Monday, September 17, 2012

Tempeh Taco Salad

I'm pleasantly surprised by how good AND healthy this salad was. I wasn't certain how it was going to go over at home since tempeh could be an acquired taste.  I knew I had already acquired that taste since I've been ordering Tempeh Hoagies from Mellow Mushroom for years now. But by the time we reached the last serving in the bowl, I was ready to fight for it. It was that yummy.

Tempeh Taco Salad
Source: adapted from this


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup corn kernels (I prefer white corn)  
8 oz. tempeh, cubed (found next to the refrigerated vegetarian products)
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon taco seasoning 
8 oz. romaine lettuce salad , chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes  
1/4 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese or monterey jack
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
blue corn tortilla chips, crumbled for garnish
Annie's Organic Cowboy Ranch salad dressing


Chop up vegetables and cube tempeh. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. 

Add onion and saute until starting to brown.

 Add corn kernels and tempeh, and saute about 4 minutes.  Add beans, taco seasoning and 1 tablespoon of water and saute another minute. 

Remove from heat and let sit a few minutes. 

Place lettuce in a large serving bowl. Pile tempeh mixture on top. Arrange avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and cilantro on top of tempeh mixture. Garnish with chips and dressing. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Quinoa

This recipe was found on Pinterest but I've adjusted the measurements to my own proportions to suit my taste.

Southwest Quinoa Salad


1/2-3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup fresh or frozen thawed corn
3/4  red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh mango
less than 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (use less if you don't like the spice) small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
juice from 1 lime
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric


Cook quinoa according to package directions and let cool. If using frozen corn in this recipe, you can throw the kernels in to thaw out. You may have to drain some liquid from this mixture.

Then, mix together the beans, quinoa, corn, bell pepper, mango, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño in a mixing bowl.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric in a small bowl.

Drizzle over the mixture and toss. Refrigerate until use.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Black Sesame Tofu

Technically, I didn't totally make this recipe up. I found a similar recipe on Women's Health  but there was something weird about it. The picture showed different ingredients than what was actually in it, etc. So I decided to use it as a basis and add my own things. It turned out much yummier than I expected.

Black Sesame Tofu Stir-Fry


1.5- 2 cups brown rice, cooked
14 oz. package of extra firm tofu, drained
1.5 Tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp canola or peanut oil, divided
one large stalk of broccoli florets, cut up
1 cup carrots sliced or shreded
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 green onions, cut into 1 in. pieces
3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp mellow white miso (found in the refrigerated vegetarian section at Whole Foods)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp cornstarch


Start rice first and let cook while you prepare the rest. Meanwhile, blot tofu dry with paper towels; cut  into 8 slices. Place sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and dredge tofu through seeds.
Heat sesame oil and 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook for 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Flip over and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until nicely browned on other side. Remove tofu and keep warm.
Add remaining peanut oil to skillet and heat. Stir in broccoli and carrots; stir-fry for 4 minutes or until crunchy-tender. Stir in bell pepper and green onions; cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and return tofu to pan.
Combine orange juice, miso, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl; whisk until well blended. Pour juice mixture into skillet and cook for 1 minute stirring to blend. Serve over rice.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I LOVE avocados. Growing up they just seemed yucky. But my 10 year old self just didn't know what she was missing. I can eat them cut up or if you put a bowl of guacamole in front of me, it WILL disappear quickly. So when I found these two recipes both using avocado and liked them, I knew they needed to be blogged so I wouldn't forget to use them again. FYI, I didn't make these on the same night nor the same week but they are both so easy and tasty. They aren't my recipes since both of them were found on Pinterest but I did make some ingredient tweaks here and there.

Avocado, Cream Cheese, and Salsa Pockets


cooking spray
1 large puffed pastry sheet, thawed
1 avocado, mashed
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup salsa
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

(you probably won't use the full amount of all the ingredients with the exception of the pastry sheet)


1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. 
2. Once thawed, cut pastry sheet into 9, 2 by 2 in squares.
3. On half the squares, place a dollop of avocado, then cream cheese, then salsa. 
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Place remaining squares over filling. Use a fork to seal down edges so nothing seeps out.
6. Brush eggwash over top of each pocket square.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Heirloom Tomato Caprese w/ Avocado

2 Heirloom tomatoes, cubed
2 avocados, cubed
2 balls of fresh mozzarella, cubed/sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper


1. Place tomatoes, avocados, and cheese in a large bowl.
2. Pour oil over and add basil.
3. Toss and season.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Quick and Easy Post

Somehow my blog changed while I was gone. Which one of you was messing around with the font? Anywho, I thought I'd pop in to share a quick and easy recipe that I recently tried. I haven't done a lot of cooking lately but Pinterest keeps me on my toes with new recipes that I am saving to try later or have tried. This is one of them and I can't ignore a recipe with Nutella in it!

Nutella 3 Ingredient Cookies
Source: somewhere in Pinterest world

1 cup Nutella
1 cup flour
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the three ingredients in a bowl. Form cookies and bake on a sheet for 6-8 minutes. It's really that simple. No added sugar, oil, or butter!

My only gripe would be that because of the lack of added oils and butter, the mixture was extremely crumbly. I really didn't think it was going to turn out very well. I had to work the mixture with my hands to form the cookies. But they came out pretty normal and were surprisingly tasty!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Back From the Dead

I'm alive!!! Hopefully, no one really thought I was gone. But yes, my blog did appear to die over the last few months. To be honest, I haven't been doing a ton of cooking lately. I also somehow became a vegetarian a few months ago. I'm not sure if this is a permanent lifestyle change or if I will be back to eating meat shortly. However for the moment, I can no longer stand the thought of beef, chicken, pork, eggs, or any type of seafood. I do hope that changes eventually and my taste for that comes back. Because for right now, my meals are on the bland side and not really worth blogging about. If/when this changes, you can count on me being back for sure. But for now, feel free to use the index on the side of blog to look up past recipes. And I hope you've created some great meals lately whether from here or someone else's blog. Happy eating (and drinking)!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Italian Pot Roast

Easy and delicious!

Italian Pot Roast
Source: Southern Living Cookbook


1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
large  onion, sliced 
1 (2 1/2 to 3-lb.) boneless chuck roast, trimmed 
1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons
olive oil
(1-oz.) envelope dry onion soup mix
(14-oz.) can beef broth
(8-oz.) can tomato sauce
 3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon
dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons


  1. Place mushrooms and onions in slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle roast with pepper. Cook roast in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned on each side.
  3. Place roast on top of mushrooms and onion in slow cooker. Sprinkle onion soup mix over roast; pour beef broth and tomato sauce over roast. Cover and cook on HIGH 6 hours or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
  4. Transfer roast to a cutting board; cut into large chunks, removing any large pieces of fat. Keep roast warm.
  5. Skim fat from juices in slow cooker; stir in tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Stir together cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl until smooth; add to juices in slow cooker, stirring until blended. Cover and cook 20 minutes on HIGH or until mixture is thickened. Stir in roast. Serve over egg noodles.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Being healthy doesn't have to be boring or bland. In fact, it can be downright tasty as was last night's dinner. Well, except for all that cheese. I suppose that wasn't so healthy but who's counting? Instead of traditional elbow pasta, I tried a quinoa version. I didn't even miss the extra carbs. And this version had the extra protein, iron, and fiber. Win! This is what I used:

I also made a new brussels sprouts recipe. I love them these days! Here are both recipes:

Mac n Cheese with Roasted Chiles
Adapted from Southern Living
makes 8 servings

4 poblano chile peppers
1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni or quinoa pasta
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cu  shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Broil chile peppers on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet 5 inches from heat about 5 minutes on each side or until chiles look blistered.
  2. Place chiles in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skins. Peel chiles; remove and discard seeds, and cut chiles into strips. Set aside.
  3. Prepare macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside.
  4. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in cream and milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
  5. Stir in 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, crumbled goat cheese, and salt until smooth. Stir in roasted chiles and macaroni.
  6. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top evenly with Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle evenly with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.
  8. Broil 5 inches from heat about 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Source: Southern Living
Serves 8


2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, cut into slivers (1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar


  1. Rinse brussels sprouts; remove discolored leaves. Cut off stem ends and thinly slice brussels sprouts. (They should look shredded.)
  2. Heat butter and oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add shredded brussels sprouts, garlic, and onion slivers. Saute 10 minutes or until brussels sprouts are tender and onion is lightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a serving bowl. Add vinegar and brown sugar to skillet. Simmer over medium heat 30 seconds; pour over brussels sprouts, and toss gently. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tangy and Spicy Shrimp

Here's another fairly easy recipe especially if you buy your shrimp already peeled and de-veined:

Tangy and Spicy Shrimp
serves 2

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup chili or garlic chili sauce
1 lemon, sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1- 1 1/2 lb. shrimp (peeled and de-veined)

In a medium saucepan, cook all ingredients except for shrimp over low heat until butter is melted and combined.

Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil. Lay shrimp flat and pour sauce over the top. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours turning the shrimp halfway through.

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15 minute or until shrimp is cooked through but not overcooked! I served this with a quinoa/brown rice pilaf. (One of the boxed varieties from the store.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spinach Mushroom Goat Cheese Flat

Weeknight meal alert! This flatbread is easy enough to throw together on a weeknight and is pretty good. It's lighter than pizza and a good way to sneak some veggies in. But with the addition of the crust and cheese, I'm sure the calories catch up with you. The recipe was kind of a make up as you go sort of thing. If you don't like something (the cheese for example) you can always substitute with other ingredients. Feta would work well on this as well.

Spinach Mushroom Goat Cheese Flat

1 package of refrigerated pizza crust (the roll out kind in a can)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 package of sliced mushrooms (8 oz)
1 package of sliced shiitake mushrooms (aprox. 8 oz)
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper to season


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape. You might need to put some flour down beforehand. Using a fork or dull knife, lightly make a 1 inch border. Place dough on baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.

While dough is baking, heat half the oil over medium heat, cook onions, covered, until browned about 5-10 minutes and season with salt. Stir frequently.

In another pan, cook mushrooms in remaining oil over medium heat, covered, until they are tender and most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Then, add in the spinach and cook covered until wilted. (Just a few minutes).

Drain mushrooms and spinach well. Spread over the pizza crust. Then, spread the onions on the top. Top with the goat cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I know my blog posts have been far and few between lately but I promise to get better...maybe. This post is about wine and not a recipe for once. In the beginning, I intended to review wines that I tried along with recipes. While I continued to get emails about the recipes, I didn't really get any feedback on the wine part. I refuse to believe that the people visiting my site are not wine drinkers :) so I am giving it a try once more. And these are two wines that were fabulous and deserve to be blogged!

Francis Ford Coppola Winery Director's Cut Pinot Noir 2008

I've actually been to the FFC winery. It's a really fun one to visit because they have a lot of memorabilia from his movies. It's also quite beautiful. The wines I tasted were good but not good enough for me to order a case to be shipped here. But this bottle was a gift and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was a really nice pinot...light, fruity, and vibrant. If I can find it in stores, I will purchase on my own.

Hawkes 2009 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
 Love, love, love this one. I also visited this winery and didn't meet a cab that I didn't love. So, I knew this one would be especially good. It's a nice rich cab with chocolate undertones throughout.

Drink up!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Soup and Salad

I don't have a lot to say today so I just stopped by to post a recipe and a salad idea. This salad will be in regular rotation for me once summer hits (which it kind of feels like it has.)

It's arugula tossed with a quality olive oil and some apricot-infused balsamic vinegar. Then, I added in some toasted pecans, sliced strawberries and goat cheese.

Slow Cooker Potato Soup

3/4 tsp of minced garlic
2- 2 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 chicken boullion cube
4 cups water
8 oz. package of cream cheese, cut into small pieces
cheddar cheese, shredded
bacon (optional)


Put garlic, potatoes, pepper, salt, boullion, and water into the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours.  Thirty minutes before the time is up, mix the cream cheese into the soup and let it blend together. Serve in bowls and garnish.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coca Cola Cake

Coca Cola Cake should be in every Southern girl's (or guy's) dessert repertoire. I've enjoyed the occasional cola cupcake from time to time but never at my own hand. So I gave this recipe a try and boy am I glad that I's absolutely delicious. One of the things I like best about it is that it's almost like a lighter version of chocolate cake. No I don't mean lighter as in lower in fat. I mean that it isn't as heavy or sweet tasting as a normal chocolate cake which is nice. I think I know what I will be bringing to potlucks this summer!

Cola Cake
Compliments of Southern Living

 Cake Ingredients:
1 cup Coke 
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups mini-marshmellows
Cola frosting (see below)

Cola Frosting ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup Coke
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 - 16. oz package of powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350. Combine cola and buttermilk; set aside.

Beat butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, and soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.

Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Prepare frosting. Pour Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake.

Frosting Steps:

Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a large pot over medium heat; stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and vanilla.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Penzeys and Fishy Times

Have you ever shopped at Penzeys? This is one of my new favorite places! They recently opened a store in Sandy Springs but you can also shop online or through their catalog. One of my cooking friends turned me on to this place. There have a really nice variety of spices and better prices than the grocery store. Though this might not be true if you have steep shipping prices. So you may want to see if there is a brick and mortar store in your area. The spices here also seem fresher than the ones bought at the grocery store. You can even smell them while you shop (if you go to a store.) So far, I've gotten the following spices: Sunny Paris, Fox Point, Bold Taco Seasoning, and Chicago Rub. Their catalog has some good recipes as well which leads me to what I made...Baked Tilapia and the healthier side dish. I halved the recipe for the fish. You might remember me saying that I hate cooking fish at home and rarely do it because of the smell. I don't know if it was the type of fish or the fact that it was marinated first, but no smells here!

Baked Tilapia with Sunny Paris
Source: Penzeys Catalog


4 Tilapia filets
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus additional lemon to squeeze over fish
1 cup panko crumbs
2-3 tsp. Sunny Paris seasoning (purchased from Penzeys)


Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a bag or container. Add the tilapia and slosh to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to an hour.

Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl, combine crumbs and seasoning. Remove fish from marinade place in the bowl making sure to coat both sides of the fish. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil that is sprayed with cooking spray. Don't crowd the filets. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes or until the crumbs start to brown.

Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Source: Cuisine at Home



1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 lb. cauliflower florets
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup buttermilk or 2% milk
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
Chives, chopped


Boil potatoes, cauliflower, and garlic in a pot of salted water until tender when pierced with a fork (15ish minutes). Drain, return vegetables to the pot and cook over medium heat until excess water is evaporated.

Mash vegetables with milk and butter using a hand mixer on low speed or potato masher utensil. Season and top with chives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sun-dried Tomato and Chicken Fettucini

From time to time (or maybe all the time), I love some good comfort food. While my waistline says that I should, I really can't turn down some good pasta. Pasta dishes can be your worst enemy when ordering them at a restaurant because of all the extra stuff put into the dish that you don't know about. I'm not saying that this pasta dish is healthy but at least I know that I didn't throw two sticks of butter in there. And I love the flavors on this one!

Sun-dried Tomato and Chicken Fettucini

3/4 lb. chicken breast (boneless/skinless)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced
8 oz. fresh fettucini (from refrigerated section at your grocer - at Whole Foods this is in the cheese section)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup chicken broth


1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook in a pan over medium-high heat until done (165 degrees).  Slice and set aside.

2. Boil water for the pasta. Then, start sauteeing the sun-dried tomatoes and bacon in another pan until bacon browns. 

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Then throw the chicken, garlic, and red pepper into the bacon mixture and cook for one minute.

4. Pour wine into the pan to deglaze and scrap brown bits off the sides. Next, stir in the half and half and the broth. Bring to a simmer. Add pasta to the pan and let the sauce thicken before serving. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peanut Chicken

This recipe seems like it has to have a lot of protein in it. So there's that and it also tastes good. I served it with a cuban style whole grain rice and beans. But I think it would also be good with plain rice or noodles. It's quite easy as well.

Peanut Chicken
Serves 2 people


1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 (or more if you like some heat) of a serrano pepper, minced
1/2 small tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp peanut butter (smooth)


1. In a large bowl, stir together lemon juice, thyme, black pepper, curry powder, salt and garlic. Toss the chicken pieces with the mixture. Cover bowl and refrigerate for a few hours in order to marinate.

2. In a large pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. When hot, cook onions for 5 minutes or until softened. Toss in the chicken and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir to cook all sides. Stir in the pepper and tomatoes.

3. Add peanut butter to the pan with about 225 ml of warmish water.  Stir and let simmer for 28 minutes.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ribollita - Tuscan Minestrone

I love that this is a really healthy version on minestrone that includes a lot of good vegetables. It's an excellent way to "sneak" those in. Since it includes so many fresh veggies, it can be a little pricey if you buy organic. But it makes enough for dinner and then some so that you could have subsequent lunches or frozen leftovers. The unhealthy part: I bought some crostini from the Whole Foods Bakery to dip in the soup. But hey, this minestrone doesn't have pasta so I have to sneak those carbs in somewhere. Also, this is a soup that is meant to be prepared a day ahead so that all the flavors can soak in.

Source: inspired by Sunday Soup


8 oz. Cannellini beans
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup leek (white and light green parts), chopped
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
14.5 oz. - diced tomato and juices
8 oz. Savoy cabbage or black kale
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
8 oz. Yukon potatoes, peeled and diced
8 oz. zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
6 oz. swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
Crostini or Toasted Italian Bread


1. Drain beans and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook leeks, onions, carrot, and celery for 3 minutes.  Add garlic and rosemary. Stir.
3. Add 8 cups of water, beans, tomatoes, cabbage/kale, and the salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.
4. Add chard, potatoes, and zucchini. Simmer, covered for 23 minutes. Cool, cover, and refrigerate.
5. Reheat over medium-high heat. Garnish with parmesan and crostini.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


This stir-fry was good but there are a few changes that I would make for next time. For one, I would add a few more veggies in here like broccoli, mushrooms, or bok choy. I would have also liked the meat to be a little more thinly sliced almost like bulgogi. But even without these changes, I think most stir-fry fans would like this recipe. The original recipe calls for white long grain rice but I used brown basmati rice instead.

Sirloin Stir-Fry
Source: Cuisine At Home

1 1/4 cups brown jasmine rice
8 oz. hoisin sauce
1 cup rice vinegar
6 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 cup honey

1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 lb. top sirloin, trimmed and sliced thin
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup scallions, chopped into 2 in. pieces
1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
sesame seeds


Cook rice and keep warm.

Combine hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, honey, garlic, ginger, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes.

Toss sirloin with brown sugar, canola oil, and pepper flakes in a bowl to coat. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and brown beef for about 3 minutes or until browned.

Add bell peppers, scallions and edamame, and saute for 3 more minutes. Off heat, stir in sesame oil and seeds.

Serve with rice and sauce.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tamale Casserole

You would think I need breaks from eating Mexican food but somehow I just don't. I eat it entirely too often. There are days that I eat Willy's/Chipotle for lunch and then come home and make Mexican food for dinner and I DON'T GET SICK OF IT. So not surprisingly at all, I'm planning to make burrito bowls for dinner tonight after I made this tamale dish last night. It was good but I didn't feel like there was enough spice to the dish. I would try adding in some hotter peppers next time to give it a little more pizazz. that a word people my age even use?

Tamale Casserole

So here's a blurry picture but you get the idea...

 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 lb. grass-fed ground sirloin
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp. red chili powder
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 350.

In a pot, boil 1 1/3 cups of water.  In a small bowl, mix the cornmeal with 1/2 cup of cold water and half the salt. Slowly add the mixture to the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened about 7-8 minutes.  While that is cooking, start making the beef mixture.

In a large pan, cook the onion, peppers, beef, and garlic until browned. If you aren't using grass-fed beef, drain fat. Stir the rest of the salt and the chili powder with this mixture.  Then, add the corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, and cilantro. Stir well.

Grease a 2- 2 1/2 qt baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the cornmeal mixture over the bottom. Next, add half of the cheese. Pour the beef mixture over the cheese layer.  Set the remaining cheese aside. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the remaining cheese over the top and bake for an additional 5 minutes. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicken and Shrimp in Tomato-Coconut Sauce

Apparently, this is a Brazilian dish which threw me for a loop even though I'm not any sort of an expert on the Brazilian culture. With the coconut milk, I thought it was an Asian dish. But my assumptions were also based on my previous experiences with Brazilian food which consisted of their steakhouses (churrascaria) or bakeries with meat-filled pastries and wonderful cakes. Which by the way, you must go to the Brazilian Bakery on Powers Ferry in Marietta and try some of those cakes. They are incredible.

This was a nice flavorful dish without a ridiculous amount of prep. I did cheat a little and used canned diced tomatoes (one 14.5 oz. can) instead of fresh ones. But I didn't do this because I'm lazy. I just don't really like cooking fresh chopped tomatoes because the skin always comes off in the pan.

Chicken and Shrimp in Tomato-Coconut Sauce
Serves two.
Source: Cuisine At Home

Basmati or Jasmine rice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breast ( 5-6 oz. each), seasoned with salt and pepper
1 cup onion, diced 
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced

 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 cup coconut milk
6 shrimp peeled, deveined
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Garnish with:
Chopped fresh cilantro or lime


1) Cook rice according to pkg. directions, keep warm

2) Sauté seasoned chicken in oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic and pepper flakes. Cook covered until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

3) Stir in tomatoes and coconut milk, cover and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 5-6 minutes.
Add shrimp, scallions, cilantro and lime juice, cover and simmer until shrimp are cooked, 2-3 minutes.

4) Spoon rice onto 2 serving plates, then divide chicken and sauce between them. Garnish with cilantro and lime.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Comfort Soup

Okay, I can admit that the picture of this soup doesn't look super appetizing. But it does taste good and feels wonderfully comforting going down. So if you are in the mood for some creamy comfort soup, give this one a try, Hey, and there weren't any disasters with this one. Win! FYI: I left out the fennel seeds and parsley. Also, I found it easier to pick up some already cooked chicken from the rotisserie section at Whole Foods and just take the skin off and chop it up.

Cream of Chicken and Fennel Soup
Makes 4 servings
Source: Sunday Soup


2 medium fennel bulbs
4 cups chicken stock 

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup fresh snow peas
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped


1. Cut off stalks from fennel (if attached) and reserve feathery tops for garnish. Halve bulbs lengthwise; cut out and discard tough cores. Chop enough fennel to yield 1 1/2 cups.

2. Bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Add fennel and carrots, and cook until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, about 12 minutes.

3. Drain the fennel and carrots, setting aside about 1 1/2 cups of stock. Put the fennel, carrots and diced chicken in a bowl and set aside.

4. Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or less. Gradually whisk in cream and reserved stock. Whisk until mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, for 4 minutes or longer. Stir in lemon juice, fennel seeds and salt. Stir in chicken, fennel and carrots. If the soup is too thick, thin it with additional stock as needed. The soup can be prepared to this point a day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.

5. When ready to serve the soup, trim and discard ends from snow peas. Cut the snow peas on the diagonal into thirds. Add them to the soup and cook just until tender, about 2 minutes. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed.

6. To serve, ladle soup into 4 soup bowls. Garnish each with a sprig of fennel or the parsley.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Dinner Success or Disaster?

I love to cook, I really do. But there are some days that things go wrong and it makes you want to smash all your dishes and and throw your hands up and say "let's just order a damn pizza." But that wouldn't have worked for me since I just made a pizza the other day, right? I decided I wanted to make spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread, roasted brussels sprouts and a chocolately dessert. In the end, everything was wonderful. It just took me awhile to get there.

I started prepping for the meal by making the table and cutting up all the veggies, etc. I put the tomatoes in my blender to puree them for the tomato sauce. But since I was wearing a silk dress, I realized I better put on an apron which was in one of the top kitchen cabinets. I grabbed a chair so that I could climb up and reach it. While standing up there I thought about this perfect dinner I was making and then had a bad thought...I was too smug and I was either going to fall and break something or something from the cabinet would fall and break. I spot my apron and start to pull it down when two huge light bulbs not in packages (I DID NOT PUT THIS IN THERE) came flying out and crashed down along the way. The glass managed to get all over my counters, floors, in my toaster, cabinets, and in some of my cooking utensils. My poor cats were terrified and didn't know what to do. See picture:

After some foot stomping, I carefully picked up and vacuumed all the shards. This also required me to do some kitchen cleaning and delayed my dinner plans. Finally as I get back on track and don my apron, I puree the tomatoes. I go to take the blender apart so I can pour the tomatoes into the pan with the onions and garlic I just sauteed and then the blender BREAKS APART and the tomato sauce goes all over me in my dress and apron and the rest of it all over my just cleaned kitchen. I think I had one of those my life is over moments. But after calming down and cleaning yet again, a grocery store run was made for more tomatoes thus delaying this dinner even more. But luckily after that, everything was back on track and the dinner came out beautifully. I've blogged this spaghetti recipe before but I'm sharing it again since it's so good. I'm linking up the recipes but at least I have some pictures! One tip: Buy San Marzano tomatoes if you can budget it. It really does make a difference! Oh and check your blender before you put them in there...

Spaghetti & Meatballs

I added some freshly grated parm after I took the picture.

Garlic Bread

No picture but the only change I made was to leave out the cheese and parsley.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Aside from the dessert, this was my favorite part of the meal. I know they look burnt but they are not. The charred part was pure deliciousness. The insides were really tender and the charred outside had a similar taste and texture to kale chips. This was the easiest part of the whole meal as well.

Dessert! This was the first time I made this and it was pretty much amazing not to mention so simple. If you need something easy to impress dinner guests, this is it. I did forget to sprinkle the sugar over the top though but cut me slack. It was a rough night!

Chocolate Spiced Cabernet Molten Cakes
My ramekins were about 4 oz. a piece and this recipe made three servings.

 1/2 stick of butter plus extra for greasing
2 oz. Semi-Sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup confectioners sugar plus extra for garnish 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Cabernet Sauvignon
1 egg yolk
1 egg
3 Tbsp flour
very tiny sprinkle of ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon


Use butter to grease ramekin dishes and preheat oven to 425. 

In the microwave, heat butter and chocolate for one minute. Whisk together briefly to blend. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and wine. Then add eggs. Lastly, stir in flour and spices until well blended. 

Divide batter into ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 13 minutes.  Let stand for one minute and then use a knife to loosen the edges. Invert onto a plate and sprinkle with the confectioner's sugar. Serve warm.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pizza Night On The Fly

Pizza is something that always seems to  be "on the fly" well at least for me. I feel like pizza isn't one of those dinners you really plan but it's more like "I'm craving pizza tonight" or "I'm just going to grab a pizza on the way home." Well, I discovered it's almost as quick to just throw one together at home especially if you have a pizza stone. I've got this one but I can't say I get a ton of use out of it. It was one of those things I felt compelled to purchase at a Pampered Chef party (you can even cook cookies and chicken on it!) Ha...

But seriously the pizza simple. I wanted to make it a "healthy" pizza so I bought whole wheat dough at Trader Joe's. They sell it in a bag in the refrigerated section. And I got shredded mozzarella and pepperoni at Whole Foods. I'm not trying to pretend pepperoni is healthy by any means but I like think this kind was not too too bad since it's free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Plus, this company uses high standards for animal welfare which is important to me.

To make it, i basically just lightly floured the stone surface and rolled the dough out into a 12 inch diameter circle. Then I spread pizza sauce around it with a spatula and topped with cheese and the other toppings. Lastly, I sprinkled some oregano and red pepper flakes over it. I baked it at 350 for about 15 minutes. Tip: Let the dough sit at room temp for at least 45 minutes despite what the bag says.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spaghetti Pie?

Spaghetti and pie...those are two words that just don't go together. But I like each separately so I figured why not give it a try. As I prepared it, I kept thinking "this is going to turn out weird, I just know it." But guess was a total hit! The only changes I made to the original recipe were using lean grass-fed sirloin, whole wheat spaghetti, and all low fat cheeses.

Spaghetti Pie
Source: Publix Apron Meals
Prep: 35 mins, Bake: 30 mins, Stand: 15 mins

nonstick cooking spray
4 oz. dried spaghetti
2 eggs
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 12-oz. container of low-fat cottage cheese, drained
8oz. ground sirloin
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
8 oz. tomato sauce (no salt)
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded


1) Preheat oven to 350. To make crust, coat a 9 in pie plate with cooking spray; set aside. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions but omit the salt and oil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat 1 of the eggs; stir in Parm and olive oil. Drain spaghetti well; add to egg mixture. Toss to coat. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate.

2) In a small bowl, beat remaining egg; stir in drained cottage cheese. Spread mixture onto the bottom of spaghetti crust; set aside.

3) In a large pan, cook beef, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and garlic until meat is browned. Drain. Stir in tomato sauce, seasoning, and salt. Spoon meat mixture onto cottage cheese on the crust.

4) Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let sit for about 15 mins before serving. Cut into wedges.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cauliflower Soup and Vino

I'm back at it with the soups even though we still aren't experiencing winter weather here (not complaining). I really enjoyed this soup because it was comforting but not too heavy. Even though it was cauliflower, I liked that it reminded me of a potato soup which I love but don't need the extra starchy carbs. You can make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. The original recipe from Sunday Soup included prosciutto. But I was trying to make the recipe a little healthier and cheaper so I left that out. But that might be a necessary ingredient for some. If it is, you basically want to cut the prosciutto into thin strips and then heat it in a pan with a little olive oil until crisp and browned. After draining it, you would use it to garnish this lovely soup. 

I served it with olive rolls which I didn't bake but the lovely Publix bakery did. And course there was wine and a really good one at that.  My David Coffaro futures arrived and I didn't hesitate to break that package open. I realized that they probably intended to sit for awhile more but I just couldn't wait. The 2010 "Neighbors' Zin" Zinfandel was everything I hoped for. This was one of our favorite wineries when we went barrel tasting in Sonoma per the recommendation of my aunt and uncle. Lovely, lovely wines!

Cauliflower Soup
Makes 4 servings


2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 1/2 cups leeks (white and light green parts), chopped
1 large cauliflower head cut into florets
4 cups chicken stock
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan plus more for garnish
1/4 cup creme fraiche
kosher salt
italian parsley (for garnish)


Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook for 4 minutes. Add florets, stock, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in batches using a food processor or blender. Whisk in the creme fraiche and cheese. Add salt to taste.

Serve in bowls with extra parmesan cheese, parsley, and prosciutto (if you wish) as garnish.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

These things were like a calzone but healthier. At least I'm pretty sure they were healthier. There definitely wasn't as much cheese in them as you would get if you ordered one at your local pizza place. But they would still satisfy any craving you have for one, in my opinion. They also don't really require much in the way of cooking so they are perfect for a quick weeknight meal when you have a craving. I never buy garlic butter so I just melted some regular butter with a little garlic powder. It seemed fine to me.  I linked it up for ya:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Not Your Average Tomato Soup

I am a tomato soup fan especially with a grilled cheese sandwich.  But this time, I tried a different version that was a little more interesting in my opinion. If you are a tomato soup fan and could use a little more variety, I highly recommend giving this one a try! It was also exciting for me because I got to use my new immersion blender for the first time! Let me tell you, this is a must if you like to make soups. It makes it so much easier since you no longer have to take the soup out in batches to puree. With the immersion blender,  you just blend within the pot. FYI: I made half the recipe.

Tomato and Fennel Soup with Pernod Cream
Source: Sunday Soup
Serves 6


4 medium fennel bulbs
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup diced carrot
2 T. chopped fresh tarragon, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. red-pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained well
4 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup creme fraiche (divided )
¾ tsp. Pernod/ Anise (optional) 


Cut off and discard stalks  from fennel. Halve the bulbs lengthwise, and cut out and discard the tough inner cores. Chop enough fennel to yield 3 cups.

Heat the oil in a large, deep-sided pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chopped fennel, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and starting to brown, for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped tarragon, 1 tsp. salt and the red-pepper flakes.

Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock and continue to cook at a gentle simmer (reducing heat slightly, if necessary) until the vegetables are tender, for about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor, blender or food mill and return the soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to puree soup in the pot.) Ladle a little of the warm soup into a small bowl and whisk in 1/3 cup of the creme fraiche. Then whisk this mixture into the soup. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (The soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.) 

To serve, ladle 1 cup of soup into each of 6 bowls. If desired, whisk Pernod with the remaining 1/3 cup creme fraiche in a small bowl. Garnish the center of each serving with a dollop of creme fraiche (with or without the Pernod) and a fresh tarragon sprig.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Potato Chowder For Those Cold Nights

I say cold nights because it's January and all. But it's been t-shirt weather here the past few days in Georgia. I guess that shouldn't really surprise me anymore. Here in Georgia, we can can be bundled up one day and sunbathing the next. We all like to act annoyed by this but really it's kind of special. There aren't a lot of places where you get such variety. But in case you are someplace cold, I have a comforting soup for you. Caraway Cheese can be a tad tricky to find. I was able to locate some at Whole Foods. FYI: Publix doesn't carry it.

Cold Weather Potato Chowder with Caraway Cheese
Makes 4 servings. Source: Sunday Soup

4 slices (4 ounces) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 pound red-skin potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
1 cup (4 ounces) Havarti cheese with caraway seeds, coarsely grated
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives for garnish


Sauté bacon in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat until browned and crisp, for 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour out and discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings.

Add onion and celery to the bacon drippings in the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add diced potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add chicken stock and milk to pot and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook soup at a simmer until the potatoes are tender, for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let soup come to a boil. (Soup can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat and proceed with recipe.)

When ready to serve, add the cheese, a little at a time, to the hot soup, stirring until melted after each addition. In a small bowl, mix the butter and flour with a fork to make a paste. Whisk this mixture into the soup, a little at a time, and cook until completely blended, for 1 to 2 minutes. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed, and with freshly ground pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into 4 bowls and sprinkle each serving with chopped bacon and chives.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Slow Cooker Short Ribs Plus A Veggie

Yay for easy recipes, right? I'm on a roll this week. This was a delicious and easy meal. There are two recipes in this post one for the ribs and the other for the veggie. These are from other blogs so I will just link them up here with my own pictures.

Crockpot Korean Short Ribs
I bought grass-fed already cut short ribs at Whole Foods so I didn't do the whole uncut ribs. Also, I only bought 2 pounds which was more than enough food for two people. As you can see, I served it over Basmati rice.

Roasted Broccoli

 With this one, I only bought one package of broccoli which equated to 1 pound so I adjusted the measurements accordingly. Like the blogger, I left the basil out as well though I did throw in a few pine nuts.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Easy Tortellini

This is another great weeknight recipe since it's pretty quick and doesn't require hardcore cooking skills.

Easy Tortellini


1 Tbsp butter
1 small handful of diced green bell pepper
1 small handful of diced onion
1 small handful of diced celery
1 tsp garlic, minced
3/4 lb. ground sirloin
1/4 cup red wine
3/4 the 24 oz. jar of  Newman's Own Cabernet Marinara
3/4 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
9 oz package of fresh whole wheat cheese tortellini 


Heat butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add veggies and garlic and cook covered for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, boil water in a pot and start tortellini according to package directions.

Add meat to the pan and break it up. Cook covered stirring occasionally for about 6 minutes. Drain if necessary.

Stir in wine, sauce, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let thicken and reduce heat to low.  Pour sauce over tortellini.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spicy Chicken Pasta

I'm just stopping by for a minute to link you up to another recipe I tried lately. I thought it was pretty good and best of all quick and easy. It can be found here: Spicy Chicken Rigatoni. A few adjustments were made on my end. For one, I halved the recipe and had more than enough for two people. Also, I used whole wheat penne instead of the rigatoni. For whatever reason, I couldn't find any whole wheat rigatoni and I wanted to be a little healthier. The only other change I made was using a jar of Bertolli's Four Cheese Rosa sauce in place of both the marinara and the Alfredo. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

White Bean Soup with Chorizo and Kale

This soup was a big hit in my house. However, I couldn't really give you my own opinion on it since I didn't really eat it. It looked and smelled good so I wish I had. It was one of those nights where you are fixated on something like pizza and nothing else (like soup) sounds appealing. I'm still kind of beating myself up for this. I spent all the time and money to make this soup that I hear was awesome and I didn't even enjoy it. Oh well, there is always next time! Sorry for the messy picture, you know I don't edit mine.

White Bean Soup with Chorizo and Kale
Keep in mind that you need about 2 hr 40 mins for this with the prep involved. Source: Sunday Soup

 1 lb. dried great Northern or Navy beans
One 4-oz. piece salt pork
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups chopped celery
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
10 cups chicken stock
8 oz. Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced
5 cups of chopped kale, loosely packed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan


Rinse and sort through the beans to remove any pebbles. Put beans in a pot of boiling water. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour. Cut salt pork into 4 pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add onion, celery, and carrots. Stir and let veggies soften (about 6 minutes). Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

After beans have softened, drain and rinse them and add to the pot. Then add salt pork, Stir in thyme, pepper flakes, salt, 2 grinds of pepper, and stock.

Set pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover pot and let cook for 1 hour. Add chorizo, and cook covered for another 30 minutes. Remove salt pork pieces and discard.

Season soup as needed. Add kale and cook about 3 minutes until just wilted. Sprinkle Parmesan over each ladled bowl of soup.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year

So, I've been a bad blogger. I keep forgetting to come back and post the recipes I've been making and the wine I've been drinking. In fact, the one that I want to share today was made over a week ago... I think this year I will either do something more with this blog or do something completely different. Either way, I will keep trying new recipes and drinking wine of course.

These empanadas were delicious and the slaw went wonderfully with them. However, I wasn't totally crazy about the cheese sauce but others may love it. I can't even remember if I took a picture of these or not. Sorry!

Empanadas con queso (with Jicama Slaw)
 Source: inspired by recipe in Cuisine At Home

1/2 lb. ground sirloin or sirloin steak (minced)
1/2 tsp. Cajun spice
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup frozen corn kernals
1/4 cup thick salsa
2 Tbsp. beef broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss meat with seasonings.  Add oil to a pan and cook meat over medium high heat for 3 minutes. Remove from pan.

In the same pan, cook onions for a minute. Then stir in corn, salsa, and tomato paste. Simmer until thick and then add meat back to the pan. Simmer briefly. Spread mixture on a pan and chill briefly in the freezer while you prepare the rest.

Roll out pastry sheet and cut 4 (or more) circles. Whisk together egg and water.  Place 2 Tbsp of meat mixture in the center of the circles. Fold pastry over mixture and seal edges with a fork.

Place Empanadas on a baking sheet and brush with egg mixture. Pierce the tops to vent steam.  Bake for 15 minutes.

While Empanadas are baking, prepare sauce. Melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook one minute and then whisk in milk until well combined. Gradually stir in the cheese until it melts. Season as needed.  Drizzle over Empanadas.

Jicama Slaw
makes 2 cups. Source: Cuisine At Home

2 cups jicama, peeled and julienned
1/3 cup carrots, peeled, shredded
2 Tbsp scallions, minced
1 Tbsp jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt  

 Combine all veggies in a bowl. Whisk together juices, oil, honey, and salt. Pour over slaw mixture and toss well.