Thursday, September 16, 2010

Maybe Not Gourmet, But...

So, if you read my blog, then you know that I am by no means a "Gourmet Chef."  I don't know that you can even use the word "chef" to describe me.  I read lots of food blogs and see amazing meals and recipes.  Sometimes, I am just in awe of what some people can create in their home kitchens. I am in awe that there are people out there with full-time jobs that have TIME to create such amazing dishes. 

I was thinking about all my years of watching the Food Network and trying to decide who my favorite FN chefs are. 

There's Ina Garten.  She's who I would aspire to be if I didn't have to work.  She grows so much of her food herself.  I love when she says, "I'll just grab a handful of basil," and she turns to her amazing basil plant that somehow grows big and bushy in her kitchen. 

I love Giada de Laurentiis.  Italian is one of my favorite cuisines.  I don't know how she stays so thin, cooking the way she does.  I have two of her cookbooks and I can always count on her when I need a good dinner recipe. 

And another one of my favorites is Sandra Lee.  I started watcing her several years ago when she was doing the show "Semi-Homemade."  For those of you who haven't seen that show, Sandra makes recipes are are 70% store-bought with 30% fresh ingredients and creative touches.  The first time I saw that show, I was like, "Whoa.  This is REAL."  So many moms and dads are looking for a way to serve tasty meals to their family, while avoiding the frozen dinner section of the grocery store. 

So, in honor of Sandra, tonight's dinner was:

 "Cheesy Ravioli and Semi-Homemade Sauce."

I started with some extra vergin olive oil.  I heated about a tablespoon in a saucepan.  Then I added about 1/2 cup of chopped yellow onions, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 2 tbsp of chopped fresh basil.  Whe the onions were soft and the kitchen was smelling AMAZING, I added a can of petite diced tomatoes.  Finally, I added a jar of spaghetti sauce.  My spaghetti sauce was a sauteed garlic-and-onion-flavored sauce.  However, by adding in some fresh sauteed garlic and onion, it made the flavor much more bold.  It tasted REAL.  Does that make sense?  I let it all come to a boil and then simmered for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, I heated some water in anoher pot and added in my ravioli.  Remember my trips to Earth Fare last week?  Well,this was my free low-fat cheese ravioli. 

Free Ravioli!
120 Calories-- not bad!  Even if you eat 2 servings-- 6 ravioli-- not bad at all!
I'll admit, I was skeptical.  Sometimes low fat cheesy anything equals yuck.  However, Penne Lane proved me wrong!  This ravioli was tender and so tasty!  I definitely recommend it and will buy it sometime!  Thank you Earth Fare for the FREE ravioli!  When everything was finished, I topped it with a little Parm and voila!  Yummmmmm!  So tasty!

Finished product

I mean, it WAS an Italian meal... you have to have wine!
As for the rest of the day, it was great!  I didn't have time to make my lunch this morning, so I took a chance on the school cafeteria.  And it paid off!  I had a very tasty wrap today with Baked! Lays and a fresh peach.  (I brought the peach from home.)  The best thing about the wrap was the pickles!  I LOVE pickles.  I am going to give my school cafeteria manager two thumbs up tomorrow and also ask her about the calories.

Yummy cafeteria wrap!

See those pickles in there?  Love it!
I went to a Palmetto Reading Council Meeting today after school, which was great!  I was kind of dreading going to a meeting after school, but I am so glad I went!  I won a bag of coffee, and I learned things about Google that I never knew!  AND, there was popcorn and chocolate.  What a great combo...

Free coffee!  Yay!
 Finally, I have to thank Ryan for the 2 hours of peace and quiet this evening.  It was wonderful!!!

A funny thing happened as I was writing this post.  I was wearing one of my grandmother's old aprons when I was cooking tonight.  It's one my sisters and I used to dress in when we were playing house when we were young spending time at our grandparents' house in Philadelphia.  Well, I haven't worn this apron since I brought it home to live with me in South Carolina.  As I was typing, I got up to let the dog out and reached into the pocket.  And here's what I pulled out... wonder whose ticket this was? 

Just a little preview... tomorrow we are having one of my favorite fall crock pot meals...


  1. From our one-day trip to NYC? I'm ready to go back! I don't know if the first one counts if I don't remember it all and was really young, right? But I do remember seeing the twin towers when we were in the Empire State Building, so that will always be a special moment. And a comment on your food post? Yum!

  2. Yeah, I don't know what the ticket was from! Mom said they used to go all the time, but surely that apron got washed from the time she was a child until now. I wondered if it could be from our one-day trip. But still... how did it get in the apron???

  3. Did you see Ina's coming out with a new cookbook? I want her kitchen in a bad way. Giada is also a favorite. Even Tim likes watching her. Gee, I wonder why? He just really, really loves pasta!

    I always get a kick out of Sandra cooking in the shirts with the billowy sleeves. And her cocktails crack me up! Did you ever see her Kwanzaa cake?
    I can't wait to see what you did in the crock pot. I did lasagna in mine for the first time last night, and it was really good.


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