on a weeknight.  It still happens to me frequently, and I write a food blog! Ha! This whole meal was pretty simple to throw together.  Try it out soon on your family and see if you can't please even the pickiest palates!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ATTENTION: Matcha Giveaway!!!

I always enjoy drinking and/or baking with Matcha Green Tea Powder.  There are so many things you can do with it.  The next project I plan to do is Green Tea Ice Cream!  Yum!
Jade Leaf Matcha and I have decided to give two of my readers a chance to get adventurous too.  Starting June 23 and ending June 29, I will be running a giveaway.  Two lucky readers will get a free 30g bag of the Premium Culinary Grade Matcha from Jade Leaf Matcha!!  Can't complain about that, huh?  

Here are just a few great Matcha recipes I have done on the blog before:

Matcha Muffins

Matcha Breakfast Loaf

 Frozen Matcha Smoothies

So if you've been reading about my adventures with the Green Stuff and have been interested, but haven't taken the plunge....Now is your chance!   How about having your own adventure?  You have seven days to enter, so don't miss out!  Click on the "Giveaway" tab on my Facebook page to enter the contest!

or here: