Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It's me again, peeps.  Ashley and I are totally exhausted today from our travels.  I slept like a puppy on the plane rides, but she didn't sleep at all!  Silly!  So we're recovering today, and enjoying the warm weather, and she'll be back with lots of new recipes tomorrow!

xoxo - Arnie

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Don't mind me, peeps.  I'm just hanging out here in my carrier, waiting to head to the airport and fly up north.  Ashley tells me it's cold up there, but I've got my cold weather gear all ready to go.  Hopefully the snow and wind won't chafe my delicate fur!

Happy Thanksgiving!

xoxo - Arnie

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Skillet Lasagna

One of my favorite healthy dishes is this spinach lasagna.  It is pretty easy, darn tasty, and very light!

First, combine 1/2 pound of ground beef with a medium onion (red or white) in a skillet, and season with salt, pepper, red pepper, and oregano, to taste.  Then pour 2 cups of store-bought pasta sauce and 1 cup water over the meat and onion mixture.  To that, add 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded zucchini and 2 cups of lasagna noodles (uncooked and broken into small pieces [2"x1" is what I go for], then cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes.

While that mixture is simmering, combine 1/2 cup of ricotta with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of parsley and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  When your beef/noodle/zucchini/sauce mixture has simmered (the noodles should be soft) drop the ricotta mixture by small spoonfuls on top.

Top each mound of ricotta with a little part-skim mozzarella, and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until everything is nice and evenly melted (I use this time to prep my salads and garlic bread).

Ta-da!  Spoon this delicious mess onto a plate and enjoy!  I would have included a picture of this meal plated but, in truth, it ain't pretty.  The best part about this dish:  you would NEVER know that it is filled with zucchini.  It just tastes like regular old lasagna!

Tomorrow is the big travel day and . . . shocker . . . there's a winter storm warning at our Minnesota destination.  Awesome.  How does one pack to go from 85 degrees to 20 degrees and blizzard-ing?

Christian Louboutin via Barneys.

These remind me of snowflakes and, therefore, are PERFECT!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Roast Chicken . . .

Sorry for the slow down in posts lately, peeps.  I think that the upcoming weather situation that I'm going to be dealing with, beginning on Wednesday, has me prematurely hibernating.  Hopefully I can snap out of it.

I made this balsamic roast chicken awhile back, and was surprised at how easy it was to whip up, and how delicious it was.  The recipe is from Healthy Cooking magazine and since I can't link directly to their site, because you have to be a member to view their recipes (a big pet peeve of mine) here it is (with my changes, obviously)!

1 roasting chicken
2 tablespoons thyme (the recipe calls for rosemary, I was out)
4 garlic cloves, minced (the recipe calls for 3, I like garlic)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium red onion, 1 medium yellow onion (the recipe calls for all red, I like the mix)
1/2 cup red wine (I used a merlot)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

I sliced my onions relatively large, and put them in the bottom of my dish.  Combine your thyme (or rosemary) with the garlic, salt, and pepper, and rub under the skin of the chicken.  Combine red wine and balsamic and pour over the chicken.  Place the baker in a 350 degree oven, basting every 15 minutes, for about 2 and 1/2 hours.  I ended up covering my chicken after the first hour, so it wouldn't get too brown.

Skim the fat from the sauce left in the pan, and serve over your sliced chicken.  DELICIOUS!  We had this chicken with a little garlic bread and a lot of salad.  Three ounces of chicken with 2 tablespoons of onion sauce is only 182 calories!  Gotta love that!

Because I am DESPERATE not to let cold weather and snow get me down, I'm trying to focus on Prada.  The Prada 2011 Cruise Collection, to be exact.

Prada via Saks.

The BF and I have discussed, at length, cruising to the Cayman Islands.  These babies would be right at home on that cruise, don'tcha think?!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If I had a Specialty . . .

This would be it.  Without a doubt, Pizza Bread is THE most requested meal in the Cookin' in Heels house (or apartment, as the case may be).  The BF requests it all the time, for himself, for guests, for Arnie.

But alas, that too-large-for-her-mouth tongue is not made for pizza bread, so Arnie goes without.  Not only is this recipe easy, it's quick and can be filled with whatever you like (my favorites:  spinach and pepperoni).

First, take out a loaf of frozen white bread dough, the morning of the day you plan on making the pizza bread, and let it rise.  I put mine in the oven to escape the Florida humidity.

When you're ready to begin, beat one egg with parmesan cheese until it makes a rather thick paste.  After your bread has risen all day, cut it in half and roll one half out on a floured board.  Spread the rolled-out half of dough with half of your egg mixture, then sprinkle with garlic powder, red pepper, and oregano.

Then, throw on a layer of pepperoni (and, usually, spinach, but I was out), and a nice helping of mozzarella cheese.

Then roll the dough up like a jelly roll, tucking the ends under.

Repeat the process with the other half of your dough and egg mixture.  Then bake the two on a baking stone or cookie sheet, at 375, for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown (and, usually, oozing cheese).

Slice the loaves up (I like to do it on a diagonal because I am VERY fancy) and serve the slices with a side of heated, store-bought pizza sauce, for dipping.

It's not the prettiest final product in the world, but judging by the reaction I get from the people for whom I make this recipe, its deliciousness makes up for it!

For the record, I think these are THE UGLIEST SHOES EVER.

Ugg via Nordstrom

However, my upcoming trip to Minnesota, where it is NOT SUPPOSED TO REACH 30 DEGREES during my stay, has me thinking of warm things.  And while heinous, I do hear Ugg makes an awfully warm boot.  Credit where credit is due, I guess?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday Brunch: The Recipe

Since several people have indicated a burning desire to make my Sunday Brunch dish, I thought I would go ahead and post the recipe (since I failed in that the first time).  So hear ya go, peeps!  This is the recipe for the full 12 servings, but it's really easy to cut in half, for a smaller group.

1 pound pork sausage (I used hot sausage)
3/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 package frozen spinach (10 oz), thawed and drained
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 small onion
3 eggs
1 and 1/2 c. egg substitute
1 cup half and half
1 cup skim milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Brown pork sausage with mushrooms and onion, until sausage is no longer pink.  Remove from heat and add spinach and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Transfer into a 9x13 baker sprayed with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine eggs, egg substitute, milk, half and half, and nutmeg.  Beat well and pour over sausage mixture.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Top with last 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Then serve!  And be amazed at what 195 calories tastes like!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Brunch

This has been nothing if not an uneventful, relaxing, and peaceful weekend, and for that I am happy.  Yesterday the BF and I nearly adopted a buddy for Arnie.

She, of course, was too busy looking super wiener-y and lounging in the Florida sunshine to care.  Perhaps she will get a buddy at a later date.

I found a recipe in an old issue of Healthy Cooking magazine that I was itching to try this morning:  sort of like a quiche . . . or a casserole . . . and it involved (in my case, hot) sausage, spinach, cheese and mushrooms, so I was a happy camper.

Also, each serving of this delicious treat was only 195 calories.  That made me a REALLY happy camper, because you'd never know from the flavor.

I cut the recipe in half, and it still made a TON of food.  This is another recipe I'll stash away for when the visitors start pouring back in (who would've thought that moving to Florida would make the BF and I so darn popular?!) and I need to impress with my mad cookin' skillllllz.

While I find myself in a situation where shopping is strictly forbidden, my toes are telling me that I could make an exception for these:

Elizabeth and James via Bergdorf Goodman.

My feet would be happy, because they would be warm; my toes would be happy, because they would be free; and (most importantly) I would be happy because . . . well . . . look at them!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Chicken Florentine

Today I got some bad news:  my hours are going to be cut, at work.  That, however, means only good things for the blog:  more time to cook and (hopefully) better posts!  And also, more time to work on school.  WOO!  Lemons, meet lemonade.

So!  The other day (truthfully, I don't remember what day I made this recipe, and I don't think it really matters) I found this recipe for quick chicken florentine.  I had all of the ingredients in my apartment, and it gave me a chance to use my extra Italian salsa!

It turned out really well and it was, as the recipe indicated, quick!  Can't complain about that.

Given my day, these are the only "shoes" I'm thinking about right now:

Via Forever 21.

Happy weekend, peeps!  Wish me luck on the job search!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My (second) Favorite Kind of Shells

My first kind are, obviously, sea shells, a vast amount of which the BF and I have accumulated during trips to GORGEOUS Clearwater Beach and have stashed all over the apartment.  They make a nice decoration, and it's really the only Florida-related thing in the apartment . . . aside from the BF's recent love of palms and succulents (those are plants, peeps) which make the apartment sort of tropical, as well.

ANYWAY.  Onto the other shells!  Stuffed shells!  I whipped these up last week for a quick and easy dinner, mostly because I wasn't sure what I was going to make and I had the ingredients for this just laying around.  I browned 3/4 of a pound of ground beef, some red onion, and some mushrooms over medium high heat, with a little italian seasoning, red pepper, and garlic.  While that was happening, I threw a 28 oz. can of tomatoes into the food processor with some onion, green pepper, and a whole bunch of Italian-y spices to make an "Italian salsa."

I refer to this as Italian salsa because it's much chunkier than your average marinara, as well as much more delicious.  I boiled up some large shells and let them cool, then stuffed them with my beef and mushroom mixture and set them in a small dish atop some of the "salsa"

I drenched these guys with the salsa, threw on a little mozzarella cheese, and popped the dish in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

The BF and I enjoyed our shells (me a little more than him, since my plan of hiding the mushrooms wasn't as covert as I'd hoped and he totally noticed them and was less-than-thrilled) with some garlic bread that I whipped up with some Italian bread I had made in my bread machine!

I have decided, recently, that I want a pair of pseudo-cowboy boots so I can wear them and fondly reminisce about how, as a teeny-bopper, I attended a Martina McBride concert and went to the rodeo.

Jeffrey Campbell via Solestruck.

These certainly fit the bill.  Yee-haw!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Brrrrrr . . . It's Cold in Here

I feel funny writing this post as I got a text from my pal Sarah last night, telling me that she needed new boots because it's cold outside (and she lives in Boston).  It is so cold here in Florida (68 degrees yesterday!  brr!)  that Arnie had to get herself a new fleece hoodie:

The BF is thrilled with her new purchase, as she looks like an Oakland Raiders fan (even if she is a hard core lover of the CHICAGO BEARS!).

The cold snap inspired me to make one of my favorite things:  chicken tortilla soup.  This soup has evolved, from a recipe that my mom used to make when I was little, to include LOTS of vegetables and spices.

The recipe:
  • 1 (28 oz) can red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 cans milk (I use the cheddar cheese soup cans to measure, and to make sure no soup is left behind)
  • 5 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (or 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 each red, green, and yellow pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn
  • 2 jalapenos (optional)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • all spices can be adjusted, to taste
  • tortilla chips and shredded cheese, for topping (also great toppings:  avocado and sour cream)

Combine the enchilada sauce, soups, and milk with spices in a large pot.   Heat through slowly, at a low heat, and whisk, until the lumps from the soups disappear (I boil my chicken breasts while this is happening).  While your soup base and chicken breasts are heating up and cooking, chop your veggies.  I like my peppers and tomatoes in 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces, and I chop my jalapenos quite fine because, as much as I like jalapenos, I don't like to bite into them in my soup.

When your chicken is boiled and shredded and your veggies are chopped, throw it all into the soup base and heat through.  Top with a crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese!

This soup has SO MUCH STUFF in it that it's really more of a stew.  But it is SO tasty.  And with all the veggies, it isn't too terrible for ya, either!

I am really lovin' these (the style AND the price):

Via Forever 21.

They would be perfect for the Florida heat OR cold, since I know they'll look super cute with tights.  Definitely another addition to my "must have" list!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quick Coq au Vin

If a recipe has the word "quick" anywhere in the title, chances are it will become part of my repertoire.  When I saw this recipe for quick coq au vin in the October 2010 issue of Bon Appetit, I had to give it a try!

Plus, the recipe combines bacon, mushrooms, and red wine!  What's not to love?  I didn't have any shallots, so I used small yellow onions in their place, and it still turned out very well.

I've stopped even trying to hide the mushrooms I cook with from the BF.  I do the cooking, he does the eating, so he can eat mushrooms!

Truthfully, because of the dark sauce (and the bacon), the BF didn't even notice there were mushrooms in there until I said something!

This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper.  It was quick, easy, and DELICIOUS!

It is COLD here in Florida this morning, peeps, and it isn't supposed to get above 68 degrees today.  On the bright side, I will get to wear my new birthday boots!  On the other side . . . I hate the cold.  And yes, 68 is cold when you live in Florida.  So I have boots on the brain EVEN MORE THAN NORMAL.  Impossible, you say?  Nope.

Matt Bernson via Solestruck.

Simple, with a not-too-high wedge = (another) perfect addition to my wardrobe.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And in the Morning, I'm Makin' WAFFLES!

True story:  the first time I can remember wanting a KitchenAid stand mixer was when I was about 12.  My sister and I used to watch the Frugal Gourmet and I wanted to BE Martha Stewart, and they both had stand mixers so I SHOULD TOO!

For my birthday last year, the BF surprised (shocked, awed) me with MY VERY OWN STAND MIXER.  I was so stinkin' excited, and I still get a little tinge of joy every time I look at it.  Knowing how much I loved my new mixer, my mama got me the KitchenAid Best-Loved Recipes cookbook for Christmas last year.  Another true story:  I hadn't used it until Sunday, when I whipped up the Crispy Waffles.

Final true story:  I wish these waffles had been a little easier to whip up.  They required a washing of my mixer bowl mid-preparation, and I like to avoid that process at all costs.  However, when my waffles ended up looking like this:

My whining over mid-prep clean-up ceased.  Amazing waffles, peeps.  UH-MA-ZING.

Wait!  One more true story!  My love for all things shoe-related doesn't extend exclusively to uber expensive beauties.



Go figure.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dip Dip Dip Dip Dip . . .

Over the weekend, while the wienie was busy running around, enjoying the holiday, the BF and I were enjoying one of my favorite (and probably worst for me) dips in the whole world.

A little browned, hot pork sausage, jalapenos, and onion get all browned up, then thrown into the crock pot with Mexican velveeta.

It is so so so so so good on tortilla chips, I can't even begin to explain.  I'm salivating just thinking about it.  And since the BF and I are on our Monday through Friday diet right now, that's a lot of saliva.  Also droolworthy:

Dolce Vita via Saks.

I'm thinking that these might be a must-have for the BF's office Christmas party.  Thoughts?