Sunday, May 30, 2010

Waffles, Tilapia, Sweet Potato Fries, Marshmallow Frosted Brownies

Those are the things we ate today. They are no pictures because we ate all the food already. But I will share with you the recipes because they were amazing.

First the waffles - check out - she even has pictures...seriously we all couldn't stop raving about them. Delicious. Thanks Mark Bittman for the inspiration.

Tilapia breaded with panko crumbs - go to Costco and buy them - go now. seriously my kids love this fish and all you have to do is cook them for 18 minutes! We also made some pasta to go along as well as some broccoli and cauliflower with some feta cheese sprinkled in...yum!

Sweet potato fries - Trader Joe's is the most amazing place ever...these frozen fries are so good especially with some cinnamon on it. And they also only take 18 minutes.

Marshmallow Brownies - well another Trader Joe's buy...their brownie mix - just add yogurt or applesauce and of course cook for a little more than 18 minutes and top off with marshmallows and put back in the oven for 3 minutes and then make your own frosting...see the full recipe with pictures here. I will never make plain old brownies again!

So the moral of this day is that it takes 18 minutes give or take a few minutes to make all of these fabulous foods...they are healthy, yummy and the whole family will really enjoy them.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


The other day, Ree, over at the Pioneer Woman, posted a recipe for Grilled Pineapple Quesadillas. I haven't been able to stop thinking about them since. So, today, after an early morning tee-ball game, followed by a Push-Car Derby race practice, followed by wood-splitting, my boys were HUNGRYand I knew just what they needed!
I didn't really follow Ree's recipe to a tee. I used what I had on hand. That's why I love meals like Quesadillas...endless combinations...all yummy!

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 pineapple, cut in half, quartered and cored
1/4 bbq sauce, we like spicy
fresh salsa
1 c. grated cheese, we used Cheddar
sour cream
cilantro, chopped
Pre-heat your grill.
Cut up the pineapple, into 8 wedges (see the picture above). I used skewers, but I think next time I will just stick to turning them with tongs.
Coat the chicken with the bbq sauce.
Put the pineapple and the chicken on the hot grill. I left the flame high but the lid open. Flip after 4 minutes. Cook 4 minutes more, or until the chicken is cooked through and the pineapple has some nice grill marks.
Remove the chicken and the pineapple from the grill and chop.
Give a large cast iron skillet, or whatever you use for such things, a quick wipe with a stick of butter. Lay a tortilla on the skillet. Pile the pineapple, chicken, cheese and fresh salsa on one half of the tortilla. Fold the other half up over the fillings. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until there are some nice golden brown spots. Continue until you run out of tortillas or fillings. Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro and sour cream.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 c. bbq sauce...we like a really spicy sauce for this. I stole Steve Miller's new batch of sauce...Thanks Steve...YOU ARE SO NOT GETTING YOUR SAUCE BACK!
2 c. cooked rice, (1 c. dried)
4 lg. green bell peppers, parboiled
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 c. warm water
1 Tbls. packed brown sugar
1 Tbls. worcestershire sauce
2 lb. ground turkey
2 poblamo peppers, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
Additional spices to taste, here is what I used:
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. montreal steak seasoning
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground corriander
1/2 tsp. HOT paprika

1/2 c. shredded cheese (I used colby, whatever you have would work)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Mix together the tomato sauce and the bbq sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.

Cut the stems off the peppers, leaving as much of the sides as possible and clean out the seeds and ribs.

Parboil the peppers in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove peppers with tongs, be careful of boiling water running down the tongs into your hand...ouch! Let the peppers drain.

Cook the rice. I have a rice cooker and I love it. 1c. of rice, 2 c. of water...push the button and you're done! Stove top works fine too.

In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste, water, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce.

In a large saute pan, brown the turkey. Drain if there seems to be excess fat. Add the chopped peppers and onion. Continue cooking until they become soft, about 3 minutes. Now add the oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Taste and see if you want to spice things up. I listed the spices I with it!

Mix in the rice and the tomato past mixture.

Stuff the meat/rice mixture into the peppers. I really stuff them. Top each one with a bit of the shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Norman LOVES a Cuban Sandwich. It is a good combination, the sour of the pickle with the salty/sweet of the pork. So, I was hopeful that those same flavors would work in this roast. They did! This was so very yummy and super easy, yet looked totally impressive.
3 lb. pork tenerloin
1/2 c. orange juice
Juice from 2 limes
1/2 tsp. cumin

3 slices baked ham
3 slices gouda cheese
1-2 dill pickles, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 350.

Most pork loins are pretty lean, and you want a bit of fat on the side that will be 'up' in the oven for color. But, trim if there seems to be any thick fatty areas.

Okay, now with the 'bit of fat' side up, take a sharp knife and, starting about an inch in from the end of the roast, cut 3/4 of the way through the depth of the roast. Do not cut all the way to the bottom. Continue down the length of the roast, stopping about an inch away from the end. Think canoe, you basically want to turn your roast into a canoe. Now, you want to create a bit more room to 'stuff' your roast. So, inside the slit you have just made, make 2 additional slits about halfway down each side of the inside of the canoe. You DO NOT want to cut all the way through the roast, you just want to make the space inside the canoe a bit bigger. See in the picture above? How it forms that 'W'? You can see the 3 slits there.

Okay, now in a large measuring cup, mix the orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour this over and around the roast. Rub the marinade into the roast, its yummy if you really get that cilantro into the roast. Cover and let marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Now, we are going to 'stuff' the roast. You should not rinse off the marinade. Take the sliced ham and lay it into the roast, smoosh it down in there. Next, take half of the pickle slices and lay them on top of the ham. Cover with the cheese. I took the remaining pickle slices and laid them over the top of the roast. I thought it gave it a nice, finished look...see top picture.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Internal temp should be about 165.

Let the roast cool for 10 minutes before you slice it.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Quick, easy and yummy. We had fajitas last night for dinner. I marinated 2 Lbs. of skirt steak, 1 sliced onion and a quartered green pepper in lot of freshly ground pepper, juice from 2 limes, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 Tbls. olive oil and some coarse kosher salt.

I grilled everything over a high flame for about 10 minutes, turning everything at the half-way point.

When the meat and veggies were almost done, I started throwing some small flour tortillas on the grill. I let them grill for about a minute on each side.

Once everything is done, assembly is a snap. Just cut the steak into thin slices. Slice the pepper and separate the rings of the onion. Put a few pieces of steak, onions, pepper, some fresh salsa and fresh chopped cilantro in each tortilla. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over the filling and fold up the tortilla. I serve them on a big platter. They were gone within minutes!


3 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 c. granulated sugar, or to taste
Whip Cream:
1 c. COLD heavy cream or whipping cream
1 Tbls. confectioners' sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbls. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. heavy cream, plus some for brushing

In a bowl, mix the berries and sugar with a wooden spoon. I like to mash a few of the berries on the side of the bowl with the back of the spoon. It gets the juices flowing. Let this mixture sit while you prepare the biscuits and whip cream. Stir occasionally. Pick a berry out of the bowl and eat one every time you walk by it. They are good! Pretend to yell at the kids when they do the same.

Now for the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly butter a baking sheet OR use your SILPAT. I usually avoid anything non-stick or silicone. However, I make an exception for the SILPAT. They are a must for your kitchen, The first time you make cookies on one you will fall in love. Click here to see them.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add cream and stir just until a dough forms. Gather dough into a ball and gently knead just a few times on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll, with a rolling pin, the dough into a circle about 10" in diameter. Cut out as many rounds as you can fit with a lightly floured cutter. I used a 2" cutter. If you don't have biscuit cutters, you can use a cookie cutter with whatever shape is fun. Gather the scraps, re-roll and cut more biscuits.

Brush the top of the uncooked rounds with heavy cream. Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
For the whip cream:
Beat the heavy cream and confectioner's sugar in a medium bowl with electric hand mixer or in your stand mixer. Make sure your cream is very cold. When I was in pastry school part of our final was to make whip cream by hand. We would hold big stainless steels bowls filled with cream over even bigger stainless steel bowls filled with ice. Then, with whisks the size of baseball bats, we would whisk until the pain in your arm travelled up into your neck and down into your hip. We did this many times. I kiss my Kitchen Aid mixer every time it makes whip cream for me!

To assemble:
Split biscuits. Place bottom on plate, load up with some strawberries, give it a good dollop of whip cream and top with the other half of the biscuit. If you grow mint in your garden, grab some for garnish!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lemon Broth with Green Pea Ravioli

1 c. frozen baby peas, thawed
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbls. finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbls. fine fresh bread crumbs
salt and freshly ground pepper
18 wonton wrappers
4 c. chicken stock
1 galic clove, smashed
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Make the filling:
The recipe told me to force the peas through a food mill into a bowl to remove skins. That made for a great picture. But I turned that thing for a good 5 minutes and had nothin' in the bowl. So, I visualized whirled peas and stuck those babies in the blender with about a tablespoon of water.
Cook the shallot in oil in a small skillet over medium low heat. Cook until soft. This will smell incredible and make your husband come down from watching ESPN Sport Something and say 'What's cookin?"

Remove from heat and and stir in the peas, cheese and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Put 1 wonton wrapper on a lightly floured surface (keep the remaining wrappers covered). Mound a level teaspoon of filling in center of the wrapper. Less is more here. Lightly dampen edges of wrapper with a fingertip dipped in water, and fold over to form a triangle, pressing down around filling to force out air. Press edges together firmly to seal. Moisten one end of long side of triangle and fold opposite end over, creating a little hat shape, then pinch together to seal.
Transfer to a dry kitchen towel or plate and continue until the filling is gone. Appox. 18 total.

Cook the Ravioli:
Combine the stock, garlic zest, and salt and pepper to taste in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, drain.
Divide ravioli among six soup plates and ladle broth over them; discard garlic. Garnish with the parsley.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I had to switch things up.  Tonight was supposed to be the pork tacos.  But someone would have had to remember to take the pork out of the freezer for that.  So, I did the lasagna.  I left out the meat and added plenty of veggies.  I was a bit worried about the noodles in the crock-pot.  I have only done noodles once before and it was NOT good.  Tonights dinner came out great though.  Everyone liked it...except for Max.  But honestly, the law says I have to PROVIDE food for the kid, its up to him what he eats.  And I figure he can always find something to fill up on.  Lucky for him he likes salad and bread.  Also, there is salad dressing in the pitcher in front.  Are you making your own salad dressing yet?  If you are using the bottled stuff...STOP.  Homemade salad dressing is super easy and way better than anything in a bottle.  Maybe I will put together a couple of my favorites and post them.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The weather is looking cold and Grey over the next few days. My house seems to have gotten away from me and every room needs some major cleaning. We have all of our regular after school activities and golf lessons start this week. Plus, we all seem to be suffering from allergies. I would like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible! So, I am declaring this the week of the slow cooker.

I will serve these with fresh salsa, our local grocery store sells killer fresh salsa. I will probably also make black beans and rice and have plenty of cilantro chopped up.

Served with a green salad and a fresh loaf of crusty bread

Again with a salad and bread. I will use ground turkey in the recipe.

Served with Egg Noodles, Apple Sauce and Asparagus with Maple Syrup and Dijon Mustard

I will serve this with jasmine rice and plenty of chopped cilantro. I may even whip up a cucumber salad like this one:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Straight from the Crock

Ever since I discovered you can make lasagna in the Crock Pot I haven't looked back. It is probably one of the easiest meals you can make. Here's the one I made today. This one is made with soft tofu with seasoning, spinach, ricotta cheese mixture, sauce, and no cook, whole wheat lasagna noodles. I cooked it on high for about 2 1/2 hours and sprinkled mozzarella cheese on the top toward the last 15 minutes.

It was delicious and I have plenty of leftovers. The only tip is to spray the bottom of the pot or put sauce down first and then layer it with the noodles.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


I love making pie. They are, by far, my most favorite thing to bake. Today I made a Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I suggest you make one too, it is after all Rhubarb season. Here's how:
The Crust:
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 - 1/2 c. ICED water
This recipe is for using a stand mixer, like a Kitchen Aid. If you don't have one, pie crust is still a snap. You can do all of this with your hands. Just make sure you chill the dough a bit before you try and roll it since the warmth from your hands will make it hard to work with.
In the bowl of your mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Mix on low speed until all of the flour is coated but big pieces of butter still remain.

Now you will add the water. The water should be COLD. I usually fill up a measuring cup with ice and water. Then I pour the ice cold water into the mixer, slowly, until I get the right consistency. If this is your first pie crust, you may want to measure out a 1/4 c. of iced water and then add a tablespoon of iced water at a time until your dough looks like this:

Now gather up all of the dough with your hands and form it gently into a ball. For this pie, which has a delicate filling, I am only going to use a third of the dough for the bottom crust and a third for the top. I will wrap the leftover dough in waxed paper and pop it in the fridge to use over the weekend. If you haven't worked with pie crust much, you may want to just cut the dough into two pieces...its a bit easier to roll out a thicker dough.

Now, flour your rolling surface. Flour the rolling pin. Flour your hands. FLOUR, its your friend. It prevents sticking and sticking stinks! Flatten your piece of dough for the bottom crust into a disk and lay it in the middle of your floured rolling surface.

Roll out the dough, turning the dough a quarter turn every couple of passes with the rolling pin. This will help the dough form a circular shape. If you have a rolling board, it will be easy to determine the size of the final round. Now, here is the trick to getting the dough into the pie plate:

Now onto the filling:
1 LB. strawberries, washed and quartered
1 LB. rhubarb, peeled and sliced into 1/2" slices
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 TBLS. cornstarch
Juice from 1 lemon
In a bowl, combine the strawberries and the rhubarb.

Add the sugar and cinnamon. Sift in the cornstarch.

Add the lemon juice. If you do not own this exact lemon juicer, you should add it to your birthday wish list. It's the best. I got mine in China Town for $2.50. You have NO reason not to own one!

Mix until all of the dry ingredients are wet. Don't smush the berries. Pour the filling into the prepared bottom crust.

Okay, now for the top crust. We are making a lattice top. Stay with me now, you can do this, it's easy! Roll out the next crust just like the first. This time, leave the dough on the rolling surface and with a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips. You can do skinny ones like mine or do them thicker, about an inch wide. If this is your first lattice top, you may want to stick to wider strips.

Now, starting from the middle and working your way out, lay the strips over the pie all going in one direction. You only want to use half the strips here. Make sure you use the shortest strips for the shortest part of the pie.

Once you have the pie covered in one direction, turn the pie. We are now going to weave the lattice. Fold back every other strip.

Lay a strip, now going the other direction, down.

Lay the strips back down over the new strip and now pick up all the other strips, the ones that didn't get picked up last time, and fold them back. Place another strip down.

Continue this until the whole top of the pie is covered. EASY!

Now, roll up all of the edges all around the pie. If it is too bulky in some spots, just cut away a bit of the dough and keep rolling. You can pinch the dough as you go. This will help seal the edges and give you a nice surface to crimp.

So that your finished pie has a nice shine, lets egg wash this baby. I whisk together an egg and about a tablespoon of milk. Then, with a pastry brush, paint the top of the pie.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

You're Welcome!