Recent Recipes

Childhood Faves - Beef-n- Wine and Snickerdoodles

Comments (0) | Wednesday, December 15, 2010

There are so many things about food beyond the flavors and tastes that I love.  I love that food can elicit feelings and emotions.  I love that food can churn up childhood memories of great times and experiences.  Not every meal has the ability to spark these emotions, but when one does, it makes the ultimate flavors and taste just that much better.

These two recipes make me feel just warm and cozy inside.  It wasn't until I was with a family friend that I even remembered the Beef & Wine recipe.  But when I saw it in her recipe box, I just boiled over with emotion.  How could I have forgotten?!  My more "grown up" palate required a few slight changes but overall, it was still the same great meal that reminded me of my youth.
2 lb stew meat (round steak)
Garlic Powder
Olive oil (or veggie oil or canola oil)
8 oz. mushrooms - sliced (I used baby bellas but button would be great too)
1/2 yellow onion - sliced into 1/4 in. slices
1/2 stick butter
1 envelope of onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2-1 c. red wine

Saute mushrooms and onions with the butter over medium heat until soft. Set aside.  Meanwhile heat a dutch oven over med-high heat.  Coat the bottom of the pan with oil.  Toss the stew meat in flour seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder.  Add to the hot oil.  Brown all sides.  Add remaining ingredients to the dutch oven and stir.  Cover and bake in the over for 3 hrs. at 300 or for 2 hrs. at 325. 

I baked mine for 3 hrs at 300 and the meat was super tender and delicious.  You would never think that stew meat could become this tender. 

Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie on the planet!  They were the cookie that I made for Santa every year and the cookie that could cheer me up from almost anything.  Their signature cracked tops, chewy middle and crunchy outside make me so happy...thinking about them is making me want to whip up a batch right now!

1 c. shortening (I used butter flavored and it was great)
2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. sugar

Blend sugar, shortening & eggs.  Sift flour, cream of tartar, salt and baking soda.  Add to creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Mix the final 2 ingredients together in a shallow dish.  Form into ball and roll balls in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

Ahhhh....food therapy complete!

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Savory Apple & Onion Pork Chops

Comments (0) | Monday, October 18, 2010

Well, it's tis the season...pumpkins, leaves changing colors and delicious apples.  I never grew up as a super sweet&savory person, but I have definitely grown into an eater that loves the combo of sweet and savory. 

I have pork chops in my fridge almost all of the time, but as with most proteins, I found myself making the same thing over and over again.  Last night I took a little bit of guidance from the food world and made an apple and onion "relish" to top our pork chops and it was a huge hit!  Matt loved it and quickly asked me to add it to the 'faves'.  And to top it off, it was really easy!

Savory Apply & Onion Pork Chops
4 pork chops - I used bone it, but you could certainly use boneless
Garlic Powder
Poultry Seasoning
2 apples - cut into 1/2 in. cubes (I used Honeycrisp but you can use any kind that can stand up to cooking)
1 onion - large dice
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. oil  (canola or veggie, not Olive)

  1. Sprinkle pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning and set aside.  Meanwhile heat a frying pan over med-high.  Add butter and 1 Tbsp. of oil, then add onions.  Let onions soften (about 3-5 minutes), then add apples.  Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to taste...I would say about 1/2 tsp. of poultry seasoning.  Reduce to medium heat and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  IYou want the apples to be soft but not falling apart.  Reduce to low until ready to serve.
  2. Heat another skillet to med-high.  When pan is hot, add remaining oil.  Add pork chops and cook over med-high heat for about 4 mins. per side.  This assumes about 1 inch thick chops.
  3. When pork chops are done, top with apple & onion mixture.
I served this with some pan fried potatoes and steamed broccoli, which were great too.  All in all this new recipe was a success.  Definitely try to take advantage of this when the apples are at their peak!  Enjoy!!!

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Greek Orzo Salad

Comments (0) | Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Every once in a while I get a craving for something that I have eaten in the past and HAVE to recreate it.  I am not a huge pasta salad fan, but this Greek orzo pasta salad is something that I really enjoy.

The freshness of the dill, complimented with the salty feta and black olives and soft orzo makes a truly awesome dish.  Not to mention, it is really quick to put together and is a great solution for leftover chicken.

Greek Orzo Salad
1 c. orzo
1 Tbsp. salt
1 can sliced black olives
1 bunch green onions - sliced
1 pkg. boneless skinless chicken tenders (or about 2 leftover chicken breasts)
2 Tbsp. fresh dill
1/3 c. fresh parsley - chopped
1/2 c. cucumber (sliced in quarters lengthwise then slice thin)
1/4 c. olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2-4 oz. feta (to your taste)
1 large lemon - juiced

  1. Sprinkle chicken tenders w/ dill, salt, pepper & garlic powder and back at 375 for 15-18 mins.  Meanwhile, boil orzo in pot of boiling, salted water.  Boil for 8-9 minutes, drain and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Chop chicken into bite size pieces then add the rest of ingredients into the mixing bowl.  Stir and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Family Secret Stromboli

Comments (0) | Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My mom's family is originally from Lancaster County, PA.  Home of farms, fields and the Amish.  As such, many Pennsylvania Dutch recipes were incorporated into our family fare.  Red beet eggs, sauerkraut, shoo fly pie, apple butter, scrapple - they all made regular appearances at our family get togethers.  Most of these won't make it on to my dinner table, but one item sure will...our family Stromboli. 

This is not your typically Italian Stromboli featuring a thick chewy dough and sauce, nope, this one has a thinner, crispier dough and mustard to compliment the lunch meats.  This Stromboli is perfect for when people come in to town late, stop by to watch the game or when the kids are running in and out to school events.  I try to keep one in the freezer all the time, just so I have it whenever I need it.

1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
1 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
3 c. flour

Follow the instructions on the back of the yeast package.  Once the dough has risen, divide into 2 even pieces.  Roll out on a cookie sheet to fit.

1/3 lb. Genoa salami
1/3 lb. pepperoni (from the deli counter)
1/2 lb. ham
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb. provolone cheese (don't get the sharp provolone, I know that Boar's Head's is sharp)
yellow mustard
oregano or Italian seasoning
garlic powder
1/2 stick of butter - softened

Preheat oven to 375. Layer Genoa, pepperoni, mozzarella then provolone.  Top with ham, then spread with a thin layer of mustard.  Fold in thirds.  Pinch ends.  Butter top and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  You may want to broil at the end to get the top brown and crispy.

As I mentioned, I like to make extra 'bolis and keep them wrapped in foil and plastic wrap in the freezer.  From frozen, let thaw completely then bake as normal.

So delish!!!

Ahhhh...food therapy complete!

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Holy Mole! (Guacamole & "Salsamole")

Comments (0) | Sunday, September 19, 2010

I am totally one of those people that would munch on appetizers and dips than eat the main course at a party.  In fact, I really love dips and these are 2 knock-outs.  Both are adaptations of traditional dips, guacamole and tomatillo salsa. 

Roasted Pepper Guacamole
2 avocados (very ripe)
2-3 Tbsp. yellow onion - finely diced
2 cloves garlic - finely diced
Juice from 1 md. lime
1/4 c. cilantro - chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
fresh cracked black pepper
2 roasted Hatch chili peppers (Hatch Chili peppers may be hard to find so you can use poblanos instead)
Garlic Powder to taste
1 Tbsp. sour cream

Place all ingredients in a med. sized bowl.  Use a fork to mash together.  Serve immediately.  Keep the avocado pit in the dip to prevent the guacamole from browning.

This one is a knockoff of the green salsa served at Taco Diner in Dallas.  Our friend Zac gave me the challenge to recreate it and he says that this one is pretty close...

12-15 tomatillos - remove outer paper and rinse
5 cloves garlic - unpeeled
olive oil
1 avocado
3/4 c. cilantro
1/2 md. yellow onion
juice of 1 med. lime
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Place tomatillos and garlic on a baking sheet.  Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over tomatillos and garlic.  Sprinkle with generous amount of salt.  Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tomatillos are soft and have some brown coloring. 
  2. Remove from oven and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peel.  Place garlic, tomatillos, oil from the baking pan and the rest of the ingredients into food processor.  Pulse until incorporated. 
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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I'm Stuffed (Peppers)

Comments (0) | Monday, September 13, 2010

Anyone that is actively following my blog has probably recognized that I am slightly inconsistent when it comes to posting.  I really don't have any good excuse for this other than I just haven't been making the time to write everything all out.  That said, I am really going to try to do my best to get more blogs up in a more timely manner.

Last week I brought back one of Matt's favorite recipes, stuffed peppers.  My mom used to make these all of the time because you literally can put anything but the kitchen sink in them.  I kept this recipe pretty traditional, but still super yummy!

Stuffed Bell Peppers
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground meat (I used half turkey & half sirloin but also love meatloaf mix or just one type of meat)
1 bag of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice (I used Chicken Brown Rice) but you can use pretty much anything
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. yellow onion - diced fine (about 1/3 med onion)
1/2 c. fresh parsley - chopped
tsp. garlic powder
tsp. salt
2 lg. eggs
3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese (1 c. into meat mixture & reserve 1 c. to top the peppers)
1/2 c. tomato sauce (use anything that you have in your kitchen - leftover marinara, even just pizza sauce)
fresh pepper
4 bell peppers (I prefer green but red will provide a sweeter pepper) - cut off tops and remove seeds and ribs

  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Place prepared peppers in a baking dish standing up.  Mix the balance of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well incorporated (hands work best!)
  2. Fill all of the peppers to the top. 
  3. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes top the peppers with the remaining cheddar cheese and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  4. Let side 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
That's it!  Super easy and incredibly cheap to make.  I made these for friends and everyone loved them...and they make even better leftovers.  Be creative, try different rices and different meats and have fun.

Ahhhh....food therapy complete!

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The Italian Mafia

Comments (0) | Friday, August 6, 2010

After a couple of days, we are settling in nicely...meeting new people, relaxing by the pool and most importantly....entertaining.  Last night we served a motley crew of new friends from Dallas.  Since Matt and I haven't been together in a while, I saw it only fitting to cook his favorite...Italian.

All parties were represented...Tony Soprano, the "boss" - played by Matt, Carmela, the consummate host - played by Me, Johnny Cakes (for obvious reasons - minus the leather S&M get-up) - played by Jon, Dr. Melfi - played by Amy, and Phil, Second-in-command, played by Zac.  As long as the wine was flowing and the food was good, there was no fear of getting knocked-off.

Well, one thing that I can say...the food was good!  For a WASP, I certainly can whip up some pretty good Italian food.  Last night was the "family" recipe Caesar Salad, Auntie's Meatballs and Baked Ziti....now, I would love to give you the recipe's for both the Caesar and the Meatballs, but I'm pretty sure my body would be with Hoffa, so the Ziti will have to do!

Baked Ziti
2 lbs. ziti - boiled in salted water
1 lb. ground beef - browned and drained
1 large contained of Ricotta Cheese
2 - 8 oz. bags shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese
1 egg
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
Tomato Sauce (recipe below)

Place cooked ziti and cooked ground beef in a large baking dish (I bought a disposable Aluminum one - lasagna size).  Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add to the baking dish.  Add sauce and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Cover with aluminum foil.  This can be done up to a day in advance.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375.  Bake for 45 minutes.  At final 15 minutes of baking, remove foil and top with more shredded mozzarella.

Tomato Sauce
1 jar Prego tomato sauce (I use something simple like tomato basil)
2 small cans of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. salt
pepper - to taste
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Place all ingredients in a large sauce pan and stir.  Boil over medium heat then reduce to low.  Let simmer for 1 hr.  Taste and season as necessary.

Seriously, everyone was fighting for the leftovers last night.  This meal could easily serve 10 people and each and every one of them enjoyed it.  It is pretty inexpensive for a group and very satisfying.

Ahhh....food therapy complete...

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Salmon or Swordfish Meditterean Style

Comments (0) | Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Well, it has been a little while since my last post, but I am finally back in Dallas and actually back to living under the same roof as my husband!  Novel concept, huh?  We will see how we make out in less than 1000 sq. feet but the kitchen at the new place is awesome!  I should have no problem at all...

I must say, it was nice to cook for someone other than myself.  This is actually a recipe that I created for Matt a long time ago that I was reinstated last night.  Much to my delight, it was just as good as we remembered.  The fish topping is very flexible and can go on anything from Salmon (for Matt) to swordfish (for me) or even shrimp or tilapia. 

Mediterranean Style Salmon
4 - 1/2 lb. pieces of fish (either Salmon or Swordfish)
Garlic Powder
1/2 medium yellow onion - sliced thin
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
1 clove garlic - chopped
2/3-3/4 c. kalamata olives - chopped
2 c. diced tomatoes (the better the quality of tomato, the better the sauce will be)

  1. Drizzle the fish with olive oil then sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onions in a skillet with 1 Tbsp. olive oil & 1 Tbsp. butter over medium heat.  Cook until soft then turn down to medium-low.  Let cook an additional 10-15 minutes to let the onions get sweet.  Add in the remaining ingredients.  Return heat to medium and let sauce come together.  It should be chunky.  Put in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Rinse out the skillet and return to medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil, then add fish to the skillet.  If skin is on, place skin-side down first.  Cook for 4 minutes/side.  This will make Salmon medium rare.  If you would like it cooked through or are using swordfish, place fish in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.    
  4. Remove from the oven.  To plate, place fish on a plate and top with tomato mixture.  I served with roasted vegetables.
Fish is definitely not one of my faves but it is so good for you that I at least try to incorporate it into my diet.  this is a great way to get the health benefits of the fish, as well as the fresh tomatoes while still having an incredibly tasty meal. Enjoy!

Ahhhh....food therapy complete!

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The Whole Enchilada

Comments (0) | Thursday, July 22, 2010

I know, I know...everyone already knows about my love of Tex-Mex and yes, I have published an enchilada recipe before, but this one is definitely worthy of a post.

The recipe actually comes from my friend, Stephanie.  We were chatting it up last week and she mentioned that she had a fab enchilada recipe.  So naturally, I had to try it.  Oh...my...god...absolutely delicious!!!  I am so happy that she shared them with me (and now you!).  And not only are they yummy, but they are super easy too...

Stephanie's Chicken Enchiladas
1 package boneless-skinless chicken breast
garlic powder
1 package flour tortillas
1 can chopped green chilies
1 block cream cheese (I only use Philadelphia brand...you can sub low fat if you want)
1 bag shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 can diced tomatoes w/ chilies
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 c. heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Place chicken in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder & cumin.  Bake for 20-25 mins.  This can be done ahead of time.  Let the chicken cool slightly (about 15 mins) then use 2 forks and shred the chicken. 
  2. Place a medium size non-stick skillet over medium heat on the stove.  When heated, add the cream cheese, stir until melted.  Add the can of chilies.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Add 1 tsp. cumin.  Stir until incorporated.  Add shredded chicken.  Stir and remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the can of tomatoes and tomato sauce and cream in a pot.  Heat through over medium heat. 
  4. Lay a tortilla on a cutting board.  Spoon 1/8th of the chicken mixture about 3/4 down the flat tortilla.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese (about 1-2 Tbsp).  Roll and place in a greased baking dish.  Repeat until you have 8 enchiladas.  Top with the tomato sauce mixture (you don't have to use all of it).
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.  After about 13 minutes of baking time, top the enchiladas with more shredded cheese. 
When I first heard the ingredients that were in these, I assumed that there wouldn't be enough flavor...boy, was I wrong.  These are so so so good.  They were even good as leftovers (which is saying A LOT considering that I don't eat leftovers!).

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Bridal Shower Brunch Coffee Cake

Comments (1) | Monday, July 12, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows that as much as I love to entertain and go to parties, I HATE showers!  Bridal showers, baby showers...you name it, I hate it.  I mean who really wants to sit around and see who can make the best "dress" out of toilet paper or have you answer questions to see if you really know your fiance?  Or better yet, watch a bunch of 30-somethings try to decipher a baby word scramble?  Talk about feeling like a moron.  The foodie in me didn't hate tasting the baby food, but Jesus, what genius at Gerber though that chicken and apples would be a good combo for an infant?!  I mean really?  Haven't they heard of focus groups?  Anyway...I digress...

The point is, my soon-to-be sister-in-law's shower is this weekend.  Since I love to throw a good party, I was actually looking forward to this one (aside from the 5 hr drive each way)...but, due to extenuating circumstances, I won't be able to go.  Liz...I will be thinking of you as you act surprised opening gifts that you picked out and as you wear your "hat of bows" as everyone takes pictures of you....I made sure that I put extra bows on my gift  :) 

And even though I won't be there, I am still contributing in spirit...Diane will be making the following on my behalf.  And by the way, it is so good that I just have to make some this weekend for myself!

The batter for this streusel-topped breakfast sheet cake can be prepped and chilled in the pan up to 18 hours before baking.

Overnight Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake
¾ c. butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
1 c. sour cream

Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Spread batter into a greased and floured 13x9 in. pan


 ¾ c. firmly packed brown sugar

 ½ c. chopped pecans

 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
Stir together brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Cover pan with plastic wrap and chill 8-18 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Bake coffee cake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve at warm or room temperature.

Regardless of the antics that go on at the event, one thing I can promise is that the food will be delish!  So, Liz...make sure that you try everything and drink a mimosa or 10 for me!  Love ya girl! Can't wait to add another female to the ranks!

Ahhhh...food therapy complete...

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