Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Mark made this utter deliciousness for dinner tonight.  It's become one of our favorites, but tonight was the best batch yet!

Pasta e Fagioli
Here's the recipe my hubby used: Pasta e Fagioli.  He used bacon instead of pancetta, and dried rosemary instead of fresh.  Man this was good stuff.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Mmmmmm.  This hit the spot.

  • Acorn Squash (1 squash - serves 2)
  • Pork Breakfast Sausage (I used about 3/4lb)
  • Onion, diced (About a 1/4 onion, or maybe 1/2 cup)
  • Celery, diced (I used about 1/2 stalk)
  • Apple, diced (1 apple was plenty)
  • Bread Crumbs or Stale Bread cubes (maybe 1 cup or a little more)
  • Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Egg
  • Olive Oil
  • Parmesan for topping (optional)
  1. Slice your Squash in half
  2. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary
  3. Roast cut side up at 400 for 45 min - 1 hour (Or until you can scoop out the flesh)
  4. Brown the sausage, set aside
  5. Sauté onion and celery until translucent, add apples, sauté until soft
  6. Combine sausage, stale bread, onion/apple mixture with more salt and pepper, rosemary
  7. Scoop out the squash halves and add to the sausage mixture
  8. (This is a good time to taste it and adjust seasoning)
  9. Stir one egg into mixture
  10. (Don't taste it anymore!)
  11. Spoon the mix back into the squash halves
  12. Top with bread crumbs, or grated parmesan cheese
  13. Bake for about 15-20 minutes more

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Asparagus Pasta

I was recently inspired by a friend who mentioned making an asparagus pasta sauce.  I don't actually know what his recipe was, but I decided that I wanted to make an asparagus pasta sauce!  I also recently ate pistachio pesto sauce, so while I was contemplating an asparagus cream sauce, I changed my mind and started thinking along the pesto lines.  I made an asparagus "pesto," tossed it with homemade rigatoni, and served it as a side to grilled sirloin steak.  Great date night.

Asparagus Pasta

  • asparagus 
  • parmesan or romano cheese (grated)
  • pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon zest (optional)
  1. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus 
  2. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon zest
  3. Roast at 425 for 15-20 minutes
  4. Slice off the asparagus tips and set aside
  5. Combine asparagus stems, pine nuts, and cheese with olive oil and blend in the food processor (I just kind of threw it all in there and probably should have used less nuts and cheese than I did - although it was still pretty darn yummy.  If I did it again, though, I'd probably say the pine nuts and cheese should be in equal amounts, and then more asparagus)
  6. Add more oil or water as needed to reach a paste consistency or thinner
  7. Toss with hot pasta and asparagus tips
  8. And yum.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I had 1lb of ground beef in my fridge, but nothing tomato-ey of any kind (so any sort of spaghetti sauce was out), nor beans, or cheese, or any good Tex-Mex-y additions.  I was about to settle on making meatloaf, but then, I remembered that I had mushrooms....and half of a container of sour cream.  AND my new pasta press was just begging to make some more noodles.

While I'm sure it would be way better with sliced sirloin, my Hamburger Helper style beef stroganoff turned into a pretty decent weekday dinner.

Also, I think it's really hard to make Stroganoff look appetizing.'s the picture anyway:

Beef Stroganoff
I used this recipe for Beef Stroganoff as a starting point, because it was one of the simplest I'd seen, but after browsing through a few other recipes as well, here's what I used and did:

Beef Stroganoff (Hamburger Helper Style)
  • Ground Beef - about 1lb
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Onion, diced (about 1/3 of a medium yellow onion)
  • Garlic, chopped (2 cloves)
  • Mushrooms, sliced (about 1/2lb)
  • Rosemary
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sour Cream (about 1 cup)
  • Dijon Mustard (a couple of teaspoons - to taste, really)
  • Pasta Noodles - I used fresh-made Fusilli, but it's usually those big flat egg noodles, right?
  1. I browned the ground beef and seasoned it while in the skillet with Montreal Steak Seasoning, salt and pepper, and little Worcestershire sauce, then set it aside when done.
  2. I sautéed the onions and garlic in a little butter, then added that to the beef.
  3. I sautéed the mushrooms in a little butter, and added some dried rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. I stirred all of this together with the sour cream, and a couple of spoonfuls of Dijon mustard.
  5. I did thin mine down with just a little water because my sour cream was very thick.
It wasn't anything fancy but it certainly was easy and tasted good.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Creamy Chipotle Chicken Pasta

Check out my new toy.
Pasta Press Attachment for the Mixer.
Better than Play-doh.
Oh my goodness I'm so excited it's not even funny.  Only because I made Rigatoni, though.  If I'd made Fusilli it would be pretty hilarious.

Homemade Rigatoni

Creamy Chipotle Chicken Pasta

So this recipe made use of some leftover deeeelicious Chipotle chicken that Mark had grilled for us.
I just sautéed some onion, garlic, and sweet peppers, made a quick béchamel sauce, mixed it all together with the shredded chicken and pasta, and added a few bleu cheese crumbles on top.

Chipotle Marinade for the Chicken: (from "The Barbecue Bible"):
[This is great on chicken - Mark marinated and grilled tenders, which we most recently ate with rice, and it makes for amazing tacos as well.]
  • 6 Canned chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce with 2T of their juices
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 strip orange zest (2")
  • 1 cup fresh sour orange juice (or 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  1. Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Allow to reduce by half (5-8 minutes)
  3. Blend in a food processor to a smooth paste
Béchamel/White sauce:
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Melt a few tablespoons of Butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add in a spoonful of flour, and whisk until it's a golden-brown, smooth paste
  3. Add milk (or cream) and whisk till smooth
  4. Let thicken if needed, or add more liquid if it gets too thick
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste

Monday, October 29, 2012

Warm Sweet Potato Salad

Warm Sweet Potato Salad
This was gooooo-oood.  And it was destiny, I think, because when I found this recipe online I was able to say, "Oooh, got that...have that...yes...can make that, have that."

Here's the rundown:

  • sweet potatoes, roasted with cumin, ginger, and rosemary
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • dried cranberries
  • roasted peppers
  • scallions (or just thinly sliced onions)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • mango chutney
  • dijon mustard
  • garlic
  • honey
  • olive oil

Here's the link: Warm Sweet Potato Salad
I did a couple of things differently - but not too much:

  • I used dried rosemary instead of fresh, so I only used about 1.5 tablespoons.
  • I didn't have roasted red pepper, but I did have some of those little sweet peppers, so I just sliced a few and threw those on one end of the pan in which I roasted the potatoes (but took them out earlier than the potatoes, of course).
  • I didn't have mango chutney, but I did have mangoes, so I briefly sautéed those with some onions, butter, a little brown sugar, lime juice (my mango needed more tang), and a pinch of salt....viola!...chutney.
  • And I didn't have scallions, so my plan was to thinly slice some onions, but my chutney turned out plenty onion-y, so I didn't add any more.
  • And the green stuff on top is fresh parsley...just for prettiness.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chef E

Check out what my nephew learned today at Culinary Camp at the Clinton Center in Little Rock, AR.  Sweet.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mahi Mahi Tacos

Tonight we made Grilled Mahi Mahi tacos with Baja Cabbage Slaw.  Dinner was gooood tonight.

The recipe for both the Tacos and the Slaw were from those included with our co-op produce bag last week.  We were not disappointed!

Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos

I didn't have cilantro or jalapeños for the fish marinade, so I adapted the recipe by using dried parsley and about a Tablespoon of siracha sauce.  It doesn't say it in the recipe, but I assumed that you mixed the onion/vinegar mixture and the oil/spices mixture together for the marinade.  We grilled the fish instead of cooking it in the pan.

Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos

We topped the tacos with the Baja slaw.  I used at least twice as much Tabasco than called for, and I made my own quick mayonnaise with the help of the magic bullet blender (it worked great!).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Oh hey, look!  A blog!  Hmmm...I should probably cross out "daily" from my header, huh?

Pinterest.  My favorite thing to use it for is food pictures, of course, which I pin to a board with the claims that I will make these things.  Amazingly, I did make a few pinned recipes, so I thought I'd share them all in one spot.

Bean and Kale Soup
This was really good!  I could eat this every day.

Here's the pinned recipe: Tuscan Style Bean and Kale Soup

I didn't have fresh tomatoes, so I used a can of tomatoes w/ green chiles (Rotel), which gave a Mexican flair to the Italian-ish dish.  I also used chicken stock instead of vegetable.

Yummy for the Tummy.

Sweet Potato Skewers with Cilantro Sauce
This recipe made me realize that I do NOT have the patience it takes to make one's own mayonnaise.  I am a mustard girl, so I don't usually keep mayo or miracle whip or anything of the sort in my fridge, so when this recipe for a jalapeño/cilantro aioli caught my eye, I decided it must be done with homemade mayonnaise.  I was so almost there, but after dripping 90% of the oil into the egg mixture drop by drop, I got a little impatient and rushed it....and promptly ruined it.  Ooooh colloids, why must you be so difficult?  So, after momentarily losing my will to cook (and a few choice cuss words), I decided to wing it and create a yogurt sauce instead.  It was good, but thinner than I would have liked.

Here's the recipe I pinned: Roasted Sweet Potato Skewers with Jalapeño-Cilantro Aioli

Mac & Cheese-style Cauliflower
Cauliflower = Potentially Boring OR a way to make me eat too much ranch dressing.
Homestyle Mac and Cheese Style Cauliflower = solution to the above.  

Cause eating too much cheese is so much better than ranch dressing.

I used a local Chipotle Cheddar Cheese for this.  It really was pretty good, but yes, it is still Cauliflower.  But it's Cauliflower covered with CHEESE.

Here's the original: Mac & Cheese Style Cauliflower

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Soda Bread
I'm a slacker.  I meant to post this on St. Patrick's day, but....well, apparently I took a break for a week from ze blog.

So in no way do I claim this to be traditional Irish Soda Bread (Do they even really make Soda Bread in Ireland?), but many years ago, I wanted to make something slightly St. Patty's Day-themed, and so I browsed the intertubes and found a recipe on some site about fun Irish traditions to celebrate with the family.

I've never tried a different recipe, because this one hits the spot for me.  And I think it's pretty darn tasty!  It's been a while since I made it, but I managed to find the old recipe scrawled on an envelope and tucked into the cover of another cookbook.  Good thing, otherwise I would have been doing my Irish great-grandparents a big disservice by not remembering my roots on the 17th.

This is an easy bread, and is really good for breakfast.  You can leave the raisins out completely if you're not a fan, or replace with something else.  I've used dried cranberries often, and sometimes add a little orange zest in with them.  Or make an orange-zesty cream cheese spread to go with it.  Yummy.

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 T butter, cold
  • 1 cup Raisins (Golden, Regular, or any type of Dried Fruit)
  • 1 1/2 cups Yogurt or Buttermilk

  1. Mix your dry ingredients
  2. Cut in your butter (it should be about pea-sized)
  3. Stir in your raisins and yogurt
  4. Take off any rings you might be wearing and get ready to have really messy hands
  5. Knead for about 1 minute
  6. Shape it into a large disk - about 8-10 inches across  (And if you like that baked-on flour look, pat a thin coat of flour on the outside of the dough at this point)
  7. Cut an X in the top of the dough (about 1/2" - 1" deep)
  8. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 45-50 minutes at 350

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eggplant Kebabs.

Eggplant Kebabs

Grilled Eggplant Kebabs
  • Eggplant, sliced to about 1/2"-3/4" thick
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • (Onions) - We didn't use any tonight, but I think I would next time...mmm...grilled onions
  • Olive Oil
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Tahini Sauce
  1. Soak the Eggplant in a saltwater bath for about 10-15 minutes
  2. Skewer your Eggplant and Tomatoes (if you double skewer, it makes it easier to flip)
  3. Season with Salt, Pepper, Cumin, and a little bit of Cinnamon (I rubbed on the spices, then added the spices to olive oil and we brushed that on right before and during grilling)
  4. Grill about 4-5 minutes per side on high direct heat, or until fork tender with some nice charring
  5. We served ours with Rice and Tahini Dressing

Tahini Sauce
  • Equal Parts Tahini and Water
  • Season with Garlic, Salt, and Lemon Juice
  • (I threw it all in the food processor...easy peasy)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Frittata with Sausage, Spinach, Mushrooms, Cheese

  • Ground Sausage, about 1/2 lb
  • Fresh Spinach, a handful...or whatever looks good to you
  • Onion, chopped, about 1/4 medium-sized onion
  • Mushrooms, sliced, about 1/4 lb
  • Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses, grated (I didn't measure...just make it as cheesy as you want!)
  • Eggs, I used 6
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat the Broiler and move the oven rack up closer to it - about 4-6" from broiler
  2. Brown the sausage in an oven-safe skillet
  3. Add the onion, mushrooms, continue to cook until onions translucent
  4. Add the spinach just until a little wilty
  5. Beat Eggs together in a bowl, add salt, pepper, grated cheeses
  6. Fold eggs into sausage and vegetables in skillet, cook just until bottom is set
  7. Move skillet to oven and broil until eggs are set and beginning to brown
  8. Slice and Eat.  Yum!
Frittata in Skillet

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pork Tenderloin.

Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples, Blue Cheese, Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Apples, Peeled, Cored, Diced (I used 2)
  • Pecans, Chopped (I used about 1/4 cup)
  • Butter 
  • Honey (I used about 1 Tablespoon)
  • Mustard (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • Vinegar (1-2 Tablespoons)
  • Olive Oil (2-3 Tablespoons)
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Bleu Cheese Crumbles
  1. Season the Tenderloin with Salt and Pepper
  2. Cook at 425-450 until it reaches at least 145 degrees internal temperature
  3. Let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing
  4. Saute apples and pecan in a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat until apples are tender and beginning to brown on the edges
  5. Whisk together the honey, mustard, olive oil and vinegar for a quick dressing
  6. Add Sliced Tenderloin, Bleu Cheese, and Sauteed Apple mixture to fresh spinach greens and top with Vinaigrette

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Snack Bars.

Homemade Snack Bars

Since Mark doesn't always feel like eating breakfast at 5 something in the morning before work, he likes to stick a Fiber One bar in his pocket so that he doesn't totally fizzle out before getting to eat lunch.  So after buying a couple of boxes of them at Sam's the other day (we now have 40something bars in our cabinet), I started to wonder if it would be easy to make something like them at home.  Without all of those weird additives and such.

I figured if I found a good recipe for the stuff that makes it all stick together, then we already had some decent ingredients in our kitchen that would make for a pretty good snack bar.

I used this Homemade Granola Bar recipe for reference.

I think you could pretty much use whatever crunchy or chewy nutty/fruity/cereal-ish goodness tickles your fancy; just make the total amt. of dry ingredients add up to about 4.5 - 5 cups

Here's what I used in mine:
  • Organic Cheerio-like cereal (This particular brand I had bought tasted like cardboard, so I thought this would be a perfect way to get rid of it!)
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • I added 1/2 cup of Flax Seed after toasting
Pecans, Pumpkin Seeds, Oatmeal, Cereal, Flax Seed

And for the "glue that holds it all together" I followed the recipe directions except....
  • I left out the vanilla extract
  • I used 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • I used half the amt. of Brown sugar  (it was already very sweet!)
And then, because my original idea was to make them Peanut Butter and Chocolate Flavored, I dipped the bottoms in a thin layer of melted chocolate

Mark likes 'em!  These were so simple, and I think it will be fun to make various flavors with whatever kinds of ingredients we like!

Crispy Polenta and Mushrooms.

Crispy Polenta with Mushroom Ragout
Mark = greatness.

Yesterday, I had planned for us to have crispy polenta with sautéed mushrooms on top as part of a meatless meal (Fridays in Lent, baby).  I was going to be at work until 6pm, so I asked Mark if he'd be willing to make the Polenta so it was set and ready for the skillet when I got home.  He was a bit nervous about it, but I assured him it was as easy as making grits and to just look up a recipe online and he'd be fine.

I expected to come home to need to fry the polenta pieces and sauté the mushrooms...and in a hurry too, because we were going to the Opera at 7:30.

I came home to this:
Appetizer Plate
And this:
Salad with Dates, Grapefruit, Pine nuts, and homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette
And Mark, upon looking up a recipe to see how to make the polenta, saw that it was paired with a yummy sounding Mushroom Ragout, and realized we actually had everything for it in the kitchen, and so I actually came home to him dredging the polenta pieces, ready to fry them himself.

Polenta ready for the skillet
And the Mushroom Ragout he made....fantastic.  It rivaled the crispy polenta with shiitakes made at our favorite Italian place in Little Rock, AR: Vesuvio Bistro.

10 million points for Mark.

Crispy Polenta with Mushroom Ragout
(Mark used milk instead of cream in the sauce.  And you could use vegetable stock instead of chicken to make it totally vegetarian.  And you can also grill polenta instead of frying!)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cucumber Sandwiches.

Pitas with Cucumber, Hummus, Honey, Salt and Pepper
 I saw a little article in our local paper that had a suggestion for these sandwiches, and for some reason, even though I'm not a major fan of cucumbers, and I thought the combination of hummus and honey sounded weird, I decided to make them.  Served alongside Carrot Ginger Soup, they ranked in Mark's "Top 5" meals.  They are just refreshing...and yummy.

So now, months later, I had a cucumber in fridge, we needed lunch-y type food, and the kitchen was already a complete disaster, so why not make some pitas and hummus?

Cucumber Hummus Pita Sandwiches
  • Sliced Cucumber
  • Hummus
  • Honey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pita Bread

I think I use a different recipe every time I make it.  Here's a very basic one with which to start, but I would definitely say this is one of those things that requires you to "taste and adjust."  You can also mix in Cumin (I usually do), or sprinkle Paprika on top when you serve it for dipping.

Pita Bread


I've used This Pita Recipe twice, and was perfectly happy, but today I went with the Joy of Cooking recipe.  Most Pita recipes I've seen are very similar ingredient-wise, so it's really just about the method of the actual cooking part.  Here's a great post on one of my favorite food blogs: Smitten Kitchen.  She pretty much explains the method outlined in the Joy of Cooking, so bonus...I don't have to type it out for you!  I also think she really captures my feelings about making Pitas in her post.  While I mostly had success,  I did have a few end up as flatbread.  I admit, though...I was lazy and didn't do the water spritzing.  ...Perhaps that is the key!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes.

Blueberry Pancakes
I had a little 1/2 pint of fresh blueberries in my fridge just begging to be made into pancakes this morning.  I was determined to make them from scratch, but before pulling out my copy of "Joy of Cooking," I perused a couple of my favorite food blogs to see what they said about pancakes.  I was about to use the recipe from Smitten Kitchen (which was a Martha Stewart one), but when I glanced at the comments on the post, I was intrigued by someone's mention of a pancake recipe that used cornmeal.  I decided to go for it and we were not disappointed.  

So good!  Great texture, not too sweet, fluffy...yum.   I served them with a dollop of plain yogurt and maple syrup.

Also, I halved the recipe and got about 12 or 14 pancakes (4").

Cranberry Cornmeal Pancakes  (Or Blueberry!)

Sprinkle the Blueberries on the Batter
Time to Flip!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Black Bean Enchiladas.

Black Bean Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce

For some reason, black beans, blue cheese, and sweet potatoes make an excellent combination.

For these bad boys:
1. Add a thin layer of the sauce to the bottom of a Pyrex
2. Roll up the black bean mixture with a few blue cheese crumbles in flour tortillas and add them on top of the sauce

3. Add a layer of the sauce on top
4. Crumble a little bit more Blue Cheese on top (a little goes a long way)

5. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until all is heated through
  • Black Beans (I used two cans; drained one)
  • Rotel (1 can)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
  1. Saute Onion and Garlic until tender in a saucepan
  2. Add Black Beans and Rotel to saucepan and heat to let flavors combine
Sweet Potato Sauce
  • Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Dairy (Milk, Cream, or Yogurt)
  • Water (for thinning)
  1. Cook Sweet Potatoes until tender (I boiled and drained mine, but I bet roasted would rock)
  2. Puree the potatoes in a food processor, or use an immersion blender (or just mash up really well with a fork)
  3. Season with Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Salt (just keep tasting!)
  4. Add a little Butter (a few Tablespoons)
  5. Add some dairy to begin to thin it while adding a little richness
  6. Thin it the rest of the way down with water (at least as thin as applesauce)
Flour Tortillas
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 2/3 cup Warm Water
  1. Mix all the ingredients into a soft dough
  2. Divide into 15 - 20 small balls of dough
  3. Roll very thin (as thin as you can), then peel off and put in hot, dry skillet
  4. Heat on each side until golden brown spots appear

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicken Meatball Sandwiches.

Chipotle Chicken Meatball Sandwiches
with Apple Lime Chutney and Brie Cheese
Mark is the greatest husband for many, many, reasons, but one of them is that he is always game to eat whatever I make.  And while he is very easy to please, it is still extremely nice when he proclaims something as a "Top Ten" meal.  Tonight's Chipotle Chicken Meatball Sandwiches were honored with an exuberant Top Ten label,  so I am a happy girl on this Fat Tuesday!

I know, I know...Chipotle Flavoring again.  But we had Chipotle flavored chicken sausage that we needed to cook, so I went with it anyway.

Chipotle Chicken Meatballs
Brie Cheese
Apple Lime Chutney (I guess it's Chutney.  What makes something chutney?  Chutney is a weird word.)
And a good ol' Toothpick

[So, since I made my meatballs from Chipotle-flavored chicken sausage, I didn't have to add too much.  But I did look around and found some lovely-looking recipes for making Chicken Meatballs (Here's one) using plain ground chicken and the wonderful Chipotles in Adobo Sauce of which we are so fond.]
  • 1lb Chipotle Chicken Sausage
  • 3/4 cup Plain Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 3 Tbsps Shredded Romano Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Mix all the ingredients well
  2. Roll up your meatballs - I used about 2 Tablespoons of mixture per meatball
  3. Cook at 400 for approximately 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temp of 165-170
Apple Lime Chutney
  • 2 Apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 Lime, Juice and Zest
  • 1/4 medium-sized Red Onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar (this depends on how sweet/tart your apple is...just taste!)
  • Salt - just a pinch or two
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Butter
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat
  2. Add the Onions and Apples
  3. Add Brown Sugar, Lime Juice and Zest
  4. Sauté until tender

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tomato Soup.

Tomato Soup

  • Onion (I used about 1/4 of a medium sized red onion)
  • Garlic (I was always taught at least 1 clove per person)
  • Grape Tomatoes (About 1/2 pint)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth (1 cup)
  • Milk (3/4 cup)
  • Butter (a couple of Tablespoons)
  • Sugar (a pinch, only if needed)

  1. Saute the onion and garlic until in butter or olive oil until the onions begin to get translucent 
  2. Add the Grape tomatoes whole
  3. Continue to heat until the tomatoes burst and wither (if you get impatient you can help them along with a little smashing)
  4. Add salt and pepper
  5. Add the chicken stock, and then blend with an immersion blender
  6. Taste it - adjust the salt and pepper; if needed add a pinch of sugar
  7. Stir in the milk (or cream!)
  8. If it tastes a little flat, add a teeny bit of works wonders

Grilled Chipotle Cheddar Sandwiches
I served it with Grilled Cheese, but to spice things up, I spread on a thin layer of Chipotle yumminess.
I just blended the contents of a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce and added it inside with thick chunks of local cheddar.


Dad's Omelet
After going home to Little Rock this past weekend I was made aware that I have pretty much no self control when it comes to eating.  I love food.

And I'm pretty sure this is deeply rooted in my upbringing.  My Dad has always been a bit of a food connoisseur, and tried his hardest to pass this on to us.  I distinctly remember being bribed as a child to try certain foods: caviar, fried oysters, escargot...  Who am I kidding?  He still tries to bribe me to try things.

When it comes to cooking, my Dad is the famous omelet maker in our family.  Not only because of his innovative ideas about what should go inside them (Fritos, anyone?), but also because of his garnish.
Smiley Garnish.  (Mark's had a mustache)
Yesterday, as we were getting ready to leave Little Rock to return to Tulsa, my Dad served us up more of his delicious omelets: Fabulously melty brie, cheddar, and american, with diced onions and my parents' homemade salsa.  Yum.

Thanks for the omelets Dad.  And for sparking my love affair with food.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Twice Baked.

Twice-Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
Because of some Jerky and Chili Making we have done lately, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce has become a pantry staple for us.  This is a good thing, because when we got our produce from naturalfarms this past week, one of the recipes that came with it was for Twice-Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes.

I thought this would make a great addition to our Valentine's Day Brie Burgers.  Oh was.

I even forgot to add the chopped onion to the potato/pepper mixture.  But it didn't matter.  They were SO good.  I highly recommend.

Twice-Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Brie Burgers.

Brie Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Blackberry Sauce
Two things of which you really can't have enough:
A - Caramelized Onions
B - Brie Cheese

This burger involves both.  
Also good as sliders!
Here's all it is:
  • Hamburger Buns (obviously) -I use this recipe: Homemade Hamburger Buns
  • Burgers (even more obviously) seasoned and cooked to your liking (I season mine with Worcestershire, Cavender's, and Salt and Pepper)
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Blackberry Sauce
  • Generous Chunks of Brie Cheese (keep at room temperature and put on the hot burgers immediately off the grill/pan so it gets nice and melty)

Caramelized Onions
  • Onions, sliced - At least 1 onion for every 3-4 really.
  • Butter or Oil (just a few Tablespoons)
  1. Slowly sauté your sliced onions in butter or oil over medium-low heat until they become soft and deep golden brown (This can take around 20 - 45 minutes...but so worth it)
  2. If your onions start to look too dry or begin sticking to the pan, just add in a little more butter or oil
Blackberry Sauce
  • Blackberry preserves (or any fruit that sounds good: I also recommend Plum or Raspberry)
  • Horseradish
  • Prepared Mustard 
  1. Start with a generous helping of your Preserves.  At least 1/2 cup for 4-5 burgers
  2. Stir in, about 1/2 T at a time, the mustard and horseradish
  3. This is really all about preference, so just keep tasting and adding until it's spicy/mustardy/sweet enough for you (You can also adjust the flavor by adding salt or lemon juice if needed)
  4. Heat the sauce on the stovetop (or even in the microwave) to get a nice saucy consistency that will drip out the sides of your burger as you eat it.  No really...this is important.
This was the main event for Valentine's Day.  And we served them with salad and Twice-Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes.  Oh was a gooood meal.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 stick of Butter
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  1. Cream the butter and sugar, then add in the flour 1/4 cup at a time
  2. Once you have a slightly stiff dough, turn out on a floured surface, roll to about 1/4" thick, and cut
  3. Bake at 350 for 10 - 20 minutes (depending on your oven, how big you cut them, and how soft/crispy you like them)

Once upon a time, I wanted to make something dessert-like, but I didn't want to go to the grocery store.  I had no eggs, baking soda, or baking powder, and the only oil in my cabinet was olive oil, so I wasn't sure what I'd really be able to make.  But, after a few minutes of consulting with the internet, I came upon a shortbread cookie recipe made with just butter, sugar, and flour.

I've slightly adjusted the recipe and have been making them for years, now, with a few flavor variations, but lately I've been on a real experimental flavor kick, which was originally prompted by the fact that Mark got a dehydrator for Christmas (Thank you, Ellen!).  It opened the door to me for adding flavors into the cookies from powdered ingredients, like pineapple or strawberry.

"Pineapple Upside Down Cake" Shortbread Cookies

One flavor I've been trying to perfect is inspired by Carrot Cake.  With shredded carrots, cinnamon and vanilla in the cookie, cream cheese drizzle and walnuts on top.  ....Almost there.

"Carrot Cake" Shortbread Cookies

The ones I'm happiest about so far are inspired by a cake my mom has made for as long as I can remember: Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cake.  She always made it in a bundt pan, and there was no icing or anything, so it was just a brown ring of cake...until you cut into it.  Then it was this glorious pistachio green, with chocolate chips scattered throughout.  And the flavor...SO good.


So for my cookies, I decided to make Pistachio with Chocolate.  The color baked out a bit, but the ground pistachios made the dough a fabulous green.  A little almond extract also went in, as well as chopped pistachios and chocolate drizzle on top.  Doesn't beat mom's cake, but...Yum!

Pistachio Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
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