Thursday, December 22, 2011

Easy But Hearty

I've made something else that is really similar to this recipe but that one was a tad more involved. This one only took about 15-20 minutes total with prep and everything. Even with few ingredients, it's pretty heavy. I enjoyed but couldn't even finish my whole serving!

Hearty Pesto Fettuccine


1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 whole clove of garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
8-9 oz. of fresh egg fettuccine
1 cup ricotta cheese


Using a blender or food processor, puree the first seven ingredients.  Set aside for later.

In a non-reactive bowl, combine tomatoes with olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well.

In a large bowl, put ricotta cheese in first. Then, pile hot pasta over the cheese. Pour the pesto over the pasta, stir and then garnish with tomato mixture.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tequila in My Salad?

So I made another awesome soup. And this one definitely had a kick to it so I was glad I made the pepper salad. I think the zestiness of the salad complimented the spice factor nicely. It was an unusual salad but excited me for the use of tequila alone!

"Cool Nights" Chili with Chicken, Corn, and Chipotles
Source: Sunday Soup


5 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or 5 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups chopped onions

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon grd cumin

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups chicken stock

1 (28 ounce) can italian-style plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped

3 1/2-4 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn kernels, thawed)

2 (19 ounce) cans dark  kidney beans, rinsed and drained 

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
lime wedges

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large, deep-sided pot (with a lid) set over med-high heat. When hot, add the chicken and saute until light golden, for 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and drain on paper towels.

Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the pan; when the oil is very hot, add onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, for 3-4 minutes. Return sauteed chicken to the pan.
Stir together the flour, chili powder, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; sprinkle the mixture over the onions and chicken, and cook, stirring 1 minute. Add in stock, tomatoes, and chipotles; bring mixture to a simmer. Decrease heat, cover, and cook until chicken is fork-tender and mixture has thickened slightly, for 25-30 minutes. Add in corn and beans; cook for 10 minutes. Taste chili and season with salt, if needed.
Garnish each serving with a generous dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Squeeze lime over the top.
Red, Yellow, and Orange Pepper Salad with Tequila-Lime Dressing
Source: Sunday Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1 medium orange bell pepper
mixed greens
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and zest, tequila, salt and red pepper flakes in a small, non-reactive bowl. Add the smashed garlic clov.
Stem the peppers and halve them lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds and membranes. Cut halves into 1/4 inch thick julienne strips. Put peppers in a large nonreactive bowl and toss with the dressing. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

When ready to serve, remove and discard the smashed garlic clove from the marinated peppers. Add the lettuce and cilantro to the bowl and toss to combine. Season salad generously with salt and pepper.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Classic!

I don't normally blog on weekends because I tend to dine out which was my intention last night. I was all excited about going out for some Indian food when my husband suggested staying in and making spaghetti and meatballs. Something clicked and all the sudden I had to have it too. So off we went to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon. And boy am I glad we did because this sauce (and meatballs) was SO GOOD! I followed the original recipe to a T so I'll just link it up for you and include my messy picture.

Recipe found here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Decadent Soup

If you don't love blue cheese, you can stop reading right here. Seriously, don't waste your time on this post because yes it is a good recipe but only for those cheese lovers. I suppose you could always substitute a different cheese more to your liking if you so desired. Some people may have noticed that I tag things as vegetarian even when they contain chicken broth. I'm going with the assumption that a vegetarian would just use vegetable broth instead. Though, I could be totally wrong on this line of thought.

Creamy Cheese Soup with Apple Slices
Makes 3-4 servings

I promise it doesn't look greenish in real life. Don't forget that I take my pictures with a cell phone and don't edit them. I realize that most bloggers edit their photos to make them prettier or more appealing. But I kind of think that's cheating. Besides, do people really have that much time on their hands?!


3 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup leeks, chopped (only the white and light green parts)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp dried rosemary or 3/4 tsp fresh rosemary
5 oz. blue-veined cheese (Stilton would work)
1/4 cup half-and-half
kosher salt
1 granny smith apple or bartlett pear, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
a pinch of sugar


In a large pot, cook 2 1/2 Tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Next, throw in the leeks and celery. Cook until soft about 4 minutes.  Throw in the potatoes with the chicken stock and rosemary.  Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cook 25 more minutes (uncovered.)

Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup and then return to the pot. Whisk in the cheese until fully combined. Then whisk in the half and half until smooth. Salt to taste.

For the garnish:
Heat remaining butter over medium heat and add the apple or pear slices. Cook for 3 minutes and sprinkle sugar over the top. Flip the slices and cook another 3-4 minutes and finish off with another small pinch of sugar. Serve over the soup.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pork Marsala

I'll probably be back to soups in another day but I made another delicious recipe! We were supposed to have a spinach side with it to balance out the meal but someone ate the spinach in his salad for lunch...

Pork Chop Marsala with Buttered Noodles
Serves 2

All purpose flour
2 thick center-cut pork loin chops, sliced to make 4 thinner chops
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 Tbsp butter, unsalted (divided)
1 tsp garlic
1/8 cup shallots, minced
1 8-oz. package of mushrooms (your favorite variety), sliced
1/4 cup dry marsala wine
1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 cup chicken broth
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
no yolk egg noodles, dry
Parmesan, grated


Season pork chops and dredge through flour. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat and then add the chops. Brown chops about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

Add about 1 Tbsp of butter to the pan. Throw the garlic and shallots in the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for around 4-5 minutes or until they start to brown.

Deglaze the pan with the wine and then add the lemon juice. Next add the broth and stir in the sage. Bring to a boil for about 1 minute. Then reduce heat to low until the liquid reduces about 75%.

Remove from heat and stir butter in the sauce. Add the chops back to the pan and garnish with parsley.  Serve alongside the noodles.

Noodles can be cooked while you are preparing the marsala sauce. They should be cooked according to package directions and drained. Then gently stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp butter and sprinkle with parmesan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kung Pao

I loved this recipe! It looked like it might be a bit involved at first but it really wasn't at all and the payoff in flavor is big. It was only a tad spicy so next time, I would try using some fresh serrano chiles in the stir fry to heat things up. For added health benefit, I might also add in some red bell peppers and bok choy.

Portobello Kung Pao with Sesame Noodles
Source: based on a recipe found in Cuisine at Home
Makes 4 cups


2/3 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil

2 tablespoons fresh ginger , minced

1 tablespoon garlic , minced

1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups portobello mushrooms, gilled and sliced into 3-inch pieces

2 cups asparagus tips , cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup peanut halves


Whisk first 5 ingredients together. Next whisk in cornstarch until it dissolves. Set aside. 

Heat oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. Add ginger, garlic, red pepper; stir fry for 20 seconds. Add veggies and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add water, cover and steam for 2 minutes. Uncover and stir in the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute until the sauce thickens. 

Add scallions and serve over sesame noodles. Garnish with peanuts.

Sesame Noodles (same recipe as above)
makes 3 cups 


1 package of Udon noodles
3 Tbsp of peanut or canola oil
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped


Cook noodles according to package directions and drain well. Heat oil in a large pan over high. Stir fry noodles for one minute. Finish with sesame oil. Toss with cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste. 


Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Cookies

I usually go for the tried and true chocolate chip cookies whenever I need to bring a baked good to a get together. But I felt like experimenting with something a little more festive without the stress of decorating a cake/cookie. Each recipe made a few dozen. So I give you my experiments...

I played around with measurements on this one as you can too.

Mint Chocolate Chunk

For the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, etc.), use your favorite sugar cookie recipe. These are basically dressed up sugar cookies.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 drops of green food coloring
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 egg
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat dry ingredients with butter, food coloring, peppermint extract, and egg until dough forms. Next, stir in chocolate pieces.  Using a teaspoon, scoop dough and drop onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Eggnog Cookies

1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 20 to 23 minutes until bottoms turn light brown.

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Soup

You can expect to see a lot of soups this season on my blog. I'm quite excited to try all the recipes in my soup cookbooks. I'd like to say I keep making soup "because it's the perfect weather for it." But, that's not exactly true as it's 70 degrees in December here. However, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some yummy soup and this one was indeed yummy. It's not difficult to make if you buy the squash pre-cut and cubed instead of taking that task upon yourself. I served it with a simple salad and croissants with honey.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream
Source: Sunday Soup
Serves 6


5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed (about 6 cups)
2 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage 

5 cups chicken stock 
1 1/2 cups apple cider, divided
2/3 cup sour cream

kosher salt
5 crisp bacon slices, crumbled


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrot and celery; sauté until  softened, about 12 minutes. Add in apples, thyme and sage. Add stock and 1 cup cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. 

 Puree the soup in batches using either a blender, food processor (or immersion blender.) Return soup to pot and season with salt.

Boil remaining 1/2 cup cider in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Cool. Place sour cream in small bowl. Whisk in reduced cider. (Soup and cider cream can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.) 

For garnish, thinly slice remaining apple and place over ladled soup in bowl. Drizzle the cider cream over the top and add the bacon. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

French Lentil Soup with Garlic Sausage plus Salad

Sometimes the best dinners are the simple ones. One of my favorite things to have for dinner is a simple (or fancy) grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato bisque. While we didn't have that last night, we did have a pretty simple meal consisting of soup, salad and a Black Pepper Parmesan roll from the Whole Foods bakery (yum.) Somehow I clicked delete when transferring my pictures over so I don't have any today. And my salad looked so pretty but for whatever reason my soup didn't look like the picture in the cookbook. There's had a black base which I couldn't quite figure out. Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

French Lentil Soup with Sausage 
Makes 6 full cups
taken from Sunday Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup carrots diced (1/4" dice)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery diced 1/4" dice)
3 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
6 ounces kielbasa or garlic sausage -- cut into 1/4" dice
2 teaspoons thyme dried
9 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 pound Puy lentils (these are green lentils that can be found in the bulk section of WF)
kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Heat oil in a large pot (with a lid) over medium heat. When hot, add the carrots, onion, and celery. Cook stirring often, until the vegetables are just softened, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sausage, and thyme, and cook 1 minute more.

Add the stock and bay leaves, and bring mixture to a simmer over high heat. Stir in the lentils, then reduce heat, cover and cook at a gentle simmer until tender, for about 50 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay leaves. Remove the garlic pieces and transfer to food processor. Using a slotted spoon, strain 1/2 cup solids (vegetables and sausage) from the soup and puree them with garlic pieces in a food processor or combine them with garlic pieces in a small bowl and smash with the back of a fork. Stir the pureed mixture into the pot; this will thicken the soup slightly. Taste the soup and season with salt, as needed.

To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and sprinkle with some parsley over each serving. 

Simple Salad Dressing Recipe for Mixed Greens

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine vinegar,  mustard, salt and several grinds of pepper in a bowl. Whisk to blend. Next whisk in the olive oil. Cover and refrigerate or serve right away.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cajun Pasta and Da Beans

Okay so maybe you can get sick of pumpkin. I'm admitting defeat. Me and the pumpkin are taking a little break because I may have eaten a little too much of that yummy cake in my last post. But a good friend of mine sent me some pumpkin butter in the mail for my birthday so I'm pretty sure this will be a quick break so I can jump right in to that. Said friend also sent me an awesome soup cookbook from Crate & Barrel. I can't wait to share some of those recipes with you!

Last night's dinner was really good and didn't take long at all, maybe 30 minutes. The key to this meal is to make sure you time everything just right so that the pasta and the sauce are ready at the same time. (It would also help to have the green beans finished then as well.) Oh and of course, don't forget the wine! Also, I halved the actual recipes listed.

Brown Butter Beans
Source: Cuisine At Home

4 cups green beans or haricot vert
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt, pepper

Boil green beans for 4 minutes in a large saute pan. Drain,
Use pan to melt butter over medium-high heat until light brown.
Stir in garlic for 30 seconds.
Deglaze pan with lemon juice. Remove from heat.
Add beans and toss before seasoning.

Cajun Shrimp with Fettuccine
inspired by recipe from Cuisine At Home
makes 6 cups

1/2 lb. FRESH fettuccine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb. turkey kielbasa, sliced
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup green onion, chopped


Bring water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Prepare sauce while water boils. Drain pasta.

Saute kielbasa over medium-high heat in a pan about 1 minute on each side. Add shrimp and garlic. Cook until shrimp turns pink. Be careful not to overcook. Remove shrimp and kielbasa from the pan.

Deglaze the pan with sherry. Scrap up the brown bits in the pan.

Add cream, butter, chicken broth, and cayenne to the pan. Then add the pasta, kielbasa, and shrimp back in. Off heat, mix in the egg yolks and parm. (The heat will cook the yolks.) Garnish with green onions.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Not Done With the Pumpkin!

I know Thanksgiving has passed (and I hope you had a good holiday with lots of delicious food.) But, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the pumpkin stuff. In my defense, I didn't have any pumpkin pie this year. Though, I did have one too many Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. So last night, I decided to go buy some pumpkin and make a breakfast cake. It was just as good as I hoped it would be even if the cashiers looked at me strangely for buying pumpkin two days AFTER Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Walnut Streusel

1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Sour Cream
1 can of Pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Walnuts, Chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13x9 in. baking pan.

Using an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat 3 eggs into the mixture.

Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Mix flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream. Set aside.

Pumpkin part: 
Stir pumpkin with one beaten egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside

Cut brown sugar into 1/3 cup butter and cinnamon. Once blended, stir in walnut pieces.

In greased pan, spread half of the batter.  Layer half of the streusel on top. Next, spread the pumpkin over it evenly. Then, spread the rest of the batter over the top before sprinking on the rest of the stresuel. Bake for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Seriously Good

I'm really excited about this recipe because it was fairly easy and the results were amazing. I had always had bolognese sauces with pappardelle which is delicious too but I was missing out all these years. Creamy polenta is the way to go but not just the packaged kind. Try preparing your own, it's quick and easy. I will definitely be making this again. While it tastes good, it unfortunately doesn't make for a really pretty picture.

Beef Bolognese Sauce
makes 6 servings

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. ground chuck (I used grass-fed sirloin instead)
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage, crumbled (I like to use the spicy version for a kick)
1/2 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup celery, grated
3 T. tomato paste
1 T.  garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry red wine
1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
1 cup heavy cream (less if you don't want the added fat)
salt and pepper
fresh parsley
grated Parmesan


Brown the beef and sausage in olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Add onions, celery, carrots, tomato paste, garlic, and bay leaf. Saute about 5 more minutes.

Deglaze pan with wine; bring to a boil and simmer until almost evaporated. Stir in tomatoes and cream, simmer over medium-high heat 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over polenta.

Garnish with parsley and parm.

Creamy Polenta
makes 4 cups


2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
2 T. olive oil


Bring broth, milk, salt, and pepper to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal, reduce heat to low and continue stirring for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in cheeses and oil. Serve with sauce.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hearty Fall Pasta

I don't know if this recipe will appeal to a lot of people since so many get scared away by blue cheese but it really was yummy and so easy! Actually, butternut squash is a pain to cube. HINT: Trader Joe's sells butternut squash already cut  up and cubed for you. Score! I made half the recipe for two people and still had a good amount of leftovers.

Pappardelle with Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Recipe takes about 45 minutes and produces probably 8 servings.


1 large butternut squash, 2-3/4- 3-1/4 lbs., or 1-3/4 lbs. ready-cubed (6 cups) 
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons Marsala
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup pine nuts
1 pound pappardelle
6 fresh sage leaves
5 ounces soft blue cheese, such as Saint Agur

1. Peel, halve, and seed the butternut squash; cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.
2. Cook onion in olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan that can accommodate the pasta later. When the onion starts to become golden, add the paprika.
3. Stir butter and squash into onion mixture in pan. Add Marsala and water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 10 minutes or until squash is tender but still holds its shape.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to boiling; add hefty pinch of salt. Cook pasta according to package directions. Toast pine nuts in a hot, dry frying pan on the stove top until dark gold. Pour them into a bowl or onto a plate to cool.
5. Lightly season squash mixture to taste with salt (the blue cheese will add additional saltiness). Remove from heat.
6. Finely chop sage; sprinkle over the squash, reserving some for serving.
7. Remove about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water with a ladle or mug; drain pasta. Add drained pasta to the squash mixture. Gently stir to combine. If sauce is too dry or mixture won't come together, add some of the reserved cooking water; the starch in it encourages the sauce to emulsify and cling to the pasta. Stir in most of the pine nuts and blue cheese. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining sage, pine nuts, and cheese. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't Knock The Sprouts, Kids

Okay, I can't totally blame someone whose first reaction to brussel sprouts is "yuck." If anyone offered me some sprouts when I was younger my response would have been something along the lines of "that's nasty." But I was oh so wrong. In fact, brussel sprouts are freaking delicious especially if you roast them in a pan with a little olive oil. Who knew that something with such a bad connotation could be so yummy. I'm sharing a recipe that I liked and will hopefully get you to start loving brussel sprouts if you don't already.

Brussel Sprouts Hash
as seen in the AJC - serves 4

1 lb. brussel sprouts, rinsed, dried, ends removed
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 Fuji apple, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock


Cut sprouts in half and slice.  Set aside.

In a large pan/skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Set cooked bacon aside.

Add butter to the pan. Once the butter stops foaming, add the onion and cook until lightly browned about 7 minutes.

Add sprouts and toss. Cook until sprouts begin to brown. Then add the apple.

Stir in the vinegar to scrape brown bits off the pan. Add stock and cook until almost all liquid is reduced.  Add bacon and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A New Pork Chop Option and Some Greens

I have a new quick and easy recipe for pork chops. I tried it last night and it was delicious! The preserves that I used were a Peach Chipotle. It was a great flavor because it had a spice flavor to it that felt perfect for fall. If you can't find a jam/jelly in this type of flavor, I'm sure you could substitute it with something else you like. I used this one which I picked up at a local farmer's market.

On the side, I made some mustard greens. At least I think they were mustard greens. My father-in-law grew them in his garden with some other things and I have to be honest, I don't know my greens at all. Either way, I used this recipe to make them and they were pretty awesome. I guess you could say I was celebrating the pork last night.

Chipotle Peach Pork Chops

2 8-oz. Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin Chops
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup Chipotle Peach (or similar flavor) jelly preserves
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 cup scallions, sliced 

If you get really thick pork chops, you may want to cut them in half so that they will cook faster.

Spray a pan with cooking spray and set to medium-high heat. Cook pork chops until fully cooked about 160 degrees. Depending on the thickness of the chops, it should be around 6 or 7 minutes for each side.

Remove the chops from the pan to make the sauce. In the same pan, cook onions until they are lightly- browned.

Next, add the garlic, jelly, soy sauce, and salt. Stir until blended and let thicken. Once thickened, add chops back to the pan and toss to coat. Sprinkle in the scallions and serve excess sauce over the pork.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time for Soup Once Again

The other thing I get more excited about in the fall is soup. With soups, there are so many options to choose from. Besides, I need to work on making dinners that aren't so heavy right now. This means that you can expect to see soup recipes here a little more often starting with this one:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Makes 6-8 bowls


2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded (should amount to about 2 cups)
2 onions, diced and then divided
8 hard taco shells, broken into little pieces
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp green chilies, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup canola oil
Optional: hot sauce, cilantro, fresh lime juice


1. Cook chicken and then shred with a fork. Set aside
2. Using a blender or food processor, pulse half of the onions with all of the taco pieces, egg, milk, water, and garlic. Make sure it's fairly well blended. Pour it into a bowl and let sit at room temp for 10 minutes.
3. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan and cook the rest of the onions for about 4 minutes. Add the chicken, chilies, and broth. Simmer.
4. While the broth is simmering, heat the canola oil in another pan. Form patties with the tortilla mixture and cook in the oil for 3 minutes on each side. You will need to do this in batches. When each batch is done, set on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. 
5. Add tortilla patties to soup as you serve. I like to squeeze some fresh lime juice and plenty of hot sauce over the top.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chocolately Pumpkin Goodness

I'm a sucker for just about anything pumpkin this time of year but ask me in December if I like pumpkin and I might just gag. It's totally possible that I over do it. But, don't tell me you don't love a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte when you feel the first hint of fall? Okay, I know quite a few people who don't love it but I do. Though, I have to admit I tweak the formula a little bit. I order it non-fat, with no whip, and only one pump of syrup. It saves calories and makes it a little less sweet/intense. But there are other pumpkin things I love too, like beer. Yes, beer. I recently discovered Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale and I am a little obsessed. On a recent trip through New England, I discovered it at their own brewery. Then, I found it at home while shopping at Hop City which it a really cool store if you are into micro brews. I think I am as my fall foliage road trip quickly became a tour de beer. There are so many great breweries up in the New England area specifically Burlington VT, Boston MA, Portsmouth NH, Woodstock VT, and Portland ME. Another one we really loved was Magic Hat.

With all the pumpkin themed stuff, I decided to make my annual pumpkin treats. I could seriously eat the entire batch myself. Technically, they are cookies but I like to whip the pumpkin batter until it's fluffy so it's a cross between and cookie and a muffin top. You'll see.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip "Cookies"
Probably made 2 dozen


2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Cooking spray or Crisco
2 sticks of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

 1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease baking sheet.
2. Mix the first five ingredients in bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Next beat in the eggs, pumpkin and vanilla.
4. Then, start to add in the flour mixture.
5. Gently fold the chocolate chips in.
6. Drop batter onto baking sheet and bake for about 15 to 17 minutes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raw Egg?

Usually if I see "raw egg" anywhere, I run the other way. I'm just not a risk taker when it comes to raw stuff even though I love sushi. But I decided to give this recipe a try.  But technically, the egg isn't really raw when you eat it. You see, the egg cooks when you throw it together with the piping hot pasta. And the breadcrumbs you see? I took the easy route. Remember those crostinis I bought at Whole Foods from my last entry? Yeah, I crumbled those up and tossed in some red pepper flakes and kosher salt to use as garnish. If you don't have access to those, you could do the same thing with some fresh breadcrumbs and just toast them with a little olive oil.

Whole Wheat Fettucini Carbonara
Two heaping servings

Breadcrumb mixture (explained above)
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/8 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 lb. chicken tenderloins
half a package of whole wheat fettucini 
1/8 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup frozen peas


Prepare breadcrumb mixture and set aside.

Start boiling a large pot of salted water to use later.

In a bowl, whisk together egg, cheese, cream, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Saute bacon pieces until they crisp. Transfer to a plate and drain with paper towels.

Add chicken pieces to the pan and cook 4 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to bacon mixture.

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

While pasta is cooking, throw broth, wine, and lemon juice to deglaze the pan. Scrape bits off the sides of the pan.

Drain pasta in a strainer over the peas to quickly defrost them.

In a large serving bowl, mix pan mixture, chicken/bacon, sauce, and pasta with the peas. Garnish with breadcrumb mixture before serving. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sweet Onions

Now that the temperatures are cooling down (barely, but I'll take it), it seemed like the right time to bring soups back into my life. I love a good soup especially when I can use my slow cooker since it's so easy. This soup was no exception. For those that do not like your onion soup on the sweeter side, you can use red onions instead. As far as the crostini goes, you can slice a french baguette and broil it with a little olive oil and butter or you can buy it already made like I did. I found them in the bread/bakery area of Whole Foods. They look like this:

Slow Cooker Vidalia Onion Soup
Makes about 4 bowls


2 lbs. Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp Port
Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved

1. Place sliced onions, butter, oil and salt in the slow cooker.  Cook for one hour on high. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4-5 more hours. Stir every once in awhile.
2. Mix sugar and flour into the onions. Cook for 20 more minutes on low.
3. Pour stocks into the pot and cook on high for 45 mins-1 hour.
4. Cook on low for 1- 1 1/2 hours before stirring in the Port
5. Serve in bowls with crostini and cheese over the top.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Healthier Pasta Dish

Last night, I took a simple dish that I've made before (I can't remember if I posted it here?) and made a few tweaks.  I switched the regular pasta to whole-wheat and the pork sausage to chicken sausage. I thought it had a great flavor. But it's all in the wine. I used to be one of those people who picked up whatever wine was cheap if I was just planning to cook with it. That was a mistake. Using a cheap wine (unless it's one that you know you enjoy) can break a meal especially when the flavors come through like with this recipe. I know it seems like such a waste to buy a good wine when you are throwing it in the pot/pan, but really, splurge a little on what you like. Then, plan on drinking the rest of the bottle. You won't regret it.

Healthier Pasta Ragu
Serves 2

8 oz. Whole-Wheat Fusilli Pasta
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp EVOO (e-v olive oil)
1 really small or 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 links of uncooked Italian Chicken Sausage, casings removed (I like the spicy variety)
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup Parmesan, grated
fresh parsley


Heat butter and oil over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook pasta according to directions. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water.

While the pasta is cooking, Add sausage to onion mixture and turn up the heat slightly. Break up the sausage with a spoon. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring every so often.

Add the tomato paste to the meat and mix together. Add wine to deglaze pan and let reduce.

Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the pasta and reserved water. Last, toss with the cheese and fresh parsley before serving.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Get A Little Messy

Because I was afraid to. Yeah, yeah, I know you are supposed to eat ribs with your hands and I usually do when it's bbq. But since these were Asian-style ribs, I tried the knife and fork way. Let's just say I would've had a lot more meat had I just got a little dirty and picked these suckers up. They were good nonetheless.

Hot and Sticky Asian Ribs
Source: Cuisine At Home

Picture taken while still cooking:

1 jar hoisin sauce (8 oz.)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. toasted sesame oil
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. fresh ginger, minced
Heat, Season, Saute:
2 T. canola oil, divided
8 bone-in country style pork ribs (about 3 1/2 lb.)
Salt and pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl for the sauce.
2. Heat 1 T. oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat; season ribs with salt and pepper.
Saute 4 ribs until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes; remove from pan. Repeat process
with remaining oil and ribs.
3. Return ribs to pan; add half the sauce and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes. Flip ribs and simmer 15 minutes, uncovered, turning occasionally to coat with sauce. Reduce heat to low; simmer an additional 15 minutes, turning often. Serve with remaining sauce

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More BBQ

This is a another really easy recipe and it's for slow-cooked barbecue. I have to get it in before summer is completely over! For the same reason, I made a corn dish with this meal. I have tried a few slow cooker barbecue recipes but I think this is one of the better ones. I made less than half the amount in the recipe for two people.  With a side, it was enough. 

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork

3-3 1/2 lb. boneless pork shoulder/butt
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 white onion, chopped
2/3 cup worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp white or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard

Mix all ingredients except for pork in a slow cooker/crockpot. Add pork and turn to coat with mixture. Cook on low for 9 hours.  Shred the pork with a fork and return to the slow cooker to mix with the sauce. Serve with your favorite bbq sauce or on a bun. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Skip The Takeout

...and make your own Thai food! It's really not that hard. Try it!

Thai Basil Chicken with Coconut Rice
Source: Cuisine At Home

Coconut Rice

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup basmati or jasmine rice 

2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 Tbs unsalted butter

Bring broth, coconut milk, sugar, and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the rice from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork and then adding the lime juice and butter.

Thai Basil Chicken
 Combine for the Slurry Mixture

3/4 Cup Coconut Milk 
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
2 Tbs. Oyster Sauce
2 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tbs Soy Sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp anchovy paste (optional)

Season: Stir-Fry in 2-4 Tbs Vegetable Oil

1 lb raw boneless chicken breast cut into pieces

1 1/2 Cup of green beans, blanced (boil them briefly and then cover with ice water)
1 Cup red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbs Garlic, minced

Stir in; Garnish with

1 cup sliced basil leaves

1 jalapeno thinly sliced with seeds
1/2 Cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Combine all ingredients for the slurry and set aside
Season chicken with salt and pepper and then stir fry in 2 T oil over high heat for 5-8 minutes flipping halfway through. Remove and set aside. Heat 1 T oil in same pan add green beans and stir fry 1-2 minutes, add bell pepper and garlic and stir fry another 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and any juices and stir fry 1 minute. Stir in slurry mixture and cook 2 minutes allowing sauce to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and jalapeno and garnish with peanuts. Serve over Coconut Rice

Monday, August 29, 2011

Easy Stovetop Taco

This recipe was SO easy and quick. While not a dish to impress your parents or new boyfriend, it's a perfect weeknight meal for you and the kiddos. But I like it too.

Stove-top Tacos
Makes 4 servings

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
6 (6 inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 can of condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup of chunky hot salsa
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded (I used 1/4 c sharp yellow and 1/4 c mild white cheddar)

Brown ground beef in a large skillet or pan. If you are not using grass-fed beef, you may need to drain the fat after cooking.
Break tortillas into small pieces and add to the pan. Stir in soup, water, and salsa. Bring mixture to a boil. Then, simmer for 5 more minutes.
Top with cheddar cheese and serve.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cowboy Spaghetti

It sounds a little manly but I liked it. And the sauce actually seemed kind of light. I know what you are thinking "How does a sauce with bacon in it seem light?" Okay, it wasn't a "light" dish but you use a small amount of sauce to pasta ratio making it feel lighter. This is a Rachel Ray 30 minute recipe though it did take me slightly longer. It also says that the full recipe makes 4 servings. Well, I halved it and still ended up with 4 heaping servings so keep that in mind. I also used whole wheat spaghetti to make it a tad healthier.

Cowboy Spaghetti
Probably makes 8 servings - Source


1 pound spaghetti, whole wheat preferred
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 slices raw smoky bacon, chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
Ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beer
1 (14-ounce) can, chopped or crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 (8-ounces) can, tomato sauce
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 scallions, sliced


Heat a pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and salt the water. Cook to al dente.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon, 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off a little excess fat if necessary. Leave just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add beef and crumble it as it browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, garlic and stir into meat. Season the meat with salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add 1/2 cup beer and deglaze the pan. Cook 5 to 6 minutes more then stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Add hot spaghetti to meat and sauce and combine. Adjust seasonings and serve up pasta in shallow bowls. Grate some cheese over the pasta and sprinkle with scallions. Garnish with crisp bacon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Something Smells Fishy

I made fish last my house. I'm sure that I've mentioned before that I have an aversion to cooking fish at home but don't mind it at restaurants. The smell just gets to me. But this didn't make my house too smelly and it turned out pretty good. I don't have good pics because I only took one of my non-perfect fish packets before they went into the oven. A note about the banana leaves: You might not find them displayed in your grocery store so you will likely need to ask one of the produce employees to get it for you from the back. At least, that was my experience at Whole Foods. They brought out a huge sheet and offered to cut as much as I needed. It was $5.99/lb and I ended up purchasing 87 cents worth. The leaves can be a little tricky. They started breaking apart while I was handling them. The recipe isn't my own but was passed on to me from my aunt who found it here.

Baked Wrapped Tilapia

1-inch cube fresh gingerroot, finely chopped or grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 green onions (green part only), finely chopped
Fresh chile to taste (I used one serrano - use more if you like spicy food)
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp grapeseed (or safflower) oil
Dash of toasted sesame oil
Dash of soy sauce
Dash of fish sauce
4 tsp dark maple syrup
4 fillets (4 oz each) fresh tilapia (or other firm-fleshed whitefish)
4 large banana leaves (or unbleached parchment paper)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place a fillet on each banana leaf and divide topping evenly among them, spreading it over the top. Fold each banana leaf over to form a packet around each fillet and seal the edge of each packet with a small piece of aluminum foil, crimping it tightly. Place on a baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes.



Monday, August 22, 2011

A Taste of Tuscany

Well...sort of... This recipe has a Tuscan flair but I am certain it wouldn't live up to an actual meal in Tuscany. While I have never been (this is on my bucket list), I do know that the food in Italy is wonderful. I went last year and made it to Florence which is basically "right there" but didn't get to the Tuscan countryside. The incredible thing about the food in Italy is that the dishes seem much simpler than the "Italian" dishes we make here but they are simply amazing there. A little olive oil here and there and voila, you have this superbly flavored meal. My mouth waters just thinking about their florentine steaks and cannellini beans. But for now, my kitchen will have to do.

This recipe looks and smells great and is also low calorie. It was pretty tasty, however next time, I would use thinner pork chops or at least pound them down some. I felt like the ones we used were too thick to really absorb all the flavor. But give it a try yourself and let me know how it turns out!

Tuscan Pork Chops
Source: Southern Living Cookbook

1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
4 boneless pork chops
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp capers


Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; dredge pork in flour mixture.

Cook pork in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes each side at least.) Remove chops from the skillet.

Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add vinegar and broth, stir to loosen particles from the bottom of the skillet; stir in tomatoes and capers. Return pork to skillet and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer at least 5 minutes or until pork is done.  Serve chops with sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peachy Burgers

I liked this recipe even if it's not for everyone. (You gotta like peaches.) But who in Georgia, doesn't like peaches this time of year? And it's best to make use of them right now while they are cheap and in season (they won't be for long.)

Cheddar-Stuffed Burgers with Peach Ketchup Based off a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens
Makes 4 burgers

2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped
1/8 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Tiny dash of cayenne pepper
1 lb. dry aged ground sirloin (or ground turkey)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup white cheddar or havarti, shredded
Whole wheat buns


Prepare ketchup. In a blender, combine peaches, sugar, vinegar, chili powder, cinnamon, and cayenne. Blend until smooth and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix meat with half of the peach ketchup.  Add salt and pepper. Divide burgers into 4 balls. Make an indention at the top of each ball. Fill the indention with cheese. Work the meat around the cheese to form hamburger patties.

Use a gas or charcoal grill and cook burgers to your desired temperature. Serve on buns with lettuce and remaining peach ketchup.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wine and Wine

No recipes today but I might have one to share tomorrow. I'm making peach ketchup to go with some cheddar-stuffed burgers. Mmm...

But I did have two more of my wines. I've been forgetting to post about the wines that I drink lately. (Don't think that just because I didn't post means I took a break from the wine.)

We opened another one of our bottles from the Sonoma trip, Robert Young Merlot. No, I haven't finished all those wines yet. See Mom, I really don't drink THAT much. It was a really nice red and went well with our pasta. I don't buy Merlot too often. I used to drink them fairly often towards the end of my college years. However, a well-known movie, Sideways , came out shortly after and ruined it for me and many other winos. This is the movie that made it uncool to drink Merlot. Sadly, I was too embarrassed to continue my love affair with the drink. But now that I'm too old to care, I can enjoy it every now and again. So if you are still down with Merlot, this is a good one.

Another California wine...Muir Wood Chardonnay. I liked it but it was a tad sweeter than I usually like for my Chardonnays. It'd be a nice wine to drink on the porch but not so much a dinner wine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Healthy Mexican Chicken in Slow Cooker

This recipe is so easy and so tasty! I didn't plan on blogging it originally so there is no picture. But I will definitely make it again so I wanted to document it.

2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 Tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2/3 cup salsa
1ish Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
Rub spices onto both sides of chicken breasts and place in the slow cooker.
Pour salsa over the top of the chicken.
Set slow cooker to HIGH and cook for 3 to 3.5 hours.
Remove chicken and place on plate or shred into tortillas.
Add cornstarch and sour cream into the liquid in the slow cooker. Mix to create sauce.
Spoon sauce over the chicken.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Taco Soup

The following recipe is great for when you need a healthy, weeknight meal. It definitely looks and tastes like chili but it's called a soup. This might be because it's not a slow-cooking type dish.

Taco Soup

16 oz grass-fed ground sirloin
1/2 C yellow onion, chopped
1 recipe taco seasoning (I made my own using this recipe)
14 oz tomato sauce
14 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies
14 oz kidney beans, dark, drained
1 C water
1 C corn, frozen
4 oz green chilies, chopped
1/2 C garbanzo beans, smashed


Brown ground beef and chopped onion over medium heat in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add seasoning cook for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and cook additional minute while stirring. Add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add corn, green chilies, and mashed garbanzo beans, simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped cilantro, chips, cheese, or sour cream.

Number of Servings: 6

Friday, July 29, 2011

Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue can be a big deal depending on where you live in this country. A few places known for their BBQ: Georgia (of course), North Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas. It seems like most barbecue fanatics have their own preferences on their sauce (which may be the most important part.) Some like them sweet, some tangy, some with a kick-your-ass hotness, etc. I'm not sure I've find my favorite style because it really depends on my mood. In fact, I like to have a selection in front of me so that each bite gets a different flavor. Maybe that's not normal?

With the slow cooked pork I made the other night, I set up my usual selection of sauces. I wanted to share because these three are really good ones if you are looking for a recommendation. Not pictured but also good...Williamson Brothers Original Sauce.

Big Al's Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce (Tangy and Sweet), Smack Yo Mama Death Wish Sauce (Spicy), Sticky Fingers Habanero Hot (Spicy)

What's your favorite?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mole Steak Tacos w/ Smoky Sauce & Guac

Mmm...just thinking about last night's dinner is making my tummy rumble. But that might be because I didn't eat lunch today. Or does a soy frappucino count as lunch? Either way, these tacos were delicious! They take a little bit more effort than the usual tacos I make but it's so worth it. I made guacamole to serve atop the tacos and to dip chips in of course. Though it's not included in the recipe, I also sauted some green bell pepper and onions to put in the tacos.

Mole Steak Tacos (sauce recipe below)
made 8 small tacos

small corn tortillas
sauteed peppers and onions
homemade guacamole
3/4 lb. flat iron or skirt steak
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder


Preheat oven to 500 degrees in preparation for the sauce. You may choose to make the sauce first and let it sit while preparing steak.
Combine all the spices above in a small bowl.
Rub spice mixture onto both sides of the steak.
Grill steak for a few minutes on each side to desired temperature. Most people prepare it medium rare.
Allow steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.
Serve in tortillas mixed in with veggies and the sauce and guac spooned over the top.

Smoky Sauce

 1 poblano pepper
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt 
1-2 Tsp canola oil


 Oven should be preheated to 500 degrees. Put poblano pepper in boiling water until just softened. Remove pepper and slice when cooled.
Place onions, tomatoes, and garlic in a baking dish, mix with canola oil and roast for 20 minutes.
Puree roasted veggies, poblano pepper, chipotle pepper, lime juice, and salt in a blender.
Pour sauce over tacos.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shopping In The Garden

What do you do when you have an abundance of homegrown tomatoes and basil? You make some sauces that are way better than what you find jarred in the grocery store! If you have access to produce straight from the garden, I highly recommend making use of it. The flavors are so much better.

Technically, this was one dish but I made two different things and mixed them together. I even had leftovers. I froze the pesto to use at a later time. But, the tomato mixture got reused the next day to make bruschetta. Yum! You can serve these over any pasta but a small ridged type works best. I used Orecchiette. Pesto is typically made using a food processor but those scare me a little bit and I'm ashamed to admit that I don't really know how to use mine. So, I cheated and used a blender.

Salsa Cruda

about 3-4 large tomatoes, cored and diced (4 cups)
1/2 cup excellent-quality olive oil
1/3 cup chopped basil or italian parsley
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp. kosher salt
pinch of red pepper flakes

 Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Mix with pasta (and pesto if desired).


2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
2 grinds of fresh black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup walnuts

Toss basil, garlic, pepper, and salt in a food processor (or blender) and process until finely chopped. Scrape the sides to make sure all the basil and garlic get chopped. Pour half the olive oil in and pulse. Next, add the cheese and remaining oil and pulse. Lastly, add in the walnuts and pulse until roughly chopped.