Tuesday, November 22, 2011

mac & cheese soup

Total Time: 35 min Prep 15 min Cook 20 min Yield: 4 servings Level: Easy

Kosher salt
4 ounces elbow macaroni (1 cup of any high-surface area pasta)
Cooking spray
2 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette
Freshly ground pepper
3 shallots
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 3/4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups 2% milk
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook as the label directs; drain.

Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the tomato and baguette slices on it in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Bake until the bread is golden brown, about 7 minutes.

Mince the shallots, carrot and celery in a food processor. Mist a saucepan with cooking spray. Add the vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the milk, cheeses and macaroni and stir until the cheeses melt. Season with pepper. Top the toasts with tomatoes; serve on the soup.

Per serving: Calories 476; Fat 20 g (Saturated 12 g); Cholesterol 84 mg; Sodium 636 mg; Carbohydrate 46 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 27 g

* Jami's notes: I skipped the whole bread and tomatoes portion.  I figured we were having enough starch with the noodles and Brad and I aren't whole tomato fans.  I used onion flake and scallions due to no shallots in the pantry.  I used finely chopped broccoli in lieu of the celery.  I also shredded the carrot for a softer texture.

parmesan pea risotto

PointsPlus® Value: 10
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 18 min
Cooking Time: 25 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

For a perfect springtime dinner, pair our rich, creamy risotto with a tender green salad. Alternatively, a half portion makes a great side dish for lamb or chicken.

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium uncooked onion(s), chopped
2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
1 1/2 cup(s) uncooked arborio rice
5 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 leaf/leaves bay leaf
1 cup(s) frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup(s) parsley, fresh, chopped
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp light butter
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add rice and cook until translucent, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of broth and bay leaves and simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup (our risotto takes about 20 minutes to cook from the time the first liquid is added).

Remove bay leaves, fold in peas and cook until hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; fold in parsley, Parmesan cheese and margarine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon risotto into shallow bowls; serve hot. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.

* Jami's notes: I actually made this one pretty much according to the recipe.  I did use my onion flake as usual and parsley flake is fine.  I will have to disagree that it only takes 20 minutes.  But, I love risotto and totally think the wait is worth it.  I did top with some pancetta I had left over from something else for a salty crunch. *

kiawah weekend

What a great weekend!  Megan, Adi and friends had a wedding in Kiawah last weekend so Brad and I tagged along.  Since Brad passed all of his real estate appraiser tests, I treated him to a room in the Sanctuary and a round at the Ocean Course before the rest of the crew arrived. 

View of the sunset along the Intercoastal Waterway. 

Panoramic view from our first floor ocean front room at the Sanctuary

Thursday we had dinner at The Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course Clubhouse.  Brad had the swordfish.

I had the salmon.

And we shared some truffle mac & cheese.  Divine!

Sunset over the pool and ocean from our room. 

Cold and WINDY on the Ocean Course putting course.

The trees grow inland due to the relentless wind.  The pros are gonna have a tough time during the PGA Championship next August.  We have our passes for that already!

Coming up the back nine along the ocean. 

Brad had a great drive on 17.  You can see his ball between the hole and caddy.

Gator hiding from the cold wind. 

Great Blue Heron soaking up the sun.

Brad in trouble.  He had a hard time getting it out of there.

Ocean.  Just beautiful.

After that tough, cold round, we met my old co-worker Spencer in the Turtle Point Clubhouse for drinks.  Then, we had a yummy dinner at Virginia's on King downtown.  Shrimp and grits for Brad and fried catfish for me. 

Saturday we went to King Street Grille in Freshfields for lunch and then watched the game with the crew at our villa.  Then, they all headed out to Ingrid & Jonathan's wedding at Mingo Point. 

Adi & Megan

Hunt & John.  Lauren was a bridesmaid so she had already left. 

Trying to get a good Christmas card picture.  Not quite...

Still not right...

We had reservations at Al Di La for dinner but there was a horrible wreck on Bohicket and we couldn't get off the island.  So, we went to Rosebank Farms instead.  Fine by me.  I got to enjoy their Triple Chocolate Oatmeal Brownie so I was ok with that. 
John, Adi & Brad at the Sanctuary post-wedding.

Me, Lauren & Megan post-wedding at Sanctuary bar.

Lauren & John

Then, the real party got started at our villa.  'Icing' abounded.  It was all Brad's fault.

Probably the best one of the night.  Adi reached for a Tostito bag that Hunt had and found a Smirnoff Ice instead.  Ha.  He's a trooper!

Then, Megan and Hunt got iced.

Adi decided to finish Megan's for her.

Brad's was in a utensil drawer.

We found a German drinking songs CD in the villa and cranked that up.  The dancing was hysterical.

Late night, the guys decided to dance on the counters.  Children...

Group photo.  Love that Brad is 'chugging' the Pringles.  :)

Adi 'tebowing' after finishing his ice.  Good times. 

On Sunday, we went to Fat Hen for brunch and hit the outlet malls before taking the Filipovic's to the airport.  Sadly, we didn't buy any Chistmas presents, only things for ourselves. Oh well!

We had a great time!!  Can't wait to hang out more this weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Larry, you will be missed...

Lawrence Harry Munson, the voice of the Dawgs for 42 years, passed away yesterday.  For all Georgia fans, Larry's voice was that something special and so added to our football experiences.  Everyone has their favorite Larry moment - from 'Run Lindsay Run' to 'My God a Freshman' to 'Look at the Sugar Falling from the Sky' to 'There Goes Herschel' to 'We Stepped on Their Face with a Hob-Nailed Boot and Broke Their Nose.'  Here's a video of some of the best. 

I am not eloquent enough to pay tribute adequately but I think the following says it all...

From T Kyle King at DawgsSports:

"We are saddened by the loss, but we are thankful, this special week, for having had the privilege of hearing his words, and we look up to the shining canopy of Heaven as he leaps into the waiting arms of God, and we say: "There goes Munson . . . there goes Munson . . . there goes Munson . . .""

Two personal examples of his influence:

* My family owns a VHS copy of the 1980 National Championship season review.  It was narrated by Lewis Grizzard and includes many Larry calls - two DGD (damn good dawgs).  A few years ago, I had the AV team at the Sheraton Birmingham make ten copies on DVDs for my family.  I can promise they have all been watched numerous times.  That might not be the case if it weren't for Larry. 

* My uncle lived in Las Vegas for the majority of the 80s and 90s.  Being a dyed-in-the-wool UGA fan, he couldn't do without Larry.  Somehow, there was this 'hotline' that he called and had Larry virtually piped into his house every Saturday.  I'd say that was worth every penny. 

Now I am going to wipe my tears and go enjoy the "Best of Larry's Calls" I received for Christmas a few years ago. 

And then, on Saturday, I am going to enjoy the tributes to this great man as our beloved Dawgs seek their 10th straight win and get ready for their 4th trip to the SEC Championship in Richt's 10 years. 

I know Larry will be there for every play. RIP Mr. Munson.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Some photos from our UGA/UF viewing.  Good times!

Trevor and Tensley Bowen - adorable

Trey and Michele

Steve and Michelle - soon-to-be parents of Ann

Eric (and his mini-me) and Brad

Me with Mel

The Rigsbys went and got the kiddos after halftime.  Cuties!

Allen and Gail

What a great day to visit and watch the Dawgs beat the Gators!

Friday, November 4, 2011

uga/uf party

Last Saturday, we had some folks over to watch the Dawgs beat the Gators.  Ha, I love typing that.  Beat the Gators.  :) 

It wasn't the prettiest but to come from behind and hold them to -19 rushing yards for the game - amazing.

We enjoyed some yummy grub.  Check it out...
Brad says this lemon, pepper and pecorino dip was girly.  Maybe so because I loved it!  Light and different.

These pretzel bites were a little intimidating at first but were definitely worth the work.  Auntie Anne's, watch out!

I used the link above as a guide.  We don't have Rhodes Roll dough here so I just found some dough (Bridgford Parkerhouse Style Rolls from Publix) that had to rise before you cooked it. 

Once it thaws, cut into bite-size pieces and lay on a greased pan, covered with greased plastic wrap, to rise.  Mine didn't rise very much and were very sticky so keep your hands wet/greasy.  Boil small batches for about 45 seconds each.  Bake at 375 on a greased pan until gbd (golden brown, delicious).  This took longer than she lists and I did turn them over once.  After you remove them from the oven, toss in melted butter (!) and sprinkle with kosher salt and canned parm.  Or cinnamon sugar for those looking for something sweet.  I provided marinara, honey mustard and melted cheese for dipping.  Heavenly, really.  Don't be intimidated like me.  Even though they didn't act perfectly during the making, they turned out perfectly. 

This cheddar bacon ranch dip was one of the hits - yummy.  AKA crack.

Had to go with something sweet.  These chocolate peanut butter bars are so rich but delish!

Believe it or not, my favorite dip was probably the healthiest - Texas Caviar.

1 can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can shoepeg corn
8 oz Italian dressing
herbs, S&P

I used the corn with peppers in it.  Added more flavor and cut out a step.  I added cilantro, onion flake and hot sauce for a little kick.  I made mine fairly soupy and love it that way.  Allow this to marinate in the fridge overnight so the beans get plenty soft and flavors meld.  Mmmm.

I didn't make these but Chinaberry Cheese Straws are always a must!

Oh, we also finished off this yummy peanut butter cheese ball from the Swank party.  Had to get that out of the house!!

I didn't get a picture of my spread before it was all gone.  Hoping to post some fun pictures of us tomorrow while watching the Dawgs beat NMSU with no running backs.  They decided to celebrate after beating the Gators too.  Or before - whatever.  :)