10×40 : 40 Days to Go

So, here we are, readers. My 10×40 cooking goal list is still incomplete.  6 down. 4 to go.

I don’t want you to think I haven’t been cooking. I’ve been cooking a lot.  But these still linger, waiting to be made.

As my 40th birthday draws closer, I find myself making excuses to not finish the list. ‘We’re too busy with the kiddo.’, ‘We’ve got too much going on every weekend…can’t I have one to myself?’, ‘I can make one of my other dishes I know I’m good at this time…I’ll be brave next time.’

But enough is enough. It’s time to face these recipes. I’ve picked the following:

  • Tamales from Pinch and Swirl. These are made with Monterrey Jack and Green Chiles. I’m in love already.

Image courtesy of pinchandswirl.com

  • Soufflé from the one and only Julia Child. I’ll use my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Image courtesy of YouTube.com

Yeast Rolls from RealLifeDinner. The name of ‘Lunch Lady Cafeteria Rolls’ was enough to add this to my list.


Image courtesy of reallifedinner.com

A beautiful three-layer cake from Gonna Want Seconds. I love strawberry cake and she starts this recipe with a cake mix. She also includes a video on her post. That will be very helpful!


Image courtesy of gonnawantseconds.com

So…stayed tuned for updates!

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

Broccoli Cranberry Salad | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 24oz fresh chopped broccoli 
  • 1/3 c dried cranberries 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup salted and roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise 
  • 3 T Greek yogurt
  • 1 T champagne vinegar 
  • 1 T honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Soak red onion in cold water for 5 minutes; drain.
  2. Combine mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients (through pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Stir in red onion, broccoli, and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill 1 hour before serving.

Serves 8. 

Orange Chicken Meatballs

from: Life Made Simple


My 6 year old is like most others – a picky eater. He has never, EVER liked pasta (seriously? Did they switch babies on me at the hospital?), would live off of pb&j sammies if I’d let him, and has recently started having hunger attacks at 8:07pm every night.

However, one of his favorite things in the world to eat is Chinese Orange Chicken. Yep. You heard me. SPICY Orange Chicken. Again, if he could eat it every day, he would.

So, when I found this variation, I asked him if he’d like me to make it. He said, “Yeah! Sure! That’ll be good!”

I was unsure. I’ve tried variations on other things he likes and it goes over like a lead weight.

Much to my surprise, he did love it, and wanted seconds! He is also currently eating Round 3 as an after-school snack.

For the meatballs

  • ¼ c. milk
  • ½ c. panko breadcrumbs
1½ lb. ground chicken
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. green onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

For the sauce

  • ½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ c. granulated sugar or honey
  • ⅓ c. white or rice vinegar
  • ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and panko breadcrumbs. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, egg, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together just until combined (overworking it will cause the meatballs to be dense).
  3. Shape into meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked throughout (internal temperature of 165).
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, sugar or honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a low simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the cold water and cornstarch, add to the saucepan. Whisk until combined, continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens (I usually let mine go for about 8 minutes).
  5. Place the meatballs in a large bowl and cover with sauce. Toss to coat, serve hot.

Chili Rellenos Casserole

Chili Rellenos Casserole | Sarafina's Kitchen

From That Skinny Chick Can Bake

  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 7-ounce cans of whole green chilies, split open
  • 1 pound shredded cheese, I used mild white cheddar
  1. Grease an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch pan (or similar sized casserole dish).
  2. Beat together, eggs, milk, flour and seasonings.
  3. Layer a third of the chilies, then a third of the cheese and repeat.
  4. Pour egg mixture over cheese.
  5. Let rest for about a half hour while you preheat the oven to 350º.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, Let sit 20 minutes before serving

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo sauce – decadent and comforting.  This recipe is so easy that I really feel silly writing out instructions.  The measurements are easy to remember, and you just toss it all together in a pan until it’s combined and melted.


  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 T  butter (unsalted)
  • 1 t  minced garlic
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 1 c milk
  •  1 c shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Cut cream cheese and butter into smaller pieces.
  2. Add them to the pan and melt them together.
  3. Slowly whisk in the milk and parmesan until the cheese is melted.
  4. Stir in the garlic and nutmeg.
  5. Toss with your favorite pasta.
  6. Sprinkle on more parmesan and fresh parsley.

Creamy Avocado Dressing (aka Guacamole Buttermilk Dressing)

Recipe courtesy of closetcooking.com


  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 small jalapeno*
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk**
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (completely optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth. Store in fridge and finish within a few days.

* Leave the seeds in for more heat or remove them for less.
** Use more buttermilk to make it thinner or less to make it thicker.

Has it all Gone Too Far?

With recent news of the foie gras ban in California and the soda ban in New York, I wonder if the government is going too far in restricting what we eat.  At what point is it the government’s place to tell us what we can and cannot eat?  While the foie gras ban is to prevent the supposed mistreatment of animals, it still comes close to drawing a line that I’m not sure I’m comfortable with.  I don’t like the idea of elected officials telling me what I can and can’t put into my body with regards to food.  While I greatly appreciate government agencies controlling the quality and safety of food, I’m not sure that should carry over into them being able to tell me that I can’t drink a 32 oz Dr. Pepper if I choose to.

Why is it that American society expects the government, the schools, etc., to take care of them and raise their children?  Do you really need a talking head to tell you that soda has an insane amount of sugar in it?   Have Americans really become that lazy and nonchalant about their health and well-being?  I really wish everyone would take a little extra time and make the extra effort to be better educate themselves about food and nutrition.  If we all arm ourselves with basic knowledge, then we’ll be prepared to defend ourselves against anyone that thinks they have the right to control what we eat.

Giveaway Winners



Congrats to Congrats to Beverly Anderson and Kristin Sheppard (BlogMadBetty) for winning the strawberry necklaces! :)

Lemony Pickled Cauliflower

This was my first time to can anything.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but have never had the courage to do it.  After seeing how easy it is, I’m hooked.  I’m already planning to make Pickled Sweet Cherries tonight and Mimosa Jelly later in the week.

from Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round


Makes 3 (1-pint/500 mL) jars

  • 2 cups/480 mL distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, divided
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (1 1/2 to 2 pounds/455 to 680 kg)
  1. Prepare a boiling water bath and 4 regular-mouth 1-pint jars.  Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.
  2. Combine the vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water, and pickling salt and bring the brine to a boil.  Meanwhile, place a lemon slice at the bottom of each sterilized jar.  Add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon peppercorns to each jar.
  3. Pack the florets into the jars tightly, but without mangling them.  Slowly pour the hot brine over the cauliflower in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Gently tap the jars on a towel-lined countertop to help loosen any bubbles before using a wooden chopstick to dislodge any remaining bubbles.  Check the headspace again and add more brine if necessary.  Top each jar with another slice of lemon.
  4. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  5. Let these pickles cure for at least 1 week before serving.



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