Sunday, December 26, 2010

#113 :: Blueberry Pie

I'm not sure where I found this recipe several years ago, but it's been a favorite of mine since the first time I made it. It's now a staple at all my holiday meals! My granny made great chocolate pies, my mom makes great apple pies, and now I'm continuing the tradition with blueberry!

  • 3 pints of blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c all purpose flour (for thickening)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pats of butter to dot the top

Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Pie Crust:
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Pie Crust Directions:

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients. Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

Blueberry Filling Directions:

Combine blueberries, lemon juice, flour, sugar and cinnamon and stir gently until blueberries are coated. Place in the bottom crust of the pie pan. Dot the top with the butter pieces. Place the top crust on and cut small slits around the middle, then crimp the edges. Transfer pie to the refrigerator to chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425.

Baking Directions:

Brush egg wash over the top crust. Place the pie on a cookie or baking sheet (some juices may bubble over, and this keeps your oven clean). Bake for 20 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes or until juices are bubbling. Let cool before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#112 :: Cornbread Stuffed Crown Roast of Pork

Hello again! The end of the year got awfully busy for me, so I got out of the habit of coooking at home. However, the holidays are all about cooking a nice big dinner so I finally have new recipes to share! :) One of my New Year's resolutions is to get back to cooking at home more, so this blog will become active again soon!


Pork Roast:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (5-pound) crown of pork, rib ends frenched


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups crumbled cornbread
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Paula Deen's Hot Sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


For the pork roast: In a blender, puree the oil, garlic, and sage until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Rub the mixture over the pork roast, making sure to cover the areas between the chops. Transfer the pork to a roasting pan and cover it with foil. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Turn the roast upside down (rib bones down) in the roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and roast until an instant-read thermometer reads 155 degrees F when inserted 2 inches into the center of the meat, about 1 1/2 hours more.

For the stuffing: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green pepper, onion, celery, and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with the crumbled cornbread. Add the eggs, broth, rosemary, cilantro, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Slowly stir in more broth, if needed, until the stuffing is moistened. Press the stuffing into a 2-quart casserole.

Thirty minutes before removing the roast, place the stuffing in the oven. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.

When the roast is done, remove it from the oven, tent with foil, and let stand for at least 15 minutes. When the stuffing is done, mound half of it on a serving platter. Flip the roast upright on top of the stuffing. Fill the center of the roast with the remaining stuffing. Slice at the table.

Makes 6-8 Servings

Recipe from Paula's Best Dishes on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Still cookin'......

We've been cooking quite a bit lately, even though I haven't posted a new recipe to the blog. I've been making some things we've made before, plus doing a few cooking experiments on my own. There are so many good recipes that we've added to this blog, that sometimes I just want to go back and eat them again! So that's pretty much what we did this week...we had the Stuffed Poblano Peppers again, and the Memphis Dry Rub Ribs, mmm....and a few things we just whipped up on our own.

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos : We browned some chorizo and incorporated it into an omelet. We added some cheese, sour cream, and leftover Avocado Aioli, then wrapped it up in a corn tortilla that was warmed over the gas burner on the stove. I LOVE breakfast tacos!

Salmon and Acorn Squash on the Grill : I seasoned everything with salt, pepper & olive oil and just grilled it, and added a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice added to the salmon. I also threw in some black eyed peas for good measure. :)

Seasoned Pork Chops and Grilled Asparagus : Another quick fix meal made entirely on the grill. I seasoned the pork chops with salt & pepper, chili powder and a small amount of cayenne pepper for some spice. Onto the grill it went, along with the asparagus. When it was done, I added some butter and parmesan to the asparagus.

I'm planning out my list for next week and doing some new recipes, so get ready! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation Food

I haven't posted in a while because we've been on vacation for the past week. I had hoped to do more cooking while on vacation, but mostly we ate out.

We stopped at Ra Sushi Bar in Plano and had some amazing sushi and fried shrimp. It was so good it's going to have to become one of my regular stops when I visit Dallas.

We also ate at Gator's, a cajun style restaurant in the West End of downtown Dallas. We had fried pickles for our appetizer, and a fried gator and catfish platter. I can't go to Texas without having some gator!!

We also ate at Pancho's (a Mexican buffet), Primo's (a Tex-Mex restaurant), Wing Stop (the best wings ever, Hawaiian BBQ!) and Jack-In-The-Box, my favorite fast food of all time! my fridge is full of groceries again, and I'm planning this week's meals. Vacation is over, back to the real world where I have to cook my own meals!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

#111 :: Chicken Stiir Fry with Green Beans

Change of pace! We had a little bit of Asian flair this week. Plus, this gave me a chance to use up some of the veggies in the fridge that wouldn't keep while we're on vacation (we leave in 3 days -- excited!!). Even though the recipe only called for green beans, I threw in a carrot, a green pepper and a red pepper.


  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, very thinly sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon Asian spice blend
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced (*our addition)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced (*our addition)
  • 1 carrot, stem ends trimmed, cut into 3-inch lengths (*our addition)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (*I don't have this, so I used teriyaki sauce instead)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish


In a bowl, combine the chicken, 4 1/2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, and Asian spice blend. Toss to coat and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large wok or saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the chicken and stirring constantly, cook until brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans (and veggies) and stir-fry until wrinkled, stirring, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds. Add the remaining 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce and red pepper flakes. Stir to coat, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and serve immediately, over white or basmati rice. Garnish with green onions.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Emeril Live on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 12, 2010

#110 :: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This had a good flavor, but it wasn't the pineapple upside down cake I imagined when I started baking it. It turned out more like shortcake. It didn't rise and it was very dense. Plus, my springform pan wasn't closed tightly and half of the brown sugar leaked out while baking, so I didn't get that dark brown topping like it should have. It was good (obviously, because we ate it ALL), but it's definitely a different kind of pineapple upside down cake.



  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 6 slices pineapple or 1 can (20 ounces) can of drained pineapple chunks
  • maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (*I used 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup pineapple juice)


In a 9-inch square cake pan, melt butter; sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange pineapple and cherries on sugar, making a design.

Make cake batter: Cream 1/2 cup butter; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk; beat until smooth, ending with dry ingredients. Pour over pineapple design. Bake at 375° for about 35 minutes. Let cake cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 6-8 slices

Recipe from SouthernFood.About.Com

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

#109 :: Gold Medal Chicken Fajitas

When I say I could eat Mexican food every day, that is the absolute truth! Now that I'm learning how to cook Mexican food, we're really in for it! I added a few ingredients to this (which I've noted below) and I changed the cooking method of the peppers (also noted below).

In learning about Mexican food and how to cook it, I've found that you get the best flavor out of most peppers when they're charred instead of sauteed in a skillet. You can char them directly over the fire on your gas stove top, or you can char them in the broiler. Make sure they get black and blistered on all sides, then put them into a large freezer bag. Seal it closed for 15 minutes. This lets the peppers steam and their skins will peel off easier. When they're done steaming, chop off the top with the stem, remove the veins and seeds, and remove any charred skin. When you're done, what you have left is just the soft roasted peppers that are packed with flavor!


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (*I just smashed a clove and included it in the marinade so I wouldn't have little minced pieces of garlic in the fajitas)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (*we added this in)
  • Dash hot sauce (*we substituted hot sauce for 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds meat (boneless, skinless chicken breast, skirt steak or peeled and deveined shrimp)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 poblano peppers (*we added this in)
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 lime, juiced, for topping
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • Salsa, for topping
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, un-cooked, seeded and diced (*we added this in)
  • Guacamole, for topping (*we used sliced avocados instead)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping (*we used Monterrey Jack instead)


In a heavy duty resealable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, hot sauce (or cayenne), salt, pepper and your choice of meat. Seal and toss the bag around to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator.

*Cook's Note: 15 minutes for shrimp, 20 minutes for chicken and 1 hour for skirt steak.

Preheat your cast iron servers in a preheated 400 degree F oven for at least 20 minutes, to get a good sizzle when you plate the fajitas.

Char the peppers (instructions above). Once charred, peeled and de-veined, slice the peppers into strips.

Heat the outside grill or a large indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the hot grill, discard the marinade. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, skirt steak about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare and about 2 minutes for shrimp. Slice the chicken and steak into strips if you are using.

In a large skillet heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the onions until caramelized. When done, turn off the heat and add the sliced peppers in with the onions to keep warm.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven with the servers for 15 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, remove the cast iron servers from the oven and quickly arrange the meat and peppers and onions on it. It will immediately start to sizzle from their fat and moisture. Serve sizzling immediately with the warm tortillas and other accompaniments.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe from Paula's Party on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#108 :: Baked Tilapia

This is a good, quick fix (only 12 minutes!) when you want something light and healthy! We had brown rice on the side. A little plain, even though the fish has good flavor....but perfect when you need dinner PDQ and are avoiding the fast food like we are!


  • Butter cooking spray
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large cast iron pan with a nonstick butter spray.

Rinse fish and pat dry; place on the prepared baking sheet. Season each fillet with salt, cracked pepper, lime zest and lime juice. Add fish to the pan. Place a pat of butter on each fillet and cook in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Paula's Best Dishes on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, July 3, 2010

#107 :: Red Potato Salad with Bacon

This is another recipe that I created myself. I looked at so many potato salad recipes, and none of them had everything I was looking for. So again, I chose the things I wanted and created my own. It turned out like a cross between a southern potato salad and a German potato salad.....and it was very good!


  • 6 cups cubed red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 2 ounces bacon (2 or 3 strips)
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color, we used green)
  • 1 ear of grilled sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup minced sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground pepper


Put the potatoes in a large pot; add water just to cover and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels and finely chop. Add the bacon back to the pan with the onion and cook until the onion is soft. (You can omit this step if you like crunchy raw onions instead - I don't!)

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and bell pepper. Toss in the onions and bacon. Cut the grilled corn off the cob and add the kernels to the potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate or serve at room temperature.

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe from Amy

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

#106 :: Memphis Dry Rub Ribs

Jamie works tomorrow, so we had our 4th of July celebration today. We made ribs, Red Potato Salad with Bacon and grilled corn, and as soon as it gets dark we're heading out to see some fireworks. What a delicious meal for the 4th of July! At first I was looking to make a BBQ sauce, but we didn't have any molasses or brown sugar (and several other several key ingredients) so I went for a dry rub instead. Jamie actually said these were the best ribs he ever ate!


  • 2 1/2 pounds pork ribs

For the Rub:

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (*we chose to add this, it wasn't in the original recipe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt (*we chose to add this, it wasn't in the original recipe)
  • 25 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat over to 300 degrees F.

Mix the rub ingredients together well in a small bowl.

Remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs, then rub the vegetable oil onto the ribs. Pour the rub over the ribs and work the rub fully and evenly into the ribs. Spread the ribs out evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake until tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Makes about 13-15 ribs

Recipe from Good Deal with Dave Lieberman on Food Network

Star Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#105 :: Steak & Chicken Fajitas with Poblano Peppers

Tonight was experimental dinner night! I'm beginning to try my hand at selecting my own spices and ingredients, rather than follow a recipe. I'm sure it will end up in disaster eventually, but tonight it was perfect! I read so many recipes about what to marinate fajita meat in, and I didn't like any one in particular. So, I chose my own ingredients that I knew I liked and created my own marinade. The steak was amazing! The chicken was good, but I think it needed to marinate longer to pickup more of the flavors. I let them all marinate for about 2 hours.


For Fajitas:

1 lb. flank steak
2 small chicken breasts
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Poblano Pepper
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
1 Tbsp. Oil
Sour Cream
Quesadilla Cheese, grated

For Marinade:

Make your marinade in two separate freezer bags. In each bag, add:

1 garlic clove, smashed
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. Oil (Olive, Vegetable, your choice...)
1 Tbsp. Coarsely Chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste


Mix marinade ingredients in two freezer bags. Add the chicken to one and the steak to the other. Let them marinate for at least one hour.

Using tongs, broil (or roast over an open flame) all of the peppers until charred on all sides. Seal the peppers in a ziploc bag for about 15 minutes so they can steam and soften the skin. Remove the charred skin, using a paper towel if necessary. Remove the veins and seeds, then slice into strips. Slice the onion into strips as well. Remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeno and dice.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a pan. When hot, add the onions and peppers. Cook until the onions are caramelized and remove from heat.

Remove the chicken and steak from the marinade and grill them. The steak only takes a few minutes on each side, and the chicken should take a few minutes longer on each side than the steak. Our steak took 5 minutes, the chicken took 15. Let the meat sit for a few minutes before slicing into fajita strips.

Pile your meat, peppers & onions, jalapeno, sour cream and cheese into a flour tortilla. Roll it up and enjoy.

Makes 2-3 servings

Recipe from Amy :)

Star Rating: -- Steak: 5 out of 5 stars -- Chicken: 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, June 28, 2010

#104 :: Mexi-Burgers

This was just a "throw it all together and throw it on the grill" recipe. We had some red bell peppers and onions, plus some leftover Avocado Aioli from another meal, so we decided to create some Mexi-Burgers. They were definitely good... and no recipe was required!


1/2 lb. hamburger beef
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced (small)
1/2 small yellow onion, diced (small)
Salt, Pepper & Chili Powder to season
Quesadilla Cheese
Lettuce and Tomato Slices
Avocado Aioli


Saute the diced red bell pepper and onion just until the onions are translucent. Allow them to cool. Season the beef patties with salt, pepper and chili powder (to your own taste).

Add the peppers and onions to the beef and mix in with your hands. Separate the meat into two patties. Grill until done (8-10 minutes) or longer if you like yours well done.

Tip: Add the quesadilla cheese to the burger just a few minutes before it's done grilling, so it will begin to melt.

Makes 2 servings

Recipe by Amy :)

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, June 24, 2010

#103 :: Lime Cilantro Marinade

This was an O.K. marinade. We both agreed yesterday's was better, but this was good for a change from the regular plain grilled chicken breast. They didn't get to marinate as long as they did yesterday (today we left them in the marinade for an hour, yesterday was 3 hours) so that might have a little to do with it. The recipe mentions using the chicken for fajitas, which we didn't do but I think would make even better use of the flavor of this marinade. It would have been great for fajitas!


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive or other oil


Place the chicken in a shallow bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the chicken, turning the breasts to coat both sides. Let set about 30 minutes. Heat a grill to high heat. Grill the breasts until just cooked through, turning to brown both sides. (The amount of time depends on the thickness of the breasts and the heat of the grill.) Remove from grill, tent with foil, and let rest about 5 minutes before serving. If using in the fajitas, carve into thin slices.

Note: Breasts can also be cooked in a grill pan, skillet or under a hot broiler.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Teri's Kitchen

Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#102 :: Lemon Dijon Marinade

I noticed that we hadn't really done any marinades since we started this blog, so I decided to try some different varieties of marinades this week. This lemon Dijon marinade was the first, and Jamie loved it! He all but licked the plate clean when he was done! :) We served it with one of our new favorites, roasted broccoli.


  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup good olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on


In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Set aside.

Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour half the marinade over the chicken, reserving the other half to use later. Allow the chicken to marinade for at least two hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the oven and pour the remaining marinade over the top of the chicken. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Makes 2 servings

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#101 :: Mexican Rice

This rice was definitely good, but it just felt like it was missing a little something. I'm used to Mexican rice in Texas, and maybe they use a certain spice that's not in this recipe. I'm going to keep trying rice recipes until I find something that tastes like what I remember from home! But for now, this rice is good enough to serve with my Mexican meals!


  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 large finely diced carrot
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups medium-grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole serrano chile
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed


Cut the tomatoes in half, and remove the seeds. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups of broth to a blender and puree. Strain into a bowl and reserve the liquid. Add enough extra broth to make 4 cups of liquid.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute for 4 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and cook until slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato broth mixture, stir and bring to boil. Add the salt, bay leaf, and the serrano chile. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from heat. Scatter the peas over the top of the rice, cover, and let the rice stand 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#100 :: Mexican Shrimp Burgers with Avocado Aioli

Our 100th recipe! When I started this blog, I wasn't sure we'd make it this far!

I'm so glad the new season of Mexican Made Easy has started. I don't think I've ever made anything from this show on Food Network that I didn't like! These burgers were amazing, and putting them together was surprisingly easy. At first it seemed like a lot of ingredients, but the prep is easy; just toss everything in a food processor, shape into patties and toss on the grill. Done! Same for the avocado aioli; throw the ingredients in the food processor, give it a whiz, and you're done. Couldn't be easier!



  • 1 pound medium uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs, plus more as needed
  • 1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Avocado Aioli:

  • 1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, halved and seeded (we omitted the serrano)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 hamburger buns, split in half
  • 3 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 lettuce leaves or a mixture of baby lettuce leaves



In a food processor, combine the shrimp, egg, cilantro, garlic, 3/4 cup bread crumbs, poblano chile, salt, and pepper. Process until the mixture is a coarse puree. Form the mixture into 6 patties and set aside (if the mixture is too wet, add additional bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture can be molded easily).

Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Brush the patties with vegetable oil and grill until golden, about 3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.

Avocado Aioli:

Scoop the avocado pulp into the bowl of a food processor. Add the mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic cloves, serrano chile and cilantro. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To assemble:

Serve the shrimp burgers on buns, topped with a dollop of avocado aioli, sliced tomato, and lettuce.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, June 14, 2010

#99 :: Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca

Cool and refreshing...perfect for hot summer days!


  • 4 cups watermelon, seeded and cubed (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 24 mint leaves, divided
  • 8 tablespoons super-fine sugar (adjust if too sweet when using a naturally sweeter watermelon), divided
  • 4 very thin lime slices, halved into half moons, divided


Add the watermelon and the water to a blender, and puree until smooth. Divide the mint leaves, sugar and lime slices among 8 glasses and muddle the ingredients. Add ice to each glass and pour in the watermelon agua fresco. Stir and serve.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe from Mexican Made Easy on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

#98 :: Ginger Lime Soy Shrimp

I thought this marinade smelled kinda funny and wasn't sure if I would like it or not. Then when Jamie dropped them onto the grill, the smell turned heavenly! I wasn't really sure what to pair this shrimp with, since it had such a variety of interesting ingredients in the we decided to put it on top of a simple salad of Romain lettuce and feta cheese. It was light and wonderful!


  • 2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (we used 1/2 tsp of ground ginger)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, shells and tails on


Place shallots, ginger, garlic, soy, lime juice, and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the green onion and oil and blend until combined. Season with black pepper, to taste. Place shrimp in a large bowl, pour the marinade over, and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Preheat a grill to high. Remove shrimp from the marinade and grill for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Serve on brown paper bags, if desired.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe from Boy Meets Grill on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Easy Recipe Search Feature

I added a cool new feature to the blog! Now you can easily search through all of our recipes in 3 different ways!

- Search by ingredient
(ie, pork, beef, chicken, cayenne, thyme, heavy cream, carrots, lemon, etc.....)
This is great for situations like.....if you have some fresh Thyme from the garden and want a great recipe to use it in, browse the recipes under "thyme". If you have some heavy cream in the refrigerator that you want to use up before it turns, browse the "heavy cream" recipes. Look up any particular ingredient to see recipes that use it.

- Search by course
(ie, appetizer, side dishes, salads, soups, desserts, etc...)
If you're not committed to a certain ingredient, try browsing all of the "salads" for a starter course. Need a dessert to take to a dinner party? You can browse just the "dessert" recipes.

- Search by region
(ie, Mexican, Italian, Southern......more to come!)
Mexican, Italian and Southern are our favorites, so we have the most recipes posted in these categories so far. Before the year is out we hope to add Thai, Japanese, Chinese, German and Mediterranean, so check back for new search categories!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#97 :: Herb Tilapia with Green Beans

This is a one pan meal! It had the potential to be really good, but the crust didn't stick to my fish! Most of it ended up stuck to the bottom of the pan -- not burned, just stuck....and I'm not really sure why. It's said to cook over med/high heat (so I used medium), plenty of butter in the pan, followed the instructions to the letter.....all I can think is that the heat should have been higher so they spent less time in the pan. I got the perfect golden color I was looking for, it just wouldn't stick to the fish! Anyway, the important part is that the flavor was good, even if most of the fish had crumbled coatings. (Luckily we got one piece that turned out alright, so we were able to use it for the photo).


  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, plus more for garnish (we used 1 tsp. dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (we used 1 tsp. dried)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 6-ounce tilapia fillets
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound thin green beans or haricots verts
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (we skipped the tomatoes!)
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Combine the flour, oregano and parsley in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in the skillet, then add 2 fillets and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook through, 1 to 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 fillets.

Add the green beans and garlic to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes and cook until just softened, about 1 more minute. Stir in the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water, then cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter until just melted.

Divide the fish and vegetables among plates. Garnish with oregano.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, June 6, 2010

#96 :: Low Country Smothered Pork Chops

This recipe was just calling my name! It takes a while to prepare, so it's definitely not a meal to make when you have a busy night, but the time it takes is really worth it. The pork chops are fall apart tender, and there's a hint of a bite from the cayenne. I took advantage of the break in the rain to grill some sweet corn to go with the pork chops, and of course we had to have mashed potatoes as well. Perfect choice for a Sunday supper....


  • 4 center-cut pork chops, 1-inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spread on a plate
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, stemmed, cored, and membranes removed, cut into strips
  • 2 yellow onions, trimmed, cut lengthwise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce


Trim the excess fat from the chops and season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly roll the chops in flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the pan. Brown well, about 3 minutes per side, and remove them to a plate.

Add the bell peppers and onions, to the skillet, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about half a minute longer. Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet. Add chops to pan and place vegetables on top of pork chops. Pour in the broth and sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Cover pan with foil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until chops are tender.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Paula's Best Dishes on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, June 5, 2010

#95 :: Crispy Skinned Herb & Lemon Butter Chicken

I made this one up on my own! I'm so proud of myself! I surveyed the cabinets and the refrigerator, chose some ingredients, applied a cooking method I've learned, and voila! This is my first recipe creation, and it was GOOD!

  • 8 chicken leg quarters with skin on, patted dry
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied in a bundle
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parmesan (I sprinkled it over the chicken before serving)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lay out the chicken legs, pat them dry with a paper towel, and then season them with salt.

In a sauce pan over low heat, add butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Heat on low until butter is melted.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry once more, as the salt will bring out any additional moisture from the skin. Fry the chicken over medium heat, skin side down, for 7-10 minutes until skin is golden and crisp. Flip the chicken, cook the other side for about 2 minutes, and transfer the legs to a baking dish, skin side up.

Remove the thyme sprigs from the butter mixture, then pour over the chicken. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve.

Makes 8 legs / 4 servings

Recipe from ME! :)

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

#94 :: Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

This entire dinner cooked in just 30 minutes (Tilapia 7 minutes, Rice 10 minutes, Broccoli 30 minutes). The Parmesan sauce was extremely simple to whip up, and it was so good it melted in your mouth. Boil-In-A-Bag rice and roasted broccoli were just as fast and easy to prepare. Quick, easy, healthy and delicious.....the best kind of meal!


  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets


  1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

**Roasted Broccoli: Place broccoli florets on a baking pan, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle salt & pepper, and roast in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle Parmesan, and roast for another 10 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe from AllRecipes

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#93 :: Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

I made these for the Great American Bake Sale this past weekend and everyone loved them! They were all amazed at how it tasted just like the big pineapple upside down cake. It's really the same thing, just made in cupcake size instead of full size.


Fruit Topping

  • 1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Cupcake Batter

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice or milk
  • 1 egg


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease a nonstick muffin pan.

Drain the pineapple chunks, reserving 1/2 cup juice for the batter, if desired. Place the pineapple on a double layer of paper towels to drain completely.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and melted butter. Divide evenly among the muffin pan cups. Arrange the pineapple chunks decoratively on top of the sugar mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder. With an electric mixer, mix in the butter and pineapple juice, beating for 2 minutes to make a smooth batter. Beat in the egg.

Spoon the batter over the fruit in the muffin pan, filling each cup three quarters full. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then place a wire rack on top of the muffin pan and invert the cupcakes onto the rack so that pineapple is on top. Let cool completely.

Recipe from The Best Bake Sale Ever Cookbook by Barbara Grunes

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 27, 2010

#92 :: Eggs in Purgatory

Jamie is working nights this week, so I planned some breakfast/brunch meals for us to have together. This one turns leftover mashed potatoes into a delicious and light brunch. This recipe definitely makes my list of favorites so far on our cooking journey!

  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes, chilled
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Stir 1 egg in a large bowl to blend. Mix in the potatoes, then the flour. Using a generous 1/2 cup of potato mixture for each, form the potato mixture into 4 (4 1/2-inch) diameter pancakes.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat. Fry the pancakes until they are golden brown and heated through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pancakes to paper towels to drain. Keep the pancakes warm on a baking sheet in the oven. Pour off the excess oil from the pan.

Heat the pan over medium-low heat. Crack the remaining 4 eggs into the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the white is firm, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the eggs over and cook for 30 seconds longer.

Spoon the sauce onto 4 plates. Place a pancake atop the sauce. Top each pancake with a fried egg. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Everyday Italian on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, May 23, 2010

#91 :: Pork & Peppers Mexican-Style

Wow, it's been a long few weeks since we cooked! Jamie and I have both been super busy with work and other activities, so cooking dinner together has been on the back burner for a while. But, last night we were both home and decided to get back on track! This is a recipe Jamie found online and it turned out wonderful. I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch today!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 pound lean pork, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 each red, yellow and green bell peppers, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add green onions; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add pork; cook and stir 5 minutes or until browned. Add bell peppers and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until bell peppers begin to soften.

Season mixture in skillet with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, cumin, chili powder and chipotle pepper, if desired. Cook and stir 10 to 15 minutes until pork is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Top each serving with shredded cheese and sour cream and roll it up in a tortilla, burrito-style.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from TLC Cooking

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

#90 :: Cinco de Mayo! :: Shredded Pork Tacos

We had quite the fiesta for Cinco de Mayo! We started with some fresh guacamole and fresh warm tortilla chips, then we had Tortilla Soup (which we made before during our Mexican cuisine week). Finally, we had Shredded Pork Tacos! Oh, and we can't forget the margaritas and Dos Equis!

These Shredded Pork Tacos were absolutely delicious, but they were also a bit spicier than I expected. I only put one chile in, just like the recipe said, but these little guys are apparently hot enough to spice up the whole pot! Be wary if you're sensitive to spicy foods....this is a spicy one! (Though I'm sure you could remove the chipotle chile and make a non-spicy version.)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce (from a small can), minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 16 (6-inch) toasted corn tortillas
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco, feta, or goat cheese
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. In a large (5-quart) heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add pork, tomatoes (breaking them up) and their juice, chipotle, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaves.
  2. Using tongs, transfer meat to a large bowl; shred with two forks, discarding any large pieces of fat or gristle. Return meat to pan, and simmer until sauce is thick, 30 to 45 minutes more. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. Proceed to next step, or cover and refrigerate, up to 1 day.
  3. Spoon pork and sauce into toasted tortillas, using 2 tortillas for each serving; top with queso fresco and cilantro. Serve with Crunchy Slaw with Radishes , if desired.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe from

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

#89 :: Spaghetti w/ Meatballs

I needed a quick fix dinner last night. Does it count if you cook dinner, but not from scratch? :) I took the shortcut route tonight and made spaghetti and meatballs.

I used thin spaghetti noodles, boiled in heavily salted water for 8 minutes. I used a jarred tomato sauce (cooked in a sauce pan on the stove top) and frozen meatballs from a bag (cooked in the oven on a sheet tray). *Gasp* Shame! It was quite delicious though. I also bought a small loaf of Italian bread to go with the spaghetti. A little butter, garlic salt and parmesan on each slice, and a few minutes in the broiler is all it takes!

So did I cheat a little? Maybe. But it wasn't a hamburger from some greasy fast food drive-thru, so it's still a winner in my book!

#88 :: Lemon Pepper Parmesan Baked Chicken

Baked chicken is more of a process than a recipe. Once you learn it, it comes out great every time! Then all you have to do is change up the seasonings. Today we used lemon pepper and Parmesan, but the possibilities are endless!

Dry the chicken (for crispy skin), lay the pieces out on a baking sheet, season with salt & pepper or other spices (this time we used lemon pepper, salt & pepper, fresh lemon juice and Parmesan - YUM!). Then bake it at 375 for about 30-40 minutes until the skin is browned. Fall-off-the-bone-delicious every time!

We also cracked open one of my old favorites -- a can of ranch style beans from Texas. :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vegetable Quiche

This recipe doesn't count towards our # because I've made it before and it's already on the blog (find the recipe here: Mixed Vegetable Quiche), but I got a little creative with it this time so I had to share my photo! I made an N out of the extra crust, and I piped sour cream on the top. Gourmet breakfast for the hubby today! :)

#87 :: London Broil

We still had half of our top round left after the Chicken Fried Steak, so Jamie wanted to try cooking a traditional London Broil. I left him in charge of dinner and stayed out of the kitchen. After we ate I said "That was good, where'd you get the recipe?" and he rambled about some little restaurant in South Carolina. I said, "So did you find the recipe online?" and he said, "No, I ate at the restaurant." So, I have no recipe to share really....just Jamie's scattered notes from memory.


* 1 lb. top round
* Juice of 2 oranges
* 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tsp black pepper


Combine ingredients in a plastic bag and marinate the top round overnight. Remove from the marinade and broil on high for 6 minutes on each side. Let it rest for 10 minutes, slice thinly and serve.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (only because it was cold by the time I got to eat it!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

#86 :: Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

Most of the food on our blog lately has been very health conscious. I needed a break from that! I just mentioned to Jamie a few weeks ago how I missed Texas Chicken Fried Steak (not the "Country" Fried Steak they have here in Ohio). Then I caught an Alton Brown show on Food Network about Chicken Fried Steak and how it's different from Country Fried Steak. That made me want some even we went for it! Comfort food at its best! We did (at least) include some roasted broccoli, so it wasn't 100% bad.....

We don't have a mallet, so we pounded them flat with the bottom of a sauce pot. It was kind of fun getting out some aggression! The only way we strayed from the recipe was the buttermilk. We didn't have buttermilk, which makes the crust a little crispier than regular milk. It still turned out delicious though. I was pleased that I didn't totally ruin it my first time trying...


-- Steak --

  • 6 (6-ounce) beef top-round steaks*, tenderized and at room temperature
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Meat Tenderizer seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk at room temperature
  • 4 to 5 cups peanut or canola oil

-- Cream Gravy --

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup leftover seasoned flour
  • 4 cups milk at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or your favorite pepper sauce), or to taste


*Note: If you prefer, you may substitute thin sliced rib-eye steaks, sirloin steaks, or chopped steaks for the tougher top-round steak.

Prepare the Meat Seasoning by combining all ingredients together and mixing until well blended. Place mixture in a tightly sealed glass or plastic container, and store in a dark place for future use. Shake before each use to remix ingredients. Makes about 1 1/3 cups seasoning.

For the Steaks: Have your butcher twice-tenderize the steak if possible. Cut the steak into equal portions and, if needed, lightly pound steaks with a meat mallet until they are about 1/4- to 1/3-inch thick, set aside to come to room temperature.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet on the oven rack; heat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep 11- to 12-inch diameter cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, to 375 degrees F (oil should pop loudly when a drop of egg mixture is dropped in).

Combine flour and meat seasoning in a large shallow dish. In a second large shallow dish, beat the eggs, baking powder, and baking soda; stir in the buttermilk (the mixture will bubble and foam).

Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and lightly sprinkle each side with meat seasoning to taste. Working with three steaks at a time, dip each steak into the egg mixture then dredge in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour, and dip again in the egg mixture. Using a long-handled meat fork or long metal tongs, very gently place the wet steaks into the hot oil (be extremely careful...there will be regular "explosions" of very hot oil as steaks cook). Fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until breading is set and deep golden brown. Gently turn steaks and fry for another 3 minutes (oil temperature will drop to around 335 degrees). Transfer the steaks to the paper-towel-lined plate to drain, then transfer them to the wire rack in the oven. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees and repeat the breading, cooking and draining process (use fresh paper towels) with the three remaining steaks.

For the Pan Drippings Cream Gravy: After the chicken fried steaks are removed from the pan, pour off the oil through a strainer. Leave about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pan drippings in the bottom of the skillet along with as many of the browned bits and cracklings (from the seasoned coating) as possible. Return any browned cracklings from the strainer to the skillet before starting the gravy.

Heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Sprinkle with enough leftover seasoned flour to absorb most of the oil, approximately 1/4 cup. Blend with a wooden spoon or whisk, scraping loose browned bits from the bottom and sides of skillet, until mixture becomes bubbly, smooth and golden brown. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly and mashing out any lumps, until the gravy begins to boil. Lower heat and whisk mixture continuously until it is smooth and reaches desired consistency (gravy should have a loose consistency--it will thicken as it cools). Check seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, whisking until smooth.

Transfer the chicken-fried steaks to individual plates. Spoon a generous amount of gravy over each steak. Serve immediately, placing any remaining gravy in a small bowl. Accompany with mashed potatoes, greens, black-eye peas, and cornbread, or biscuits.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe from

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, April 25, 2010

#85 :: Artichokes

While we were walking around the Westside Market, we came across some artichokes for $1.50 each. Since we're trying new things and I've never cooked an artichoke before, I grabbed a couple to try them out. I cooked them tonight and wasn't that impressed. Yeah, they tasted pretty good...but it seemed like an awful lot of work for a little bit of goodness. They did, however, smell wonderful! I guess I expected them to smell bad, like asparagus, but they smelled almost floral.

I found several ways to cook them...broiling, boiling and steaming. Since I don't have a basket for steaming, I chose to boil them. I had to create a contraption to hold them upside down so they would stay put in the pot and cook correctly. After a few tries, I came up with this....a strainer and a lid.

I think I'll stick to the bag of frozen artichoke hearts. But at least now I can say I know how to cook an artichoke!

Recipe/Instructions from Good Eats on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (taste)
2 out of 4 stars (prep)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

#84 :: Lemony Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Seafood and pasta is a favorite of ours, and this one was another great combo! The recipe called for shrimp, but we used a combo -- shrimp, scallops and calamari. The extra bonus was that the leftovers tasted even better than the original dinner.


* 6 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
* 2 lemons, zested and juiced
* 5 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 pound medium shrimp (21 to 25), peeled, de-veined and butterflied (reserve shells)
(we used a mix of seafood - shrimp, scallops & calamari)
* 1/4 onion
* 3/4 pound thin linguini (we used angel hair)
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 small bunch parsley, leaves chopped


In a bowl, combine the garlic, zest and juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, to taste, and the shrimp. Set aside.

Meanwhile make a quick shrimp stock: In a small pot, over medium heat, add the shrimp shells and onion. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain into a bowl and discard the shells and the onion.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add a generous amount of salt. Add the linguini and cook until just tender, 2 minutes less than instructed on the package. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.

Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink and start to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan to a plate and add the remaining marinade. Let cook a few minutes then add about 1 cup of shrimp stock and about 1/2 cup pasta water. Continue to cook until sauce reduces by half. Add the zest and juice of the remaining lemon, the butter and the parsley and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Add in the shrimp and pasta and toss to combine with the sauce. Turn out into a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars