Friday, December 30, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are your basic run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookies, EXCEPT...for this:

This is Abuelita. She's amazing. And cinnamony. Add some to your next batch of chocolate chip cookies (or hot coffee!) and you'll see what I mean.

But P.S. they're a liiiiiittle too salty, so use less.

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups light brown sugar
1 egg
¾ cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup Mexican chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In a standing mixer, mix the butter and sugar together until well incorporated. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated, scraping down the mixture from the sides of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture and blend until a dough forms. Gently mix in the semisweet and Mexican chocolates.

Using an ice cream scoop, form 1½-tablespoon-size balls of dough and place them on a sheet pan; leave about 1 inch between cookies. Place the pan in the oven and bake until browned on the edges and set in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven. After 5 minutes, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough until all the cookies are made. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cherry "Mooss" (pronounced like "dose")

Aaaaand my first attempt at an ethnic, Christmastime dish from my childhood was a bust. Why? Because I wasn't paying attention. (Kiddo gets to bark at the parent this time.)

Okay, maybe my attempt at Kjoaschemooss--loosely translated from low German: cold cherry soup--wasn't a TOTAL bust. It tastes fine. But it definitely isn't like Grandma used to make it. The color's not right and it's a little too tangy. But I knew it wouldn't be like Grandma's soon as I opened the can of cherries. Correction: I knew it as soon as I opened the can of cherry pie filling. That's what I get for blindly trusting that the food warehouse employee knew what I was talking about when I asked where I could find the canned cherries. I went directly to the display he indicated and paid no attention to the specifics. (And as much as I'm trying to blame it on the guy, I realize it's no one's fault but mine.)

I'm not sure if I'd like this dessert very much if I hadn't been eating it for as long as solid food has been allowed. If any of you make this, please let me know what you think! I haven't had anyone in this house try it yet, because I'm embarrassed that I made such a lame mistake. And I almost gave it a second go with the right cherries so that I could post THAT finished product, but that totally defeats the purpose of my blog. But I'll make sure to update my Facebook page if the next batch is better!


2 cans bing cherries
2/3 c. sugar
3 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 can water
1 can evaporated milk

In a 4-qt. kettle, bring cherries and water to a boil. Mix flour and sugar together and slowly add it to the cherries while stirring quickly, to prevent lumps. Add lemon juice, salt and cinnamon. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Remove kettle from stove and set set for about 15 minutes, then stir in evaporated milk. Serve chilled.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cornbread Skillet

Tonight, I felt like making something thick. I browsed through my gmail "Food" folder and found yet another recipe from my friend, Hillary (@momdmbfan). This one sounded exactly like what I was looking for, and it helped that I had some of the ingredients. I did have to finally buy a cast iron skillet, though.

The flavors in this are mild, depending on how many jalapenos you use. I used only one, and only of half the dish. The kiddo only likes jalapeno when it's on Cheetos. I used sharp cheddar and sweet white onion. As with many of the dishes I've made, I feel like it's missing something. Maybe a dash more salt would help. When I make this again, I think I'll make taco meat, and use that. Or I could use the mister's hamburger meat. Hmmm....


2 eggs, beaten
1 cup corn meal
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 15oz can creamed corn
1 cup milk
1/4 cup veg. oil
1 lb ground chuck
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 large onion chopped
2-4 jalapeno peppers

Mix first 7 ingredients together.

Brown ground chuck. Pour 1/2 meal mixture into hot iron skillet, sprinkle evenly with beef. Top with onion, cheese and peppers. Pour remaining batter over top. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

P.S. After typing us this entry, I realized I completely left out the vegetable oil. *sigh*

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Texican Chili

Okay, so I don't know if I can even call this "Texican Chili" because I changed the recipe up quite a bit. But, I don't wanna put MY name on it, because this isn't the greatest chili I've ever tasted. I got a, "It's missing something," and a, "I like it just the way it is." I tend to agree with the former.

It's a slow cooker recipe, which I love, because the whole house smelled amazing. The only complication is that you cook all the meat first. Big whoop, right?

If you have a chili recipe that you love, can you take a look at the ingredients below and tell me what you think is missing? Thanks!


8 bacon strips, diced
2-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (28 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels to
drain. Brown beef in the drippings over medium heat; drain.
Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; add bacon and remaining ingredients.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender,
stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jamaican Pumpkin Soup

I'm not going to write much about this recipe. Why? Because I made it wrong. I halved every ingredient--aside from the thyme that I omitted--EXCEPT for the pumpkin. Bah.

It has potential, but that's all I can report.

6 cups chicken stock
2 cups fresh or canned pumpkin meat or your favorite winter squash, (such as butternut squash, acorn, etc.), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons minced jalapeño pepper, or more to taste
Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk or evaporated milk
1/4 cup minced fresh coriander, for garnish

In a saucepan, or stockpot (large enough to hold all the ingredients) over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Add all the ingredients except the buttermilk and coriander and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and pumpkin are tender. The stock should completely cover all ingredients by at least 2 inches.

Remove the bay leaf and pour the soup into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot and heat through. Stir in the buttermilk or evaporated milk. Divide the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the coriander.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cherry Chip Brownies

No soup for you!!!

Er, rather, no soup for us. Well, me. (I'm the only one in the house who loves soup.) No soup for me this week, because I didn't plan enough ahead to make any. I did, however, get a wild hair to make brownies after seeing how the mister lit up when he saw a bag of cherry chips. And, actually, there will be no brownies for me, either, because those cherry chips make me wanna--um, you know. Bacaphooey.

I haven't made brownies from scratch before, so this is a legitimate post! I followed the easy recipe exactly, then folded in about a cup of cherry chips. Viola! Happy boys.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Parsnip Soup

Now that it's finally acting like Autumn, it's officially soup weather. Yes, I made soup last week, but that was pushing it.

In September, I posed this question on my blog's Facebook page: "Do you have a recipe that you always/only make in Autumn?" My college friend, Caty (Massey) Perez, answered by providing her recipe for parsnip soup, and I knew I'd eventually make it for the blog. Last night was the night, although I didn't finish it until this afternoon when I added the cream and seasoning.

I didn't edit any of the ingredients; I only changed the process a bit. I used an immersion blender instead of a traditional blender to create less mess, and I turned an hour process into an 18-hour process. (A last-minute sushi invite took precedence.) I also didn't reserve any of the leeks for garnish. But other than washing/peeling/chopping the veggies, there's really nothing tricky about the prep. Just be sure to wash the leeks THOROUGHLY.

As far as the taste is concerned, I like this soup, but it's not my favorite. It could be that I didn't add enough salt, but I'm always light-handed with salt, because the thought of over-salting makes me nervous. I figure if someone wants more salt, they can add it to their own portion. For people who need to chew something, the recipe calls for reserving some of the leeks for garnish, so I'm sure that would make a difference. I tossed in some croutons for the heck of it and they worked well to add texture.

One thing I need to point out about this recipe is that it is inexpensive. The whole huge pot cost me less than $10 and would feed 6-8. :^}


2 tablespoons butter
1 pound prepared sliced leeks (2 cups)
1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium baking potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks (reserving 1/2 cup for garnish). Cook, stirring, 5 minutes.

Add parsnips, apples, potato, broth, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return it to pot; stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Slow Cooker "Dutch" Onion Soup

First, lemme just get this outta the way. Soup is not meat pie. I'm aware.

What's the difference between Dutch onion soup and French onion soup? The bread. My neighbor brought over some Dutch crunch rolls yesterday and I knew that if I didn't use them by today, they'd go to waste. The very fist thing that popped into my head was French onion soup. And I'm no food historian, so I'm not sure where else French onion soup got its name other than the bread, hence the name "Dutch" Onion Soup.

The recipe is easy to follow and uses only a few ingredients. What makes it different from traditional French onion soup is that bread is prepared separately and then placed on top of the bowl of soup at the time of service. I'm sure you could divide the soup into crocks so that the cheese and bread could be broiled in the soup, but I don't think it makes much difference. This dish's one flaw is that I should've peeled one more layer of onion off before adding it to the soup. Every once in a while you get a tough/chewy piece.

A note about eating this soup (or any soup): please let it cool a little. It was so good, my entire mouth is numb from being scalded.

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

3 large onions, sliced (3 cups)
3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) ready-to-serve beef broth

Cheesy Broiled French Bread
8 slices French bread, 1 inch thick
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

1 Mix onions and margarine in 3 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker.
2 Cover and cook on high heat setting 30 to 35 minutes or until onions begin to slightly brown around edges.
3 Mix flour, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and pepper. Stir flour mixture and broth into onions. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 9 hours (or high heat setting 3 to 4 hours) or until onions are very tender.
4 Prepare Cheesy Broiled French Bread. Place 1 slice bread on top of each bowl of soup. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Natchitoches Meat Pies with Spicy Buttermilk Dip

"Things like being careful with your coriander--THAT'S what makes the gravy grander!"

That's the line in Sweeney Todd's "God, That's Good!" that inspired this week's recipe. I, once again, went to Foodily and searched "meat pies coriander". This recipe from Food & Wine popped up, and while I assumed I wouldn't love it, I decided to make it anyway. (The reason I thought I wouldn't be a huge fan of this recipe is because of the spices--allspice and cloves, to be specific.)

I made minimal changes to this recipe. First of all, I ended up having to use store-bought pie crust. This is what happened why I tried to make my own dough:
Thank goodness I still had a packaged crust in my fridge from the first meat pies. "Waste not, want not," I always say. The next change I made was I used a red bell pepper that I already had instead of a green one. And the last change was omitting the thyme. Because if you've been reading this blog since the beginning, you'll remember I've sworn off thyme. Forever. Yes, really. Oh, and while the recipe suggests using Tabasco, I used our favorite hot sauce, Tapatio.

The procedure/assembly was easy, and it actually didn't taste as "spicy" as I'd anticipated. Since I had enough dough scraps to make one more pie, I decided to fry one, in hopes that it would encourage my husband taste it. He did, and, surprisingly, liked it! I did, too. And I almost liked them better without the dip. It's a little heavy on the celery salt. I don't think I'll make these particular pies again, but I could definitely make a version of them with different spices.

Natchitoches Meat Pies with Spicy Buttermilk Dip

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup ice water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound ground beef chuck
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk

Buttermilk Dip
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
1 scallion, thinly sliced

MAKE THE DOUGH In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. With the machine on, add the oil and process until the flour is moistened. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until the dough is moistened. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead just until smooth. Form the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the ground beef and cook over moderately high heat until no pink remains, breaking up the meat with a spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cayenne, cloves, thyme, coriander and allspice and cook over moderately low heat for 3 minutes. Season with salt and hot sauce and let cool.

Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the filling to a food processor and pulse until chopped.

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured work surface, roll out each disk of dough to a 12-inch round. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out 6 rounds from each piece of dough. Brush the edges of the rounds with some of the egg wash and place a rounded tablespoon of filling to one side of each circle. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and press to seal. Crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the pies to the baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

MAKE THE BUTTERMILK DIP In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, celery salt and lemon juice. Season with salt and hot sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the scallion. Serve the pies with the buttermilk dip.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Yeah, I know--this doesn't fit with the meat pie/Sweeney Todd theme at all. But I saw a recipe on How Sweet It Is and I knew I had to make it...or at least a version of it. ;^}

My changes:
I used gemelli instead of spaghetti. I omitted the bell peppers and cilantro. I slow-cooked the chicken breasts in the enchilada sauce (for 4 hours on the high setting). I used packaged shredded Mexican-style cheese.

The prep for this dish is a no-brainer. If you've never cooked anything in your life, you could make this successfully. It tasted just a little bland to me at first, but after I squeezed a some lemon juice on it, it was great. I also think a heavier pinch of cayenne would've helped (as would the bell peppers, of course, but the palates in this house don't always dig 'em).

Here's the original recipe:
Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 pound of dry whole wheat spaghetti
1 10-ounce can of red enchilada sauce
3/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
cilantro for topping

Boil water for pasta and prepare pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions, peppers, salt and pepper and let cook until vegetables are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then stir in chicken, cumin, cayenne, paprika and chili powder, along with the can of enchilada sauce. Turn the heat down to low, drain the cooked pasta, then add pasta to the skillet too. Fold in cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Toss with a set of kitchen tongs until everything is mixed, then serve with a bunch of fresh cilantro.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Meat Pies

One guess why I've chosen this theme.

SWEENEY TODD! If you don't know me personally, then you probably don't know that my other passion--besides food--is musical theatre. In one week, I will be performing in a production of Sweeney Todd at Playhouse Merced, and meat pies are a theme in this story. So! I am celebrating our show by exploring various meat pie recipes.

I found this recipe by searching "meat pies" at I liked it because it didn't call for any nutmeg or allspice, and if I want anyone in my house to try a new dish, I shouldn't use those. I also liked it because it calls for store-bought pastry. Hehe.

I halved (ish) the recipe and used ramekins instead of mini pie tins. The meat I used was already sliced for fajitas so I had minimal meat-chopping to do. Score! Prep was very easy. When I tasted it, I felt like it was missing something, but I couldn't put my finger on it; however, I brought one to rehearsal--during which I am writing this post--and the three people who tried it thought it was great as it was. I am generally light-handed on salt, so that could have been it. I also used a rosato, so maybe a bolder red wine would have made a nice difference as well.

All in all, my first individual meat pies were a success! I can see myself making these again, for sure...and sprinkling with cheese for the last 2 minutes of baking. Hee. (P.S. I apologize for the photo. I was literally running out the door.)


350g store-bought shortcrust pastry
375g store-bought puff pastry
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1.5kg round or chuck steak, cut into 1.5cm cubes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4½ cups beef stock
1 cup (250ml) red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
¼ cup (60ml) water
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF). To make the filling, heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add the meat and cook for 5 minutes or until sealed. Add the tomato paste, stock, wine and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Blend the cornflour and water to a smooth paste. Add to the beef mixture and stir for 4 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and returned to a simmer. Add the salt and pepper, then set aside to cool.

Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3 mm thick. Cut out 6 pie bases (you may need to re-roll the scraps) to line 9cm-base x 11cm-top pie tins. Spoon in the filling. Roll out the puff pastry until 4mm thick and cut out six lids. Place on top, trim and press the edges of the pastry together. Brush the tops with the egg and make a slit. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Makes 6 pies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Thai Curry Rice and Mushrooms

Okay, so...MMMMM!!!

No cheese. No bacon. No avocado. No wine. Yet I stand firmly behind my "MMMMM!" How is this possible?! Just check out the recipe below to see why. This is actually my first attempt at a Thai dish, and I'm excited about how well this vegan dish turned out. No one else tasted it, unfortunately, but I'm confident someone who appreciates Thai food would give me at least a B.

Here are the substitutions I made: instead of oyster mushrooms I used a blend of oyster, crimini and porcini mushrooms, because it's all I could find. I also wasn't able to track down Thai basil, so I just regular basil (and less than was called for, at that. I was afraid the regular basil might not translate as intended).

It took about an hour and a half to prepare, but nothing was complicated at all. The strongest flavor was mushroom, followed by jalapeño then ginger. And, actually, the ginger flavor didn't bother me, which was surprising to me. I'm not generally a ginger fan, but it worked so well here.

Here's the recipe, straight from Food & Wine Magazine. I halved everything, by the way. Enjoy!

4 large bell peppers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or grapeseed oil
2 medium shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 large jalapeño, finely chopped with seeds
3/4 pound oyster mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped Thai basil, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Slice the tops off the peppers and cut the tops into 1/4-inch dice; discard the cores and stems. Boil the hollowed out peppers until just tender, 4 minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer the peppers to paper towels to drain, cut side down. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.

In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and garlic, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until toasted, 4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, ginger, curry paste and the 1 1/2 cups of reserved pepper water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the diced bell pepper tops and the jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until tender, 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are browned, 4 minutes longer. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 minute.

Add the vegetable mixture to the rice and stir in the basil and lemon juice. Season with salt. Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and set them in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until the rice filling is heated through. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Thank you to the "How Sweet It Is" blog for this fabulous recipe. I have very little to say about this process or these cookies. They were easy to make and tasted perfect. I even used low-fat peanut butter lessen the calorie blow a smidge and you'd never know.

Yum, yum and yum. (That was also the reaction I got from my Sweeney Todd castmates, who ate all two dozen cookies. Oh, that reminds me: this made more than 18 cookies for me; maybe the recipe-creator and I have a different versions of golf-ball sized dough rounds.) Make them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

Posting two days in a row--look out, Y'all: I'm on FIYAH!

Since I had about 3 pounds of ground beef I needed to use up, I decided to make 2/3 of it into taco/burrito meat for meals later this week. Then to figure out what to do with the last pound, I Googled "ground beef recipe" and eventually stumbled upon this recipe for Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni. It looked harmless, and I had almost all the ingredients in my fridge/pantry already. Plus, it involved bacon.

Of course, I have a confession. Shall we all say it together, since I'm sure it's no surprise? "I didn't follow the recipe exactly." I didn't measure one thing. I eyeballed all of it, except for when it came to the condensed cheese soup, because it called for one can. Kinda hard to mess THAT up! The recipe doesn't specify, but I used red onion, because I like colorful dishes. And even though bell peppers don't generally end up on cheeseburgers, I added them anyway, because I know the mister loves them. I also used gemelli (twisty) pasta, not macaroni.

One thing I'd like to point out is that the recipe claims a 15 minute cook time. That will only happen if 3 burners are going at the same time. That would mean the pasta would be boiling, the bacon would be frying and the meat/onions would be cooking all at the same time. I didn't do it that way, and it ended up taking me about 30 minutes, because I cooked the pasta and the bacon first, then started the rest.

I am a fan of all the ingredients in this dish so this was a lot of fun for my tongue. I'm also a sauce girl, so using a little less evaporated milk than was called for made it nice and thick. I didn't substitute any lower fat ingredients, but I'm sure it would work just fine to use low fat milk/cheese/soup and maybe ground turkey.

To sum up, this recipe is simple and has good flavors. It got even better when I added a little black pepper. I will definitely make this again--maybe even as written next time! Nah...probably not. ;^}

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bread

I'm baaaaack!

And since I took last month off to deal with some stress, I decided this month will be "Whatever the Heck Looks Good to Me Month" (because it takes the pressure off of trying to keep with a theme, and I don't care to have any extra pressure from something that's supposed to be fun)! Enter Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bread.

There is nothing extravagant about this recipe. The instructions are simple. The taste is fantastic, especially with just a little butter. My only regret is that I didn't have the optional "Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder" topping from Trader Joe's. But mine didn't have it. :^{ So I used some Sugar in the Raw.

This is a very dense bread, which is why I love it. It is also VERY messy. I made a loaf with the intention of slicing it thin and serving it to my cast mates. (More on that here!) Instead, I had to slice it thick and then slice those in half lengthwise, so that the pieces didn't fall apart. I also think the raw sugar on top made it a little more difficult to slice, since it crunchied up the surface. But, I take comfort in the fact that my end result looks much the same as the original. Score! And whatever way you slice it, I highly recommend making this, at least once. (Definitely passes as dessert, though!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

This Month...

It's official. I'm taking this month off. August has been so incredibly ridiculous that I've decided to just strike it from the record. So, in September, my posts will resume.

In the meantime, you should really check out my archives and reminisce about the good ol' days, when I was posting weekly. And check out this pic.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Custard Pie

I finally get to top off Pie Month! And what better than a Martha Stewart creation? Of course, my Custard Pie certainly isn't as pretty as hers. Check out her photo and the recipe here.

This isn't so much a pie as it is custard with pears. The hardest part of this recipe is slicing and arranging the pears. The rest of it consists of measuring a few things and mixing them all in a food processor. Tada! Done.

You wouldn't think you could mess up the pear-arranging...but I did. A lil bit. What I did was concentrate too many in the center so the dish wasn't as evenly baked as it should have been, and actually a little overbaked. But as far as the taste goes, you really can't mess that up. It was good--not too sweet--and I could definitely take this to a small get-together or potluck.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce

And meat.

It was brought to my attention that that I have already done an Italian vegetarian polenta dish. This didn't necessarily bother me, but in order to please my readership--and eatership!--I added ground beef to this very simple recipe. And I'm glad I did because it made it a little less boring.

This recipe doesn't involve any cooking, really. It's another "easy assembly" dishes. I did this on purpose. In case you didn't notice, last week, I made NO new recipe. I broke my resolution! But honestly last week was so busy and I was sick and blah blah more valid excuses spew forth. I wanted to make up for it by getting 2 blog posts in this week, but that's not going to happen, either. Hopefully next week I'll finish out this month's theme with a yummy dessert, and then get a brand new theme started as well. *fingers crossed*

So, I found the recipe for Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce here, using I wanted something simple and savory, and this fit the bill perfectly. I'm sure someone with more time/chops could create this from scratch; however, it called for prepared polenta and tomato sauce--I chose Tomato, Garlic and Basil--so I went with it! And in true ME style, fudged the recipe a bit when I added a pound of ground beef. All I did was brown the meat with some Italian seasoning, fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Then I added the meat to the sauce. The only thing that was just a little off was the bake time--3 fewer minutes might not have burned the cheese as much.

This is something I would make again. It's perfect for a potluck. :^}

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tomato Pie


I was super stoked to make this Tomato Pie recipe (below) that I got from my friend, Hillary. It's got only a few ingredients and steps, and I butchered it. She even told me she sent it because she knows I take some liberties with recipes and this one's "very forgiving". Obviously, not enough for me! Here 'tis:


The beauty of this recipe is you can use whatever cheeses you like with tomatoes. Combine cheeses. Slightly brown the bacon to remove some of the grease. Beat egg. Sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs in pan as bottom "crust". Layer sliced tomato, onion and half the cheese. Repeat layers with tomato, onion and cheese. Sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs as top "crust". Drizzle beaten egg over the top. Top with strips of bacon. Bake at 350 for 30-45 min, depending on oven. Serve hot.

Simple right? I used Roma tomatoes, Romano and mozzarella cheese and Italian breadcrumbs. As far as the breadcrumbs go, less is more, I found out. My layers were just too thick and ended up staying dry. And with the tomatoes, less is bad. I should've layered those on a little thicker. I also had a problem with the egg "drizzle", oddly enough. It kinda all fell out on one spot. :^/

The overall flavor of this dish ended up being WAY too salty with the Romano cheese and Italian crumbs. It has great potential, though. I will make this again, but with plain breadcrumbs and maybe only 5 pieces of bacon instead of 6. Eh, who am I kidding? I'll probably try to fit 7 slices of bacon on there!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bacon and Onion Pie

July. Pie month. That is all.

Okay, so that isn't really ALL. But it is everything. Pie, that is. Aside: It's also hyperbole month. And I need to give a shout out to my online friend, Hillary--@momdmbfan on Twitter--for inspiring this month's theme. (I'll be baking a dish she has recommended next!) And what better way to kick off such an awesome theme than with a Fabio Viviani recipe? No better way, really. Plus, it's got bacon. BACON! Perfect.

"Bacon and Onion Pie" can be found in Fabio's ebook, Did I Really Make Breakfast?? The best part about this recipe for me is that it calls for a ready-made pie crust. Since I haven't tried my hand at pie crust more than once, I was thrilled. The first step was to chop up a red onion and some bacon, then cook them together in butter until the onion browns. Transfer that into the prepared pie crust. (Drain it first, of course.) Then in a food processor, combine Swiss cheese, eggs, milk, a little flour, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pour it over the bacon and onion then back at 325 for an hour. Voila!

This dish is easy and fabulous. I made one modification and used Jarlsberg cheese instead of Swiss, but other than that I did everything the way I was supposed to. My one complaint was that the center of the crust wasn't as crispy/flaky as the outsides. Could be because I didn't use a glass pan. But the taste was amazing. Wasn't too salty, which is a feat, considering the amount of bacon used. The heat is low but apparent and the cheese, oh the cheese. Bottom line: I love everything about this recipe. Molto bene, Fabio (e Nonna)!

P.S. I need to work on my pie crust edging. And my photography/editing. I know this. Don't hate.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sith Slush

Yes. I said "Sith". For those of you in-the-know, it is no surprise that Logan would pick something like this. For those of you who don't know Logan's true passion, two words: Star Wars.

Finally, at the end of the month, I was able to get a hold of a couple Star Wars cookbooks. This drink recipe--yes, a drink. I'm also unimpressed.-- came from the second book called, Star Wars Cookbook II: Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes. It has 3 ingredients: frozen blueberry ice cubes, 7-Up and fruit punch. It's simple, tangy and sweet (although I'd have preferred it with soda water instead of 7-Up, I think.)

One thing this recipe didn't involve was cooking. For the LIFE of me, I couldn't get Logan to choose food. So, I apologize that this post is a little anticlimactic. Kids. ;^}

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette

I don't have much to say about this one. Logan wasn't around last week at all to help me with anything so I'm using a recipe I tried for Father's Day as my post.

Here's the recipe I wanted to make. I couldn't find any pancetta for it, though, so the asparagus didn't turn out like I hoped. (The difference between bacon and pancetta is that bacon is cut thicker and is smoked.) The bacon didn't wrap as tightly as the pancetta would have, especially since I blanched it to remove some of the smoke flavor. That also cooked it slightly, making it less malleable. It also meant they stayed on the grill a little longer than suggested, so that the meat was cooked thoroughly.

The good news is they tasted great, and the citronette added a fabulous element that I never would have tried on my own. So try these! So easy and yummy. (Just beware the effect of asparagus. It'll freak a person out!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Apple Breakfast Bars

Here we are with yet another Logan pick! I used this recipe as a template (ha) and then tweaked a few things based on the palates in the house. We left out nuts altogether--wouldn't that be nice, if we could leave out the nuts altogether? *sigh* But I digress--except for the peanut butter. Instead of raisins, we used dried cherries and instead of dried apples we used...well, nothing. We couldn't find dried apples. This omission may have had something to do with the final result being so sticky. Not sure, though, if maybe we just mis-measured. I let Logan do most of the measuring and pouring, so I know we weren't to the gram on anything.

I like the taste of these, although they're a bit sweet. (The recipe uses 1/3 c honey.) And the cherries make them tart. Logan didn't like them because he has a serious hatred of peanut butter, which I didn't realize was SO strong until after he tried one of these. To my tongue, the PB is nearly imperceptible; however, the fact that I used natural and not sweetened peanut butter could have been the major offense.

Final verdict, I'd like to try making these again but with all the ingredients listed and slightly less honey. If you have a chance before I do, please share your results here!

P.S. I am so not happy with the quality of these photos.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cheesy Meatballs and Rice

Yay for cooking with kids! This week, I asked "Darth Sith"--that's his chef name--what kind of recipe we should make. After deciding we should make something for dinner, I asked him for a protein, a starch and a flavor. He said ground beef, rice and cheesy. So what came to mind? Meatballs and rice like my momma used to make! Sorta.

I found an easy, throw-it-all-together kinda recipe here. More than likely, you have all of these ingredients in your fridge and freezer. The one substitution I made was using regular jack cheese instead of "processed cheese", (i.e. Velveeta). I just wasn't gonna do it. I also used probably a pound and a half of meat, instead of just one. And I ended up not using all 8 ounces of the cheese, because once I added about 3/4 of it, the sauce already looked uber cheesy, so I just saved the rest.

The kiddo did nearly all the prep and mixing. All I did was cut the cheese--go have my permission--, form the meatballs and then brown them. I gave him the option to form the balls, but I think he was just a little creeped out by the squishiness while mixing.

Since my last meatball recipe, I haven't made any progress in learning how to make and keep them looking like balls. That is why I affectionately call my creations "meatlumps". (I photographed the roundest three, of course.)

The consensus on the taste was "good, but it's missing something." I added a little freshly ground pepper and a few spritzes of lemon, which took it up about half a notch. What I think I'd really enjoy is a veggie or 2 mixed in. Zucchini chunks, or maybe ooh! red peppers! Mmmm.... next time! ;^}

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cherry Crumble Cobbler

June's theme is cooking with kids. However, this week I wasn't going to have a kid around with whom to cook, so I just decided to make something with ingredients I had around the house. I was especially excited to use some fresh fruit that we bought at the corner stand on the way up the CA 180 (heading to the new Steinert Chalet in the Kings Canyon/Sequoia Nat'l Forests).

I got the idea for cobbler, because earlier in the week I screwed up nectarine cobbler. Those nectarines were amazing and I wasted them all because I didn't follow directions. I decided not to blog about that mess. Needless to say, I needed redemption. I was going to make regular ol' cobbler, but then I got a request to make the top "crispy" so I actually morphed 2 recipes. Click here for the cobbler recipe. 


This was super duper easy, and actually could be made with kids. Everything is done with a bowl and a spoon/spatula. The only time consuming part of the process was pitting the cherries. I'm not sure if there's a simple way to do it, but I just used my fingers.

For the crumble topping, I just used softened butter, sugar, flour and a dash of cinnamon. I mixed it with my hands, although using a mixer might've been less messy. And I had a little less than 2 cups, so I don't think it's as cherry-y as it should be. But it has been getting rave reviews! Next time I make cobbler, I'm gonna go the Bisquik route and use peaches. Yum!

It just needs homemade vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Full Throttle Chimichanga

Four words: party in my mouth.

The layers (since I didn't like the quality of the pic I took of the inside): Nutella, peanut butter, Charlotte's homemade strawberry jam, banana and a quick brush of powdered sugar glaze on either side of the filling. The piece de resistance: fry.

I will make this again, and I will also find a way to keep the tortilla more tightly rolled. Special thanks to my brother-in-law, Kevin, for sharing the Full Throttle sandwich and suggesting it be fried. I'll still have to make it exactly like he suggested: Nutella, crunchy pb (mine was creamy), strawberry jam, PB2 (which I couldn't find) and banana on bread, then sealed with a sandwich grill and fried. Next time!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This is the first time I've made fried chicken and since this was the Pioneer Woman's recipe I had high hopes! I was stoked to make this for Mark, too, because he's been begging me to make it for, well, ever. Turns out I shouldn't have been so confident.

I'll start with the butchering. This was a terrible experience. If I can buy already-cut-up pieces next time, I will. And I dunno if it's because of how I chopped the pieces or just from this chicken in particular, but there was a lot of blood in the legs. I ended up throwing 3 pieces out because they were bleeding. I didn't like the chopping and trimming, but I HATED the post-fry bleeding. Ick.

After the chopping, the chicken took a bath overnight in buttermilk. I think that has everything to do with the juiciness. The breading mixture was yummy and not too salty. The issue I had was with the crispiness. There wasn't much. I should've stuck a thermometer in the oil. I was afraid it was too hot and burning the chicken, so I turned the heat down after the first 4 pieces. Mistake. The chicken ended up a little too mushy.

My camera's battery charger is currently MIA so I had to take pics with my phone. I decided a paper plate was appropriate, given the circumstance.

Post milk-bath

After the fry, before the bake (see the blood???)

The finished product with fried asparagus and biscuit

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Corn Dogs

Correction: homemade knife-n-fork corn dogs. Here's what happened:

Actually, I'm kidding. Nothing "happened" that I didn't mean to happen. I actually followed the recipe minus one detail--the stick. I didn't find any at the store and I was pressed for time, so I decided to change it up and make them like mini corn dogs, only not mini. Besides, the stick just gets in the way.

Anyway, here's the recipe. It's from one of my new favorite sites, The Tasty Kitchen. (I could spend all day browsing that site. Don't ask me how I know.) It's super simple and quick, and you could actually make these with your kids--as long as you do the frying. My only issue with the recipe is the texture, and that is because of the corn meal I chose, I'm guessing. I haven't searched around to see if anyone has tips for achieving a less grainy corn meal, but I'm sure someone does. If you seek and find, fill me in! :^}

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I thought I'd show you some of the more remarkable, accidental creations of the evening.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Apple Fritters

In keeping with reader suggestions, I've been trying to progress through a day's worth of meals each month. So, I start with a breakfast recipe and end with a dessert, generally. So I start with a morning treat. In my house growing up, you could eat something like this for breakfast and no one would blink. It's got fruit and bread. Sounds like breakfast to the Steinerts!

Yes, I've made a fritter recipe once already. AND this isn't going to be my last. I'm saving the best "fritter" recipe EVER for later.  But, if you've not heard, it's fried food month here at Recipe Resolution, and I decided to make the first recipe that was mentioned when I solicited recommendations on Twitter and Facebook. This recipe for Apple Fritters comes from Twitter via fellow food blogger, "Betty Martha". (Visit her blog and show her some love, would ya?)

Let me start off by admitting that I took "some liberties"--as my friend Hillary put it!--with this recipe, as I always do. And once again, they were unintentional. I mean, seriously, it's not even cute anymore. How can I mess up such a simple recipe? Here's how: I read "sugar" instead of "vanilla sugar" And I also falsely assumed I had nutmeg in my spice cabinet. Who DOESN'T have nutmeg, right?! Well, me. I don't have nutmeg. I used to...but I digress!

I'm not sure how much of a difference vanilla sugar would have made, but I did add a couple drops of pure vanilla to my liquid ingredients to compensate. I don't even know if that's okay, but I did it, anyway. But that was the only ingredient it the fritter itself that I substituted. Anyway, in case you didn't click on the recipe link above, here's what's in them: cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, egg whites, apples and 1% milk. Then that all gets rolled in a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In regards to the execution--besides missing a couple ingredients--I wish I would have chunked my apples a little smaller. Not quite sure what I was thinking in chopping them as large as I did. Also, can someone PLEASE teach me a trick for ending up with a smooth fritter! All mine thus far look like fried porcupines.

As far as the taste goes, it was fine but it didn't wow me. I think it needed a little more salt than just 1/8 of a teaspoon. Maybe twice as much. And since I substituted a pumpkin spice blend for the cinnamon and nutmeg, that likely made a negative impact as well. After tasting the finished product, I rolled a couple in sugar alone and I thought they tasted much better. I didn't try just cinnamon and sugar, but I bet that would have been great, too.

I think the issue I have with the taste of these is the cornmeal. It was hard for my mouth to reconcile cornmeal and apple. If I try apple fritters again, I'll find a recipe that doesn't use cornmeal. OR...maybe next time I'll take out some of the sugar and make a cheese fondue. People pair apples and cheddar, right? Hmm....whatcha think???

Apple Fritters on FoodistaApple Fritters

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

I saw this on Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen blog and I knew I just HAD to make it.

If you like hot stuff, you'll love this recipe! It's very simple to prepare, but of course, I didn't do as I was told. The first thing I did wrong was get a 3.8 lb. pork shoulder instead of 5-7 pounder. Minor infraction. I also used half a large onion instead of a whole one. I did make the same amount of sauce, though, because I didn't want to risk losing any juiciness and I knew I could always remove some sauce before serving. The second flub was using the DIET Dr. Pepper I had at home, rather than going out and grabbing the real thing. The third thing I didn't do was "generously salt and pepper the pork" before cooking. That was just a brain fart, frankly. (Good thing both salt and pepper can be added later!) Oh and one more thing: I didn't use a dutch oven, or an oven at all, as a matter of fact. It worked out best for me to use the slow cooker, so I cooked it on low for 7 hours and didn't turn it at all. Worked out very well because it was the perfect size for my crock pot and for the sauce to cover completely.

Despite all those mistakes/omissions/changes, I still managed to make a pretty good dish, although I couldn't get a very attractive photo. It is a good thing I removed some sauce, because this stuff was HOT. (I about choked the life outta my husband when I gave him first taste.) I actually used it in burritos with the beans I made the other night and cheese, which helped soften of the kick. As I mentioned in my previous post, Miranda ate it with the fried plantains, which I wish I would have done. Oh well--next time!

Plátanos Maduros y Plátanos Dulce

I wouldn't be me if I didn't mess something up, right? I hope y'all are learning this. Here's what happened:

First of all, my plantains weren't quite ripe enough. They were ripe, but not as sweet as they could and should have been. And I didn't serve them as a side, because they were an afterthought. Our cousin, Miranda, ate them as a side to the Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork I made for dinner, though. She said the sweetness/starchiness balanced out the spiciness of the meat really well, so I was glad that she ate so much later than I did. 

You can find the recipe here. So simple. And actually I tweaked it a bit--duh--because I wanted to make it sweet. Taking a cue from the recipe for Plátanos Dulce, I added some rum and brown sugar to the butter for the last minute or two of cooking. ¡Qué bueno!

Second, I didn't take any photos of the Plátanos Dulce because I made them wrong. But it's NOT my fault. The recipe NEVER said to slice the plantain. The first one did say to slice them in 1-inch segments, so I did exactly as I was directed in this recipe, and placed the entire plantain in the baking dish. I was 99.99% positive it was incorrect, but I did what the recipe told me to. Next time, I need to trust Fabio (and my instincts) and use a little common sense. Here's another photo of the Plátanos Maduros, since they're so pretty!

By the way, even though I didn't make the second set of plantains correctly, the flavor was amazing. Can't wait to do them the RIGHT way and serve with vanilla bean ice cream!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Frijoles Fritos, and a Poll

Okay, so refried pinto beans aren't necessarily Cuban (although they could be if they were black), which means this doesn't count as this week's official post. But I made refried beans last night for the first time and I wanted to share. And actually, I followed the recipe correctly! The only change I made was doubling it--well, sort of (which was probably a mistake, but I'll get to that).
Here's the recipe I found.  When I first saw it, I knew it wasn't like my mother-in-law's, but I considered the source and decided it would probably be a good bet, nonetheless. What I didn't consider was the time I SHOULD have started them. This recipe calls for 12 hours of cook time. First the beans soak for at least 6 hours, then simmer on the stove for 4-6. So since I get home from work around 5pm, you can guess that I was up in the wee hours of the morning stirring and mashing. Not so bright, this one.

As far as the flavor goes, they seem just a tad too salty. And I didn't even double the amount of bouillon. I also didn't double the amount of chili powder because I didn't want too much kick.  The main reason I'm going to start making beans is for Logan (our 7-year-old) and he wouldn't like them if they were too "hot". He loves Grandma Lety's beans, and her's aren't spicy at all. Quick aside: Logan stays with Grandma Lety and Grandpa Mark on occasion, and during the most recent visit, he said while eating dinner, "Grandma, my house is lame. There are no beans there." Hence this post. That means this was definitely a gamble, and I probably should have just cooked 1 pound of beans rather than doubling a brand new recipe. But hey, they'll freeze, and I'll eat them eventually, even if no one else will.

While searching for a recipe, I discovered that many label themselves as "authentic". Who knows what that could mean! Next time for any Mexican cuisine, I'm defaulting to my mother-in-law! But I'd like to know: what is your favorite recipe for refried beans? Or if you don't make them who or which restaurant makes the best?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pork Adobo with Corn Fritters

I gotta tell ya: I'm starting to bug myself with this whole not-following-the-recipe thing. I'm never gonna be able to properly review a recipe because I almost never do as I'm directed! RAWR!

The reviews of this week's 2 dishes were split; the main dish was a hit and the side dish was a bust. So I'll start with the main dish, pork adobo. This was very simple, and I actually cooked it just a little too long. The boys both liked it, but I wouldn't have minded it being a little more tender. You can click on the link in this paragraph to see the full recipe, but here are the flavors that were used on the cubed pork shoulder: vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and a bay leaf. The meat marinates for at least 30 minutes and then simmers on the stove for an hour. After it's cooked through, the meat gets browned on all sides in a skillet and then it's ready to go. I cooked the sauce in the skillet hoping it would reduce a bit, but it didn't.

Next up are the frituras de maiz. This appetizer did not turn out well. Main reason: it's not corn season. The recipe calls for fresh corn kernels and I could only find canned. I thought I drained and dried the corn enough but the photo below begs to differ. The recipe says to add a little bit of flour if the mixture of ground corn, egg, sugar and salt is "too wet," but I added at least a cup of flour in order to get decent fritters to photograph and it was STILL too wet. 

Lesson learned!