Thursday, March 25, 2010

#69 :: Maple Candied Bacon

These were very tasty....almost like candy! And they smell wonderful while they're was really hard not to take them out early and eat them!


  • 1 pound thick sliced bacon, good quality
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, Grade B
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Finely groung black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy foil. Place a baking rack over the lined sheet tray and arrange the bacon slices across the rack next to each other, not overlapping.

In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup and mustard. Generously spoon over the top of the bacon, and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the bacon over and baste with syrup mixture. Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon has reached desired crispiness.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle hot bacon with a scant pinch of finely ground black pepper. Let the bacon rest on the rack for 5 minutes.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe from 5 Ingredient Fix on Food Network

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

#70 :: Pacific Salmon Potato Skins

We've had some salmon fillets in the freezer for a while now, and last night I decided it was time to use them up. All the salmon recipes I had sounded bland and common, so I set out to find something different. I definitely found it! We were a little skeptical about this one, but it was surprisingly wonderful and we ate every morsel!

Toppings: Flaked grilled salmon, sauteed wild mushrooms, and chopped parsley and chives

**To cook our salmon fillets, we seasoned them with a squeeze of fresh lemon, salt & pepper and grilled them for a few minutes on each side. Then we flaked them apart to top the potato skins. We didn't have mushrooms, so we re-vamped the toppings a bit -- on half of the skins our toppings consisted of sour cream, butter, parsley and a squeeze of lemon. On the other half we used some of the blue cheese butter we had leftover from our steak meal last night, and it went amazingly well with the salmon!


How to Make Classic Potato Skins:

Pierce 4 large russet potatoes with a fork. Bake directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool, then quarter lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Brush both sides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake, skin-side up, at 450 degrees until crisp, about 15 minutes. Add your favorite team toppings. (For cheesy skins, flip the baked shells over before topping, sprinkle with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and bake an extra 5 minutes.)

Blue Cheese Butter & Parsley

Sour Cream, Butter, Parsley & Lemon

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

#68 :: Blue Cheese Stuffed Fillets

These steaks were melt-in-your-mouth good! The blue cheese butter is the best! I can't wait to try it out on other dishes as well. Paired with the Roasted Grape Tomatoes and the Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, this was the perfect meal.


  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons coarse grey sea salt
  • 6 ounces Roquefort or Stilton cheese, cut into chunks
  • 4 to 6 ounces beef fillets, good quality and at least 2-inches high
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


In a food processor, pulse butter until whipped, and add salt and cheese. Pulse again just until incorporated. Dollop the compound butter towards 1 side of a piece of natural parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll into a log, twisting opposite ways on both ends to create a tightly wrapped log of butter. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set. (Can be stored up to 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer.) This could be made into 2 logs, as you will only need half this recipe for the steaks.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Once butter log is set, slice 1/2 the whole log into 1/4-inch disks. Cut a slit in the side of each fillet, and stuff with a butter disk. Tie each fillet with kitchen twine to keep it shape and sprinkle pepper each side.

Add the olive oil to a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear each fillet until brown on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Move skillet into the preheated oven to cook to desired doneness. Put another disk of the compound butter on top of each fillet just about 3 minutes before removing from oven, to just begin to melt but not melted completely. Remove from the oven and place on serving plates. Eat and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (Butter makes 8 servings)

Recipe from 5 Ingredient Fix from Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#67 :: Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Juicy on the inside, a little crisp on the outside, and just bursting with flavor. These were too easy to taste this good!


  • 4 cups grape tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl add the grape tomatoes and 3 garlic cloves. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper.

In a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish, place the tomatoes and garlic cloves, ensuring they are in just 1 layer. Roast for 20 minutes, and then stir. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot water, if too dry in appearance. Return to the oven and cook for 20 to 30 more minutes.

When ready, the tomatoes will have begun to shrivel and the liquid in the dish should have thickened. Serve hot from oven.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe from 5 Ingredient Fix on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#66 :: Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

These were absolutely fantastic! The tips were crunchy, the insides were soft, and the seasoning used was just right. I could seriously eat asparagus every day if it was cooked this way!


  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus (about 30 large)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 lemons cut in wedges, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

If the stalks of the asparagus are thick, peel the bottom 1/2 of each. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and return to the oven for another minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, March 18, 2010

#65 :: 4-Step Chicken Marengo

This is the first recipe we've made so far that I don't really want to eat again. Jamie and Josh both seemed to like it well enough. I can't really say what I didn't like bout it really....just a little bland, too tomato-y maybe....I really can't put my finger on it. It just wasn't one of my favorites.


  • 3 large chicken cutlets, sliced into thin paillards (slice while partially frozen)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter


Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste, and lightly dredge in flour. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the chicken. Brown on both sides, until nicely golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. In the same pan, add more oil, if needed, along with the onion, mushrooms and peppers and saute until softened and fragrant, but not limp, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomato paste and cook a few minutes to cook out the raw flavor. Turn up the heat, and add the wine/wine to deglaze the pan and let it reduce for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the beef broth and tomatoes. Once the mixture begins to bubble, add the browned paillards and any juices from the chicken and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in the butter. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa D'arabian on Food Network

Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

#64 :: Pot Roast

Ahhh comfort food. This is a simple crock pot roast recipe. Over the past couple months I've discovered that I love cooking....but I also love how easy a crock pot night is! :) Today was a busy work day for me, so a crock pot dinner really helped! Unfortunately, I was so tired and worn out that I completely forgot to get a photo of all this before we ate it. Photo or not....try it, it was delicious!


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen onions
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag frozen baby carrots

  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms

  • 1/2 pound small new potatoes, halved

  • 4 pounds beef chuck roast, rinsed and patted dry

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup

  • 1 packet onion soup mix

  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth

  • 1/4 cup steak sauce


Into a slow cooker, put the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes.

Season the roast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the meat on all sides in oil. When it is browned, put it in the slow cooker on top of the vegetables.

In a small bowl, stir together the cream of celery soup, onion soup mix, beef broth, and steak sauce. Pour over top of roast. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe from Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee on Food Network

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Great American Bake Sale

While watching the Food Network lately, I've been seeing these commercials for The Great American Bake Sale. It caught my attention on several occasions, so I finally went online to the website and read over all the info. Since I'm an event planner, I decided this would be a great event to put on in order to donate to this great cause! So this week we registered our team and we're beginning the plans for our bake sale!

For more information on The Great American Bake Sale go to

To join our team and participate in our bake sale, visit our team page here.

Our bake sale will be held on
Sunday, May 30th

More info to follow as the plans progress....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

#63 :: Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This was a great twist on an ordinary dish. We ate the entire pot of soup this week (which is why we didn't cook much else!).


  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, split
  • 1 tablespoon bouillon flavoring
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced (1/4 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery (1/2 cup), diced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 store-bought pie crust


Add diced potatoes to a large bowl filled with cold water. Set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add chicken, reduce heat to a simmer and allow to poach; about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Continue to simmer the broth, adding the bouillon until reduced by half, about 10 more minutes. Dice the chicken when cooled.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the celery cooking until translucent, 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and whisk until it forms a roux. Add the Italian seasoning and pepper; cook for 3 more minutes.

Whisk the roux into the broth and bring back up to a boil. Drain the potatoes. Add the potatoes and the chicken to the broth over low heat. Stir in the frozen vegetables. Place a lid on top and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cream and a pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 more minutes.

Preheat the oven as directed on the pie crust package.

Lay the pie crust on a baking sheet and place into the oven. Cook according to package instructions, or until the pie crust is golden brown. When the crust has cooled, break up into pieces.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the pie crust.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Recipe from Big Daddy's House on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

#62 :: Chewy Brownies

We needed a sweet fix, so I looked up a recipe for chewy brownies. These babies didn't come from a boxed mix, either!

*This photos is from the website. We ate our brownies before I could get a photo. :)


  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Combine granulated sugar, butter and water in large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Stir in nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars.

Makes about 2 dozen brownies

Recipe from

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, March 6, 2010

#61 :: Shepherd's Pie

Paula Deen made this on her show about Pub grub from England. I remember eating Shepherd's Pie as a kid. My mom made it quite a bit, but I remember hers having green beans {we used corn today, and Paula says traditional English pies use carrots & peas}. Whichever veggie you choose, this makes an easy meal in one pan and it's a great comfort food dinner.


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables or niblet corn, prepared
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups instant biscuit mix
  • Scallions for garnish, chopped


Beef Layer: Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter. Add ground beef. After beef is browned, add tomato sauce; Mix in vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Potato Layer: Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Whip potatoes with electric mixer; mix until moderately smooth. Don't over beat them; a few lumps are nice. Add 1/2 cup heated milk, 1/2 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste. Whip until mixed. Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Potato Layer

Meat Layer

Biscuit Layer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, or any similar casserole dish. Layer half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of mixed vegetables or niblet corn on top of potatoes. Then add a layer of the meat. Pour biscuit mix over meat. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.

Note: Leftovers make this dish easy to put together. So if you have leftover pork roast or beef roast with gravy and mashed potatoes from Sunday dinner then this is an easy mid- week meal that will take only a few minutes.

Makes 8-10 servings

Recipe from Paula's Home Cooking on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#60 :: Ricotta Ravioli with Spinach Pesto

Jamie loved this ravioli, but I didn't. I'm not a fan of nuts, and the only thing I didn't like about this was the hazelnuts. I guess that in my mind, crunch doesn't belong in ravioli. I loved it without them. I also loved the spinach pesto...very tasty! I could have eaten it on its own!

  • 2 cups fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) package wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Special equipment: Food processor


In a small bowl, mix together ricotta, 1/4 cup hazelnuts, nutmeg, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Lay several wonton wrappers on a work surface. Scoop a generous tablespoon of the ricotta filling into the center of each wrapper, and brush outside edges with egg white. Lay another wonton wrapper on top of each, and press firmly with fingertips to press out air and seal ravioli. Transfer ravioli to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers and filling, making 18 to 20 ravioli total. Cover baking sheet with a damp paper towel and transfer to refrigerator to set up, about 30 minutes.

To make the spinach pesto:

In a food processor, combine remaining 3/4 cup hazelnuts, lemon juice, spinach, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste and puree until smooth.

Fill a large pot with water, salt liberally, and bring to a boil. Cook ravioli in three batches, until they are cooked and float to the top, about 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and transfer to serving bowls with a dollop of spinach pesto.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Cooking for Real on Food Network

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars