Sunday, November 29, 2009

German Potato Salad

I stayed at Karen and Jon's this weekend and we decided to cook dinner instead of going out somewhere on Saturday night. Karen had boneless spareribs that she threw in the crockpot (so easy, love it!) and we decided to do pulled pork. I said I would make a side and thought I would do mac and cheese but then I remembered this great warm potato salad that my mom had made for dinner one night. I DO NOT like regular potato salad...something about cold potatoes just makes my stomach turn. But this is delicious and nothing like the old picnic staple you're probably used to eating.

German Potato Salad

2 pounds petite red potatoes
6 slices bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper

Wash the potatoes and put them whole into a pot of water. Boil until tender and cooked through. Drain and cool slightly, then quarter.

Cook bacon until crispy and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in pan. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add flour and stir; cooking one minute. Add sugar, vinegar, water and salt. Cook until mixture is thick and bubbly. Toss with potatoes. Crumble bacon and mix in to potato salad. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Gratin of Cauliflower with Gruyere

Chad's grandmother puts out a great spread for Thanksgiving, but I always like to contribute a side dish of my own. I usually make my Granny's broccoli cauliflower casserole, but decided to do something different this year. This an awesome Cooking Light recipe that I made last year for my family at Christmas. With all the food we ate on Thanksgiving it was nice to have something healthy and light (but still delicious!).

Gratin of Cauliflower with Gruyere
From Cooking Light

1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (I used 2 heads)
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons butter
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Place cauliflower in a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; coat cauliflower with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until almost tender. Cool 5 minutes. Preheat broiler. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in panko. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and chives. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 cup cheese, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and pepper. Pour milk mixture over cauliflower mixture; toss. Top evenly with cheese mixture. Broil 3 minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly heated.

Apple Bread Pudding

My friend Kelly and I went to one of my favorite restaurants a few weeks ago. There has been a Brio in Orlando for a while, but we just got one in Tampa a few months ago. Our meal was great, and we decided to split one of their mini desserts. It was a tough choice, but we agreed on the apple bread pudding. I had never had bread pudding before, and this was absolutely delicious. Once I tried it, I knew I wanted to make it for Thanksgiving dessert. I searched around for a recipe and decided you can't go wrong with Emeril and I was right. This was sooooooo good. I didn't do the hard cider sauce with the recipe. Instead I opted for warm caramel sauce and ice cream. The perfect ending for a great meal!

Apple Bread Pudding
From Emeril Lagasse

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup apple cider
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups cubed stale raisin-cinnamon bread
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cubed (about 1 cup)
1 cup dried apples
caramel sauce
vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 by 14-inch baking dish with the butter and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the cream, cider, sugar, melted butter, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine. Add the bread, fresh and dried apples, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the bread is well saturated, up to 1 hour.) Bake until the top is golden brown and the center is firm, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and let sit on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Cut into pieces and top with ice cream and warm caramel sauce. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

It seems like the simplest meals turn out to be some of the best meals. I threw this together in the crockpot, went to work and came home to a delicious dinner. So easy and tasted like I slaved the stove!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

3 lb. pot roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can water
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 tsp worsteshire sauce
1 1/2 lbs red potato, quartered
5 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 sweet onions, cut into large chunks

Put vegetables on the bottom of the crockpot. Put meat on top. Mix soup, water, onion soup mix and worsteshire. Pour in crockpot. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.

To make gravy:
1 cup of juice from crockpot
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a saucepan, mix 1/4 cup of the juice with the cornstarch. Add remaining juice and cook over medium heat until thickened.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken, Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I love anything pasta, especially when it's baked and cheesy. I thought this was a good variation of traditional stuffed shells.

Chicken, Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo shells, cooked and cooled
2 jars of tomato sauce, or make your own omitting the ground beef
1 lb. ground chicken, cooked and crumbled
12 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 350. Mix ground chicken, ricotta, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan and dried basil in a bowl. Cover bottom of 9x13 baking dish with sauce. Stuff shells and place in a single layer in baking dish. Cover with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Stuffed Steak

This is an old recipe that my mom used to make when we were growing up. This is so good and just tastes like good home cookin'.

Stuffed Steak

Thin sliced sandwich steak (I had six pieces)
1 package baby bella mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 envelope onion soup mix, divided in half
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Cook onions and mushrooms until soft, add garlic and cook one minute more. Add butter and melt. Add mushroom mixture to breadcrumbs, half of onion soup mix and parmesan cheese to make a stuffing. Lay one piece of steak on a cutting board and put 2 heaping spoons of stuffing on one end. Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Continue with all pieces of steak. If you have extra stuffing you can put it in the baking dish around the steak. Mix remaining onion soup mix with water and pour over steak. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

I don't have a picture of this recipe, so you'll have to trust that it tasted as good as it sounds! We had a BBQ at a coworkers house before our football game last week, and I volunteered for mac and cheese. I've made a bunch of varieties (a few are here on my blog) and this one was a mixture of the best and also NOT one of my low-fat versions!

Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

1 box of elbow noodles, cooked and drained
5 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled with 1 tablespoon of grease reserved
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
8 oz. muenster, shredded
8 oz. montery jack, shredded
salt and fresh ground pepper
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 cup panko
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat milk and cream together in microwave until hot. Put reserved bacon grease in large pan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes or until soft. Add flour, cook 1 minute. Whisk in hot milk mixture and cook until reduced by a third. Add shredded cheeses and stir until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in with noodles.

In a seperate bowl, mix panko, parsley and parmesan with melted butter. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and add noodles and cheese mixture. Layer sliced tomatoes on top, and cover with panko mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Birthday Cake with Vanilla Custard, Raspberry Puree and Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Now that is a looooong name for a cake! One of my coworkers had a birthday on Friday, and since I have become the cake lady for the office, he special requested his cake weeks in advance. He wanted custard and he wanted raspberry, so here is what I whipped up. This was absolutely was light and not too sweet. Probably one of the best cakes I've made, if I say so myself. (I did cheat and use a box cake was a school night and I needed to cut a corner somewhere! I used a french vanilla mix.)

Birthday Cake with Vanilla Custard, Raspberry Puree and Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
Custard adapted from Recipezaar
Raspberry Puree from Vegalicious
Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting from All Recipes

French vanilla cake, cooked in 9x13 pan, cooled and cut in two layers

As the cake cooks, prepare the custard and puree.

For the custard:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, scalding hot
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the sugar, flour and salt together in a small saucepan and add the hot milk gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens. Pour a small amount over the eggs and mix thoroughly; add back into the first mixture and cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat and cool; add vanilla. Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so the wrap sits on the surface of the custard and creates a seal, refrigerate until completely cool.

For the puree:
2 cups frozen raspberries
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Put the raspberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook on medium until raspberries break down. Mix the cornstarch with a little bit of water to form a paste and add to berries. Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so the wrap sits on the surface of the puree and creates a seal, refrigerate until completely cool.

For the frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

To put cake together:
Put bottom layer of cake on platter. Spread custard on top of cake. Place second layer on top of custard. Using a wooden spoon, poke holes in the top of cake. Ladle raspberry puree over top of cake and spread to edges, letting the puree sink into the holes. Cover puree and sides of cake with frosting. Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Old Fashioned Chicken Potpie

This recipe comes from one of my favorite sources, Cooking Light. I don't know what made me decide to want to cook a chicken potpie, but I'm glad I did! This was a bit labor-intensive, but it was really good. Don't be intimidated by making your own crust, it was super easy!

Old Fashioned Chicken Potpie
From Cooking Light

1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
3 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening

3 cups Chicken Stock, divided
2 1/3 cups cubed red potato (about 1 pound)
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) sliced carrot
2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine
1/2 cup chopped shallots or onions
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup frozen petite green peas
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Dash of black pepper
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons 1% low-fat milk

To prepare crust, lightly spoon 1 cup flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1/4 cup flour, ice water, and vinegar in a small bowl. Combine 3/4 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vinegar mixture; stir just until moist. Press mixture gently into a 5-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. Chill for 15 minutes. Roll dough, still covered, into a 13 x 10-inch oval. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare filling, bring 2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add potato and carrot; cook 2 minutes. Drain mixture in a colander over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 3 minutes. Lightly spoon 1/2 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup Chicken Stock; stir with a whisk. Add to skillet. Stir in potato mixture, reserved cooking liquid, chicken, peas, 3/4 teaspoon salt, thyme, and pepper. Cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Spoon chicken mixture into a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap from dough. Place dough on top of chicken mixture, pressing to edge of dish. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut 5 slits in top of crust to allow steam to escape. Gently brush crust with milk. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes.

Mustard-Glazed Turkey Tenderloin

While I was at the gym I was looking at a Parents magazine, and found this recipe for turkey tenderloin in an article about good nutrition. I've never made turkey tenderloins before and these were super easy and very tasty. Chad loved the mustard glaze...he was slurping it with a spoon once the turkey was gone! I made the green beans from a recipe from the magazine as well, but we didn't think it was that great of a green bean recipe.

Mustard-Glazed Turkey Tenderloin
From Parents Magazine

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
3 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard, divided
1 lb. turkey tenderloin
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt

Combine garlic, 1/2 cup broth, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tbsp mustard to ziplock bag, add turkey. Seal and marinate in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet on medium-high. Cook turkey until browned on all sides; sprinkle with salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Add 1/2 cup broth and bake for 25 minutes. Remove turkey and set on plate, cover with foil to keep warm.

Make glaze: Combine 1/2 cup broth, 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp mustard; pour into pan. Whisk or use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits and heat the glaze through. Cut turkey on a diagonal and pour on glaze.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Fried Rice

I've decided Chinese food is such a great weeknight meal because it's so fast! I looked at a few fried rice recipes and came up with this one. It was easy and yummy...just like takeout but healthier since I controlled the ingredients.

Chicken Fried Rice

3 cups cooked and cooled brown rice (preferable cooked a couple of days prior)
vegetable oil or wok oil
3 large eggs
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Heat a wok (or large deep frying pan) on medium high heat and add some oil. Break 2 of the eggs into the wok and immediately scramble. Cook until done and set aside. Add more oil and add chicken to wok. Cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Add onion and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add carrots and peas, sprinkle ginger on chicken and veggies, and cook for 1 minute. Add a little more oil (about a tablespoon) and stir in rice. Scramble remaining egg, and stir into rice. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce and cook 3-4 minutes more. Add more soy sauce to taste.

Black and White Chocolate Cake

My secretary's birthday was last Friday and I totally forgot =( I promised her a fabulous cake for Monday, so I spent the weekend looking through my Dorie Greenspan baking cookbook for a great cake. Lisa mentioned she liked white chocolate, so when I saw this recipe I thought it would be perfect. This was one of the most difficult things I have ever baked and I definitely had a few issues. I forgot the salt in the cake...oops!...and I had a really hard time getting the white chocolate whipped cream to thicken. This is the second time I've had some whipped cream issues, and just like the last time I was terrified I would overwhip it and turn it to butter! This time I think I underwhipped and it was pretty thin. It kind of ran off the cake when I tried to frost it, but was better once it firmed up in the fridge.

I didn't eat much of this cake because I'm not really a chocolate eater, but everyone said it was amazing. Chad, who is a tougher critic, thought it was ok but a bit dry. He did eat it later that night though and Dorie mentioned in the recipe that it was best eaten after 3 hours in the fridge.

Black and White Chocolate Cake
Dorie Greenspan Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the Cake
2 cups cake flour (I couldn't find this so used all-purpose)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 sticks (10 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the Dark Chocolate Cream
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces, at room temperature

For the White Chocolate Whipped Cream
6 ounces premium-quality white chocolate (such as Valrhona Ivoire or Guittard), finely chopped
1-1/2 cups heavy cream

Chocolate shavings or curls, dark or white or a combination, for decoration (optional)

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake:
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then unmold, remove the paper and invert to cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

To Make the Dark Chocolate Cream:
Bring the milk to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until thick and well blended. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk – this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle – then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the melted chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the pieces of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the chocolate cream is smooth and silky. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the cream until chilled, or for up to 3 days. Or, if you want to cool the cream quickly, put the bowl with the cream into a large bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

To Make the White Chocolate Whipped Cream:
Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and put the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently to melt the chocolate evenly. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to a boil.

When the white chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pan. Pour the hot cream into the melted chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Using a small spatula, stir the chocolate gently until it is smooth. Let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature – it can’t be the least bit warm when you add it to the whipped cream.

Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 cup heavy cream only until it holds the softest peaks. Turn the machine to high, add the cooled white chocolate all at once and continue to beat until the whipped cream holds firm peaks. Turn the whipped cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.

To Assemble the Cake:
If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Slice each layer horizontally in half. Place one layer cut side down on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.

Remove the dark and white chocolate creams from the refrigerator and whisk each of them vigorously to loosen and smooth them. With a long metal icing spatula, spread enough dark chocolate cream (about 1 cup) over the cake layer to cover it completely. Top the cream with another cake layer, cut side up, and cover this layer with white chocolate whipped cream, making the white layer about the same thickness as the dark layer. Cover with a third layer, cut side up, and cover with another cup or so of the dark chocolate cream. (You’ll have some dark chocolate cream left over – use it as a dip for madeleines or sables.) Top with the final layer of cake, cut side down, and frost the sides and top with the remaining white chocolate whipped cream. If you’d like to decorate the top with chocolate shavings or curls, do it now.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Serving: Remove the cake from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving. Use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to cut it. Though the cake is particularly good with coffee or tea, it also goes well with a sweet or sparkling dessert wine.

Storing: While both the dark chocolate cream and white chocolate cream can be made ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator, once assembled, the cake is best after about 3 hours in the fridge. However, it can be refrigerated overnight – just cover it loosely and keep it away from foods with strong odors.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mongolian Beef

Elly Says Opa is a great food blog with AMAZING pictures. I'm almost embarrassed to post my picture of the recipe because her's is so much better! Oh well, no matter what it looks like, it tasted great. Mongolian Beef is my favorite entree at P.F. Chang's and while this didn't have the crispiness and the sauce was a little different, I thought this version was a great was on par with a take-out Chinese version. Best of all, it was quick and easy! A perfect weeknight dinner. I served this with brown rice and salad with ginger dressing.

Mongolian Beef
From Elly Says Opa

I followed the recipe exactly except for the grocery store's flank steak was HUGE so I got skirt steak instead, and only used 2 tbsp of corn starch.

1 lb skirt steak, sliced across the grain
2 tbsp corn starch
3 tsp. canola oil, divided
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp (heaping) red pepper flakes
2-3 large scallions, sliced

Pat the steak pieces and make sure they’re dry; then, toss the steak and cornstarch together. Be sure all pieces are fully coated, but shake off excess corn starch. Mix together the soy sayce, water, brown sugar and red pepper flakes.

Heat half the oil in a wok at medium-high heat and add the ginger and garlic. Once fragrant (30 seconds or so), add the soy sauce mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl.

Turn the heat up on the wok and add the remaining oil. Add the beef and cook, stirring until just browned. Pour the sauce back in and let it cook with the meat. Let the sauce thicken to your liking, and then add the green onions in just before plating.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mustard-Herb Pork Tenderloin

I love pork tenderloin, but I seem to always make it the same way. I wanted to find a new recipe and went searching on Cooking Light to find one. I liked this one because it seemed easy and used ingredients I usually have or could sub with pantry items. Although Chad said this was good, he didn't give me his usual two thumbs up. I think he's crazy though because Mike, Kelly and I all thought it was really good! I do think I cooked it a little long...I don't have a meat thermometer because SOMEONE broke it so I was worried it would be too pink but it ended up not pink enough. Oh well, still tasty!

Mustard-Herb Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 cup panko
2 tablespoons dried parsley
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine the panko, parsley, cheese, and thyme in a shallow dish. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Combine Dijon mustard and garlic in a small bowl. Rub pork with mustard mixture, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Place the pork on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mushroom Bruschetta

I had everything to make a chicken lasagna but when Chad decided to go watch the Red Sox, I threw that plan out the window...too much work for just me. I had some frozen meals but they didn't really sound appetizing so I looked around in the fridge for something delicious. I had some baby bellas that were for the lasagna and a bit of goat cheese leftover from veggie paninis last week. These inspired me to create a mushroom bruschetta. There's a great wine bar in downtown Tampa that has mushroom bruschetta with goat cheese and I love it. This was a good weeknight home-cooked version.

Mushroom Bruschetta

A container of sliced baby bellas, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive Oil
Fresh ground pepper
Goat cheese
Bread of choice, toasted (I had rosemary ciabatta rolls)

Heat pan on medium-high heat. Add a few drizzles of olive oil and a generous pat of butter. Add mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper and saute for one minute more. Add a small pat of butter and stir until melted.

Spread goat cheese on bread, and top with a generous amount of chopped mushrooms. Enjoy with a nice glass of white least that's what I did!

Note: Since I had bread with rosemary in it, I didn't add any spices to the mushrooms. If you use a plain bread, you could add some thyme or rosemary to the mushrooms.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Breakfast

I love making breakfast on the weekends. My favorite is biscuits and gravy, but sausage egg casserole is a really close second! I don't really measure so these are guess-timates, but it's really hard to mess this up. It's the perfect recipe for a crowd since you can prep it all the night before and throw it in the oven in the morning. You can definitely tailor it to your tastes...change the cheese, meat or add veggies. I made a huge casserole for Chad to take to work on Friday so he returned the favor and made a little one for us to eat Saturday morning. So this picture is his masterpiece (he added tomato)!

Sausage Egg Casserole

10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
fresh ground pepper
Half a loaf of long French baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb. breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Whisk the eggs with the milk and pepper. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the bread on the bottom of the dish. Spread the sausage on top, and layer the cheese on top. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375. Remove foil and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until eggs are set and top is golden.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grilled Peaches

At our last girls' weekend in Hilton Head, my aunt brought a basket full of peaches. My mom grilled them and we had grilled peaches with ice cream and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I couldn't believe how grilling the fruit could make it just totally amazing. Since we were already grilling the steak, I figured it would be a perfect night for grilled peaches.

Grilled Peaches

Peaches, cut in half and pit removed
Brown sugar
Melted butter

Place peaches cut side up in a baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle with melted butter. Grill cut side down for 5-10 minutes or until fruit begins to soften and you can see the grill marks.

And it has to be served over ice cream!

Flank Steak with Chimichurri

One day last week I decided I really, really wanted steak with chimichurri. This is not something I eat often or usually crave but it just hit me that I wanted some. When I lived in South Florida, there was a great Argentinian restaurant in Hollywood Circle that had great chimichurri. I did some online searching and decided on this recipe from Michael Chiarello. I just made the chimichurri sauce listed, and left out the bay leaves because I couldn't find any fresh at the grocery. The smoked paprika gave it a funky orange color, but this was so good. Chad said his favorite moment of the day was the moment the chimichurri first hit his tongue!

Flank Steak with Chimichurri
from Michael Chiarello

1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the parsley, bay leaves, garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Put the sauce in a glass or plastic container, using as needed. Chimichurri will last for up to 1 month, refrigerated. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

We put the chimichurri on grilled flank steak. I simply rubbed the steak with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled until medium. Let rest for 5 minutes and slice thin across the grain.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

London Broil with Red Wine Mushroom Gravy and Roasted Fingerlings and Carrots

Yesterday was the five year anniversary of when Chad and I met. We had an unusual quiet Friday night in, and I had planned this delicious dinner so I wouldn't miss going out to eat so much. London broil is a cheaper cut of beef, but I think it needs a really good marinade or gravy to go with it. This one is probably one of the best I've tried. Chad and I both agreed that these were the best carrots we've eaten, and the potatoes weren't bad either! Fingerlings are my new favorite potato.

London Broil with Red Wine Mushroom Gravy and Roasted Fingerlings and Carrots
Gravy recipe from Robbie's Recipes

London broil
Montreal Steak Seasoning
olive oil

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I use baby bellas)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp cornstarch (I didn't have any so I used 2 tbsp flour)
1/4 tsp dried rosemary - crushed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Rub London broil with olive oil and steak seasoning. Grill until desired temperature.

For gravy, sauté mushrooms in olive oil until liquid evaporates; remove from heat. In saucepan, whisk together wine, broth, and cornstarch then stir in rosemary, pepper, thyme, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When sauce begins to thicken, stir in mushrooms. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until meat is ready.

For potatoes and carrots:
1 bag fingerling potatoes
1 bag baby carrots
olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Toss potatoes and carrots with olive oil, pepper, salt and rosemary. Put in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Homemade Pizza

I'm in a book club, and July was my month to host. We read P.S. I Love You, and after we ate and discussed the book we watched the movie. So for my food for the night I did pizza so we could have pizza and a movie night. I had a whole wheat crust recipe from my friend Jenn that I've had before and is absolutely delicious (and good for you!) and I found a sauce recipe in Cooking Light. All the girls bought different toppings and everyone got to make their own pizza. Dinner was a hit!

My favorite topping combination...artichoke hearts, diced tomato, baby portobellas, mozzarella and goat cheese. YUM!

Homemade Pizza
Crust recipe from Jenn Quilty, sauce from Cooking Light


2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 packet of rapid rising yeast
1 tsp of Splenda (3 packets)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix by had for at least 15 minutes and make into a dough ball. (I use my KitchenAid mixer with a dough much easier if you have one!) The dough will be really sticky.

Let stand in the bowl for 15 minutes at room temperature. Set oven to 450 to preheat.

Spray the dough with cooking spray. Roll out the dough and place on a pizza pan. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Cook on middle oven rack for 15-17 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.


7 tbsp water (I left this out because I wanted it to be thick)
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 14.5-ounce)can petite-cut diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-ounce)can tomato paste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

I love having breakfast on weekend mornings, and one of my favorite things to make and eat is sausage gravy. I try to make mine not TOO bad for you by using lowfat milk and reduced fat sausage. This recipe is so easy and so delicious. The picture doesn't do it justice because beige food just does not photograph well!

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits
Makes enough gravy for about 5 biscuits

1 package (the roll kind) Jimmy Dean reduced fat sausage
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
3 cups 1% milk
fresh ground pepper
1 package biscuits (I use the Pillsbury Golden Wheat biscuits)

Saute sausage in a large pan, crumbling as it cooks. Once the sausage is cooked through, sprinkle the flour over the sausage and stir. Cook for about one minute. Whisk in milk and add fresh ground pepper (this is the only seasoning so I use a lot). Bring to a bubble then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer while you cook the biscuits. To serve, split a biscuit and top with the sausage gravy.

Note: If you feel the gravy is too thin, you can take out a few spoonfuls and whisk in some more flour then add back to the pan. Also, if you let the gravy simmer for a good bit of time it will usually thicken up.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mozzarella-Stuffed Grilled Portobellos with Balsamic Marinade

I absolutely love mushrooms of any kind, especially big meaty portobellos. This recipe is from Bon Appetit which is a great magazine. Here is the original recipe, I made a few changes (and mistakes!) based on what I had on hand. We had this with just a salad, and it was a perfect light meal.

Stuffed Grilled Portobellos

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
6 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoons thyme
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted

Whisk oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 garlic clove in small bowl for marinade. Using spoon, scrape out gills from mushrooms and place mushrooms on rimmed baking sheet. Brush marinade over both sides of mushrooms, arrange hollow side up, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix panko, next 5 ingredients, and remaining 2 garlic cloves in medium bowl. Drizzle butter and remaining teaspoon vinegar (I forgot to add the vinegar...oops!) over panko mixture and toss. Divide panko mixture among mushrooms, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges and packing down slightly. Place mushrooms on grill, stuffing side up; cover grill and cook until cheese melts and juices bubble at edges of mushrooms, rearranging mushrooms occasionally for even cooking (do not turn over), about 6 minutes. I put mine under the broiler at the end to crisp up the stuffing. I also drizzled balsamic glaze once they were done.

Back to blogging!

After a long time away from the blog, I am back! After hearing from my fans...well, ok my one fan Karabeth =) I have decided that I miss making fun new things and putting them on my blog for the world to see. Plus it helps keep all my recipes organized. So here goes...