Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
beef fajitas with corn salsa, black beans
sesame chicken, rice, broccoli
crab ravioli with peas
lasagna Bolognese, salad
Hula chicken sandwiches, salad
pizza pizzas
out to Sweet Basil

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies


One of the highlights of the holiday season is my friend's cookie exchange. Everyone brings six dozen cookies, wrapped in packages of three, and we have a huge swap. You return home with 24 different kinds of cookies to enjoy. C and Miss F love pawing through the basket of cookies selecting their favorites. This year was the biggest exchange yet and people really outdid themselves.  There was plenty of Prosecco to sip and an abundance of delicious snacks.  My Uber driver was entertained by me carrying a basket full of cookies, I may have shared a bag with him on the trip home.  This recipe is adapted from All Recipes.  Kroger stocks Salted Caramel Chips, which is what I used in these cookies.  The original recipe calls for chopping up caramel candies, but the chips make it much easier.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 36 cookies

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 ¾ cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
¼ cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup caramel chips (salted caramel if you can find them!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and stir in the vanilla extract. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate and caramel chips. Line baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Drop the dough in two tablespoon size balls onto the baking sheets. Bake in the oven until the edges are golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the pans for 5 minutes, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Snow Crab Legs


Miss F and I can easily tear through four pounds of crablegs. Oink Oink.  She still hasn't gotten the hang of cracking them, so I crack them open, half goes to her and half goes to me.  Thankfully, snow crablegs aren't too ridiculously priced at the grocer, so we can afford our crableg habit.  Miss F prefers hers with just lemon juice, while I prefer them with a bit of lemon and drenched in drawn butter.  We prefer to focus on the crab whenever we have them for dinner, but feel free to steam corn in the same pot for a one pot meal. 
Snow Crab Legs

2 cups water
¼ cup vinegar
2 tablespoons Old Bay
2 to 3 pounds snow crab legs
melted butter
lemon wedges

In a large steamer pot, bring the water vinegar and Old Bay to a boil. Add the snow crab legs to the steamer portion of the pot, cover and steam for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.
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Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays!


Here's our unique Christmas card from this year, we were on White Island in New Zealand, which is an active volcano.  Happy holidays, from my family to yours. SEASONS EATINGS!
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Crown Pork Roast


So who else is insanely busy this holiday season? I made this amazing dish last year for the holidays, but thought it was worth saving to post for the holidays this year. And so I set it to auto post. I uploaded the picture and nothing else. Then it posted. No text, no recipe, no nothing. And I didn't even notice! I have been so scatter brained with all that is going on right now. I dropped a friend off from an after school playdate without her backpack. Oops. I forget lunch plans completely (bonus, my lunch companion forgot as well.) Ack. Is it January yet? If you do find yourself wanting to serve an impressive dish, without much fuss, this is the holiday meal for you. The butcher does all the work! I had to order my crown pork roast, but most grocers should be able to accommodate such requests, especially around the holidays (Whole Foods and Kroger both were able to prepare a crown pork roast) Wishing you all a stress free holiday season!
Crown Pork Roast



8 slices firm white sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch squares
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
1 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into ¼ inch-thick wedges
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley



For roast:
1 (9 to 11 pound) crown roast of pork
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper



For pan sauce:
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread squares in a shallow baking pan, bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, sage and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes more. Stir in the toasted bread and parsley.



Set the oven rack in lower third of oven. Sprinkle roast inside and out with salt and pepper and put in a roasting pan. Mound stuffing in the center cavity. Roast for 1 ¾ to 2 ½ hours, until an instant read meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Transfer the roast to a carving board, cover with foil.

Place the roasting pan across two burners set to medium. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk together the broth and flour. Stir in the broth and flour mixture into the roasting pan, whisking constantly. Add the salt and pepper, along with any juices from the carving board.



Remove the foil from the roast and carve into chops, serve with the stuffing and pan sauce.


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Monday, December 12, 2016

Chipotle Lime Shrimp Fajitas


I am obsessed with having seafood whenever C is out of town. Miss F is equally obsessed, thank goodness, so even though this dish screams summer to me, we had it in December. Which in Houston, is much like summer sometimes, even in the winter (hello, high of 80 degrees this coming Saturday!)  I love the smoky flavor of chipotle, C is not a fan, so even better that I can incorporate it in a dish that he won't be around for.  These fajitas come together in 20 minutes, including marinade time.  It couldn't get any easier!
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Fajitas

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
juice from 1 lime
1 chipotle, minced, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large avocado
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
8 corn tortillas, warmed

In a shallow bowl, toss the shrimp with the lime juice, chipotle, adobo, chili powder, salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp with the marinade and sauté , stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.  Mash the avocado. Spread each tortilla with the avocado, add the tomato and top with the shrimp. Serve.
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Flat Iron Steak Peperonata


When I saw this dish on Elly Says Opa, I knew I had to make it right away.  And I knew it would pair perfectly with polenta.  Bell peppers are an easy sell in my house, no matter what the color, so this was a huge success for dinner.  The steak was deliciously tender and the peppers were sweet with a nice tang from the caper brine.  I may have a made a bit of a smoke disaster during cooking, I hate using the exhaust fan because of the noise, but the smoke alarm going off is worse noise, right?
Flat Iron Steak Peperonata

1 (1-pound) flat iron steak
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
½ onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers
pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil

Cover the steak with the oregano and 1 teaspoon salt, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, capers, red pepper flakes and basil. Transfer the Peperonata to a bowl, cover to keep warm.

Pat the steak dry with a paper towel. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, cook the steak 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Allow the steaks to rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. Serve the sliced steak with the Peperonata.
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Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Green Beans


The name says it all! Years ago, my friend Kevin made these amazing green beans for dinner. He said that he always served them for the holidays, due to their festive red and green color scheme.  The  green beans come together so quickly and are the perfect addition to your holiday table.  Some of the grapes tomatoes "pop" during the cooking and the sauce they create is divine.  I served them alongside crabcakes for a simple dinner party meal.  I prefer to get the French green beans at Costco, mainly because they are so much more tender than the green beans I get at my grocer.
Christmas Green Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 pint grape tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the greens beans and tomatoes, sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes. Serve.
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meatball Pasta Bake


Miss F loves two cooking show: Master Chef Junior and Pioneer Woman. I have tried to get her to watch Barefoot Contessa with me, but she gets bored with it, but I guess I can see that with an eight year old attention's span. As soon as she saw the Pioneer Woman that included this Meatball Pasta Bake, she wanted to make it. I adapted the original recipe quite heavily to better suit it to my cooking style and taste.  This recipe was a huge hit with the family.  I served it with a big salad, it was a great and filling meal. 
Meatball Pasta Bake

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt

1 pound ground beef
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg

1 pound rigatoni, prepared per package instructions and drained.
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
¼ cup grated parmesan

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the tomato paste, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, basil, parsley, oregano and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you prepare the meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the beef, parmesan, breadcrumbs and egg. Grease two 24 cup mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Scoop the meatball mixture using a heaping teaspoon, roll into a ball and place into the muffin tin. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Toss the prepared pasta with the tomato sauce. Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the pasta into the dish. Add half of the mozzarella and half of the meatballs to the dish. Top with the remaining pasta. Nestle the remaining mozzarella and meatballs into the pasta. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over top. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Basil Vinaigrette


Homemade vinaigrettes are incredibly easy to make when you use a mini-food processor. Add everything but the oil, stream it in with the processor running and you have vinaigrette. And it is so much better than anything you can find in a bottle. I usually have a bottle of homemade vinaigrette of some kind in our refrigerator to go along side the giant box of mixed greens from Costco. Those mixed greens last forever, I'm not sure what the secret is.  This recipe takes vinaigrette to the next level with the addition of sweet basil.  Be sure to taste the vinaigrette with a small piece of lettuce, add more sugar if necessary.
Basil Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup chopped basil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil in a mini-food processor. Pulse to combine. Stream in the olive oil with the processor on to emulsify the dressing. Serve over mixed greens.
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Crockpot Creamy White Chicken Chili


I knew I wanted to have white chicken chili on Halloween before we went out trick or treating. I wanted something creamier than my usual and could be made in the crockpot. The only wrench in the plans was the 80+ degree weather Halloween night!  We all had large servings and there was plenty left over for lunches and lunchboxes for the remainder of the week.  Miss F was a huge fan and I think she had it for lunch nearly every day of the week.  This recipe is adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen.
Crockpot Creamy White Chicken Chili

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
14.5 ounce can chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup salsa verde
2 cups frozen corn
2 15.5 ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained
½ cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 avocado
tortilla chips, for serving

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Add the sauce to the crockpot. Add the chicken breasts to the crockpot, sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the salsa, corn and beans. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred with two forks, return the shredded chicken into the crockpot, stir in the sour cream. Serve with cheddar cheese, diced avocado and tortilla chips.
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Greek Goddess Dip


This dip is amazing. And amazingly easy to make, basically toss everything into the food processor and let it whirl, it doesn't get any simpler than that.  I was able to use fresh herbs from my mom's garden, along with some from the grocery store (parsley hasn't been so successful so far.)  This dip is bursting with fresh herbs and the Greek yogurt provides a great tanginess.  I served it with cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, celery and pita chips.  Any fresh veggie would work well with this dip, but I went with a simple assortment for my dinner party.  This recipe is from the NY Times.
Greek Goddess Dip

½ cup packed fresh dill
½ cup packed fresh parsley
⅓ cup packed fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt, more to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¾ cup Greek yogurt
Raw chopped vegetables or pita chips, for serving

Process the dill, parsley, basil, garlic, lemon juice and salt together in a food processor until finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil through the feed tube with the processor running. Add the feta and process until smooth, stir in the yogurt. Serve with fresh vegetables and pita chips.
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Monday, November 14, 2016

Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins


I bought a jug of buttermilk to make a cake and besides making pancakes nearly every morning for breakfast, I was looking for another way to use up the leftovers.  Miss F was obsessed with these muffins, but that wasn't at all surprising since they are essentially chocolate-chocolate chip cupcakes without any frosting.  I want to make them again with peanut butter  chips, which I think would be fantastic, even though I wouldn't be able to send them to school with Miss F.  Recipe from Jen's Favorite Cookies.
Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins

⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, sugar and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together the baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt and flour. Stir the flour mixture into the oil mixture, just until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners, fill each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Oven Baked Zucchini Cakes


When I was planning my friend's 40th birthday celebration, I knew I wanted to serve my favorite crabcakes as a main course, but I did have a guest in attendance who is allergic to shellfish. I wanted to serve some thing that had the same look as the crabcakes did, without any shellfish component. After much searching on the internet, I found these baked zucchini cakes. I pre-baked them and then just broiled them when I broiled the crabcakes when it was time for dinner, which made things quite easy.  The feta adds a richness, similar to crab.  This would be great served along side roasted vegetables or a big salad.
Oven Baked Zucchini Cakes

1 medium zucchini, trimmed, peeled and grated
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 egg
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs

Place the grated zucchini in a mesh strainer over a boil. Sprinkle with the salt and toss to combine. Let the zucchini rest for 20 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the zucchini, pepper, garlic, olive oil, baking powder, dill, egg, feta and Panko. Use ¼ cup of the mixture and form into a patty, place the patty on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Spray each patty with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping each patty halfway through the cook time, until golden brown.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Lemon Layer Cake


A dear friend was turning 40 and to celebrate, I hosted a girls only dinner party. The guest of honor requested a lemon cake for dessert and I happily agreed, since I love lemon almost as much as I love chocolate.  I used my go to, lemon cream cheese frosting, but I wanted to try a new lemon cake.  I have a major aversion to zest in cakes, I just don't enjoy the texture at all.  I heavily adapted this recipe from one I saw on the Chowhound message board.  The buttermilk gives it the perfect tang.  We devoured this cake, but I made sure to save a piece for Miss F, who was snoozing away upstairs while we celebrated (or cackled, as C calls it.) 
Lemon Layer Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8” round cake pans, set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the flour and buttermilk in three additions, alternating between each. Divide the batter and pour into the two prepared pans. Bake for 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans to cool on a wire rack.

Beat together the cream cheese and butter for 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the lemon juice. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time and beat for 5 minutes more. Frost the cooled cakes.
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cucumber Lime Vodka Spritzer


A month or so ago, I went to Lake Charles for the weekend with a group of girlfriends. We stayed at the Golden Nugget and had an amazing time, I highly recommend it as a much cheaper alternative to Vegas. The drive was short and the hotel was quite lovely.  We ate a Vic and Anthony's one night and three of us ordered a cucumber lime cocktail.  And three of us looked at each other in horror when we tasted it, it was awful.  I love tart tart tart cocktails, but this was too much for even my taste.  We sent the drinks back, replaced them with something much more tasty, but I still craved a cucumber and lime cocktail.  I hosted a 40th birthday for a friend and decided to try something similar, but not terrible, on my own.  This cocktail is refreshing and tasty, without being terribly tart.
Cucumber Lime Vodka Spritzer
makes 16 cocktails

8 12-ounce cans club soda
2 cups vodka
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

In a pitcher, combine the club soda, vodka, lime juice, and cucumber. Serve over ice.
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Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


Miss F's class is celebrating Halloween by wearing costumes (first time ever for her school) and having a Pumpkin Day. There are going to have all sorts of fun pumpkin themed activities, including tasting all sorts of delicious pumpkin treats. Miss F wanted to make pumpkin muffins and I suggested to add chocolate chips, because, why not? And I suspect the chocolate might break up all the pumpkiness. Happy Halloween everyone!

This recipe was based off one from Betty Crocker.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
½ cup water
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) 100% pure pumpkin
1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper baking cups. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, water and eggs; stir in the pumpkin. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in the chocolate chips. Use an ice cream disher to scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lemon Dover Sole


I have such wonderful memories of the first time I had Dover sole. I was in Las Vegas at Jean-Georges Steakhouse in the Bellagio and the special was Dover sole. Our server was fantastic and told us whenever Dover sole was on the menu, we should order it. He was SO right. Dover sole is probably my most favorite fish. Back in Houston, I can always get it on Wednesday nights at Brasserie 19, but imagine my surprise when a friend told me she found Dover sole at Costco. They don't stock a ton of it, so it isn't always there, but when it is, BUY IT.  This recipe couldn't be any simpler, my friend made it for me for lunch one day after making the Costco discovery and I was hooked. 
Lemon Dover Sole

¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 Dover sole filets
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Stir together the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the Dover sole filets in the flour mixture. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Dover sole filets to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn over the sole with a spatula and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the lemon juice to the pan. Plate the fish and sauce, serve.
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Oven Baked Shrimp Po-Boys


Miss F could eat her weight in fried shrimp. I am tempted to take her to Red Lobster for their endless shrimp special just to see how many she could eat, but the problem would be that she would probably reject the shrimp they serve there. She always hates kids' menu shrimp because "there is more fried part than actual shrimp." I agree. The main issue with frying shrimp at home is that the fried shrimp smell lingers for quite a bit. I had never served a po-boy to Miss F before, but she was a huge fan! She didn't have a single topping, just shrimp and bread, but she loved it. I had all the toppings (and all the shrimp!) These po-boys are generous with the shrimp, a half pound on each sandwich. Feel free to convert the recipe to serve four half sandwiches if you are serving them alongside something else.
Oven Baked Shrimp Po-Boys

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon relish
hot sauce

¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 pound shrimp
2 sub rolls
1 tomato, sliced
½ cup chopped lettuce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, relish and hot sauce to taste. Set aside.

In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt and cayenne pepper. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. In a third shallow bowl, add the Panko. Grease a sheet pan with cooking spray. Peel and devein the shrimp. Dredge the shrimp in the flour, then dip in the egg-milk mixture and finally toss in the Panko. Place the shrimp on the prepared pan and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until shrimp is starting to brown.

Split each roll; top with half of the lettuce, then half of the tomato and half of the shrimp. Drizzle each with the sauce and serve.
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lemon Garlic Pork Tenderloin


I love making my mom's roast potato recipe, with whatever herbs I have on hand. This night, it was dill roasted potatoes (which would work beautifully with salmon) and green beans.  I had bought a giant bag of lemons at Costco, way overestimating my lemon needs, so I was on the hunt for savory lemon recipes.  I always have a pork tenderloin or two in the freezer and I looked for a recipe where I could roast the pork at the same temperature as the potatoes (damn you single oven!)  I found this recipe from I Wash, You Dry.   If you remember, try and marinate the pork overnight, it really adds a nice lemony brightness to the meat.
Lemon Garlic Pork Tenderloin

2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 (1 ½ to 2 lb) pork tenderloin

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Place the pork in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade overtop. Refrigerate at least two hours, ideally overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the remaining oil in an oven proof skillet over medium heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and sear on all sides in the oil. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Monday, October 17, 2016

Grape Tomato and Spinach Angel Hair


This pasta couldn't be any easier and it tastes like it took hours to make. Well, the original recipe does take hours, from Ina Garten, but I adapted it to take about 20 minutes instead.  Miss F was a huge fan of the pasta, but wasn't as keen on the spinach.  I am not normally a fan of cooked spinach, but stirring it in at the last moment was perfect.  The pasta water, parmesan and burst tomatoes make a nice and light sauce.  The original recipe calls for fresh basil, which would work equally as well as the fresh baby spinach. 
Grape Tomato and Spinach Angel Hair

½ pound angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 cup baby spinach
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup grated parmesan

Prepare the pasta per package directions, reserve the pasta water and drain the angel hair. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid, bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the angel hair and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the spinach, salt and parmesan. Serve.

ALTERNATE FASTA PASTA PREPARATION
Add two servings of Angel Hair to the Fasta Pasta and fill to level II. Microwave for 8 minutes and 30 seconds. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the pasta water from the Fasta Pasta into the pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the angel hair and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the spinach, salt and parmesan. Serve.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Instant Pot Roast Chicken


C had requested roast chicken, but I didn't have the time to make it in the oven. Enter Instant Pot!  The chicken came out perfectly tender, even though it wasn't quite as pretty as a bird roasted in the oven.  The chicken basically fell off the bone, it was delicious!  The best part is that I had plenty of leftover chicken meat to use for other meals.  Searing the chicken was a bit tricky, so be sure to have a sturdy pair of tongs on hand.  Recipe is adapted from The Healing Gourmet.
Instant Pot Roast Chicken

1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 whole chicken (~ 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, peeled

In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub the spice mix all over the skin of the chicken. Heat the oil in the Instant Pot on “Saute.” Add the chicken, breast side down, cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Flip the chicken over and add the broth, lemon juice and garlic to the Instant Pot. Lock the lid and set to “Poultry” for 30 minutes on high. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Let the chicken rest 5 minutes before carving.
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Pumpkin Pancakes


Miss F is now a pro at making her own breakfast, as long as there are leftover pancakes or waffles in the refrigerator, she is set to go.  It makes mornings really easy on me and she loves feeling a bit independent.  She has always loved anything with cinnamon.  I can make her plain oatmeal and as long as there is a sprinkle of cinnamon, she will gobble it all up.  These pancakes couldn't be any easier and they are great for using up leftover pumpkin from fall baking.  This recipe is from All Recipes.
Pumpkin Pancakes

1 ¼ cups flour
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, egg and oil together. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; stir until just combined. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium high heat, grease the skillet with shortening. Drop ¼ cup of batter onto the heated skillet and cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook 1 minute more. Repeat with the remaining batter and server warm.
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Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Zealand Shrimp Pasta


We spent an amazing vacation in New Zealand this summer. When we arrived in Lake Taupo, it was just about lunch time. We stopped at the most wonderful café, Waterside. It had an incredible view of the gorgeous lake and mountains.  I ordered a prawn pasta and Miss F couldn't resist eating nearly all of my lunch.   When C went out of town, she asked if we could try and recreate the dish at home.  This is my best attempt at doing do and she agreed that it was exactly like the dish we had in New Zealand.  The whole meal took less than 15 minutes to make, which means it will go into regular rotation when C isn't home for dinner.
New Zealand Shrimp Pasta

12 ounces linguine pasta
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup half and half
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ teaspoon dried basil

Prepare the pasta per package directions. Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer, flipping after 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth, slowly add to the pan, stirring constantly. Simmer for 3 minutes more. Stir in the half and half, grape tomatoes, basil, pasta and shrimp. Stir gently to combine and cook for 2 minutes more. Serve.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins


Even though it is still quite warm here, I can still bake like it is actually fall. Miss F loves anything ginger flavored nd muffins are an easy breakfast or snack for school.  These are so easy to make, Miss F nearly did it all by herself.  She is still quite wary of interacting with the oven in any way.  This recipe doesn't use an entire can of pumpkin puree, so we had just enough left to make my favorite puffy pumpkin pancakes.  We can pretend it's fall even though we are sweating right through it!  Recipe adapted from The Lean Green Bean.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

4 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 ¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, molasses and pumpkin until well combined. Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger just until combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared liners and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Cool completely.
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Instant Pot Chipotle Shredded Beef


I am still learning on perfecting my skills with the Instant Pot, but I do very much love the results when I cook with it. The only thing I wish is that I had a better grasp of how long it will take to come to pressure and for how long it will take to release the pressure naturally.  When I have other things cooking for dinner, like the cheesy refried bean casserole, it would be very helpful to know exactly how many minutes before the Instant Pot is done.  If you do things well in advance, there is no worry since the Instant Pot switches to an easy "keep warm" mode.  This beef was amazing.  We had tacos the first night and then into quesadillas with the leftovers.  This recipe was adapted from Taste and Tell.
Instant Pot Chipotle Shredded Beef

1 pound beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
1 teaspoon dried cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ onion, peeled and quartered
½ green bell pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks
½ cup water

Set the Instant Pot to saute. Add the olive oil. Brown the roast in the heated oil, about 3 minutes per side. Spread the chipotle over the roast, then sprinkle with cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and chili powder. Add the onion and bell pepper, pour the water around the edges of the roast. Close the Instant Pot and set for high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow the natural pressure to release when complete. Remove the meat from the Instant Pot and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Shred the meat with two forks and return to the Instant Pot, stirring into the liquid. Serve in warmed tortillas.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Thai Sweet Chili Shrimp


C was in London for a week for work, which meant it was seafood for dinner every night he was gone. I first became obsessed with Thai Sweet Chili sauce years ago at a sushi restaurant. They served it alongside their fried calamari appetizer. When we were in Vancouver, specifically China Town, we were looking for a spot to grab an early dinner. A man came out of a restaurant and raved to me about the Thai Sweet Chili Shrimp on the menu, he said it was a must order. And he was right! I have craved that dish for the longest time and really wanted to try and recreate it at home.  I adapted this recipe from Once Upon a Chef.
Thai Sweet Chili Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons bell pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
2 cups cooked white rice

Toss the shrimp with the cornstarch until lightly coated. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the shrimp and stir fry until starting to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, ginger, garlic and sweet chili sauce, sauté for 30 seconds. Add the water and soy sauce and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the sesame oil and serve over rice.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Instant Pot Enchiladas Verdes


I am not a huge fan of enchiladas made with a red sauce, but enchiladas with a creamy green sauce? A total obsession.  In researching my new Instant Pot, I saw all the ways you could make shredded chicken.  When I read that you could make deliciously tender chicken with only a can of enchilada sauce, I was intrigued.    I used my favorite sour cream green enchilada recipe and adapted it for the Instant Pot.  It made things incredibly easy and the chicken was amazing.  Way better than my usual go to of poaching the chicken and shredding it.  This recipe is quite generous with the sauce, so be very careful when pouring over the enchiladas. 
Instant Pot Enchiladas Verdes

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can green enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
½ cup tomatillo salsa (or your favorite salsa verde)

Add the chicken and enchilada sauce to the Instant Pot. Set to “Poultry” for 10 minutes if using fresh chicken or for 30 minutes if using frozen chicken breasts. When the pressure has released, shred the chicken with two forks and return it to the cooking liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 40 seconds. Mix the chicken with 1 cup of the cheese. Place a couple spoon fulls of the chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll up and place in the prepared pan.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or so, whisking the whole time. Whisk in the broth and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth, heat for 5 minutes until thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and salsa. Pour the sauce over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for 3 minutes or so to brown the cheese. Serve.
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Garlic Pull Apart Bread


I love baking bread, it is so much better than anything you can get at the store and I have perfected the timing of it all so that it doesn't take an entire day to produce one loaf of bread. C and Miss F devoured this loaf.  And they added additional butter, which wasn't necessary at all, but I couldn't convince them otherwise. I can't wait to try other flavors of pull apart bread, but one thing is certain, the next loaf will include cheese of some sort.  This recipe was inspired by Budget Bytes.
Garlic Pull Apart Bread

1/3 cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
1 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted (I microwave it with the milk)
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups flour
¼ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons garlic salt

Add the water to the bowl of the stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast overtop and proof for 5 to 7 minutes, until frothy. Add the milk, sugar, butter, salt and flour, mix at low speed until combined. Swap out the mixer attachment for the dough hook and need for 8 minutes more. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and garlic salt. Cut dough into 1 inch pieces; dip into butter mixture. Layer in a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Copycat Doubledave’s Pizza Rolls


One of the first Aggie games I ever attended started out with a stop at Doubledave's. I had never been to a Doubledave's before, but C raved about their pizza rolls.   At lunch, they are usually served on a buffet and he can eat a dozen or so.  I am not a huge fan of pepperoni, but I will tolerate it in pizza rolls.  Miss F and C were thrilled with these.  Next time I make them, I will definitely double the recipe, since I was left with only one pizza roll to eat.  Thankfully, I had a big salad, so I wouldn't be starving after having dinner.  This recipe was guided by a post on TexAgs.
Copycat Doubledave’s Pizza Rolls

½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups bread flour
4 slices provolone cheese, halved
40 pepperoni slices
½ cup crushed tomatoes or ranch dressing

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to get bubbly. Add the salt, oil and half of the flour. Turn on the mixer on low and add remaining flour ¼ cup at a time, until it is all incorporated. Swap out the mixer for the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes. Form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven with a pizza stone inside to 425 degrees. Roll out the dough into a 12” circle. Line the edges with the provolone slices and top with the pepperoni slices, 5 per half slice of cheese. Cut the dough into 8 pizza slices. Roll each up like a croissant. Place the rolls on the pizza stone and bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Serve with warmed crushed tomatoes or ranch dressing.



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Monday, September 12, 2016

Instant Pot Dr Pepper Pulled Pork


Miss F loves sandwiches for dinner. As long as they are hot sandwiches, she still refuses to eat any kind of lunchmeat, which certainly makes packing lunches trying. I love any excuse to make a homemade sandwich bun (I served these on cheddar hamburger buns, one of my favorites.)  Dr. Pepper pulled pork is so incredibly easy and it's even easier with the Instant Pot.   I am using the Instant Pot so often these days, I have finally gotten the hang out it.  This was Miss F's choice for her dinner on her first day of school...second grade, where is the time going?  She also selected the tator tots.  Not shocking.
Instant Pot Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

4 pounds pork shoulder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup Dr Pepper

Cut the pork shoulder into 4 or 5 pieces, trimming any large pieces of fat. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Coat the pork pieces with the spice mixture and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add the oil to the Instant Pot and set it to Sauté. Sauté the pork pieces 3 minutes per side until it is browned an all sides. Pour the Dr Pepper over the pork . Set the machine to cook on high pressure for 55 minutes. Close up the pot. After it is done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally. Remove the pork from the pot and shred with two forks, discarding any large chunks of fat. Toss the meat with the cooking liquid. Serve on hamburger buns, topped with barbecue sauce and pickle slices.
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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Four Ingredient Carbonara


I may never add cream to carbonara ever again. And since it shouldn't be used traditionally in carbonara anyhow, I am completely fine with that. The sauce is still incredibly rich with six eggs and a ton of parmesan cheese.  Unfortunately, pancetta is completely rejected by both C and Miss F, even though it is the traditional meat used in carbonara, I use bacon instead in order to get my family to eat what's on their plate without complaints.  Miss F even dunked her broccoli in the sauce, she loved it so much.  Now that school has started, I need meals that come together quickly in the evening since on some nights Miss F doesn't get home until after 5 pm.  Carbonara to the rescue for a quick and delicious meal.  Miss F requested that the broccoli be mixed with the carbonara next time I make it.  I think I could fry it in the bacon grease, how delicious would that be?
Four Ingredient Carbonara

6 slices bacon, cut into lardons
1 ¼ cups grated parmesan cheese
6 eggs
12 ounces thin spaghetti

In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain all but a tablespoon of the grease from the pan. Set aside. Separate 4 of the eggs, discarding the whites. Add the 4 egg yolks and 2 remaining whole eggs to a two cup measure. Add the parmesan cheese and whisk well to combine with the eggs. Prepare the spaghetti per package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the pan with the bacon and pour the egg and parmesan over top. Toss well to coat, thin if necessary with the reserved pasta water. Serve with fresh cracked pepper over top.
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chicken in Lemon Herb Sauce


I had this pinned from Elly Says Opa for the longest time and I finally got around to making it, I sure wish I had sooner.  The method is incredibly simple, but makes for a really nice and moist chicken breast.  Miss F refused to try it at all, I think she was exhausted from school.  She ate a few green beans and went straight to bed.  The sauce was delicious, I may have added a spoonful or two to my green beans and mashed potatoes.  I want to try it again adding prosciutto.  A sauce made with wine, garlic and butter...what could be better?
Chicken in Lemon-Herb Sauce

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large lemon)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Cut each chicken breast crosswise into two pieces, pound each piece flat with a meat mallet, about 1/3” thick. Stir together the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, parsley, oregano and parmesan in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of the bread crumbs over each chicken piece, then roll the chicken up, securing with a piece of kitchen twine or a couple of toothpicks. Place the chicken into an oven safe skillet. In a two cup measure, add the wine, broth, lemon juice, crushed red pepper and salt. Pour over the chicken and add the garlic to the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and top with the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove the chicken to a serving plate. Place the skillet on a burner over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken for a minute or two. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Pour the sauce around the chicken and serve.
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Monday, August 29, 2016

Tiger Bread aka Marble Bundt Cake


We spent an amazing couple of weeks in Fiji and New Zealand.   We returned home on a Sunday and Miss F started school the next Wednesday.  Her request for her school snack was "Tiger Bread."  She had it nearly every morning at our hotel in Fiji.  It was essentially marble cake, but since it was served at breakfast, they called it "bread."  Miss F helped make this cake and really enjoyed swirling the batter to create the tiger stripes.  After a week, the entire cake had been eaten...for breakfast, for snack, for dessert...  This recipe was adapted from Sailu's Food
Tiger Bread aka Marble Bundt Cake
http://www.sailusfood.com/2013/11/15/marble-bundt-cake-recipe-easy/

1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup hot water
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bunt pan with shortening, then flour it, tapping out any excess. In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar and hot water until smooth. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the 1 ½ cups sugar and beat for 3 minutes more. Add the eggs and beat on low for 1 minute more. Stir in the flour in four additions, stirring until well combined. Transfer a bit less than half of the batter to a bowl and stir in the cocoa mixture. Alternate scoops of vanilla and chocolate batter into the bundt pan using an ice cream disher. Use a knife to swirl the batters into one another, smoothing the top. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert to the wire rack to cool completely. Dust with the powdered sugar after cooling.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Instant Pot Bolognese


Miss F first had Bolognese sauce on Valentine's Day at Casa Tua in Aspen. She loved it! It is such a complex tasting sauce and takes a day to make.  Enter the Instant Pot.  I found this recipe and decided to adapt it a bit to better suit my family.  I am still learning how to use the Instant Pot, but this recipe really cuts down on the time it normally takes to make Bolognese sauce.  C is quite entertained by the Instant Pot and my ineptness with it.  The first thing I made in it, I left the steam valve open...oops.  That dinner took a bit longer than it should have.  He even DVRed a pressure cooking television show for me, so I could properly learn the correct (and quick) way to cook.
Instant Pot Bolognese

4 ounces pancetta, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 pound ground beef
¾ cup red wine
1 six ounce can tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups water, hot
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound rigatoni, prepared per package instructions and drained

In the cold pressure cooker with no oil or butter, with the top off, sprinkle the pancetta in a flat layer and turn on to the lowest heat possible to render the fat. After the pancetta begins to sizzle (in about 5 minutes) add the onion, carrot and celery and raise the heat to medium-low and cook until well softened (about 10 minutes). If things begin to stick you can add a little pat of butter or swirl of olive oil. Raise the heat to medium and add the ground beef and brown well stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes or until all of the liquid from the meat is evaporated and the fat begins to sizzle). Add the wine and scrape the juicy bits stuck to the bottom and sides of the pan and evaporate it completely (about 7 minutes). In the meantime, mix the tomato paste with the beef stock and add salt, pepper. Pour the stock mixture into the cooker and stir well. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve. Add hot water, stir the contents well and scrape any juicy bits from the bottom to incorporate. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve. Stir in the cream and rigatoni. Serve.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

ABCLT Chopped Salad


In the summertime, I could eat a salad every night for dinner. I do get picky about proteins in my salad, I always prefer them to be warm, cold meats just don't do it for me. I made this salad the first night back from our amazing vacation to Fiji and New Zealand. I didn't have high culinary expectations for either location, but I was pleasantly surprised by both...especially Fiji.   This salad is a take on one of my most favorite sandwiches, the ABCLT.  C was happy to trade his tomatoes for my croutons and Miss F was with my parents, so there was minimal whining about having a salad for dinner.
ABCLT Chopped Salad

4 slices bacon, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
¾ cup croutons
½ to ¾ cup ranch dressing (I like Confections of a Foodie Bride’s recipe)

Heat the bacon in skillet over medium low heat, cook until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate and drain all but 1 tablespoon of the grease from the skillet. Add the chicken and pepper, sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and croutons. Pour ½ cup of the ranch dressing and toss well to coat. Add more dressing if necessary. Divide among for plates and serve.
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pork “Lo Mein” Ramen


I was obsessed with ramen when I was a kid. I would have a bowl nearly every day after school. I would drain the noodles and toss them with La Choy Lite Soy Sauce. It had to be La Choy Lite Soy Sauce, there was no substitution. In college, I learned to make the noodles in the microwave since I didn't have access to a stove. After college, I would come home to my loft nearly every day for lunch. One of my go tos for lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of beef ramen soup, dubbed the KT special. I always preferred ramen noodles to rice for serving stir fry, so I wanted to try using them in a lo mein recipe. It was fantastic! Totally curbed my ramen craving and added a little healthiness with a nice helping of fresh vegetables.  One thing I have yet to try is a fancy ramen noodle restaurant...I think I would be disappointed.
Pork “Lo Mein” Ramen

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup chicken broth
2 packages ramen noodles, flavor packets discarded
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ pound pork loin chops, sliced thin
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
¼ pound snow peas
½ green bell pepper, julienned
½ cup carrots, julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sesame oil

In two cup measure, whisk together the cornstarch, ginger, Sriracha, soy sauce and chicken broth. Prepare the ramen per package instructions, drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry the pork, mushrooms, snow peas, bell pepper and carrots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken and vegetables, bring to a boil and cook for a minute more. Add the noodles and sesame oil, toss well to coat completely. Serve.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Chick-fil-a Tortilla Soup


Miss F is obsessed with the tortilla soup at Chick-fil-a. She can devour it by the bowl full. It is only available in the winter months, which means I needed to find a way to make it year round. This recipe is a mash up of a ton of recipes I found online, some very much like the soup, some nothing at all like the soup.  The soup is much creamier than the tortilla soups I am used to in restaurants, but it is really delicious.  You can also make this in the crockpot, just add all the ingredients into the crockpot except the half and half.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, then stir in the half and half 20 minutes before you are ready to serve.
Chick-fil-a Tortilla Soup

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup flour
¼ cup water
¾ cup half and half

Add the chicken, black beans, great northern beans, Rotel, creamed corn and frozen corn to a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the broth, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and salt. Stir to combine. In a one cup measure, whisk together the flour and water. Stir the flour slurry into the soup. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Shred the chicken with two forks, stir in the half and half. Serve.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Baked Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts


I usually have a large container of plain Greek yogurt laying around. One of my most favorite things to have for lunch is Naan with a huge bowl to Tzatziki. I could live on that stuff.  Miss F loves making baked doughnuts in the summertime, when our mornings are a little more lazy than the madness going on during the school year.  I am not sure I will ever bake a doughnut without Greek yogurt again.  They were amazing.  Truly amazing.   The recipe is title "Best Baked Doughnuts" on Back for Seconds and that isn't a lie.  They are truly the best.  And healthy because protein...right?  HA!
Baked Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts

1 ½ cups flour
½ cup brown sugar (packed)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
¼ cup milk
2/3 cups plain greek yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup milk
sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a two cup measure, whisk together the egg, butter, milk, yogurt and vanilla. Gently stir the wet ingredients into bowl with the dry ingredients until combined. Fill a greased doughnut pan ¾ full with batter and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

Heat the milk in a shallow microwave safe bowl for 60 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute, stir until smooth. Dip the cooled doughnuts into the chocolate and then top with sprinkles.
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Monday, August 8, 2016

Instant Pot Hula Chicken Sandwiches


Who all ended up with an Instant Pot from Amazon Prime Day?  I had been debating get one forever, but the hype of Amazon Prime Day forced me to finally take the plunge.  This is the first recipe I made with it and it was delicious.  But it certainly took a lot of studying to figure out how to change a regular crockpot recipe to one that works in the Instant Pot.  I may have had some operator error with the steam valve, but once I got everything figured out, it was a snap.  I wasn't expected the force of the quick pressure release at the end...that is going to take some getting used to for sure. 
Instant Pot Hula Chicken Sandwiches

½ cup water
½ cup crushed pineapple and juice
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 sandwich rolls
4 slices of Provolone cheese

In a two cup measure, whisk together the water, pineapple, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, vinegar, ginger and garlic. Add the chicken breasts to the Instant Pot and pour the pineapple mixture over the chicken. Close up the pot and set to Poultry for 15 minutes. After it is done cooking, release the vent and shred the chicken. Serve on sandwich rolls and top with a slice of cheese.
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


I love a good cookie bar. And a brown butter cookie bar is divine.  Making brown butter is a little more effort than usual, but it is done a heck of a lot faster than allowing a stick of butter to come to room temperature.  The brown butter adds a real richness to these cookie bars.  I loved them.  I may have loved them too much, so I sent most of them over to my parents' house.  That way, I wouldn't be tempted to polish off the entire plate of cookie bars.  Which I could have done.  Easily.  This recipe was based off Wine and Glue
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

½ cup butter
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Once the butter begins to foam up and deepen in color, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs, then mix well to combine. Stir in the flour mixture and then fold in the chocolate chips. Press the batter into the prepared dish. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Cool and slice into bars.
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Spicy Garlic and Ginger Chicken with Green Beans


This is a photograph of C's plate. He was quite proud of his "fancy" sriracha application and insisted I use his plate for the blog.  I guess he was proud of using a squeeze bottle in such a fancy way.  This recipe comes from Taste of Home Cooking, she always has the greatest stir fries that are a hit with my family.  I made a few changes, mainly in not bothering with pre-steaming the green beans.  It was so much easier to just toss the chicken and beans into the pan and fry them right up.  You could easily swap the fresh green beans for a package of frozen green beans, especially since you are stir frying them.
Spicy Garlic and Ginger Chicken with Green Beans

3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 teaspoons cold water
1 pound chicken breast, cut into ½ inch pieces
3-4 cups sliced green beans
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar sugar, garlic, ginger, ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil, and Sriracha in a bowl. Whisk to combine and then set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, add remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and green beans, cook about 5 minutes. Pour in sauce mixture and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry. Return to a simmer and cool until thickened (it should coat a spoon).

Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over rice.
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Barbecue Pork Tenderloin with Skillet Summer Hash


This recipe started with me trying to use up fresh veggies from my parents' garden.   They gave me zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes...all fresh from the garden plot.  You could easily grill the pork tenderloin, but sadly, I don't have that option at our house.  I sure wish I did.  One day I will own a grill again.  What a happy day that will be!   Frozen corn can easily be substituted for the fresh corn, a small bag of frozen corn will work just perfectly in the hash.  C thought the hash was missing potatoes, but I thought it was incredibly delicious without! 
Barbecue Pork Tenderloin with Skillet Summer Hash

1 pork tenderloin
¼ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 ears corn, shucked and kernels stripped
1 zucchini, cut into half moons
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pork tenderloin in a greased shallow baking dish. Brush with the barbecue sauce. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the corn, zucchini, bell pepper, basil, salt and pepper. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute more.

Slice the pork and serve over top of the vegetable hash.
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad


Miss F spent five blissful days at "Camp Grammy and Grandad", which meant that we could have salad as an entrée without any whining. Or so I thought.  As soon as I plated the salad, C asked what we were having as an entrée...um, salad?  This salad is summer on a plate.   Fresh corn, avocado, tomatoes, bell pepper...all sweet and delicious.  I appeased C with the crushed tortilla chips and cheese, I could have lived without both.  The salad recipe is my own, but the chicken cooking technique comes from The Kitchn.  It is so incredibly easy and cooks chicken perfectly every time. 
Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad

1 avocado
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon butter
2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut from the ear
Juice from ½ lime

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
½ cup shredded Colby jack cheese
½ cup crushed tortilla chips

Place the avocado, vinegar, water, sugar and salt into a food processor. Process until smooth. Stream in the oil and process until emulsified; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the chicken with the vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Place in a glass baking dish. Cover the chicken with a sheet of parchment paper, tucking it around the chicken. Bake until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees, about 30 minutes or so. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. When cool, cut into bite sized pieces.

Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and lime juice, sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until corn is tender.

In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, corn, lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, avocado, cheese and tortilla chip pieces. Pour over half of the avocado dressing and toss well to coat, adding more dressing as necessary. Divide among 4 plates and serve.
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Vegetable Calzones

Vegetable Calzones

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees )
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the pizza crusts
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1 cup spinach leaves
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 mushrooms, quartered
1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

In the bowl of the stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the water. Add the honey and stir together, let sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, then the flour and salt. Use the dough hook to knead at low speed for 2 minutes. Turn up the speed to medium and knead 5 minutes more. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead by hand for 3 minutes more. Oil the mixing bowl and return the dough ball to it, tossing well to coat with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes to an hour in a warm spot. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shape each by gently pulling the dough and tucking it underneath the bottom of the ball. Roll the ball on a smooth surface until it is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes more. The dough can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone inside. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Press out each dough piece on a lightly floured surface, gradually spreading each into a circle 8" across. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese on half of each circle, then top with broccoli, artichoke, spinach, bell pepper, mushroom and tomato. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese on top of each, then fold over to create a half circle. Press the edges to seal. Transfer the calzones to the preheated oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown.

While the calzones are baking, simmer the crushed tomatoes over medium-low heat with the Italian seasoning. Serve the calzones with tomato sauce on the side.
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Skillet Salsa Chicken


I knew as soon as I saw this recipe on Taste of Home Cooking, it would be a huge hit with Miss F. And I wasn't wrong. She inhaled it, comparing it to one of her favorites, crockpot chicken enchilada soup.  I served it over plain white rice because I am not a huge cilantro fan and neither is anyone else.  I used Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream because I didn't have any on hand, no one was the wiser.  I loved how easy this was, in the time that it took the rice to cook with the magical Fasta Pasta, dinner was ready.  It doesn't get any easier than that!
Skillet Salsa Chicken

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups salsa
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 avocado, for serving
Steamed rice, for serving

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add the onion and saute for another 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and chicken is cooked through. Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the seasonings, salsa, broth, corn and black beans to the pan and stir to combine.

Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Serve topped with sliced avocado and over rice.
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cajun Crispy Shrimp Pasta


When C has a last minute dinner out with friends or co-workers, I usually try to convert our meal plan for the evening to have seafood in it somehow. C doesn't eat anything from the sea and the rest of us are obsessed with anything that comes from the sea. Miss F's most favorite at the moment is shrimp. I buy a ton whenever we go down to the Seabrook seafood markets and freeze it in one pound portions. And she can easily take down a half pound of shrimp.  Cajun chicken pasta is a favorite around here and I decided to swap out the chicken for crispy shrimp...it was delicious!  Miss F was a huge fan and cleared her plate.  And so did I.
Cajun Crispy Shrimp Pasta

12 ounces linguine
1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chacheres)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine
¾ cup cream
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Prepare the linguine per package instructions, drain and set aside. Toss the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and flour. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, saute the shrimp and bell pepper for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp is crispy and cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom. Bring to a simmer. Add the cream and basil, stir and heat through. Stir in the parmesan and linguine, toss to coat and serve.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Ginger Soy Chicken Kebabs


I love kebabs. I do wish we had a grill for cooking them, but the broiler works just fine and they cook up just as quickly. I invested in a broiler pan and that makes everything so easy.  Miss F loves skewering, she always makes herself a skewer heavy on the meat and without a single mushroom.  Feel free to add whatever vegetables you have on hand to the skewer.  Zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes...I've even used new potatoes.  I serve these over rice, rice noodles or even over ramen noodles.  

Ginger Soy Chicken Kebabs

1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha

1 pound chicken boneless skinless breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound of whole mushrooms
1 onion, cut in 1 inch pieces

Pre-soaked bamboo skewers

Whisk together the garlic, oil, ginger, soy sauce, and Sriracha together in a large bowl. Add the chicken bell peppers, mushrooms and onion; toss to thoroughly coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Thread chicken on skewers alternating with the bell pepper, mushroom and onion. Brush the vegetables with some of the excess marinade. Grill over medium heat, turning every few minutes, for 8 minutes or until cooked through. Alternatively, broil on high for 8 minutes, turning half way.
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

One Pot Chicken Pot Pie


I was quite wary of a chicken pot pie that could be made with only one pot. My usual recipe dirties at least three pans, four if you include the baking sheet to catch the drips from the pot pie.  I was so wrong to be wary.  This recipe is AMAZING.  And it really only dirties one pot.  I used my largest disher to drop the biscuits, which was incredibly easy and made them all equal in size.  C and I may have indulged in two biscuits each, they were so incredibly delicious.  This recipe was adapted from Community Table.
One Pot Chicken Pot Pie

3 tablespoons butter
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
3 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Cheesy Drop Biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt the butter in a 12 inch oven safe skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Whisk in the chicken broth and cream until well combined. Stir in the vegetables, parmesan and parsley. Reduce the heat to medium.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, parmesan, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the butter and milk, stir to combine. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons on top of the simmering skillet. Place the skillet on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Shredded Beef Torta


One of the first things I ever ordered at my favorite late night college hangout (aka La Tapatia) was a torta. Pechuga de Pollo torta with NO beans. Emphasis on the "NO." I am no fan of beans and even after 20 years of living in Texas, I still cannot stomach them.  I also learned that if I omitted the Pechuga part of the order, I would get a not as delicious shredded chicken instead of a chicken breast.  I love making bolillos and having tortas at home.  I usually have chicken or pulled pork, but I was in the mood for a shredded beef torta.  And Kroger had roasts on sale for under $2 a pound.  And the shredded beef torta was born.  And it is delicious.  Messy, but delicious. 
Shredded Beef Tortas
Makes 6 tortas

1 recipe southwest shredded beef
6 Bolillos from this recipe or purchased
12 leaves of green lettuce
2 avocados, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 recipe best ever queso or queso of your choosing

Prepare the southwest shredded beef in the crockpot. Slice the bolillos lengthwise and then cross wise. Lay a lettuce leaf on the bottom of each bottom half of the bolillo. Top each with avocado and tomato slices, then add a generous helping of the shredded beef. Top the beef with a spoonful of queso. Serve.
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Monday, June 27, 2016

Peanut Butter Cookies


Miss F had two weeks of theater camp and they didn't have any nut restrictions. She rejected a PB&J, but loved being able to take peanut butter granola bars and these cookies. All the fork flattening was done by Miss F and she did a great job, she loves to bake, especially cookies.  These cookies are terrific, bursting with sweet peanut butter flavor and it's easy to snack on several in one sitting.   This recipe was adapted from Food.com.
Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the peanut butter, brown sugar, sugar and butter. Add the egg and mix until well combined. Add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Stir in the flour. Line baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. Spoon heaping tablespoons of batter onto the prepared pans. Use a fork to flatten the cookies, creating a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
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