America’s Most Wanted Recipes: Secret Recipes from Your Family’s Favorite Restaurants by Ron Douglas

September 14, 2009

This week I will review America’s Most Wanted Recipes: Secret Recipes from Your Family’s Favorite Restaurants by Ron Douglas.

As part of a promotion, we were asked to pick one recipe from this book, make the dish and compare it with the “real” restaurant’s dish. As I went through the many recipes, I found Panera Bread’s broccoli cheese soup – my favorite!

The recipe was very easy to follow and inexpensive to make. My wonderful husband helped as I’m still on the mend from some surgery I had on my hand earlier this week.

When the soup was done, we sat down and had our taste test between Panera Bread’s soup and our home made batch.

We had three people take part in the taste test – My husband, our friend Pete, and I. Pete actually believed the recipe in the book was better. He liked the recipe from Ron Douglas’ book because it had more of a kick and felt that the broccoli taste was not as overwhelming. My husband Andy and I thought that it might have been better to precook the broccoli before adding to the soup and use a milder cheddar instead of the sharp cheddar.

America's Most Wanted Recipes

Toasted Pita Salad

August 28, 2009

Okay, I’m totally going to cheat on my first recipe selection. It requires no cooking, only the toasting of pita bread. Truth be told, it’s not even necessary.

My friend Lisa has made this salad a couple of times and it is wonderful. This salad is filled with crisp cucumbers, sun ripened tomatoes and fresh herbs topped with a simple dressing. It’s a great salad for lunch or side salad for dinner. Not to mention it is a very diet friendly option.

Living in New Jersey we have fabulous tomatoes so why not take advantage of the summer’s best crop!

Toasted Pita Salad – Cooking Light Magazine August 2009

This Mediterranean-style salad highlights the pungent slightly peppery Tang of oregano- marjoram would also make a milder substitute.

2 six inch pitas split horizontally
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 ½ cups chopped English cucumber
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
2 tbs. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. each of salt and pepper
½ tsp. honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Bake pita for 10 minutes or until crisp. Cool and break into small pieces.
3. Combine tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through parsley) in large bowl. Combine lime juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl stirring with a whisk.
4. Pour juice mixture over tomato mixture, toss gently.
5. Add pita pieces and toss. Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Bloggers Note :

Lisa takes this salad a step further and adds a block of fat free or low fat feta cheese to make it even more delicious. Enjoy!

Next week:

A review of Ina Garten’s Back to Basics cookbook.

Welcome to my Blog!

August 22, 2009

42-16958635My name is Mandi and I am a cook book addict. My wonderful husband started my obsession about six years ago when he got a job with a book publisher. He started bringing me home cook books and I have gathered quite a collection!

Learning to cook has always held an interest for me. My dad can cook anything and I always saw cooking as a way to express love.

I love to open a cookbook and go through all the recipes with my husband Andy. This blog will feature commentary on cookbooks and their recipes.

I am a busy mom to an adorable 2 year old boy. I work as a nanny/personal assistant for a busy single mom (who also loves to cook). I enjoy finding recipes and cookbooks, and plan on blogging my success and failures.

My cookbooks range from a Christmas around the World cookbook to a how-to cookbook on baby purees. I do have a couple standbys (or should I call them stand outs) that have never let me down.