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Welcome to the group! We'll post a challenge recipe (or two) on Monday and you have until the following Sunday to make the meal and post your picture and opinion of it.

Dinner Challenge #7 - PW's Homemade Ranch Dressing and Spicy Mac and Cheese

Posted By Phasekitty on Aug 15, 2008 at 2:03AM

Oh yeah, that's right, I went and made both recipes this week out of pure, driven ambition. Or boredom. You decide.

I started off with the ranch dressing.

Cast of charactersCast of characters

I added dill, Worcheshire sauce, and green onions (not pictured above as my bf was at the grocery store picking them up :rotfl: ) to my initial ingredients, and eventually added a bit of lemon juice as well because it was a tad too sweet.

Chopped ingredientsChopped ingredients

Before the mixing...Before the mixing...

PW says to test it as you go along, adjusting your ingredients. These were my taste testers:

Mmm, just right.Mmm, just right.

After that I tossed the dressing in the fridge to get it nice and cold and started up the mac and cheese.

2nd Act Cast of Characters2nd Act Cast of Characters

Chopped ingredients...againChopped ingredients...again

I bought a brand new skillet just for this mac and cheese because I realized my largest skillet was nowhere near large enough. I really wanted a big one so I was just glad to have a reason to buy it. It's so pretty.


The veggies...The veggies...

Add the noodles, cheese, and cream...Add the noodles, cheese, and cream...

Stir!  Yum!Stir! Yum!

Okay, so now I've got dinner. I whipped up a "my daughter is picky and doesn't eat anything in her salad" salad that my mom used to make just for me (isn't that nice?) consisting of lettuce, cheese, carrots, and hard boiled egg. Then I added that homemade dressing:

And voila! Dinner!

The salad dressing was SOOOO good. I was actually really surprised...I used it on such a basic salad that I expected it to be just okay and then I was practically licking the bowl. The mac and cheese was very flavorful, but I think I may have had too many noodles in mine because it wasn't as creamy and cheesy as I would have liked. I used 4 cups of noodles like the recipe said, but I was using large elbow macaroni, so maybe that made a difference? I even added more cheese so I probably had at least a cup and a half of cheese in there, but it wasn't enough. The bf liked it just fine though, considering he had seconds and thirds. It also heated up really well the next day with ketchup. :) Either way, I'll make both recipes again for sure, but I'll adjust the mac and cheese recipe with a little less noodles and a little more cream and cheese next time.

Challenge #6 - Mediterranean Chicken

Posted By WineUnleashed on Jul 16, 2008 at 10:27AM

I somehow fit this in my schedule last night. Super easy, tasty and healthy. I prepared Trader Joe's Harvest Grains blend (Israeli Couscous, red quinoa, orzo etc., my family loves it) along side it as well as a HUGE green salad. I served it with a Sangiovese from Argentina. The wine embraced the tomato sauce.
Med. ChickenMed. Chicken

Tagged with: healthy food, Chicken, Cooking

Asian Flank Steak (Minus the Slaw) Plus Fried Rice

Posted By CocoChic on Jul 11, 2008 at 8:14PM

Yuuuuummy! This meal was SO good! :feedme:

I made my steak marinade from the recipe that Finn altered. The orange juice, sesame, honey, and lime were delicious. I did cut down on the ginger though (not a huge fan of it) and I used sesame seeds instead of oil. I also only made a pound of steak because it's just me and my hubby eating. I had to take the pictures with my phone because my camera battery is dead and the charger is yet to be found.

My marinade with floating sesame seeds.My marinade with floating sesame seeds.

Getting all tender and marinated.Getting all tender and marinated.

I'm not a fan of slaws of any kind so instead we just had fried rice. And Matt snuck me a Godiva chocolate dipped strawberry that they had at his office. :besthubbyever:

And as you can see here, I'm more of a carbs person than a meat person! :rotfl:
Zee fineeshed product!Zee fineeshed product!

BBQ Pulled Pork

Posted By wren1 on Jun 23, 2008 at 10:28PM

*These aren't the most attractive pics. A big hunk of pork with brown seasoning is not cute...
I wanted to make this on Saturday, but it was too damn hot. Luckily Sunday was better,and it slow cooks at 300 degrees, so it didn't end up heating up my apartment.

Please pardon my not so great pics. I really need a new camera, and perhaps a professional photographer as well (well, just someone other than me)

Challenge #4 - BBQ Chicken PIzza (without the BBQ)

Posted By audreystar on Jun 23, 2008 at 4:21PM

What?! No :bbq: ? Yeah I decided to go with pizza sauce instead. I got a jar I had never tried before and it was named Del Allo and was made in Pennsylvania (where Hubby is from). Very tasty.

* 1 pizza crust (I used a Boboli type)
* olive oil for brushing on crust
* 2 cups chicken strips
* 1 cup pizza sauce
* 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
* 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
* 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
* 1 bell pepper cut up
* 1 can of chopped tomatoes

I changed it up a bit besides the sauce I added bell peppers and chopped tomatoes. I put the tomatoes on top of the cheese because I want it that way! Well actually no I forgot about the t'maters until after I had put on the cheese.

This pizza was SOOOOO FREAKIN' GOOD!! :drool: Hubby actually had a piece and liked it. :D

Challenge#4 - BBQ Chicken Pizza

Posted By WineUnleashed on Jun 17, 2008 at 7:36PM

This was SUPER easy. My daughter and I went grocery shopping, prepped and cooked the pizza in ONE hour!! We subbed the cheese for a low-fat version and added more chicken and zucchini. The crust bummed me out. Next time I will make a homemade version using whole wheat.

As for wine... a zinfandel or Syrah paired nicely showing off the more playful side of the flavors. I also paired it with 2005 QUINTA DO ALQUEVE, TRADICIONAL (40% TOURIGA NACIONAL, 30% TINTA TORIZ, 20% TRINCADEIRA, 10% PERIQUITA) RIBATEJO, PORTUGAL. This showed a more soulful and brooding side.

Tagged with: wine, pizza, food

Challenge #3: Chili Con Queso, lightened up

Posted By wren1 on Jun 12, 2008 at 12:27PM

It's always going to have a lot of calories, but I was able to reduce total calories and a lot of fat without sacrificing flavor.

Challenge #3 - PW Revved Up Chili Con Queso Appetizer

Posted By audreystar on Jun 7, 2008 at 1:26PM

Revved Up Chili Con Queso

2 lb package Velveeta
1/2 large Onion
1 lb Hot Breakfast Sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
1 regular can of Rotel (either regular or extra hot)
1 7 oz can of diced Green Chiles
1 -3 finely diced Jalapeno peppers

Chop the onion and brown with the sausage. Drain excess fat. Cut velveeta into cubes and add to warm skillet. Add Rotel and green chiles and stir together over low heat until mixture is melted. Add finely diced jalapenos, stir together, and serve with warm tortilla chips. Keep queso warm during serving (in a fondue pot, chafing dish or crock pot).
Queso can also be frozen flat in ziploc bags and reheated at a later date.


I picked the Con Queso since many of you decided you would try the salad. Plus my boys love queso so I figured I couldn't go wrong. I didn't get an extra can of green chiles because the Rotel had chile's in them. I also didn't add the jalapeno even though I bought a can because I figured it would be too spicy for the boys. I might add them later after the boys have had a helping.

Oh and after I cooked it all I added the queso to my crockpot on low so it wouldn't thicken up.

Looks so gross, but it is so goodLooks so gross, but it is so good

In conclusion, this was a really good queso. But I mean it is hard to screw it up. The sausage and onion cooking together smelled so divine. :drool:

Again I think I will add in the jalapenos later on after the boys are done.:spicy: I might have some with margaritas I plan to drink tonight. :cocktail:

Challenge #1

Posted By wynter on May 14, 2008 at 1:59PM

I made the Hawaiian chicken salad. I pretty much followed the directions exactly - put in a few seasonings while boiling the chicken so that it wouldn't be bland. I placed the chicken salad in shells since I had some in the freezer still from Christmas. I figured this would be a good time to use them, and there's still a TON left.

My opinion - I didn't like it, but I'm not a celery or mayo fan. I made this for hubby and the boys. The boys really liked it, and hubby gave it an unsure "it's okay". :) I probably won't be making it again.