Wait, is this chicken or fish?

RECIPE: Tuna Salad

Oh Jessica Simpson, you’ll never live that moment down.

In about 6 hours I’ll be on fall break.  This is extremely good news, as I need a week off for sleeping, reading, and generally relaxing.

When I was a kid, we had two easy weekend lunch options: hot dogs or tuna sandwiches.  If we were lucky, Mom would go all out and make tuna salad sandwiches, which were whole lot better than just plain tuna.

What makes this tuna salad especially delicious is a) apples and b) hard boiled eggs.  In discussing possible recipes, a friend said she puts dried cranberries and some type of nuts as well.  I think substituting cranberries for the relish would be quite tasty, because those two wouldn’t be so good together.

When I decided to make tuna salad, I decided this was the perfect excuse to finally attempt making mayonnaise.  I had done research on making my own mayo and most people recommended Alton Brown’s recipe.  After two failed batches, I decided to use the whisk attachment on my hand mixer, which made the next batch work way better.  The bad thing about making your own mayo is that it only keeps for a week, so you have to be prepared to use it quickly.

Celery salt has been my secret tuna ingredient since I started cooking.  I don’t like plain celery in tuna salad, but the celery salt adds good celery flavor and a bit of saltiness to balance the sweetness of the mayo.

Rating: I’d give this particular recipe for tuna salad 4 out of 5 cold bottles of beer.  This was the perfect Sunday lunch.  I think most meals should include sweet potato fries.

Tuna Salad
Author: Manda
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1 hard boiled egg, whites only, diced
  • 1/2 an apple, peeled and diced
  • A spoonful of dill relish
  • Mayonnaise, to your taste
  • A few shakes of celery salt
  • A dash of mustard powder
  • A few twists of fresh ground pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Eat with bread, crackers, on a salad, or alone.
Posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Lunch, Seafood | 2 Comments

Yes I’d love another carrot zucchini muffin

jen's splash

RECIPE: Carrot zucchini muffins.

So at the coffee shop down the street they sell these carrot zucchini muffins. That I pine for. Even now as I write this. So best to learn to make the muffins on my own, right?

Pretty simple. Using the last of the zucchini from the garden.Wheat flour. Greek yogurt instead of oil. Low sugar.

I usually cut sugar amounts in half on recipes, which I did for these. Except these don’t have fruit or anything to help sweeten them up. So that wasn’t the best call. (Although still tasty!) I’ll leave the original recipe sugar amount in your recipe below.

RECIPE RATING: 4 of 5 lattes. Excellent breakfast snack. And amazing toasted with butter. Whoa. Ideal for fall. (Yes, more feet.)

Carrot zucchini muffin
Serves: 12
Thanks to “Gimme Some Oven” blog (fab name) for the inspiration. http://gimmesomeoven.com/carrot-zucchini-muffins/
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. canola or or grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 cups grated carrots (that was two large carrots, for me)
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a pan with 12 standard muffin cups, paper liners or cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, yogurt, salt, and egg. Add zucchini, carrots, cinnamon and pecans.
  3. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the wet batter. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly. It won’t raise significantly, so fill the cups 3/4 full. Let the muffins rest for 10 minutes before placing them into the oven.
  4. Bake the muffins until the edges are lightly browned, about 18 to 23 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean.
  5. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes; transfer to a rack, and cool completely.
  6. ENJOY!
  7. Makes 12 muffins


Posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Breakfast, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mustard Chicken and How to Keep Your Hands Bacteria-Free

RECIPE: Mustard Chicken

When Ryan told me he wanted to do yellow mustard chicken, I was skeptical. All that goes on this chicken is plain ole yellow mustard. He wants you to know that if you have a BBQ party and you get a Costco-sized mustard and then only 5 people show up to your party (which I don’t believe because you’re clearly MUCH cooler than that), you can make this recipe to use up mustard leftovers.

Here’s the deal. This recipe is ridiculously cheap and so healthy. You already have the mustard, so that was free. We got this whole chicken on sale for $3.60. For THE WHOLE CHICKEN. So we paid $3.60 for this main dish. Then there’s the health aspect. The only thing that goes on this is mustard. It has zero fat, low calories, and ingredients you recognize. But what about the flavor? It was delicious! Many people think that mustard seed is all that’s in mustard. Not so dear sir. It also has turmeric, which gives it the yellow color.

Now, Ryan wanted you to know some tips about chicken handling. I, as a rule, try to NEVER touch raw chicken. I hate it, it’s disgusting. I will avoid good-looking recipes simply because they involve me interacting with raw chicken. Ryan wears gloves, which is so smart, and here he shows you the proper way to remove gloves to keep the germs contained. He’s got plenty of practice removing gloves with nastier stuff on them, so he’s a pro at keeping his mitts germ-free. Here you go:

Also, Ryan wants you to know that the FDA suggests that you NOT rinse chicken prior to cooking. This is a great chance for bacteria to spread and just don’t do it. Don’t.

So, what could be easier than slathering on some mustard, throwing the chicken in a pan then into the oven, checking the temp in an hour, then eating it? OK, fine, since we’re fancy we did it in our Big Green Egg grill, but Ryan still got the grill to 350degrees, then baked the chicken in there to give it a little extra something. But this will work the same in your regular oven.

Definitely give this recipe of Ryan’s a try. I served it with this super easy roasted carrot recipe and long grain and wild rice. Delicious and healthy.

Mustard Chicken
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Ryan N (Amanda N’s husband)
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 2 mins
Serves: 6
Ryan N learned this super easy chicken recipe at the fire station.
  • 1 Whole chicken
  • ½ C. – 1 C. yellow mustard (enough to liberally cover your whole chicken)
  1. Set oven (or grill) to 350 degrees.
  2. Slather whole chicken with yellow mustard. Place breast-down in a baking pan. Place in oven.
  3. Check chicken for doneness with a thermometer after one hour.
  4. Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes before eating the hell out of it.


Posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Poultry | Leave a comment

Sunday Night’s All Right For Roasting

RECIPE: Roasted Sausage and Potatoes

I know I’ve talked about how much I love Pinterest, and you’ll be happy to know my love for that wonderful time waster hasn’t wavered in the past months.  Sometimes I’ll find recipes on there that I have to make immediately because they look that good.  This is one of those recipes.

I generally make my WandaS meals on Sunday, because it’s my stay at home and relax day.  This past Sunday was the Emmys, and it’s general tradition in my house to eat unhealthy food and drink fancy drinks while watching award shows.  I love awards shows, as I someday want to wear a fancy red ballgown and win awards for my spectacular writing.  Instead I’m here grading essays, none of which are going to win an Emmy for best writing.

I changed a few things about the original recipe.  I only used one bell pepper, because one of the two I bought was all moldy on the inside.  Ew.  I used both Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, which my mom put on a lot of foods when I was a kid and I always have a can of in the pantry, and TexJoy Salt-Free Herb Seasoning, which I use in soups and on meat all the time.  The Tony Chachere’s adds spice, while the TexJoy adds flavor to compliment the roasted potatoes.  I also cooked everything for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes to make sure it was all equally roasted.

I think next time I would use less oil because the sausage cooked down and made its own oil.  Also, good tip: don’t add any salt!  I decided not to, knowing that the sausage was going to be salty enough, and I was right.  Also, there needs to be more vegetables.  Next time, sorry JT, I would add whole or halved Brussels sprouts, because sprouts + roasted + pork products = deliciousness.

I had leftovers for dinner on Monday, and I steamed a boatload of broccoli to balance out the potatoes/sausage factor.  Yes, I was still grading essays then.

Rating: I’ll give this a hearty 4 out of 5 bottles of Summer Shandy, which I enjoyed with my dinner.  I want to eat this all week long, but it needs more vegetables.

Roasted Sausage and Potatoes
Author: Originally posted on lilasapron.com
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • 3-4Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1-2 tbsp TexJoy Salt-Free Herb Seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Bias cut the sausages.
  3. Cut the potatoes, onions, and peppers into 1/2 inch chunks.
  4. Put all ingredients into a 9×13 pan.
  5. Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle on the spices.
  6. Use your hands to toss everything together in the oil, making sure everything feels coated.
  7. Bake for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes to make sure everything is equally roasted.

Posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Pork | Leave a comment

Shrimp With Tomatoes for When Jason’s Not Home

RECIPE: Linguine with Shrimp and Pesto

This school year is kicking my ass. I know, I know, 7 weeks ago I thought it was Summer’s fault. If only the kids were in school, I lamented, I would get so much done… Turns out that was one of those big fat lies I tell so I don’t have to hate myself 24 hours a day. Like, It’s not my fault, I just have poor impulse control, and, I’m pretty sure that box of wine was almost empty at the beginning of the night.

Someone actually said to me a couple of days ago (while she was reprimanding me for forgetting to send in my reply card for a wedding I plan to attend), “You know, you can’t blame your kids for EVERYTHING, right?” To which I replied, aghast, “WHY NOT?”

The point is, I’m not really getting that much more done and life is still hectic and chaotic. Maybe if the teachers kept the kids at school just a few more hours, or possibly on the weekend. It’s not like the teachers work that hard anyway, right? They could all do a few more hours in the interest of me having enough time to blog and also fold the laundry, right?

Jason has also joined his work softball team. This is something I’ve been urging him to to do for years, so it’s been difficult to say anything but, “Have a fun time!” Wednesday mornings when he leaves at 7am, not to return until 10pm. And of course there’s always like 8 different important real estate or kid events that pop up on Wednesday nights. But, again, who am I to talk, as the lady-with-1,528-random-hobbies-and-time-consuming-activities? Who am I to begrudge him his one social/athletic endeavor a week?

The single benefit of him being gone for dinner one night a week is that it gives me the opportunity to cook something he generally won’t eat. Last week I threw together a homemade pesto sauce with shrimp and linguine that would have grossed him out. He doesn’t care much for seafood, unless it’s raw and accompanied by copious amounts of wasabi, and he really doesn’t like tomatoes at all. Shockingly, the kids actually ate it for the most part (although Gray utilized the technique of squishing the tomatoes flat against the plate so their insides squished out and he really only ended up eating the skins).

This meal was fast and pretty healthy and I thought it was delicious. Most pesto recipes I’ve used have called for grated parm, but this one didn’t and I thought it was just as good and way more healthy. The acidity in the grape tomatoes really balanced out the richness of the butter and the pesto for me. I will definitely make it again (especially if Jason makes this whole ‘having hobbies and a social life’ thing a habit).

Linguine with Pesto and Shrimp
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Elizabeth
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 5
  • 1 bag of medium frozen shrimp (serving size 5 people), thawed and tails removed
  • 1 package of whole wheat linguine, boiled according to the package
  • 1 container of grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 3 cups of fresh basil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • grated parm to sprinkle on top
  1. In a food processor, process the garlic and the pine nuts until fairly finely ground. Add basil leaves and chop until small. Add the juice from the lemon and the olive oil in a long slow stream while processing. Finish with salt to taste.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the shrimp and cook just a few minutes (stirring regularly) until the shrimp are pink. Add pesto to the pan and toss in grape tomatoes. Cook just another minute until the pesto is warm and the tomatoes have started to soften.
  3. Serve over linguine, dusted with parm.


Posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Seafood | 1 Comment