Learning to cook … one kid at a time

May ONE & A Recipe! May 2, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — gastromami @ 7:16 pm

This is the only decent photo I could get of them on May 1st

Reny and Fiona never stop moving and watching their relationship bloom this Spring has been one of our greatest joys

Fiona begs (screams) for Reny to take her down slides – the bigger the better in her opinion!

Reny is 2 and 11 months

Fiona is 1

Lemon Tuna Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

I love Facebook for the simple fact that my friends post recipes like this one that then can provide some much needed dinner inspiration!

Cook 12 oz spaghetti according to package directions

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat

Add 8 cloves garlic, minced & 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cook 1 minute

Add 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 8-10 cups when largely chopped)

Saute the broccoli rabe over medium heat until it becomes tender (about 5 minutes)

Add 1/4 cup white wine & 1/2 cup pasta water

Allow liquids to steam broccoli rabe for 5-10 minutes

Add 2 cans albacore tuna, drained

Stir and warm through

Add the juice and zest of 2 large lemons

Season with freshly cracked black pepper

Add pasta directly from the pot (or drain and transfer immediately into saute pan)

Toss and serve with freshly grated parmesan


Ren & Fiona approved!


Curried Chicken and Dumplings March 24, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — gastromami @ 1:56 pm

What a great recipe to get back to blogging with!

My sister Tricia saw this recipe on The Chew and has been talking about making it for months – I am so glad she decided to make it while we were home!

I love the play on classic chicken and dumplings (one of my favorite comfort foods!) and the dumplings were fantastic with the chickpea flour and addition of lemony cilantro!  You could easily make this dish vegetarian by eliminating the chicken, adding more chickpeas & using vegetable stock!

I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did!

4 – 6  boneless/skinless chicken thighs
1 onion (diced)
3 stalks celery (diced)
3 carrots (diced)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup chickpeas
4 cups chicken broth
1 (12 oz) can coconut milk
Olive oil
Flour for dusting
Salt and Pepper (to taste)


1 1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons AP flour

Pre-heat oven to 350˚

In a dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat

Generously season your chicken with salt & pepper

Dredge seasoned chicken in flour and cook in oil until browned

Remove from pan and set aside

Cook onions, celery, carrots, curry powder & cayenne pepper over medium heat until softened

Add chicken broth, coconut milk, chickpeas & chicken

Bring to a simmer

Combine the ingredients for the dumplings

(chickpea flour, salt, baking soda, yogurt, parsley, cilantro & AP flour)

Spoon (or use your fingers) to drop dumplings into simmering soup

Place, uncovered, in pre-heated oven

Bake for 15-20 minutes



Ren & Fiona (and Nani, Tricia, & Fr. Z!) approved!


Soft Pretzels January 23, 2012

Yes – I have posted a recipe for soft pretzels before

It is the recipe I grew up making with my mom – the smell of which brings back sweet childhood memories of shaping our pretzels into letters & smelling the rising yeast as the snow fell outside

Fiona was sick (for the first time poor girl) this week so Ren & I were experiencing some mad cabin fever

The kind of cabin fever that has you skip the “fast and easy” recipe in favor of the more involved kind

Since these pretzels achieve their crispy, brown crust from a quick boil in water & baking soda, this recipe comes from Mr. Kitchen Science himself: 

Alton Brown

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

In your stand mixing bowl combine water, sugar & kosher salt

Sprinkle the yeast on top and let stand for 5 minutes, to form a ‘sponge’

Measure out the flour & melt butter

Add flour & butter to the sponge and, using your dough hook, mix on low speed until combined

Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl – 4 to 5 minutes

Remove dough from bowl & wash bowl

After drying the bowl, coat the inside of the bowl with vegetable oil and place dough inside

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit, in a warm spot, until dough doubles in size (about an hour)

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease with vegetable oil

Pre-heat oven to 450˚

Bring 10 cups water and baking soda to a rolling boil on the stove

Once dough has risen, split into 8 equal pieces and let your helper roll into “snakes”

Make a pretzel shape by crossing each “snake,” twisting and doubling back over the ‘loop’ end

Place pretzels on oiled parchment paper

Drop pretzels, one at a time, into boiling water

Boil for 30 seconds

Remove with a slotted spatula (a fish spatula worked great for me!)

Return the pretzels to the baking sheets lined with oiled parchment

Brush each pretzel with the egg yolk & water mixture

Sprinkle with pretzel (or kosher like I did) salt

Bake at 450˚ for 12-14 minutes until dark, golden brown

Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving

Ren approved!


Pizza & “Monkey” Ice Cream January 21, 2012

Filed under: Dessert!,For Helpers!,Recipes — gastromami @ 12:37 pm

Ren & I are going through a rough mommy/toddler patch but at least, for now, we can still bond over cooking together!

For starters we had his favorite pizza:


Trader Joe’s herb pizza dough, pesto, sliced tomatoes, goat cheese, topped with arugula tossed in balsamic vinegar & olive oil

and we finished with some homemade “Monkey Ice Cream”

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt with Caramelized Bananas from Food & Wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large ripe bananas, cut into 1-inch rounds

(I used 3 small-ish bananas)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons 2 percent milk
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

(I also added 1 ounce walnuts, finely chopped)

Peel bananas and slice into 1″ rounds

Melt butter in a nonstick saute pan

Place bananas in a single layer and sprinkle with the light brown sugar

Saute over medium heat until caramelized (about 8 minutes)

Remove the pan from heat and add rum, swirl around pan to dissolve the sugar

Place 2/3 of the bananas in a mini food processor with 3 tablespoons milk

Mix until smooth

Chop remaining bananas and put in freezer until ready to use

Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, salt & 1/2 cup milk

Mix in yogurt until smooth

Mix in banana puree

Pour ice cream base into ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions

When the ice cream is almost frozen, add the walnuts and chocolate

Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until solid (at least 2 hours)


Ren approved!


African (Apple Goat) Peanut Stew January 12, 2012

Filed under: Recipes,Slow Cooker — gastromami @ 7:54 pm

I’m Back!

A new computer and fantastic, free service on my camera from the Canon Factory and I should be (hopefully!) back in business for awhile!

And what a fantastic recipe to come back with:

Does anyone remember these cute little fellas?

That’s Apple the Goat (Ren’s goat) & his mama

My dad had 5 goats this summer (along with 2 sheep, 2 pigs, ducks & rabbits) and these grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic & very much loved animals are now dispersed among the Dahlkemper freezers!

Just look at how gorgeous & lean goat meat is!!

Nanni and Zeus left the Northern hemisphere today so, in honor of their journey, I made this African Goat stew!

I found this recipe and altered it to my own liking;  the dish can just as easily be made with beef or chicken and would still be great!

I think that next time, however, I will just brown the meat and then throw everything in the crock pot (besides the peanut butter & flour) to both save on time and so I can smell this delicious combination of flavors all day long!

1 1/2 lbs. goat (or any other stew meat)

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 1/2 cups onion, diced

4-6 large carrots, sliced (I used 4 and it wasn’t nearly enough for my family’s taste!)

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 red potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

dash of cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 lemon, juiced

4 cups beef stock

3 -4 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon flour

Season the meat with salt and freshly ground pepper

In a dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons olive oil

Brown meat, about 7 minutes

Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan

Saute onions until translucent

Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds

Add carrots and saute until they begin to soften

Add potatoes & cook 3 minutes

Add bay leaf, ginger, cloves, cayenne pepper, tomato paste & the juice of 1 lemon

Stir to combine

Add meat and stock

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover

Cook until tender, about 2 hours

Mix peanut butter & flour

Add to stew and combine

Season with salt & pepper to taste

Serve over rice & enjoy!

Fiona & Ren approved!


Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus November 23, 2011

Filed under: "Fast Food",Recipes — gastromami @ 6:59 am

This quick and easy dish comes from my favorite magazine – Cooking Light!

Basically it tastes like rich, homemade macaroni & cheese and who doesn’t love that on a cold, rainy, late fall night?

2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
16 ounces uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425˚ and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray

Cook pasta according to package directions

Trim asparagus and roast at 425˚ for 10 minutes until browned (stirring once)

In a blender (or mini-prep) combine the flour, milk, cream cheese & salt

Melt butter over medium-high heat

Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds

Whisk in milk and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly

Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheese

Cover and set aside until ready to use

In a large bowl combine cheese sauce, drained pasta & asparagus

Ren (sorta) approved

He doesn’t really like Mac N Cheese so this dish was more for me!  He did eat he asparagus!


Roasted Vegetable Pasta with Chicken Sausage November 21, 2011

Filed under: "Fast Food",Recipes — gastromami @ 9:13 pm

Pasta Pasta Pasta

with Roasted Veggies

There is something about roasted red peppers and broccoli that makes my mouth water

Roasting vegetables just gives basic pasta a whole new, hearty dimension and pairs so nicely with some garlicky sausage

This is the perfect “use what needs to be cooked in the fridge” recipe!

In a large bowl combine veggies (I used 1 crown of broccoli, 2 red peppers, 1 medium onion & 1 1/2 cups baby bella mushrooms) with a generous amount of olive oil, 1 tablespoon oregano and salt & pepper, to taste

Roast at 375˚ until the broccoli begins to brown, about 10 minutes

Add 1 pint of grape tomatoes

Roast 3 minutes and remove vegetables from oven

While vegetables are cooking brown some seasoned chicken sausage (I used 3 links of Garlic Chicken from Trader Joe’s)

Cook pasta according to package directions

In a large bowl toss vegetables, sausage & pasta

Plate and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese


Ren approved!

Fiona approves of the ciabatta