Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snowy Day Soup

It's beginning to look alot like other words, its snowing today.
Dinner tonight was just what we all needed. A big ol' bowl of warm comfort.

Vegetable Beef Soup
First I took beef stew meat and put in a pot just covered with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for two hours. Skim fat scum off the top and drain the water from the beef.
In a large Dutch Oven, place beef. Pour in a large can of V8 and 3 cups of water. Add 2-3 bay leaves, 1 tsp of basil, 1 tbsp parsley and 1 tsp of salt. Stir well. Sprinkle black pepper completely over the top of the soup. Mix well. Add one large, unchopped but peeled onion(this definitely gives it awesome flavor in my opinion!)

Now, you can use an assortment of veggies of your choice, either fresh, canned or frozen. I prefer fresh or frozen because I think canned gets mushy. If you do use canned, drain off all the liquid or it will be too thin.

This time around I used fresh potatoes and carrots. And frozen corn, green beans, lima beans and green peas.

Add any of the fresh vegetables to the pot now because they take longer to cook. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. Then add the frozen veggies and simmer another hour.
I served it with cheddar garlic biscuits. Yum Yum.

Turkey Leftovers...

We ended up having a 20lb turkey's worth, plus some that was sent home from my dad's so I tried to get pretty creative with the turkey.

-We had two nights and one lunch of turkey with all the other leftover Thanksgiving sides.
-Our standard turkey clubs(turkey, bacon, sharp cheddar, a slice of cranberry sauce and fancy mustard
-Turkey and avocado paninis
-Turkey salad made with grapes and almonds in wraps
-turkey noodle soup, made with from scratch stock made by boiling the carcass
-buffalo chicken dip(made with turkey)
-white chicken chili(made with turkey...)
-turkey and black bean enchiladas

While we still have a little left, its going in the trash.
I think I'm starting to see feathers growing on my back end. :)

What did you make with your turkey leftovers?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pass the Turkey Please!

So, we are headed to my family dinner for the actual holiday meal, but I always have to cook my own Thanksgiving bird at home. I love spending the weeks before Thanksgiving watch the marathons of shows on The Food Network and browsing the internet and my cookbooks for new recipes to try. So, I made my dinner this past weekend and here was the menu:

White Wine and Butter Basted Turkey
stuffed with Sage and Mushroom Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Roasted Root Vegetables
Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry Orange Relish
Apple Caramel Cake

With the exception of the dessert...I do not really dig baking...everything was from scratch of course, as it should be, for the holidays. Here is a sampling of a few things in more detail...

White Wine and Butter Basted Turkey
I make a different turkey recipe every year, just to try something different. However, this year I made Martha Stewart's Cheesecloth Turkey and I may be hooked. It was to die for juicy and delicious and one of the most brown and beautiful birdies I think I ever did see.

First, wash your bird, inside and out. Stuff the cavity and the neck cavity. Secure the neck flap and tie up your bird.

Before doing all this to your turkey you'll want to simmer three sticks of butter and a bottle of white wine on the stove top. Soaking a piece of cheesecloth(big enough to cover your breast, not yours, the turkey's...and the tops of the legs.
Season your turkey with salt and pepper and then cover it with the cheesecloth.

Roast your bird at 325 for three hours, basting with the butter/wine mixture every half hour. Remove from oven to remove cheesecloth. Your cheesecloth will be black! Don't be alarmed...

Baste with the turkey drippings...bake another hour or until done, basting with drippings every half hour.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Cranberry Orange Relish

Apple Caramel Cake

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Korean Beef Bulgogi and Sauteed Bok Choy

While this STILL did not turn out as good as the Bulgogi I've had at the Korean restaurant, it was quite tasty just the same.

Korean Bulgogi
Cut beef sirloin into strips and marinate in a combination of pear juice and white wine and black pepper for 30 minutes. Next add soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, garlic and green onions. Then marinate at least two hours and up to overnight.

Heat sesame oil in a wok and saute mushrooms and onions. Next add beef mixture and stir fry until done. Bring to a boil and then turn to low. Add a corn starch slurry to sauce and then simmer until thickened. Serve over rice.

On the side I sauteed bok choy in sesame oil with some fresh minced garlic and a splash of rice wine vinegar.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ravioli with Creamy Pumpkin Sage Sauce

I love fall and everything that goes with it. I try to make a new pumpkin recipe every year and here was the one for this year. It was quite good!

Here is the original recipe.
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup shallots
10oz prepared alfredo sauce
1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1 Tablespoon of sage
2-9oz packages of cheese ravioli
2 Tablespoons of chopped green onions

Cook wine and shallots in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Stir in sauce, pumpkin and sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving cup cooking water. Stir reserved water into sauce; toss with pasta. Sprinkle with green onion. Season with ground black pepper.

I made the following changes:
Sauteed my shallots in butter and then added the wine.
I also added a little minced garlic in with the shallots.
And seasoned with a little black pepper while cooking instead of later.
I sprinkled the top with more sage instead of green onions.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pretty Pad Thai

I recently made this and tasted so good. I can't wait to make it again.

-sesame oil
-1 egg
-rice noodles
-bean sprouts
-red chile pepper(optional, but we love spicy!)
-peanuts, crushed
-fresh cilantro

1/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2.5 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
Mix well.

Cook noodles according to package and set aside. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil and add egg and scramble. Remove and set aside. Add more oil if needed and shrimp and sauce ingredients and cook until done. Add in noodles and cook until they absorb sauce. Add bean sprouts, pepper and egg and cook 2-3 minutes more. Place noodle mixture in bowls and garnish with cilantro, peanuts and lime wedges.

Oven "Sun Dried" Tomatoes

I love sun dried tomatoes, but I do not love the cost, so I decided to try making them myself. I would love to actually dry them in the sun, but we just have so many critters running around our backyard that the thought of that disturbs me, so I did them in the oven instead and they turned out delicious!

Roma tomatoes
kosher salt
olive oil

Halve and seed the tomatoes and cut into strips. The smaller the strips, the faster they cook. Place on a baking sheet(I used my pampered chef stone) and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 200 for 4-8 hours depending on size and quantity of tomatoes. Just keep checking them. When finished store in olive oil in the fridge for up to a month. I put mine in a garlic infused olive oil that I recently got from Tastefully Simple and is some good stuff.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Diva Dinner in a Dash

Okay, us busy mommas aka divas need quick dinners often because we are on the go-go-go! So, tell me some of your favorite diva dinners in a dash...something you can make quickly with five ingredients or less..I have an arsenal full, but here is one of our favorites.

Mock Chicken Cordon Bleu

-boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-ham lunchmeat( I prefer the really thin kind, you know, those little packs you ate as a kid that cost like 50cents)
-lite string cheese
-your favorite coating( I use OvenFry. It's like Shake and Bake. My favorite is the extra crispy.
-one egg(or egg white if being healthier)

Lay out chicken breasts and flatten out with a meat tenderizer. Lay about 3 pieces of lunchmeat on top of each breast. Place a piece of string cheese on one end and roll up. Secure with toothpicks. Dip each roll in beaten egg and then roll in coating. Bake at 425 for 40 minutes.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tuscan Lemon Chicken & Roasted Italian Vegetables

Tuscan Lemon Chicken
courtesy of Barefoot Contessa

Mix together:
zest of two lemons
juice of two lemons
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary( I used thyme because I'm not a big fan of rosemary)
kosher salt
black pepper

Rub chicken well with the above.

Stuff the cavity with a cut up lemon and a couple whole cloves of garlic.

Roast in the oven at 375 for 2 hours or until done depending on chicken size.

Roasted Italian Vegetables

-vegetables of your choice( I used zucchini, yellow squash, red & green bell pepper, baby carrots and onion)
-extra virgin olive oil
-kosher salt
-black pepper
-Italian seasoning

Cut veggies in large chunks and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with spices and toss well. Roast at 375 for an hour.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shrimp Curry and Crispy Edamame

Shrimp Curry

-garlic, minced
-onion, diced
-bell pepper, diced(prefer it with red, but I had green on hand this time)
-sesame oil

Saute the above in a wok or large skillet until tender.

-curry paste
-curry powder
-garam masala
-coconut milk
And bring to a boil

Add raw, peeled and deveined shrimp and cook until pink. Add a couple of pats of butter and once melted add a slurry of water and cornstarch to thicken sauce. Stir in fresh cilantro and serve over rice.

Crispy Edamame
-frozen edamame, thawed
-olive oil
Spread out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

I sprinkled mine straight onto the curry for a little extra layer of flavor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

This one is easy peasy for dinner!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts, depending on size
1 cup of buffalo sauce
1/2 package of dry Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
a little cornstarch

Place chicken in slow cooker. Mix buffalo sauce and ranch mix together and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken. Use a tablespoon or so of cornstarch to thicken sauce. Scoop onto buns with blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Red, White & Green!

Taken from Wikipedia:
Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil.[1] In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (first course), not a contorno (side dish).

Fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden and fresh mozz made this one of the freshest tasting dishes I've had all summer!

Caprese Salad

Layer slices of tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves. Drizzle with EVOO. I also added just a splash of red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Chill for at least an hour or longer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gone Country...

This meal was definitely not lite, but it spoke summer to me. Some good ol' down home country eatin'.

Breaded Pork Chops with white gravy, slow simmered green beans and fried green tomatoes.

Fried Green Tomatoes
-cooking oil
-sliced green tomatoes
-Ky Colonel seasoned flour.

Dredge both sides of tomato with flour. Cook in hot oil, 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chicago Style Hot Dogs and Watermelon Lemonade!

In my opinion, you cannot celebrate 4th of July weekend without at least one hot dog and one glass of lemonade. Of course, I can't go with just the ol' plain jane kind.'s my version.

First, the Chicago style hot dog...definitely not for everyone, but we love em' Generally, we get them at a local place, Lonnie's Taste of Chicago, but this time we decided to give them a try ourselves.

The goods:

Assemble as follows:
-Poppy Seed Bun
-Hot Dog
-smear of yellow mustard
-kosher dill pickle slice or spear
-diced onions
-green sweet relish( I really wanted the BRIGHT green kind from Lonnie's but could not find it available anywhere without purchasing online)
-tomato wedges
-sport peppers
-sprinkle of celery salt


Wash it down:

Watermelon Lemondade

Puree watermelon chunks in blender until smooth. Strain through wire strainer to get out any remaining pulp. Make a simple syrup. Mix together simple syrup, watermelon puree, fresh squeezed lemon juice and cold water. Serve over ice.

Happy 4th of July!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spinach Shells & Cheese

Just a little concoction that I whipped up.
I had a bar of cheese and fresh spinach from the farmer's market that needed to be used, so I thought "hmmmmm"....

Spinach Shells & Cheese
-1/2 box of shell pasta
-8oz of gouda cheese
-1/4 cup milk
-salt and pepper
-fresh spinach leaves

Cook shells according to box and drain. Shred cheese. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with 1/2 the spinach. Mix together pasta, cheese, milk and salt and pepper until combined well. Pour half over spinach. Top with other half of spinach and then other half of noodles. Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Fresh Polish Kielbasa

Okay, this is the real deal in my opinion. The stuff at the retail grocery stores for one is pre-cooked, not fresh. And chock full of crap for lack of a better word. Of course, getting it around here is somewhat difficult. But I finally found some at a local store, International Star Market located in Jeffersontown, KY.

My mom was Polish and so I was always raised on the good stuff. We would have it shipped from Michigan where my uncle was a butcher and made it fresh there daily. Also, the trick is cooking it right. You want it done, but not overcooked and NEVER pierce the casing!!

Anyway, here it is....

Get skillet nice and hot. Pour in a bottle of beer(can also just use water, but beer makes for a more intense flavor), add sausage. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a "low boil". Cook until all liquid has evaporated. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and half an onion sliced. Brown sausage on both sides and caramelize onions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All Day Brisket

So this one takes a little prep and cook time, but is still really easy and so worth it.

All Day Brisket
-boneless beef brisket
-liquid smoke
-garlic powder
-onion salt
-bbq sauce of your choice
-aluminum foil

Coat both sides of brisket with liquid smoke, garlic powder and onion salt. Wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate overnight. In the morning unwrap and place in a baking dish, fat side up. Cover dish with foil and bake at 300 for 5 hours. Remove from oven. Cut off top layer of fat and discard. Slice meat into 1-2" slices depending on how you like it and pour on your bbq sauce. We chose a Hickory Honey one this time around. Cover dish with foil and bake another 30 minutes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Farmers Market Fresh Omelets

I love love love all the farmers markets and fresh produce of summer. I'm using everything up as creatively as I can to get the most of it all this year.

For these tasty treats I sauteed up fresh spinach, mushrooms and garlic. And then added it to the mix of farm fresh organic eggs and Kentucky made sharp white cheddar cheese. So fresh and delicious. I'm not sure what it is about fresh farm eggs but they always taste so much better to me.

Flattened Chicken

Flattened Chicken

1 whole chicken
extra virgin olive oil

Remove the backbone from chicken using kitchen shears so that chicken will lay flat. Generously rub with oil, salt, pepper and paprika.
Grill breast side down.
Grill breast side up.

Served it up with some grilled corn and veggie kabobs.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A little inspiration from Julia...

So I recently watched Julie & Julia which was quite entertaining to me because I love Julia Child. I also love that someone got famous off of a blog. You go girl!
Anyway, this movie had me recently browsing through my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and realizing that I need to dust it off and make something out of it. So I went with the whole artichokes.

These were pure indulgence!

Julia Child's Lemon Butter Artichokes

- serves 2 -

2 globe artichokes
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled
Juice of two lemons to make 1/4 cup
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of white pepper (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

2. Trim the artichokes for boiling: lay each on its side and cut off about an inch or so off the top, break off the small leaves near the base, and cut off all but an inch or so of the stem (you can also snap it off where it naturally breaks, like an asparagus). Snip off the ends of the leaves all around the artichoke with scissors to rid it of any sharp points. Rinse it well under cold water.

3. Boil the artichokes, uncovered, for about half an hour. They are done cooking when the leaves pull out easily and the bottoms are tender when pierced with a knife.

4. In the meantime, prepare the lemon butter. Gently reduce the lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan until about one tablespoon. Over low heat, whisk in the chilled butter pieces, one at a time, until creamy. Remove from heat, and, when ready to serve, whisk in 2-3 tablespoons dribbled hot water to warm.

5. Serve the artichokes with the butter for dipping, and a large bowl for unused stems. The edible parts of each leaf are nearest their base. Bottom teeth are especially good for scraping off the flesh.

My Favorite Chef

Most people would go with Emeril, Julia Child, Rachel Ray, etc. But me I prefer someone local. Someone that loves to measure and pour and scoop and does it with passion. Someone that likes to sit and watch cooking shows on Food Network with their momma.
Me and my son have countless amounts of fun together in the kitchen and its finally getting him to venture out of his picky mode a little bit...

Here's my favorite chef sporting my old chef's hat from culinary school.

It makes me grin from ear to ear when he says he wants to be a chef when he grows up. Of course he also says he wants to be a doctor, a painter and a
It's good to have goals, right?

Fondue Night!

What is more fun than fondue for dinner? Seriously? And it is so cheap and easy to do at home with so many different options. This time around we did a little surf and turf and asparagus.

I marinated my steak all day and then cut into cubes. And then thawed, peeled and deveined some shrimp. Broke the ends off the asparagus. Made my dips. And let the fun begin.

I made a dill dip for the shrimp consisting of sour cream, fresh dill, capers with a bit of juice and lemon juice.

Dill Dip

For the steak I made a french onion dip. Sour cream, dry french onion soup mix, a little worch. sauce and merlot.

French Merlot Dip

Heat the oil in the fondue pot. Sizzle up your goodies, dip and enjoy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Japanese Chicken Tenders

I recently bought a big bag of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) at the local Asian store, so have been trying to come up with a few original ideas to make with them. This was tonight's dinner.

Japanese Chicken Tenders

-boneless, skinless chicken tenders
-1 egg, beaten
-ground ginger
-black and white sesame seeds

Mix panko, ginger and sesame seeds in one bowl. Egg in another. Dip tenders in egg and then coat with crumb mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Drizzle with honey before serving.

I served this up with some Jasmine rice and a simple stir fry of long beans, grape tomatoes, black Chinese mushrooms and garlic.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Asian Beef Bundles

These turned out really good. Next time I need to up the amount of sauce for drizzling though.

Asian Beef Bundles
-flank steak, cut into pieces and pounded thin
-green onions
-asparagus spears
-salt and pepper

Sprinkle steak pieces with salt and pepper. Place an onion and an asparagus spear in the center of each and roll up securing with toothpicks. Set aside in a dish.

-6 tablespoons of soy sauce
-6 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
-2 teaspoons of sugar
-2 teaspoons of sesame oil
-1 teaspoon of chili oil
Whisk all together and pour over bundles. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or longer.

Remove from marinade and broil for 5-7 minutes depending on your desired preference.
While broiling heat remaining marinade in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer until syrupy. Drizzle over bundles before serving.