Sunday, October 31, 2010

No Recipe Needed Stuffed Shells

It's taken me a while but I've finally mastered Stuffed Shells and no longer need a recipe! I remember how intimidated I was at first with all the different steps of cooking the shells, browning the meat, mixing the stuffing ingredients, stuffing the shells and then baking them! Now I can do it with my eyes closed! (Ok maybe I won't go THAT far!) Anyway, they came out great! These shells were stuffed with some ground beef, Ricotta and Parmesan. A perfect Sunday dinner with LOTS of left-overs!

Because Deep-Fried Things are Just BETTER!

After making my Mango Pulled Pork Panini, I STILL had more meat left so I decided to put it to good use. I've ALWAYS wanted to make Chimichangas at home since they're one of Greg's favorite dishes to order at a Mexican restaurant. With the help of my lil deep fryer, it was finally possible! These came out so crispy and yummy! I wanted to really make them restaurant-quality so I even made some Guac to serve on top. Perfect football-watching snacks!

Celebrating Halloween with Muffins!

Unfortunately, living in a gated community means that we don't get any Trick-or-Treaters, which I'm pretty bummed about since I love seeing lil kids dressed up in their costumes. So to make up for it, I decided to cheer myself up with some Pumpkin Muffins! These came out amazing, perfectly sweet from the chocolate chips with a wonderful crunch from the sunflower seeds. Our house smelled just like the holidays as these muffins were baking in the oven and I can't wait for Turkey Day!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c white chocolate chips
1/4 c sunflower seeds, roasted


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or line 6 muffin cups.

2. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together.

3. In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until just incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds, leaving some to add to the tops of the muffins.

4. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tray, filling to the top. Sprinkle each muffin top with a few reserved chips and seeds.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Another Use for My Panini Grill!

As if I don't already use my Panini Grill enough, now I've discovered I can even grill chicken on it! I mean, why not right? It's essentially a grill with a cover AND it requires very little clean-up, which is a total bonus! I had chicken thighs in the fridge and decided to make Martha Stewart's Yogurt and Garam-Masala Marinated Chicken. It took about 15 minutes to cook up and came out so tender and moist! Now I don't think I'll ever put my Panini Grill away!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Freezer is My Best Friend

For a household of 2, the freezer really comes in handy. Remember the Mango Pulled Pork I made a couple of weeks ago? Well, the recipe made a LOT of meat, so I froze half of it knowing I didn't wanna waste any of it. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, there's nothing better than knowing you've got yummy pulled pork to make Panini with! I added pickle slices, tomatoes, Dijon mayo and Smoked Gouda cheese and they came out amazing! Perfect when you want something quick before relaxing on the couch for the rest of the day! Hey, it's wet and dark outside and I just feel like being lazy in my PJ's. :)

Cookie Carnival!

It's Cookie Carnival time and this month I chose to make the Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies and they were a hit at the office! The only change I made was substituting dried cranberries for the cherries cuz that was all I had but I'm sure they weren't that different.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Finally Found Harissa!

We have this lil corner store in our apartment complex, which is a total life-saver sometimes. (Like when we run out of eggs and *gasp I can't bake!) Besides the essentials, it's also got some really random stuff and over the weekend I found Harissa on the shelf and couldn't wait to try it out! In case you've never heard of it, Harissa is a spicy African condiment used a lot in Moroccan cuisine. It's bright red and usually comes in paste form. I've seen some recipes for making your own but it's got a LOT of ingredients and will go bad in about a month unlike the commercially packed tubes that keep forever. ANYWAY, I tested it out tonight with some Lamb Meatballs with Sweet Yogurt Sauce over Couscous and it's a total winner! Spicy and flavorful (and of course, Greg had to put more hot sauce on them even though they were HOT!).


1/2 lb ground lamb
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Harissa
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 c plain Greek-style yogurt
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Harissa
1 tsp orange juice
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Couscous, for serving
Parsley, for garnishing


1. Mix together lamb, garlic, Harissa, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, egg and breadcrumbs being careful not to overmix. Form into 4 meatballs.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, mix all yogurt ingredients together. Serve meatballs on top of couscous with yogurt sauce drizzled on top and garnished with parsley.

Raspberry Breakfast Cake

This recipe was adapted from my Pillsbury Best Muffins and Quick Breads cookbook and it came out super moist and yummy! I love the layers of cake with raspberries in the middle and you can definitely have it any time of the day and not just for breakfast.


1/2 c sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 c milk
1/4 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c fresh raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter until fluffly. Add eggs, milk, sour cream and vanilla; beat until well blended.

3. Add flour and baking powder; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

4. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with raspberries. Pour remaining batter over raspberries.

5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Fruit Cocktail Muffins

I had some Fruit Cocktail sitting around so I decided to bake with them. I have NO idea why I thought Pumpkin Pie Spice would work but it did! Guess I have a talent for making yummy muffins huh? :)

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1/2 milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
8 oz Fruit Cocktail Mix, undrained


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray or line 6 muffin cups.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, milk and egg. In another bowl, combine the four, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and spice. Stir dry ingredients into wet just until moistened. Stir in cocktail mix.

3. Fill muffins cups almost to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into middle of a muffins comes out clean.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Go-To Cornbread Featuring Tomatoes

My Go-To Cornbread recipe never fails and this one features tomatoes, mushrooms, Mozzarella cheese and parsley. Savory and cheesy, just the way I like them!

Not Lackin on the Blackenin!

I've been saving Guy Fieri's Not Lackin on the Blackenin Catfish recipe for a while now and finally made it tonight. It was AWESOME! SO flavorful and VERY blackened! I did made the entire apartment smell like Cajun seasoning but that's a good thing! :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Inspired by Giada's Apricot Oat Bars

I watched Giada make some Apricot Oat Bars a while back and actually went out to buy a straight-edged baking pan just for the occasion. I substituted dried cranberries and strawberry jam using what I already had and they came out AMAZING! I LOVE the combination of the oatmeal and the fruit! I think the pan really helped to get the shape of the bars just right. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What is Massaman Curry?

We LOVE LOVE LOVE curry at our house so I was really excited to discover Massaman Curry. It's a Thai recipe that involves Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Potatoes so what's not to like about it right? I followed this trusted recipe from Food and Wine and it came out SO good! Spicy and full of flavor! YUM!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aarti Party has done it AGAIN!

We loved Aarti's Sloppy Bombay Joes but not as much as we love her Pulled Pork with Mango BBQ Sauce! I cooked my pork butt in the slow cooker and the meat came out so tender and moist! I couldn't find Mango Puree so I just made my own using jarred mango in the food processor. I also substituted Jalapeño for the Serrano and Honey for the Molasses using what I had on hand. I've been saving this recipe for a while and I'm SO glad I finally made it! The meat was so flavorful with just the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. It was such an easy meal too to let the slow cooker do all the work. I served the meat on some toasted buns topped with pickle slices and a side of Mashed Potatoes. This will definitely get us over Hump Day!

Neiman Marcus is MORE than just Shopping!

If you've ever been to the Neiman Marcus in SF, you know their restaurant, Rotunda, is really popular and for good reason too. Besides lunch and dinner, they also have Afternoon Tea where you get a pretty platter of Cookies, Tarts, Finger Sandwiches and Scones. I've only been there once and remember EVERYTHING being yummy! So you can guess how happy I was when I found the recipe for their "Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies" on their website! These cookies are AMAZING and super chunky with LOTS of chocolate chips! I can't say they're my favorite cookies (cuz I basically love all of them!) but they're definitely worth trying!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Southern Meal in Cali: Country Captain Chicken!

Ever since I watched Rachael Ray make her Country Captain Chicken, I'd been wanting to try it. Just out of curiousity, I Wikipedia'd the name and found that it was an Indian curry dish first introduced to a British Sea Captain working in the spice trade at the Port of Savannah. It then became a traditional Southern dish with many variations but it always involving curry chicken served over rice. Rachael Ray's recipe also included bell peppers, onions, raisins, tomatoes and almonds (which I omitted). I also used some bone-in chicken thighs (cuz we like dark meat) and the dish turned out SO flavorful and good! I've only been to the South once but I DEFINITELY like their cooking style! Fried Chicken, Jambalaya, Crawfish...I like them all!

My New Mom Requested More Corn Muffins!

Last year I decided to bake some Corn Muffins as my contribution to our Thanksgiving meal and everyone loved them so much that they requested more this year. Now these aren't just any old Corn Muffins. They're Bobby Flay's Blue Corn Muffins that he serves at his restaurant, Mesa Grill. We go there almost every time we're in Vegas and everyone literally fights over them! (They only serve 2 per table as part of the bread basket.) Last time I substituted yellow cornmeal for the blue but this time I really wanted to be authentic. I knew if I could find blue cornmeal anywhere it would be Whole Foods and I was right! Yea! I did a test run last night and turned Greg and my co-workers into my Taste Testers. The verdict? They loved them! Yummy muffins full of corn, bell peppers and jalapeñes, how can you go wrong?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Pork Chop Dinner Inspired by Rachael Ray

I love Rachael Ray's recipes and get lots of dinner ideas from her. Tonight's dinner was inspired by her Pork Chops with Apple Hash and was a total winner! The cheesy potatoes and apples were the perfect companion to the pork. Yummy comfort food on a cold and foggy night!


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 bone-in pork chops (1-inch thick)
Salt and pepper
6 baby potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 c onions, chopped
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 c chicken stock
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add chops to pan and brown 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.

2. Add potatoes and apple to the pan and cook 10 minutes, until tender. Add vinegar and broth and bring to a boil.

3. Add pork back, lower heat and simmer, covered, until pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove pork to serving platter.

4. Turn heat up to high, stir in butter and boil until sauce thickens, 5 minutes. Serve hash on top of pork chops with cheese on top.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stuffed Meatballs from Rachael Ray

I watched Rachael Ray make Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Sausage Balls and knew immediately what I was making for Sunday dinner! I love making a big batch of food on Sundays so we can have left-overs during the week and Meatballs are only better the next day! (Not that these weren't amazing tonight!) I used pork sausage and stuffed each meatball with 1/4 piece of string cheese cuz those were what I had in the fridge. I also just used jarred Marinara Sauce but added tons of mushrooms. I skipped the Roasted Broccolini (ew!) but made the mashed potatoes which went perfectly with the meatballs and yummy sauce!

Football Watching with Rachael Ray!

I'm really loving all the Tailgating recipes they're airing on The Food Network these days and even though we're watching the games at home, we still need TV-watching snacks right? This afternoon I decided try Rachael Ray's Ranch Chicken Tenders in my lil deep fryer. I used some skinless boneless chicken thighs cuz we like dark meat and they fried up perfectly in 10 minutes. The Ranch flavor was amazing and the meat tasted like it had been marinating for hours instead of just coated in the mixture! I served the tenders with Marie's Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing as a dip and it was the perfect snack for Sunday football!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pizza Always Cheers Me Up!

We saw The Town this afternoon and really liked it! I won't give anything away but I was a lil sad at the end and nothing cheers me up like pizza! It's been a while since I made Chicken Pesto Pizza so I whipped up some homemade pesto using basil from my AeroGarden and we had a yummy Saturday dinner! It's amazing how quickly pizza can cheer me up!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Yummy Pork and Pear Combo!

Buying produce in season really pays off! Pears literally went from $1.99 a pound to 39¢ within a week! My last attempt with pork and pear came out so well that I decided to try another recipe. I've been saving this recipe for Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops and tried them out tonight. I'm so glad I did! The syrupy glaze had the perfect tangy sweet flavor and was SO yummy on top of the pork! It was also such a quick and easy one-pot dish, which I LOVE on my baking nights. I served the chops on top of some couscous to soak up all that sauce and it was the perfect fall meal!

Another Perfect Savory and Sweet Combo!

I LOVED the sweet and savory combination of my Cheddar Apple Bread and wanted to try another variation. This time I combined Pear with Blue Cheese, which I thought were the perfect pairing! There's something about the saltiness of the cheese that actually brings out the sweetness of the fruit. Combined with some crunchy walnuts and these were just perfect lil snacks!

Ingredients: (12 squares)

3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c oil
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c crumbled blue cheese
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 pear, chopped
1/4 c chopped walnuts


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Stir in the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix just until it all comes together and no flour is visible. Stir in the cheese, pear and walnuts.

3. Transfer the batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cookies That Taste Like Banana Bread!

I've been baking a lot from my Mrs Fields Cookie Book and tonight I chose Banana Nut Cookies. The original recipe calls for Chocolate Chips but I decided to skip them knowing the cookies were sweet enough already. They taste EXACTLY like Banana Nut Bread and I love them!

Ingredients: (4 dozen cookies)

2-2/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c light brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 banana
1 c chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugars and butter to form a grainy paste, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add egg, extract and banana, and beat at medium speed until smooth.

3. Add the flour mixture and walnuts and blend at low speed until just moistened.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. baked 25-27 minutes, until cookie edges begin to brown.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Canned Salmon in These Cakes!

I used to think it was a waste of a perfect piece of salmon to make Salmon Cakes but not anymore! After trying these Curried Salmon Cakes from my Food Network Magazine, I can never go back to the canned stuff! The flavor was just so much more fresh and the texture is more moist. I thought it was strange to microwave the salmon with the curry powder but it was actually a great way to get the flavor into the fish. I didn't have any crackers so I just used regular breadcrumbs and the outside came out really crunchy (in a good way). I also skipped the mango salad (no mango) and just served the cakes with the Curry Tartar Sauce. The curry flavor was pretty intense but we loved them cuz we love curry!

"Falling" in Love with this Apple Cake!

Fall is definitely Apple Season so I'm looking forward to a lot of baked apple treats! I saw this recipe for Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze and couldn't resist! I actually skipped the glaze cuz the cake already had a lot of sugar in it and it was definitely sweet enough without it. I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8x8-inch pan making 9 squares. I also substituted Pumpkin Pie Spice for the Cinnamon and it came out tasting like a yummy combination of Apple and Pumpkin Pie! I guess you can say I'm definitely ready for Turkey Day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yummy Dinner from Everyday Food Magazine

I've been getting Everyday Food Magazine for a while now and surprisingly this is the first recipe I've ever made from it. It's Martha Stewart's Chicken in Tomatoes with just a few minor adjustments. (You know me! Gotta put my own spin on everything!) I used fresh tomatoes instead of frozen and simmered the pot on the stovetop to cook through. It actually took less time, about 15 minutes. I also turned the heat up after the chicken was done to thicken the sauce. The tomato flavor was really intense and paired perfectly with the oregano and chicken! Served over some couscous and a simple yummy dinner was born!

Grated Butter Makes Flaky Biscuits!

I've been craving some savory treats so when I saw this recipe for Ham and Cheddar Biscuits I knew I had to make them! I just watched Big Daddy's House over the weekend where Aaron made Cheddar Scones and he grated the butter into the mixture. I loved the idea since I hate getting all messy working with my fingertips or having to dirty my big food processor. It totally worked and the biscuits came out so flaky and perfect! I also added some parsley for flavor and flavor. The recipe didn't say how many biscuits it makes but I ended up with a dozen using a 3-inch cutter. Savory treats are the best!

Back from Laguna AGAIN!

We're back from our annual trip to Laguna Beach for Greg's conference where he gets to work all day and I get to play! Love it! We stayed at the St Regis again and the weather was just perfect. Greg's parents picked me up on Saturday for lunch followed by shopping at Fashion Island. (Dad watched a movie while we ladies shopped, of course!) I really do have the best In-Laws!

We got some pool time in on Sunday and then watched some football downtown Laguna at Hennessey Tavern. Here we are at Johnny Rockets afterwards for some Chilly Fries and Onion Rings. YUM!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pizza for My Mexican Hubby!

I've made pizza lots of ways but never Mexican so tonight I decided to make Mexican Pizza! Greg is half Mexican and LOVES Mexican food so I knew he would like this. I topped the pizza with ground beef, Ortega Taco Sauce, Pepperjack Cheese and mushrooms. Super yummy Mexican flavors with just the right amount of kick!

Christmas Cookies in October!

I bought Taste of Home's Christmas Cookies Magazine last year with every intention of baking TONS of goodies from it but somehow never got around to it. It's been sitting on my table ever since and I finally decided to bake some Soft Buttermilk Sugar Cookies. It was one of the recipes I marked to try and I'm so glad I did! They're SO soft and buttery (thanks to me NOT overbaking them!) and had just the right amount of sweetness. I'm already seeing Christmas Cards in the stores so why not bake some Christmas Cookies right? I love the holidays and can't get enough of them anyway!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Left-over Champagne Makes Gourmet Chicken!

We had some Champagne left over from the weekend and I thought I'd cook with it. Since I've been on a fruit and meat kick lately I decided to make some Chicken in Champagne Grape Sauce. Sounds fancy right? It was actually really easy and super quick to put together. Champagne and grapes make the perfect combination and worked great with the chicken! Sweet and tangy and perfect on top of some couscous!


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Salt and pepper
1 c seedless grapes, halved crosswise
1/4 c onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c Champagne
1 c chicken broth
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp butter


1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pan and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add the grapes, onion and garlic and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add the Champagne and deglaze for 30 seconds. Add the broth, mustard, lemon juice and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring.

3. Return the chicken to the pan with any juices and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until chicken reaches 160°F. Remove chicken to serving platter.

4. Turn heat to medium-high and add butter. Boil until thickened, stirring, 2 minutes. Serve over chicken.

Grape Cake Turned into Muffins!

Over the weekend, Food Network aired the episode where Alex made her Warm Grape Cake again and reminded me of how much I enjoyed it. This time I altered the recipe a lil and made muffins that were just as yummy!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 c all-purpose flour + 2 tsp divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c buttermilk
1/4 c raisins
1 c seedless grapes, halved


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or line 6 muffin cups.

2. Using a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the egg. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing thoroughly. Add in the olive oil and milk, mixing just until combined.

3. In a separate bowl, toss the raisins and grapes with the remaining 2 tsp of flour. Add the fruit to the cake batter and stir only enough to blend.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Fish Curry!

Greg absolutely LOVED my last Fish Curry meal so I decided to make another one for dinner. This time I followed a recipe that included new potatoes and tomatoes. I think I overdid it a lil on the Curry Paste cuz it came out REALLY spicy, but in a good way since we like spicy! I used some Catfish fillets that kinda fell apart during the cooking process but it all ends up at the same place anyway right? LOVE anything with curry in it!

Mini Things are just BETTER!

ESPECIALLY Mini Frittatas! These feature ham, Gruyère left over from the Sliders, tomatoes and parsley. Savory and cheesy, perfect bite-size treats!

Ingredients: (16 mini quiches)

1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cooked ham, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 Roma tomato, seeded, chopped
1/2 c Gruyere cheese, grated
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease mini muffin tin.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Sift in the flour, add pepper, and whisk until blended; the batter will be thin. Stir in the ham, tomatoes, cheese and parsley with a spoon to blend.

3. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and puffy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Perfect Fall Porkchops Inspired by Rachael Ray!

Our yummy dinner was inspired by Rachael Ray's Porkchops in Golden Apple and Raisin Sauce and it was the PERFECT fall meal! Instead of cooking the meat and sauce separately, I braised the chops in the mixture so that it would soak up more flavor. I would've never thought to add raisins to a savory dish but the combination worked so well with the apple and pork! I served my chops over some Cheesy Polenta to soak up all the yummy sauce. Quick and easy!


2 boneless pork chops
Salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp raisins
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c apple juice
1/4 c chicken broth
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


1. Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chops and brown 3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

2. Add apple, brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, until apple softens, 3 minutes. Add apple juice and deglaze for 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, mustard, Dijon and maple syrup. Add chops back and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 5 minutes until meat is cooked through. Remove pork to serving platter.

3. Turn heat up to high and stir in butter. Boil until mixture thickens, 2 minutes. Serve sauce on top of pork and sprinkle parsley on top.

Starting Off My Fall Baking with Apple Bars

I always think of apples when I think of fall so I decided to start the season with these Sour Cream Apple Bars. I halved the recipe and baked them in an 8x8-inch pan, then cut them into 9 bars. I also added Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of Cinnamon and Allspice and the smell totally made me look forward to Thanksgiving! I love the combination of the crumbly oatmeal crust along with the creamy apple filling. Not too sweet, a lil bit tart and just PERFECT fall treats!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More Grilling Inspired by Guy

I saved this Grilled Tandoori-Marinated Lamb recipe from Guy Fieri a while ago and finally got the chance to make it tonight now that we have a grill! I used lamb shoulder chops and marinated them overnight using Greek yogurt and all the spices. The meat definitely had the right flavor and came out perfectly medium-rare just a few minutes on each side at high heat. I skipped the grilled onions and green beens and just served the chops on top of some couscous. A yummy restaurant-quality Indian meal at home!

I Have the BEST In-Laws!

I really do have the BEST in-laws ESPECIALLY when it comes to gift giving! Kanika and Ryan got us the Cuisinart Griddler for our wedding and I just made the most AWESOME Sliders on it! This recipe is actually from the manual that came with the grill and it's SO good! The meat is just ground beef with some garlic powder and pepper (I added some Worcestershire) but the topping was what made them amazing! It's a mixture of mushrooms, thyme and olive oil browned on the grill and then topped with shredded Gruyère Cheese. How good does that sound? The sliders only needed a few minutes on each side and they were perfectly medium rare, just the way we like them! I also found these cute mini sesame buns at Trader Joe's. Now that we have a grill AND a deep fryer, we can open our own diner!

Friday, October 1, 2010

You Can't Beat the Classics!

I love being creative with my baking but sometimes you just wanna go back to the classics. It's been a LONG time since I made Peanut Butter Cookies so I thought it was time to bring them back. This is Mrs Fields recipe and they're nice and chewy with an intense PB flavor! Happy Cookie Friday!

Ingredients: (3-1/2 dozen cookies)

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
1-1/4 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1-1/4 c white sugar
1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 eggs
1 c creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugars with butter at medium speed to form a grainy paste. Scrape sides of the bowl and add eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

4. Add the flour mixture and mix at a low speed until just mixed. Do not overmix.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, 1-1/2 inches apart. With a wet for, gently press a crisscross pattern on top of cookies.

6. Bake 18-22 minutes, until cookies are slightly brown along edges. Transfer cookies immediately to cool surface with a spatula.
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