Thursday, December 27, 2012

Beef and Mushroom Stew


Merry Christmas!  It has been quite an eventful December!  With moving into a new house, and, of course, Christmas celebrations I have to admit that my creativity in the kitchen has been lacking lately for want of faster meals.  However, with the weather now officially cold (in Texas terms) it's slow cooker season.  This delicious dish combines my new need for faster, easier meals and my love of the slow cooker.  Easy to prep (about 15 minutes) and easy to devour (about 15 minutes) it's a crowd pleaser.  I hope you enjoy!


  • 1-2 lbs. of stew meat cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 red potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • about 4 Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Toss stew meat into slow cooker.  Coat with flour and salt and pepper.  Stir to coat evenly.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Cook on LOW for 10-12 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Island Pork Tenderloin

I have honestly been afraid of making a pork tenderloin for awhile after I've made a few really dry ones.  But, I thought I'd try again since this recipe said it was the "best pork" they had ever had.  It has a seemingly weird combination of spices and flavorings, but it was really flavorful and juicy.  I have reaffirmed my like for pork.  Make sure you have a meat thermometer so you don't overcook it.  I hope you enjoy!

For spice rub:
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 ¼ - 2 ½ lbs total) trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil

For Glaze:
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp Tabasco

Stir the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork.  Heat oil in ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4-5 minutes total.  Remove from heat, but leave pork in skillet.

Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl.  Pat the mixture on top of the pork.  Place skillet in the oven at 350.  Roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes.  Let pork stand in skillet, loosely covered with foil for 10 minutes.  


Chocolate Cream Pie

So, I made my first attempt at chocolate cream pie for our second family Thanksgiving get-together.  I'd have to say that the chocolate cream was not the hard part, the meringue, however, proved to be tricky.  I'm definitely going to have to make this again and practice the meringue.  Or, I could just use Cool Whip!  The key to this recipe is that the chocolate part will not get any thicker while baking, so make sure it's the right consistency before pouring it into the pie crust.  (I once again used a pre-made pie crust.)  I had no idea my dad liked chocolate cream pie so much, so this recipe will become a family tradition from now on.  It sure was tasty and did not last long.  I hope you enjoy!


Filling ingredients:
4 tablespoons of cocoa or 1 1/2 squares of baking chocolate
3/4 cups of sugar
5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
1 tablespoon of butter

Meringue ingredients:
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar
Method:
Mix your sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, eggs and milk (all except vanilla and butter) with a whisk.
Cook while stirring on medium until it bubbles and thickens, about five to 10 minutes. If it becomes lumpy, just beat out the lumps. (It will not get any thicker in the oven so cook until it's as thick as you want it.)

Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla and butter. Meanwhile, poke holes in your pie crust with a fork and bake it at 350 until it’s brown, about 20 minutes, OR follow the instructions on your pie crust's recipe.

Beat your egg whites with salt and when they start to get fluffy add the sugar. Pour the chocolate custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake it until it the peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chocolate Bourbon Walnut Pie (Derby Pie)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I can't believe how fast this year has gone already.  As my husband and I are packing up our apartment to move into our first home, I decided to make some desserts as my last hoo-rah in tmy small kitchen.  This was my first attempt at a pie that I have been craving for quite some time.  I honestly had it about 4 years ago when a friend of a friend brought it to dinner.  Since I've never made it before, I'm not sure the texture of mine was right; It just looked different than the original recipe's picture.  But, who cares as long as it tastes good, right?  I used a pre-made crust just to save time, but you could always make your own crust if you'd like.  Will definitely be making this again.  I hope you enjoy!


9-inch pie crust (pre-made or homemade)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
4 eggs
¼ cup bourbon
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups walnuts, given a very coarse chop
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare the pie crust as directed in your recipe; blind bake according to the recipe's instructions; set aside.
2. Adjust the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed with a whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a whisk and a lot of elbow grease), whip together the butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, bourbon and vanilla extract until frothy. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
4. Pour into the prepared pie crust (you may have more filling than will fit into your pie pan - just fill it up as far as you can). Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until set. Cool completely at room temperature (at least 4 hours) before slicing into the pie. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Found on Food Gawker, here.

Corn and Chicken Chowder

When I saw the picture of this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  I love soups (especially this time of year) and  this chowder sounded absolutely satisfying.  This is another great use of leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.  You could also cook chicken breasts in a crock pot with chicken broth for 1 1/2- 2 hours on high, then cube.  The bacon in the recipe is also a plus for my husband.  I'm going to bring the leftovers to my sister and my new niece, since it makes great leftovers.  Delicious!  I hope you enjoy!


  • 6 ears of fresh corn, husked and silks removed (or 1-30 ounce can corn and 1-15 ounce can cream corn)
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 scallions
  • 3 medium potatoes (I use Idaho potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 small can (4 ounces, I believe) chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • handful of grated cheddar, for garnish
  1. In a large stock pot, fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove from the pan, leaving the drippings, and set aside.
  2. Peel and chop the potatoes into bite sized chunks. Slice the scallions very thin and separate the greens from the whites.
  3. Place the potatoes and white scallion pieces into the stock pot and cook over medium heat until the scallions have softened, 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
  5. Pour in the milk, chicken stock, Old Bay, thyme, parsley, cayenne, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add corn (If using fresh corn, cut from the cob with a sharp knife. Use the back of your knife to release the pulp from the cob.), chicken, and green chiles. Cook over low heat until heated through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with scallion greens, bacon, and cheddar cheese.
Recipe from here.

Chicken Pot Pie Crumble

Who doesn't love fall? The weather, the colors, the football games, and the food just make my heart happy.  Fall always brings out the best comfort foods like this recipe's version of the classic chicken pot pie.  I love how the topping was made from a homemade dough that was pre-baked as little crumbles.  I found this recipe from Food Gawker, here.  Delicious!  Excellent leftovers, too.  I hope you enjoy your holiday season!

20 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 large)
1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup peeled and diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)
3/4 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)
3/4 cup finely diced yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2/3 cup frozen peas
3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme

For the crumble:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder (use 1/2 tsp for a slightly stronger garlic flavor)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup butter, cold and diced into small cubes
2 oz. finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup packed)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream

Directions:
Place chicken in a slow cooker, pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover with lid and cook on low heat about 5 - 6 hours until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from slow cooker, dice and set aside. Strain broth from slow cooker through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and reserve broth (if you don't have a fine mesh strainer just try to remove the pieces of fat). 
To prepare crumble: Preheat oven to 450 degree. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and optional cayenne pepper. Using your finger tips, cut butter into mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Pour in heavy cream and mix just until combine. Break and drop mixture into 1 - 2-inch pieces onto a Silpat lined baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
To prepare filling: Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add diced carrots, onion and celery. Saute vegetables, stirring occasionally until lightly golden and tender, about 5 - 6 minutes. Pour vegetables into a bowl and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, melt butter in saucepan (I like to brown it a bit for and extra layer of flavor), then add in flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 20 seconds (it will be very thick). While stirring, slowly add in milk followed by reserved chicken broth, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil,  then slightly reduce heat and allow to cook about 1 minute longer until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove sauce from heat and add sauteed vegetables, frozen peas and diced chicken to sauce, then toss to evenly coat. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and sprinkle with baked crumble topping (mine fit perfectly in my pie dish but if yours is coming close to the top edge you may want to sit it on top of a cookie sheet to prevent spills in your oven). Bake in 400 degree oven until nicely golden about 12 - 14 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas

I couldn't go too many dishes without a Tex-Mex recipe, so I thought I'd try my hand at flautas.  This is yet another great recipe to use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken (money saver!).  In hindsight, I probably should have used fresh spinach rather than frozen, but it still came out delicious.  I hope you enjoy!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing tortillas
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp finely diced jalapeƱo; leave seeds in if more heat is desired
  • 2 tsp ground chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby or flat leaf spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas. Larger tortillas can be used but for best results, cut in half and start rolling from cut-side
  • 1. Preheat oven to 425.  Lightly grease a rimmed pan with olive oil and set aside. Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, oil and jalapeno and cook, stirring often until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and garlic powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add water and chicken and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, add spinach, toss gently and let sit briefly as spinach wilts. Stir in cheese, sour cream, cilantro and lime juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel or clean kitchen towel and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Working with one tortilla at a time, lay tortilla on a clean work surface and place 3-tablespoons of chicken mixture in bottom third of the tortilla; roll up tightly. Place seam-side down on prepared sheet pan and repeat with remaining tortillas, spacing evenly on the sheet pan. Lightly brush tops and sides of tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole, as a garnish, if desired

  • .
  • Slow Cooker Beef Chili


    It's chili season, and I am excited about the cooler temperatures here in Texas.  This is probably my favorite chili yet.  It's just the right texture for my taste and who doesn't love avocados?  I also enjoyed this with Frito's.  Too much goodness in one dish.  I hope you enjoy!

    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 3/4 cup diced onion
    • 3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 2 (15.5 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
    • 1 (15.5 oz) can great northern beans, undrained
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until mostly browned. Add in the onion and bell pepper and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the beef mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook on low for at least 4 hours (but it can be cooked all day long).

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Oven Roasted Okra

    So, I saw this pinned on Pinterest and thought it looked really delicious and simple.  Not sure why I never thought of roasting okra.  The pinner did say it'd be crispy like fried okra, which mine wasn't, but my husband and I still loved it regardless.  I cooked mine for about 20 minutes.  I hope you enjoy!

    Simply toss 1 container (about 1 lb) fresh okra with the stems cut off with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-25 minutes.

    Pumpkin Bundt Bread



    Yes!  It's my favorite time of year!  Now if only the weather would cool down a little, we'd be in business.  But I'm still making it feel like fall in the kitchen with this delicious pumpkin bundt bread.  I'm only calling it bundt bread because I made it in a bundt pan.  You can make it in two loaf pans or cupcake tins if you'd like.  I actually made my own pumpkin puree since I had two small pumpkins handy.  I had done this only once before (see post here) and it was relatively simple.  There are other ways to puree a pumpkin besides steaming it, but steaming it is easier for me.  It definitely makes you feel more domestic and crafty when you go from a pumpkin to a pumpkin bread.  Well, enough said, this bread is delicious, especially warmed with butter. I hope you enjoy!

    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
    • 2 1/2 cups sugar
    • 4 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1 cup canola oil
    • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree- or homemade pumpkin puree
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and lightly flour two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans or one 12 cup bundt pan.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Whisk together the sugar, eggs, and oil in separate bowl until well blended.  Stir in the pumpkin, water and vanilla and mix well.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are moist.  Do not over mix.  Pour the batter evenly in the pan and bake about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf pan (or bundt pan) comes out clean.  (Mine took about 45 minutes).  If making muffins, bake for only about 15 minutes.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan(s).

    Chicken Tetrazzini

    Thanks Martha Stewart for a really simple and delicious one-pot meal.  It's great for using a rotisserie or leftover chicken.  I cut the recipe, below, in half since it's just me and Tim.  I hope you enjoy!


    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 cups milk
    • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup dry white wine
    • 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (I used about half that to save the calories)
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    • 1 pound linguine, broken in half
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
    • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed and drained

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta). In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
    2. Make sauce: In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and add 2 cups Parmesan and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente; drain and return to pot. Add sauce, chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. Divide between two shallow 2-quart baking dishes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Freeze (see below) or bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

    Yum!  When I saw this recipe, I knew it was for me!  Apples, oatmeal, butter, cinnamon= yes please!  I love  soft cookies, and these are fantastic.  There's a really good picture-by-picture tutorial on the blog that I got the recipe from.  What a fun way to use apples in a cookie.  I hope you enjoy!


    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
    • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup peeled, diced apple {I used a fuji}

    For the frosting:
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon milk {approximately}
    • cinnamon, for garnish if desired

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.
    In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla. Slowly incorporate all dry ingredients. Stir in oats and apples. Scoop onto prepared sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden.
    While cookies are baking, place 1/4 cup butter into small saucepan. With heat on medium, melt and brown the butter. Once the butter is a medium brown/amber color remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Stir in powdered sugar and enough milk to get a spreadable consistency.
    Frost warm cookies and sprinkle with more cinnamon, if desired. Serve.

    Creamy Country Chicken with Vegetables

    I hope I'm convincing you that slow cooker meals can be delicious, and are a perfect compliment to the busy lifestyle.  They also make great meals for having guests over, like I did last night.  I cut this recipe in half and it seemed to work out just fine (the full version is listed below).  It also made great leftovers tonight.  I hope you enjoy!

    Makes 8 servings
    • 4 whole bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 1/4 pounds), halved
    • 3 cups cubed potatoes (about 1 pound)
    • 3 cups baby carrots (about 1 pound)
    • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
    • 2 packages McCormick (or similar) Chicken Gravy Mix
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp thyme leaves
    • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning or ground sage
    • 1 cup sour cream
    1. Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in slow cooker.  
    2. Top with chicken, overlapping slightly.
    3. Mix gravy mixes, water, salt, thyme, and poultry seasoning in small bowl.  Pour over chicken and vegetables.  Cover.
    4. Cook eight hours on LOW or four hours on HIGH until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.  Do not remove cover while cooking.
    5. Place chicken and vegetables in serving dish.  Stir sour cream into drippings in slow cooker with a wire whisk.  Pour over chicken and vegetables.

    Found on Pinterest! 


    Banana Cake


    Instead of the traditional banana bread, I opted to use my leftover bananas for this delicious cake.  This recipe is from my sister's college roommate, and ever since I first had it, I've been craving that buttery, brown sugar crust.  (I'm a sucker for butter and brown sugar!).  I think I over baked mine by a minute or two, so make sure you're checking it with a toothpick.  But, my co-workers loved it!  I hope you enjoy.

    Banana Cake
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cups Crisco (shortening)
    • 1 egg
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 4 Tbsp. buttermilk or 4 Tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 3 very ripe bananas
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup brown sugar packed
    • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (melted)
    Mix sugar, shortening, egg, flour, vanilla, baking soda, buttermilk, smashed bananas, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Spray a 9"x13" baking dish and pour in mixture.
    Mix brown sugar and melted butter. Pour this on top of cake mixture. Don't worry if it is really thick and you have to spread it on top.
    Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and the cake is still moist but not liquid. 

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    Airplane Baby Shower

    So, for my sister's baby shower, I went with an airplane theme since my sister is an aerospace engineer and flies airplanes, it was an obvious choice.  However, creating a baby girl themed baby shower was a little challenging.  All-in-all it turned out great with a little help from Pinterest and my favorite fabric store.  


    I really loved how the airplane onesie craft turned out!  I traced the airplane design onto one side of Heat Bond n' Lite iron-on permanent bond paper.  I then cut out the airplanes (roughly) and ironed that onto the wrong side of the fabric.  I then trimmed out the airplane shape.  At the shower, the guests would peel off the paper backing, stick their design where they desired, and iron on the design for a permanent hold.  I also used printable onesie lablels (Free printable here) for the guests to iron on.



                                                   
    The mom-to-be and our goddaughter


    I made my first diaper wreath using a wooden wreath frame found at Hobby Lobby.  I wrapped newborn baby diapers all the way around, tying them with alternating pink and baby pink ribbon.  I added the "Mommy's co-pilot" and "Future Pilot" tee and bib to continue with the theme.


    We served spinach and artichoke dip (recipe on my blog), fruit salad, veggies and dip, chicken salad and ham salad sandwiches, Chex mix, airplane-shaped sugar cookies, and of course, cake!

    It was a wonderful afternoon- now if only my niece would get here soon!


    Maternity Hospital Gown


    So, some of the reason for my lack of trying new recipes recently is my lack of a kitchen table which has been converted to my sewing table.  With my niece on her way, I decided to make a maternity gown for my sister for her stay in the hospital.  I followed the tutorial by Bella Bama, here, found through Pinterest.  It was really fun and easy to make with lots of room for creativity if you want to add ruffles, bows etc.  Sorry I didn't take step-by-step pictures, but if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

    Pork Carnitas with Pico de Gallo


    It's been awhile since I've cooked a new recipe.  But, no worries, I have been cooking a lot of my blog favorites.  I always crave Mexican food especially juicy, carnitas, yum!  Slow cooking the pork is so convenient, and the pico de gallo is really easy to throw together if you already some of the ingredients on hand.  I cut the recipe in half since it is just me and Tim, but feel free to make the whole recipe for a group.  I hope you enjoy!

    • 5-6 lb pork shoulder or butt roast
    • 3 cups of orange juice, or 3 large oranges, juiced
    • 2 limes, zest and juice
    • salt and pepper
    Pico de gallo:
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
    • 1/2 white onion, chopped
    • 1-3 jalapenos, unseeded and chopped, depending on your taste
    • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
    • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
    • lime juice
    • avocado, chopped (optional)
    • salt & pepper
    For the pork, season with salt and pepper, then rub the lime zest all over.  Place in slow cooker and cover with orange juice and lime juice.  Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 5-6.  Pull pork out of slow cooker and shred with two forks.  Serve warm with corn or flour tortillas and desired toppings.

    Meanwhile, for pico de gallo, place tomatoes, onion, jalapenos  garlic and cilantro in food processor and pulse together, or chop all by hand and toss together.  Sprinkle with lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add avocado last or serve on the side.  


    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Slow Cooker Pot Roast


    I used to hate pot roast as a child, but I think only because I would smell it all day to the point that I was no longer hungry.  Today, it is one of my comfort foods, and I don't have to smell it all day while I'm at work.  Surprisingly I haven't cooked a pot roast (or at least blogged it) in the slow cooker until tonight.  I read a lot of reviews on different recipes and created this recipe from a lot of different opinions.  It was really delicious, and so convenient!  I hope you enjoy!

    • 4 lb boneless chuck roast
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp black pepper
    • 1 tbsp salt
    • 6 small red potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • small bag of baby carrots
    • medium sized white onion, chopped
    • 1 cup beef stock
    • 1 package Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
    • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    Mix together paprika, pepper, and salt and rub over roast brought to room temperature.  Heat large pan over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil.  Brown roast on all four sides (approximately 4 minutes per side).  Meanwhile, chop and peel potatoes and chop onion.  Place chuck roast in large slow cooker and cover with potatoes, onion, and carrots.  Refrigerate over night at this point if you're cooking it tomorrow.  Otherwise, cover with beef stock, soup mix, and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook on LOW 8-10 hours or HIGH for 5 hours.  Remove roast and veggies.  Add about 2 tbsp flour to liquid mixture and whisk until thickened.  Serve warm with a green salad and bread rolls.




    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Minestrone

    I know it's still 105 degrees outside, but inside I'm creating the smells and images of fall with this classic Italian soup.  I got inspired after I had Olive Garden's soup, salad, & bread sticks the other day.  This recipe was delicious, as I'm sure there are many other great ones out there.  I hope you enjoy!
    • 1 lb. kielbasa sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 bell peppers, diced
    • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 4 stalks of celery, diced 
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, Italian style or regular, and their juice
    • 1 quart chicken broth or stock
    • 1 14.5 oz can Great Northern or canellini beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • 1-2 Tbsp fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dry)
    • 1 1/2 cups dry medium-sized pasta
    • olive oil, salt & pepper
    In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, brown sausage in a small drizzle of olive oil.  Remove sausage and set aside.
    Add onion, bell peppers, carrots, and celery to pot, stirring to scrape down any brown bits.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat until veggies are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic to pot and cook 1 minute more.  Return sausage to soup pot.
    Using your hands, break up or crush tomatoes into the soup pot.  Add tomato juices and the chicken broth.  Stir in beans, oregano, and basil.  Cover and bring to simmer over medium heat.  Simmer about 20 minutes.
    Meanwhile, while soup is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions in a separate pot.  Cook until al dente.  Drain and add to soup.  Stir to combine and add 1-2 cups of additional water if necessary or if more broth is desired.



    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Pool-side Dip

    Another crowd-pleasing dip.  I made this for a pool party a few weeks ago, and it was a huge hit.  Mix together and serve with Wheat Thins!  Thanks for the idea, Melissa.  I hope you enjoy!


    • 1 red pepper, chopped
    • 2 jalapenos, unseeded
    • 1 can of corn, drained
    • 1/2 can of diced olives
    • 16 oz (2 bars) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip seasoning mix

    Spinach Artichoke Dip

    Unfortunately no picture of this dip, but just trust me, it's delicious.  Disclaimer: it's definitely not healthy, but a treat every once in awhile before a nice meal.  I hope you enjoy!

    • 2 cups Parmesan cheese
    • 1 (10 oz) box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
    • 1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together Parmesan cheese, spinach and artichoke hearts.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix with spinach mixture.  Bake in a shallow, greased dish for 20-30 minutes.  Serve with crackers or toasted bread.

    Salisbury Steak

    I've never tried Salisbury steak, and a picture from Martha Stewart's Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy recipe sold me.  It was delicious!  I hope to make other variants of this recipe in the future.  Hope you enjoy!



    • 1/4 cup safflower oil (I used regular canola)
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
    • 2 slices white bread
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 2 pounds ground sirloin
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 1/4 teaspoons)
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 2 teaspoons plus a dash of Worcestershire sauce
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, plus 1/4 cup for dusting
    • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
    Directions
    1. Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 cup onion. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 35 minutes. Set aside.
    2. Soak bread in milk, flipping once. Finely chop. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup onions, the sirloin, garlic cloves, bread, egg, parsley, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix with your hands to combine. Divide meat mixture into 6 oblong patties (about 5 inches long and 3/4 inch thick). Dust with cornstarch.
    3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining oil, and reduce heat to medium. Cook patties, 3 at a time, for 6 minutes, without moving them. Flip, and cook until cooked through, about 9 minutes. Set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining patties.
    4. Make the gravy: Add cooked onions and 1 teaspoon cornstarch to same skillet, and stir for 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high. Pour in broth and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and whisk until broth is clear and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and return patties and juices to skillet, spooning sauce on top.

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Asian Marinated Chicken

    Very simple recipe that makes a delicious, moist chicken.  I broiled the chicken instead of grilling it only to save time of heating the charcoal grill, but feel free to make this recipe you're own.  I hope you enjoy!


    • 4 chicken breast halves
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 4 tsp sesame oil
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 3 slices fresh ginger, chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
    Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, ginger, and garlic in a shallow bowl.  Place chicken in mixture and set aside for approximately 15 minutes.  To broil, preheat oven to broil and place chicken on broiler pan.  Broil for 5 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through.  Grill accordingly.

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Pecan-Crusted Chicken

    The beautiful Mrs. Mallory at her wedding this weekend.

    We had the honor of attending my good friend Kati's wedding this weekend in Little Rock.  Not only was the wedding beautiful, but the food was especially delicious.  I also forgot how much Tim loves pecan crusted chicken.  So in honor of Kati's wedding meal, I decided to try a sweeter version of pecan crusted chicken.  It was delicious, and I hope you enjoy!

    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2"
    • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    • salt & pepper
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.  Mix mayonnaise and syrup in a shallow bowl until will mixed.  Combine Panko and pecans in another shallow bowl.  Dip chicken in syrup mixture and then dredge in Panko and pecans until well covered.  Place on foil covered baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Spray tops of chicken with cooking spray to prevent burning.  Bake 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Verdes

    It's no secret that I love Mexican food.  I'm pretty sure I can eat it everyday of the week, nonstop, and never get tired of it.  Here's an easy weeknight meal when you're short on time.  Plus, the WORLD'S MOST HELPFUL HINT: You can shred chicken in your stand mixer!!  I'm not kidding- it shredded my chicken in less than 15 seconds.  I'm never two-forking it again.  Delicious and foolproof; I hope you enjoy!


    • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 (16 oz.) jar of salsa verde
    • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies ( I used jalapenos)
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • shredded cheese
    • guacamole
    • pico de gallo or fresh salsa
    • tortilla shells
    1. Place chicken in the bowl of a slow cooker. Top chicken with the diced green chiles, cumin, onion and garlic. The pour the salsa over the chicken.
    2. Cover and cook on low  for 8 hours.
    3. Remove chicken from pot and shredded.  Mix in enough of the juice leftover in the slow cooker to make the meat moist.
    4. Spoon chicken into tortillas and top with shredded cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo.

    What I've Been Up To...


    So, summer is just flying by with multiple weekend trips, my husband's birthday, my birthday, anniversary, VACATION!, work busyness, studying for my upcoming exam and my sister's upcoming baby shower.  Whew!  Needless to say, my kitchen hasn't put out that many new meals lately.  But, I thought I'd share with you my kitchen's latest creation since I've converted my kitchen table to a sewing/studying table.  I found the idea for these cute burp clothes on Pinterest and thought they'd be great for my cousin's new baby, Charlie.  Charlie's mom, Natalie, has always liked monkeys, so I thought they'd be cute for her new "little monkey."  I like how they're contoured as to not bunch up around your neck.  I hope you enjoy!

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Mexican Stuffed Peppers

    I used leftover rotisserie chicken to make this simple stuffed bell pepper dish.  I hope you enjoy!
    • 6 large bell peppers ( you can use any color you'd like I stuck with red and green)  
    • 1 cup cooked brown rice
    • 1 16 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
    • 1 can of Rotel
    • 1 lime juiced 
    • 2 large cooked diced or shredded chicken breasts 
    • 1 cup of corn
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese 
    • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
    • 1 tbs of  your favorite taco seasoning ( I used Mystic Blue Spice's  Chipotle Taco seasoning)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 jalapeno pepper sliced
    • sliced scallions for garnish 

    Preheat oven to 350.

    Core your peppers with a paring knife remove just the tops, seeds, and any white pulpy stuff. 

    Place cored peppers into a large baking dish.

    In a large mixing bowl combine, rice, beans, Rotel, lime juice, chicken, corn, cheddar cheese, taco seasoning, and salt.

    Stuff each pepper with your filling.

    Top with Monterrey jack cheese and jalapeno slices.

    Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is bubbly.

    Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before enjoying!


    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Chicken Posole

    Mmm...the joys of a good chicken posole.  This one is delicious!  I'm going to be blunt and say it might be my best soup I've ever made.  Thank you to Cooking Classy for this fabulous recipe and recipe tips.  I definitely will be using fresh tomatoes for every soup recipe in the future.  I hope you enjoy!

    Ingredients:
    2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and shredded*
    1.25 lb Roma tomatoes (about 5)
    1/2 large yellow onion
    2 green onions
    3 cloves garlic
    1-5 jalapenos, to taste**
    1/3 cup cilantro 
    6 cups chicken broth (you can add an additional 2 cups if desired)
    1 Tbsp chili powder
    1 1/2 tsp sugar
    1 tsp cumin
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1 (29 oz) can Mexican Style hominy (don't drain)

    Serve with:
    lime wedges
    shredded Monterrey or Cheddar cheese
    sour cream
    chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
    diced avocados
    tortilla chips

    Directions:
    Dice tomtatoes, yellow onion, green onions, garlic and jalepenos into chunks then toss into food processor along with 1/3 cup cilantro. Pulse until everything is chopped into very small pieces (you may need to do this in batches depending on how much your food processor can fit, alternately you can chop these all up by hand). Pour mixture into a large saucepan, add in chicken broth, chili powder, sugar, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes (or up to 1 hour). Add in hominy and grilled, shredded chicken and cook a few minutes until heated through.  Top with grated cheese, diced avocados, sour cream, optional cilantro and serve warm with tortilla chips.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    Bacon and Scallop Fettuccine Alfredo

    Delicious!  This is a very simple and elegant weeknight meal that is sure to please.  You can make this in under 20 minutes which is a plus for weeknights like mine.  If you don't like scallops i'm sure you can try this with shrimp or even chicken.  Jarred pasta sauce is a time saver, but homemade sauce would probably be better in my opinion.  I hope you enjoy!

    • 1 cup bay scallops
    • 4 slices of bacon
    • 1 crushed garlic clove
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • 1 cup Alfredo sauce
    • fettuccine pasta
    • salt and pepper
    Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta to desired tenderness.  Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crisp. Do not discard the bacon grease! Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper and add them to the pan with the bacon drippings. Sear them until they are a light brown color then remove them from the pan.
    Add the garlic, wine, and Alfredo sauce to the same pan. Cook for about 2 minutes. Return the scallops to the pan and crumble bacon over them. Continue cooking for 2 more minutes.
    Toss the fettuccine with the scallops and sauce.

    Original recipe here