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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Skinny with a chance of Ouzo...Opa!

Comments (0) | Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Much to my delight, I have had some great success putting together healthy meals over the past couple of weeks.  I have lost nearly 5 lbs while still enjoying my daily wine consumption.  It's been a really great trade-off and has encouraged me to try some new food combinations in the meantime. 

Since we all know that I don't really "follow" any recipe, I just use them as guidelines, the following recipe is a Greek pork chop and salad, adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

Greek-Style Pork Chops
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, divided
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, mined
4 (4-oz) boneless pork chops (I used bone in, some you can use either)
3/4 c. plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt
1/4 c. reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh dill - chopped

  1. Combine 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, oregano, 1 tsp. olive oil, and garlic in a zip-top plastic bag.  Add pork to bag, and seal.  Marinate for 20-minutes at room temperature, turner after 10 minutes.  Combine remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar, remaining tsp. of olive oil, yogurt, sour cream, dill and 1/8 tsp. of salt in a small bowl.  Stir together with a whisk, cover and chill.
  2. Heat a grill pan (or non-stick skillet) over med-high heat.  Coat pan with non-stick cooking spray, remove pork from the bag.  Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper.  Add pork to pan, and cook for 3-4 mins./side or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove pork from the pan and let stand for 2 minutes.  Serve with Cucumber Greek Salad (recipe below) and top with dill yogurt mixture.
Cucumber Greek Salad
1 1/2  c. diced tomatoes
1 c. diced seeded cucumber
1/2 c. finely diced red onion
1/2 c. feta cheese
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Toss and chill until ready to eat.
This meal has less than 300 calories per serving and tastes amazing!  It is a great summer meal and definitely satisfying.  The yogurt-dill mixture is so versatile.  It would be amazing on chicken, fish, a salad, maybe even chocolate!  Okay....probably not chocolate, but you get the point.  It is a great stand-by condiment that you can use on anything.  Opa!

Ahhh...food therapy complete....

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Napoleons Fit for a Dictator (or King)

Comments (0) | Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One of the best things about my healthier eating plan, is that I am able to take traditional recipes and make them a little better for me.  It has made my creative juices flow and I am really enjoying the challenge.

Tonight I started with a recipe from Rachael Ray.  In general I find her recipes to be under-seasoned so I always have to adapt them, but this one I took a little bit more creative freedom with. 

Chicken and Roasted Veggie Napoleons
2 large or 3 small portobello mushroom caps (remove the stems and wash) Slice into 1/4-1/2 in. slices
3/4 of a 2.2 lb. tube of prepared polenta sliced into 1/4-1/2 in. slices
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-1/2 in. pieces (should have 6)
1 zucchini, sliced on the diagonal into 12-18 pieces
1 squash, sliced on the diagonal into 12-18 pieces
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied into 2 pieces (should yield 6 pieces total)
3/4 c. non fat ricotta cheese
1/2 c. reduced fat Italian Cheese Blend
1 Tbsp. Sundried tomato paste (available in the Italian section of the store)
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray a large cooking sheet with Olive Oil Non-stick spray.  Layer zucchini, squash & mushrooms on the tray.  Spray veggies with olive oil spray and top with salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste. Place in oven for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Repeat process with eggplant and set cooked eggplant aside.

2. Meanwhile heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray with non-stick spray and add polenta.  Cook until heated through and crisp on the outside - about 2-3 mins per side. Set aside.

3. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Using the same pan, add more non-stick spray (if necessary) and cook chicken.  About 3-4 mins. per side.

4. In a small bowl combine ricotta, Italian cheese & sundried tomato paste.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning to taste. 

5.  The eggplant will be the base for the napoleons.  Top each piece of eggplant with 1 piece of chicken, 2-3 pieces of zucchini, 2-3 pieces of squash.  Place 1 large tablespoon of the cheese mixture on top of the veggies and spread out.  Top with 2-3 polenta rounds and one more scoop of cheese mixture.  Top with mushrooms and return the napoleons to the oven for about 5 minutes until heated through.

This meal was incredibly satisfying.  The sundried tomato paste is a perfect way to add a ton of flavor without a lot of calories...not to mention, this is an entire meal in one!  Christopher (my bro) also suggested topping it off with a tomato sauce, which would be delish. 

Ahhh...food therapy complete!

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All that and a Bag of Potatoes

Comments (0) | Wednesday, June 9, 2010

For those of you that don't know, I am on a mission to lose some ell-bees (lbs.).  I quit smoking over a year ago and as a result of have added about 15 pounds of love. While my husband loves me unconditionally, I am not the long, lean woman that I once was and it kills me.  I have started a much stricter eating program and have finally incorporated some working out into the program.

Despite the need to be more conscience, I feel that I need to maintain some sense of 'normalcy' in order to succeed.  Potatoes and cheese are my weaknesses and but I am still able to eat them all, to a different degree and in moderation.  Tonight I made a "traditional" meat and potatoes meal...with a spin.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

8 oz uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)   

12 oz lean ground turkey   

1 medium onion(s), chopped   

1/2 cup(s) uncooked old fashioned oats   
8 oz canned tomato sauce   
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 large egg white(s), beaten slightly   

1/4 tsp table salt   

1/4 tsp black pepper  
1/4 tsp garlic powder  

1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 c. low-fat cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray.  Place mix into loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour.

Mashed Potatoes
4 large potato(es)   

1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk   

1/4 cup(s) plain fat-free yogurt   
1/4 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream   

1 Tbsp chives, minced   
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste   
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste   
1 Tbsp. reduced fat butter or butter substitute
1 Tbsp. reduced fat cream cheese

Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Cover with salted water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender when pierced by a knife. Remove from heat and drain.

Mash potatoes. Combine with milk, yogurt, sour cream and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Do not overbeat or potatoes will become gummy.
I have to say, I found this meal extremely satisfying.  I was definitely nervous about the oats in the meatloaf, but you don't even taste them!  And the mashed potatoes were pretty darn close to the family stand-by.  I mean, you definitely notice the reduction of fat, but isn't that the point?!  I will definitely make this again and might get a little bit more creative with the meatloaf next time (add some peppers, Parmesan cheese, etc.).  I hope you enjoy!

Ahhhh...food therapy complete!

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Better for you Burgers with Cheese

Comments (0) | Monday, June 7, 2010

It's been an incredibly long time since my last post and I have to apologize...there have been many changes on the Clem/Hendricks homefront in the past month which has resulted in my inconsistent postings.  We have decided to make the big move back to Dallas, but unfortunately, it means another long-distance relationship for the time being.  But enough about that, let's get back to the food...

I have decided to make a concerted effort to eat better which has encouraged me to make new recipes and in some cases use ingredients that I don't typically use.  Tonight I was craving some good, old-fashioned comfort food.  With the new eating regimine, that meant a turkey burger as opposed to my normal beef burger.  But word on the street is that I make a pretty mean turkey burger, so this one definitely hit the spot!

Turkey Burgers
1 package lean ground turkey (about 1 - 1 1/4 lbs)
1 egg
1/4 - 1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. finely diced onion (red or white)
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce 
1-2 tsp. montreal seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and divide into 5-6 equal patties.  Make a divot in the center of one side of the patty (this stops them from "puffing up").  Cook on med-high grill or cast iron skillet for 5-6 minutes per side.  Add cheese during final 1 minute. Serve on a roll or english muffin.

I served the burgers with a side of green beans and an arugala salad (arugala, fresh parmesan cut with a potato peeler, topped with fresh lemon juice and olive oil).

I think that this healthy eating is a really nice trend that I am going to keep up with.  Expect more recipes with a healthy twist  :)

Ahhh...food therapy complete!

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Cinco de Mayo

Comments (0) | Monday, May 3, 2010

So, I made one of my stand-by, absolute fave Tex-Mex dishes last night.  It is sitting in a holding pattern until Wednesday, but I figured that it was better to share it tonight so you all could enjoy on Wednesday, as well.

This recipe is actually a Lindsay original.  One night I was at my favorite grocery store in the world, Central Market, and didn't feel like cooking.  So, I picked up a prepared meal of Mexican stuffed peppers.  I heated them up and thought that they were really good.  But, as I was eating them I realized that there were things missing...and that I could make these better than what we were eating.

So I had my challenge.  Make these Mexican stuffed peppers.  AND, make them better than what I had eaten before.  Well, after a couple of tries, I had a keeper.  This recipe is so yummy.  It is unlike anything I had ever eaten before.  It has a little bit of heat, a little bit of meat and whole lot of love...so good!

With Cinco de Mayo coming up on Wednesday, I thought that this recipe was too good not to share.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers
4 poblano peppers
1 small yellow onion
fresh cilantro
1 rotisserie chicken
1 bag shredded mexican cheese
1 bag 60 sec. spanish or mexican rice
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. chili pepper
Lg Sour Cream

  • Drizzle poblanos with olive oil; sprinkle w/ salt and pepper. Sear skin over gas stove or broil in the oven.
  • Shred chicken; place in a bowl (remove skin & discard)
  • Dice onion - place in bowl with chicken
  • Finely chop cilantro - start with 2-3 Tbsp - add more at the end if you want
  • Add 3/4 bag of rice (add more depending on how much chicken you end up with)
  • Add 1/2 bag of cheese.
  • Mix in rest of ingredients. Add 1/2 container Sour Cream.
  • Cut peppers lengthwise, remove seeds and stuff. 
  • Place in 350 over for 20 mins. 
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese - bake an additional 5-10 mins.
This is a great meal to serve with my Jalapeno Ranch (see "Chuy on This" post) and a salad and you are all set! I would recommend a Corona or Margarita to celebrate the occasion.

Ahhh.....food therapy complete!

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Solid as a Rocco (Veggie Lasagna)

Comments (1) | Monday, April 26, 2010

As I have mentioned before, having this blog really encourages me to think outside the box and come up with more creative meal solutions than I have in the past.  I mean, I can't keep publishing the same recipes over and over again, right?  So, in an effort to expand my horizons, I went only Amazon and added to my cookbook collection.  While I did stock up on the newest Gourmet cookbook, I also added Now Eat This! by Rocco DiSpirito.  The concept is that all meals are under 350 calories, so naturally I had my doubts.  No butter?  No full-fat cheese?  No white bread?  This cookbook went against ever fiber of my being.  But, hey, what did I have do lose but I few lbs?  And if anyone could pull off good tasting, low cal meals, it had to be a James Beard award-winning chef, right?

My first selection was the chicken cordon bleu...I know, I know...I should have known better.  Matt and my Dad both liked it well enough, but I was disappointed.  Low fat ham and low-fat swiss combined for a combination that I felt was bland and uninviting.

But then Night 2 came along...I chose the Zucchini and Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna.  Holy amaze-balls!  This recipe was awesome!  Naturally, I made a few tweaks, but none that added too many calories and came out with a product that I will be happy to make and proud to serve...it's crazy good!

Zucchini & Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna (adapted from Now Eat This! by Rocco DiSpirito)
1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into long, thin strips (1/4" thick)
3-4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced thin
3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into long, this strips (1/4" thick)
salt & pepper
nonstick olive oil spray
1 1/4 c. nonfat ricotta
garlic powder
crushed red pepper
Italian Seasoning
3/4 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 c. low-fat marinara
1-2 c. (or so) reduced fat mozzarella
1 lb. ground turkey

  • Preheat the broiler on high.  Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray them with olive oil spray
  • Lay the eggplant slices, in a single layer, on one of the baking sheets.  Lay the mushrooms on the second, and zucchini slices on the third.  Season the veggies with S&P to taste and spray them lightly with olive oil spray.  Broil each sheet of veggies until they are slightly browned and mostly tender - 5-7 minutes.  Set aside.
  • Preheat over to 450.  Spray 9x13 in. baking dish with olive oil spray - set aside.
  • Brown the ground turkey in a frying pan.  Season with S&P to taste.  Drain & set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine ricotta & half of parmigiano-reggiano cheese.  Season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and S&P, to taste.
  • Spread 1/4 of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Lay the roasted zucchini on the top of the sauce.Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over zucchini.  Top with 1/3 of the ground turkey and a thin layer of mozz. Repeat the process with the portobello slices, sauce, ricotta, turkey and mozz. Top the entire lasagna with remaining sauce, mozz and parmigiano-reggiano.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Uncover, and continue to bake until the cheese begins to brown, another 10 minutes.  Let lasagna rest for about 5 minutes.
  1. I would recommend peeling the eggplant and preparing it earlier in the day or night before.  Layer the eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt - this will remove the excess water for the eggplant.  While the flavore of this lasagna was awesome, it was runny.  Removing the excess water will help.
  2. Place a baking sheet on the rack below the lasagna while baking.  The pan will overflow and drip onto the bottom of the oven.
I can't even tell you how good this lasagna was...actually, I can.  My dad, Mr. Meat and Potatoes, Mr. Traditional food only, loved it!  And, I am so confident in it that I am making it for my in-laws next week...and she's off-the-boat Italian!  I will let you know how it goes!!!!

Ahhh...food therapy complete.

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Kiss My Grits (with Shrimp)

Comments (0) | Monday, April 12, 2010

As a girl growing up in the Northeast, I never really embraced the Southern breakfast staple...grits. As a matter of fact, for most of my life I found them rather tasteless and boring...not to mention, the texture of paste. With all of that said, Matt was rather surprised when I ordered Shrimp & Grits for brunch at Hattie's in Dallas.

I don't know what it was, but when I saw them on the table next to me, I was captivated. It was not long before I realized that I had lived my previous 28 years in the dark. I was missing out on a decadent, silky, corn-based food that when topped with shrimp became a delicacy. Seriously...it was amazing. So amazing that I wanted it again and again. I had to replicate it...with some twists of course.

I first made this recipe over a year ago but recently brushed it off to see if it was as good as I remember...it was. It was awesome. It is a little timely to put together, but well worth the wait.

Shrimp & Grits (well...Risotto)

  • 1 lb large shrimp - peeled and deveined
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic - smashed
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 5-6 shakes Tabasco
  • 2 c. chicken stock

Saute first 4 ingredients in butter over medium heat. When soft, add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, Tabasco & chicken stock to sauce pan. Reduce by half. When reduced, spoon half of the mixture into food processor and add back. Add shrimp 5-7 minutes prior to serving. Serve over parmesan risotto.

Parmesan Risotto

  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer and keep warm over low heat. In a separate medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it is well coated with the butter and starts to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle 1/2 cup of the warm broth into the rice mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time, until the rice is cooked through but still firm, 20 to 25 minutes total. Add the remaining butter and the salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Stir to incorporate. Adjust seasoning with more salt to taste. Serve immediately, topping with additional Parmesan.

The flavor that comes together in this sauce is so full and well rounded. It has just a touch of heat making it even more interesting. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

Ahhh...food therapy complete.

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What's Your Beef?! (stuffed with cheese)

Comments (0) | Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cheeseburgers are the all American food. I mean, what is better than a warm night and a burger right off the grill? But I find that burgers can be boring...ground beef (or turkey), mixed with a few spices and put on a bun. Anyone who has read my blog can realize that while I do like traditional food, I yearn to put a creative spin on things. Some things are not meant to be adapted, like a good Filet Mignon, but come on people, ground beef is not filet.

I know that I have a tendency to over-explore the fridge (is 8 times a day excessive?), but sometimes opening that door leads to brilliance. OK, maybe not brilliance but good ideas for sure. This one was awesome. Matt and I both loved it and kept wanting to eat more. I will definitely make this one again...let me know what you think!

Italian Style Stuffed Cheeseburgers
1 lb ground beef (85/15)
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1-2 pinches crushed red pepper
4-5 balls of marinated mozzarella cheese (small size)
6 slices American cheese (or provolone)

Preheat grill to medium. Mix everything except mozzarella in a bowl until well incorporated. Split meat into 6 even pieces - set aside 3 and make 3 into thin patties. Cut the mozzarella in thin slices. Place 3-4 slices on the patties. Make the remaining beef into 3 more patties. Place on top of the mozzarella topped patties. Pinch the sides together until well sealed. Grill for 5-6 minutes a side for medium - add cheese on top during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Serve on toasted buns (English muffins are awesome too!). Top with basil mayo (recipe below) and toppings of your choice.

Sometimes the best way to make something unique with one simple addition. This basil mayo is quick, easy and so yummy! The combo of the ground beef, Italian seasoning and fresh basil mayo really takes it all to the next level.

Basil Mayo
1/3 c. mayo (use something good like Hellman's)
10-12 leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp. of the oil from the marinated mozzarella (this is a great way to add tons of flavor - there are so many spices to take advantage of!)
fresh pepper

Place all ingredients in mini food processor and pulse until well incorporated. Add pepper to taste.

By the way, the Cuisinart mini-prep is the best! It's inexpensive and perfect for dips, aiolis, salad dressings, etc. I love it!

Usually I use large tomatoes on the vine for my Caprese salad, but I used some heirloom cherry tomatoes (leftover from Easter), marinated mozzarella and basil and it really made the salad great.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad
Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
Marinated Mozzarella Balls (cut in quarters)
2 Tbsp. oil from the marinated mozzarella
6-8 basil leaves (sliced thin)
Salt & Pepper

I definitely carried the Italian theme throughout this meal but even with the same ingredients across courses, it all worked. I said it before and I will say it again...I will definitely make this combo again. So good!

Ahhhh...food therapy complete....

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I'd Like Some Beer with my Chicken

Comments (2) | Monday, April 5, 2010

Sorry for the lapse in posting. The week leading up to Easter has been jam packed! Between work, errands, golf and meeting Giada, I have been a busy girl!

Yep, when I say Giada, I mean Giada DiLaurentiis. Vicki and I waited in line for 2 1/2 hours to get our copy of her newest cook book signed, along with 1,856 soccer moms. I swear, there were more strollers in that line than cowboys is Texas...it was unbelievable. But, all in all it was worth it. I gave her a "business card" with my blog info on it and got to talk to her about it for a quick 7 seconds. I am convinced that she was super impressed and will become a follower and take my blog to the next level. :) As Mark says, next thing you know we will be getting movie offers and making millions...oh wait...they have already done that...whomp, whomp...

Well, despite the fact that I am sure that my blog will be limited to likes of my closest friends and family, I am still committed to providing recipes that taste great. Tonight was beer can chicken, salad and left-over twice baked potatoes from Easter. For anyone that knows me, serving leftovers is a big step for me...I hate them. I insist on putting them all in pretty little plastic boxes with blue lids, but I still hate them. I never eat them and usually wait 5-7 days before I purge them into the big silver box. But tonight the fridge was looking bare and they made a fab accompaniment to my meal.

Beer Can Chicken
1 - 5-6 lb. roaster chicken
1 can beer
1 tsp. truffle oil
1 tbsp. Montreal Seasoning
1 tbsp. garlic powder

Preheat 1-side of the grill on med-high. You only need 1/2 a can of beer for this recipe. I don't care what you do with it, but "get rid" of 1/2. I used a beer that I drink (Miller Lite) but people say that the more flavor the more flavor the beer, the better. Add truffle oil, Montreal, garlic and pepper to beer. Coat chicken with the same ingredients. Remove giblets from roast. Place roast on can. (see photo). Place chicken on grill in indirect heat (opposite of flame). Let cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. or until 165 degrees. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve.

You have so much flexibility with this recipe. Try a different beer, try a different rub/spice mix. You can cook on the grill or cook in the oven on 375. Just have fun and use the technique...you can do anything and the chicken will be great!!!

Twice Baked Potatoes (these were leftovers from Easter dinner but a recipe worth sharing...totally amazing!)

5-6 baking potatoes
1 block cream cheese
1 block medium cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 lb. bacon - diced and browned over medium-high head (reserve grease)
1 bunch green onions
garlic powder

Bake potatoes on 400 for 45 mins-1 hr. Pinch fore doneness - should be tender to squeeze. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out insides. Try to keep skins intact as much as possible. Add to large mixing bowl. Add cream cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon (including drippings), green onions and salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Mix well. When fully incorporated spoon mixture back into left over baked potato skins. Return to 375 degree oven for 25 mins (if still warm) and up to 1 hr if directly from fridge. You can make these 1-2 days ahead and bake when ready to serve.

This dinner was a great change. With this fabulous weather, we were able to sit outside and hang out while dinner cooked...a welcome change from the standard kitchen. I encourage anyone to try this recipe...so yummy and super easy....just make sure to leave yourself the time.

ahhh...food therapy complete.

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Defeating the Nemesis and Taking Care of Trash

Comments (0) | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

As I mentioned in my post last night, I think that boneless, skinless chicken breast is the enemy. I know, I know...it's healthy...blah, blah. I don't care how "healthy" you tell me it is, I think it's BORING. And by boring, I mean super boring. I would rather eat shoe leather.

So that said I challenged myself to make something that remained healthy, but tasted as little like shoe leather as possible. Of course...the answer was clear...cheese. Cheese makes everything better. I would put cheese on Cheerios if I could.

On the side I continued with my salad success, making a strawberry spinach salad...so yum! I mean, I run the risk of being hungry in an hour due to the lack of carbs, but hey, the hubby was super pleased...the food tasted good and fit in his diet.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 lemon
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 c. sliced almonds - toasted
1/4 c. red onion - sliced thin
16 oz. strawberries - sliced
crumbled feta

Mix vinegar, juice of 1 lemon and sugar in small mixing bowl until sugar dissolves. Add oil and poppy seeds. Set aside. Meanwhile, toast almonds in pan over medium heat, tossing frequently. Place spinach in salad bowl. Top with strawberries, almonds, onion, feta. Top with dressing when ready to serve.

This is a great salad for the spring. Strawberries are sweet and the combo of the berries, onions and feta creates a party in your mouth.

Veggie Smothered Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Italian dressing (I used the Four Seasons mix at home - better than the bottle)
1/2 large red onion - sliced 1/4 in. thick
1 green pepper - sliced
10-12 button mushrooms - sliced
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
garlic powder
sea salt
8 slices provolone cheese
Marinate the chicken in Italian dressing for 2-4 hours. When ready to begin cooking, slice onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in Pyrex baking dish with remaining marinade, sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper and place in oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, saute veggies in butter and olive oil over medium heat until tender. When chicken is almost done, pull out of oven and top with 2 pieces of provolone cheese. Return to oven until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Like I said, cheese makes everything better and this is no exception. And the mound of veggies on top acts like a side dish in an of itself. It's perfectly easy, quick and delicious.

On a side note, I need to talk about my recent purchase...I don't know about you, but I love recycling but hate that you need to separate the recyclables from the trash. I mean, I am sick of tripping over brown Trader Joe's paper bags! So I have been on a mission to get a trash can and recycling bin all contained in one unit. Well, I found the best thing to happen to my kitchen since the cast iron skillet. It's the simplehuman Deluxe Rectangular Recycler...so awesome! Yes, it is a little pricey but so worth it for my sanity...I'm in love! Check it out...

Ahhhh....food therapy complete...and some trash therapy too...

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Rainy Day Dinner

Comments (0) | Monday, March 22, 2010

I have been pretty remiss in my postings over the last week. Between working and babysitting an 18 mo. old for 2 days, I have been beat. I am also coming to terms with the fact that I am going to be 30 in 48 hours, so I had to prove to myself that I could drink like at 21 year old....well...I can't. And to top it off, my 62 year old father is in better shape then I am...we played golf on Saturday and I felt like a cripple by 8PM...Dad was ready for round 2 on Sunday. Between the beer and the sore muscles, I seriously was in bad shape. Needless to say, all of this lead to me being a pretty lazy cook.

I had great intentions for dinner tonight, but the cold rain got me down. Maybe the rain should get me down more often, because I whipped up a fab salad, sausage sandwiches and chocolate pudding pie. I know, I know...chocolate pudding pie?! I don't eat sweets! But this is a family fave that I got an uncontrollable craving for...it had to be done.

The sausage sandwiches were definitely not the star. I mean, I cut up a red and green pepper in strips, cut up an onion in strips and added a jar of sauce and a package of sausages...let it cook on low for 3 hours and dinner is done.

The salad on the other hand was pretty awesome, if I must say so myself. I constantly find myself in a 'salad rut'. Greek, Caesar, wedge...I mean, I'm not very original. But this one may have brought me out of the darkness.

Warm Goat Cheese Mixed Green Salad
1 log herbed goat cheese
2 eggs - beaten
1/2 c. bread crumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 bag mixed greens
6-8 mushrooms - sliced
1 shallot (or 1/2 red onion) - sliced thin
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1 lemon
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic - minced or grated
1/2 - 3/4 c. olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. Borsari seasoned salt (recommendation from my fellow blogger Elizabeth Hardy)
fresh ground black pepper

Cut the goat cheese into 1/2 inch slices (the best way to cut is with dental floss). Dip into eggs then breadcrumbs. Place on plate and refrigerate until ready to use. Mix greens, mushrooms, shallot and cranberries in large salad bowl. For the dressing, mix the dijon, balsamic, garlic, oil, rosemary, seasoned salt and pepper. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.

When just about ready to eat, heat 3 Tbsp. oil over medium high heat. Place coated goat cheese in pan. Flip after 2 minutes. Place on top of salad. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Pudding Pie
1 pre-made pie crust (I used Pillsbury from the refrigerated section)
1 package of cook and serve chocolate pudding
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Cook pie according to directions on package. Let cool. Cook pudding according to package. Pour pudding into cooled pie crust, reserving about 1/4-1/2 c. Place heavy whipping cream in chilled bowl (I put in the freezer for 30 mins). Add 2 tbsp. powdered sugar. Whip until stiff. Add in the remaining pudding and mix until incorporated. Top pie with whipped cream.

I feel like this meal got me back in the groove. But, my nemesis, boneless skinless chicken breast is defrosted in the fridge. That said, I need to get creative before tomorrow night. Maybe I will stuff them...maybe I will fry them...who knows...but you will! Check in tomorrow night!

Ahhhh....food therapy complete!

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Hitler vs. Mussolini

Comments (0) | Monday, March 15, 2010

So everyone knows that I am the epitome of WASP. I mean, my idea of a home cooked meal very rarely included anything involving pasta or red sauce. I was definitely more in the camp of meat and potatoes...Hitler would have been proud, but, I married a Mussolini, so I had to catch on quick.

Most cooking has come pretty naturally to me, but Italian proved to be a challenge. My husband will admit that I have earned my strips when it comes to Auntie's meatballs (recipe to be released at a later date...if approved), baked ziti and lasagna, but my first batch of eggplant parm was a disaster. "The eggplant is too thick", "my Mom used to peel the eggplant", "my Aunt's wasn't this soggy"...yeah, ummm...one piece of constructive criticism would've been enough...thanks.

So this time I sucked up my Berlin Wall loving pride and called my mother-in-law for some tricks...the result...perfectly delicious eggplant parm...

Eggplant Parmesan
1 eggplant
sea salt
2 large eggs
2 c. Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil
1 ball fresh mozzarella
1 jar marinara sauce (I used a jar from Trader Joe's and added in garlic powder, salt, pepper and parm cheese)

- 1 day before preparing the eggplant parm, slice the eggplant into 1/2" slices. Place a layer of paper towels onto a cookie sheet then place sliced eggplant on top. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. This will release the water and dry out the eggplant. Place paper towels on top. Let sit overnight. On the counter top is fine...they do not need to go in the fridge.

Day of cooking
- Place shallow pan on stove over medium - medium high heat. Meanwhile, place 2 eggs in shallow bowl and 1 1/2 - 2 c. of seasoned bread crumbs in another shallow dish. Coat shallow pan with 1/4 in. vegetable oil. Turn on oven broiler to high.

Dip eggplant in egg then breadcrumbs. Place in hot oil. Let cook 1-2 minutes/side until golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and place on plate covered in paper towels. Return to baking sheet. When all pieces are cooked top with grated mozzarella cheese. Place in oven until cheese is melted. Top with sauce and serve.

I served this eggplant parm with a side salad topped with onions, fresh mushrooms, celery and dressing of your choice.

It only took 5 years of being together for me to earn my honorary Italian card. I wish for none of my friends and followers to have to wait this long. Use this trick and you are sure to make a crispy and tasty eggplant parm that the most devout Italian will enjoy. Matt said that this gave him the same satisfaction as pasta with none of the carbs...totally worth it!

Ahhhh...food therapy complete.

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PA Dutch!

Comments (0) |

I don't know about all of you, but pork and sauerkraut was a staple on New Years Day in my house. Just like I don't think that you should reserve roast turkey for only Thanksgiving, I definitely don't think that pork and sauerkraut should be limited to a day when most people are so hung over that the thought of vinegar flavored cabbage makes them sick. However, I do find this meal to be polarizing...people either love it or hate it. Matt, for example, was quite quick to say that he was not a fan...that was until he tried my super simple recipe.

I mean, this recipe is so simple, it's almost criminal.

Pork Roast w/ Sauerkraut
1 - 3 lb. pork roast
1 bag of sauerkraut (do not use the can stuff!)
garlic powder

Place garlic powder in crock pot. Sprinkle roast generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder. Place roast on top of sauerkraut in crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Mashed Potatoes
5 russet potatoes
1/2 stick salted butter
1 Tbsp. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. sour cream

Peel potatoes and cut into even size cubes. Place potatoes in a pot of salted, cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cook for 10-20 mins (pierce with fork to check for doneness) and drain. Return to pot. Add butter, cream cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Use potato masher or beater to mix to desired texture.

I served this with a cold broccoli salad. It is sweet, salty and super yummy. A very nice change from the standard salad selection.

Broccoli Salad
2 bunches broccoli tops
10-12 slices of bacon (cut into bits and browned)
2/3 c. raisins (I do not like raisins so I excluded them)
1/3-1/2 c. finely diced onion
1 c. mayo
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar (I used balsamic to increase the sweetness)

Trim broccoli to size of your liking...I cut to bite-size pieces. Mix vinegar and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved. Mix in bacon, raisins (if using) and onion until incorporated. Add broccoli. Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours to overnight.

This meal was a nice change and a great meal on a cold Sunday night. I have to say that I am definitely ready for spring so I hope that this is the last time that I eat this meal until 1/1/11, but it certainly is a great crock-pot meal.

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"Chuy" on This!

Comments (0) | Friday, March 12, 2010

For those of you that haven't been lucky enough to visit or live in Dallas, Chuy's is quite possibly the best Tex-Mex restaurant on the planet. Between the queso, jalapeno ranch dressing, chuychangas and homemade tortillas, it is a fat girl's dream...well, it's this fat girl's dream. I find my love for tex-mex rather strange considering that the only "mexican" I grew up with was fajitas and tacos (seasoned with a packet from a box), but this love is deep. I mean, really deep. I am constantly trying to replicate my favorite tex-mex meals. And with my birthday coming up, I really think that the best gift in the world would be the aforementioned combo from Chuy's.

Realizing that is an impossibility, I was determined to create a meal that would make even the biggest Tex-Mex fan proud. Considering that I am the only Tex-Mex lover in the house, I would say the mission was accomplished.

Chicken Enchiladas served with blue chips and a side of Chuy's Jalapeno Ranch (well, a close adaptation anyway)....

Chicken Enchiladas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cubed)
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
10 small flour tortillas (most enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, but I don't really like them, so use whichever you prefer)
16 oz. sour cream (separated into 2 - 8 oz portions)
1 bunch green onions - sliced (use white & green part)
2 - 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
2 c. Mexican mixed cheese (separated into 2 - 1 c. portions)
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. chicken stock

Drizzle preheated skillet with vegetable oil over med-high heat. Add chicken, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until all sides are brown, about 7-10 mins. Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 degrees and mix sour cream, green onions, chilies & cheese. Set aside. When chicken is done cooking, add chicken to sour cream mixture, stir. Spray a pyrex baking dish with nonstick spray. Place 1 tortilla on cutting board. Place a portion of the chicken mixture in a line on the tortilla. Roll tightly and place in baking sheet, seem side down. Continue until all 10 tortillas are rolled.

In another skillet (I cleaned out the one I previously used and re-used it) melt 1/4 c. of butter over medium heat. When melted, add 1/4 c. of flour. Stir constantly until smooth. Add in 2 c. chicken stock, 8 oz. of sour cream & can of chopped green chilies. Continue to stir until thick. When thick and creamy, pour over the top of the rolled enchiladas.

Bake for 20 mins. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve while hot.

Chuy's Jalapeno Ranch
I have to say this was close but not quite...I am going to work on it some more and will let you know how I make out. Either way, it's still a delicious dip or salad topper!

1 quart mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped jalapeno
1 cup green tomatillo sauce
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 (1 ounce) packets dry ranch dressing mix

Mix first 5 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Stir in ranch mix with a whisk. Chill and serve (I ate with Blue corn tortilla chips)

This menu definitely cured my immediate need for all things Tex-Mex but I have to admit, it just isn't the same. Honestly it just reaffirmed my need to plan a trip back to the land of warm nights, flat lands, southern drawls and Chuy's y'all!

Ahhh...food therapy complete.

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