Monday, May 30, 2011

Alex Rocks and so does her Indian Chicken!

I was watching Food Network again this morning and saw Alex make her Braised Chicken Thighs. I really love her cuz she's just so true to her cooking and just makes EVERYTHING look so delicious! I decided that I needed to make the dish tonight and I'm so glad I did! It came out SO flavorful and really easy too.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Perfect Sunday in Wine Country!

We totally lucked out with weather today and spent a perfect day with our friends in Napa. We actually hit 6 wineries between 1 and 6, which is the most I've ever done in 1 trip! We had so much fun and of course, ended up with several bottles of our favorites. We started with a yummy lunch at Azzurro in Downtown Napa. Their speciality is pizza so we shared 3 VERY yummy pizzas. Then it was off to wine tasting. I forget the names of all the ones we went to but here we are are Alpha Omego, which had the most beautiful water fountain. We ended our trip at our favorite winery, Folie a Deux and headed back for a yummy Mexican feast at Tres. It was seriously the most PERFECT day and tomorrow I'm ready for some BBQ!

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce THAI Style!

There's really not much of a recipe for tonight's meal. I kinda just winged it with my Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with lots of Thai-inspired ingredients. There's Red Curry Paste, Lemon Grass, Fish Sauce, Garlic and Ground Pork. The amounts are really according to your liking. I added LOTS of Curry cuz we like things spicy and served the sauce with some yummy Rice Noodles and dinner was served!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Mini Muffins!

I can't wait for the long weekend and to celebrate, I made some cute Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins. They were super easy and turned out so good! Using mini chocolate chips in these make the chocolate flavors more evenly distributed and they taste more chocolatey. So cute!

New Ravioli Spotted at TJ's!

I picked up a package of Carbonara Ravioli from Trader Joe's last weekend and couldn't wait to try them. They're stuffed with BACON and less than $3! Can't beat that! Tonight, I cooked them up with some Alfredo Sauce and Chicken Strips. SO incredibly quick and easy and SO incredibly yummy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sweet and Spicy and just a bit Fruity!

It's almost summer which means that blueberries are going on sale. I picked some up and decided to try them with some pork chops. I knew they'd be good with balsamic vinegar but also wanted to kick them up with Chipotle. SO incredibly flavorful and good!


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 bone-in, 1/2-inch-thick pork chops
Salt and pepper
1/2 c onion, diced
1 c blueberries
1/2 c red wine
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Chipotle pepper
Couscous, for serving


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add to pan and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

2. Add onion and brown 5 minutes. Add blueberries, wine, sugar, lemon juice, balsamic, thyme and chipotle. Bring to a boil.

3. Turn heat down to medium and add pork back. Simmer 5 minutes, until pork is cooked through. Serve with couscous.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back from Cabo (Sneak Peak!)

We're back from our 2nd trip to Cabo and had the most wonderful time. Thanks mom and dad! More pictures to come but here's a sneak peak at the happy (and very tanned) couple!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Asian Chicken Dinner

I have no idea what to call this besides Asian Chicken Dinner cuz that's exactly what it was. I threw together some ingredients that I thought would taste good together and you know what? They did! A lil bit spicy, a lil bit salty, a lil bit sweet and a lil bit sour and A LOTTA BIT yummy!


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
salt and pepper
4 dried red chilies
1/4 c onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemongrass
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c thick coconut cream or heavy cream
rice noodles, for serving
chopped green onions, for garnish


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

2. Turn heat down to medium and add the chilies and onions. Cook until onion is golden, 5 minutes. Add garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar and lemongrass and cook for 30 seconds.

3. Pour in chicken broth and deglaze. Stir in cream and add chicken back. Bring to a simmer and turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 20 minutes.

4. Serve chicken on top of rice noodles garnished with green onions.

Simple and Tasty Pork Chops from Giada

I've been saving Giada's Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze for a while now and finally made them tonight. They were amazing! The glaze was the perfect combination of sweet honey and tart balsamic vinegar and paired so well with the spicy chili flakes on the chops. I served them with couscous to soak up all the yummy sauce. Thanks Giada!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Trip to Peru on a Weeknight!

I saw a recipe for Spicy Peruvian Chicken and was inspired to make something similar. I used most of the same ingredients but simplified the process by using ground spices so I could omit the food processor part. I also marinated the meat overnight so turned out really flavorful with a nice kick! Since corn and tomatoes are a staple in Peruvian cuisine, I served the chicken over some rice mixed with the 2. A trip to Peru on a Tuesday night, not bad huh?


2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
1 tsp sugar
1/4 c chicken stock
Rice, for serving


1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp olive oil, lime juice, paprika, cumin, chili flakes, cayenne, garlic and oregano or marjoram to make a paste. Place the chicken in a large, resealable bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and toss to coat. Chill several hours or overnight.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a Dutch-oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle sugar over the chicken and add stock. Partially cover and cook 10 minutes more, or until chicken is cooked through.

3. Serve chicken over rice with sauce on top.

Thai Kitchen at Home

I love making Thai food cuz my kitchen smells like a Thai kitchen, which is just intoxicating! Tonight, I made Thai Pork and Noodles and it turned out amazing! The combination of spicy, sweet and savory was just perfect! It was also a quick stir-fry so a great weeknight meal. YUM YUM!


1/2 lb boneless pork chops, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp cornstarch
4 oz rice noodles
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 dried red chilies
1 shallot, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp canola oil
Green onions, for garnish


1. Mix the pork with cornstarch and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and brown sugar.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry until no longer pink, 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

5. Add the lime mixture, dried chilies and shallots and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add the eggs and stir until almost set, 2 minutes.

6. Add the noodles and pork back. Cook, tossing with tongs, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Garnish with green onions.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2 Hours of Braising = Tender Melt-in-Your-Mouth Lamb

I've never made Lamb Shanks before and have always been intimidated by them. They just seem so unattractive and tough no matter how you cook them. BUT after finding a great sale over the weekend, I finally decided to try them. I did some research and found that the best way to make them tender is to braise them low and slow in a mixture of red wine and broth. I also saw a few recipes from Emeril using his Essence, which I always have on hand. I decided that Lamb Shanks would make the perfect Sunday night dinner especially since I would actually have the time to start them early. 2 hours later, we were biting into the most tender, flavorful, melt-in-your mouth meat we've ever tasted. I can't wait to get some Lamb Shanks now!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Essence
2 lamb shanks
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c dry red wine
1 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 c beef broth
Couscous, for servings
Parsley, for garnish


1. In a shallow dish, combine the flour and Essence. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, then dredge in seasoned flour, shaking to remove any excess.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the lamb and brown for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the lamb and set aside.

3. Add garlic. Stir and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the wine, stirring to bring up any browned bits. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

4. Return the lamb to the pan and turn to coat with sauce. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 1 hour. Turn the lamb over and simmer for another hour until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat to serving platter and keep warm.

5. Turn heat up to hight and bring the sauce to a boil for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Pour over meat and serve with couscous garnished with parsley.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Betty Crocker-Inspired Tamale Pie

Tonight's yummy dinner was inspired by Betty Crocker's Chicken Tamale Pie. I made a few adjustments using ingredients I had on hand and it came out really good! The filling was really flavorful and the topping was crunchy and buttery, just the way I like it! What a great start to the weekend!


1 lb bulk sausage, casing removed
1 pkg Taco Seasoning (I used McCormick's)
1 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 c Bisquick
1/2 c cornmeal
3/4 c milk
1 egg
1 c corn
1 c chopped tomatoes
Sour cream, for topping
Chives, for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in Taco seasoning, tomatoes and corn. Cook until heated through, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.

2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick, cornmeal, milk, egg and corn until blended. Pour over sausage mixture and cheese.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean. To serve, cut into wedges and top with sour cream and chives.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Icebox Cookies

Icebox Cookies are great cuz they can be made ahead but they also require patience, which I usually don't have. But since I was home alone this week, I decided to make a batch of Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies. I'm so glad I did cuz they came out so good! Rich and full of crunchy walnuts, what could be better?

My First Attempt at Vodka Sauce

I'm usually all for store-bought pasta sauces but once in a while like to experiment with making my own from scratch. Tonight, I was inspired to make Vodka Sauce for the first time and was really proud of myself. After some research, I put together my own simple version and it came out really good. I'm not saying I won't be using store-bought sauces from now on but I'll definitely be making this again. With the sauce I made some stuffed shells with shredded Rotisserie chicken, Ricotta and Italian Seasoning. A very yummy "Semi-Homemade" meal!

My Vodka Sauce:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 c vodka
1 c chicken stock
1 c tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
1/2 c heavy cream

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Add vodka and reduce by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

We celebrated Mother's Day at Scott's Seafood again but this time at the Palo Alto location. (I can't believe it's been 2 years since we went to the San Jose one!) They were serving their Brunch menu and we had a wonderful seafood feast that included Crab Cakes, HUGE Cocktail Shrimp, Clam Chowder, Smoked Salmon Benedict and of course, LOTS of bubbly!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Giada-Inspired Lemon Cookies

We're finally getting some spring weather in SF so I thought I'd make some lemon cookies since lemons make me think of spring. These are inspired by Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies with a few changes. I omitted the glaze and added white chocolate chips. They came out so creamy yet still very refreshing from the citrusy lemon. A HUGE hit at the office!

Ingredients: (4 dozen cookies)

1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 c whole milk ricotta cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 c white chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and juice. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips.

4. Spoon tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to cooling racks.

Cinco de Mayo Calls for ENCHILADAS!

We LOVE Enchiladas (and pizza and lasagna), so of course it's on the menu for Cinco de Mayo! This is a super quick version made with Rotisserie chicken, spicy refried beans and our favorite, La Victoria's Enchiladas Sauce. Baked off with LOTS of cheese and topped with a big dollop of sour cream. YUMMY!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Ordered 12 Boxes of Rice Noodles!

Greg has recently become a HUGE fan of rice noodles so I decided to order a 12-pack from Amazon. I figured they last forever and is a total deal compared to supermarket prices. Since I now had an abundance of rice noodles to experiment with, I thought I'd try something new. This is my version of Chow Mein, which is pretty much like Fried Rice except with noodles instead. Super quick since I used Rotisserie Chicken and Cooked Shrimp. Not the most authentic but VERY yummy!


1 c rice noodles, cooked and drained
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Fish sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 c onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
3-4 dried red chiles
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 green onions, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 egg, lightly scrambled
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp brown sugar
8 large cooked shrimp
1 c cooked chicken, chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil


1. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, cornstarch and white pepper. Set aside.

2. Place a wok or large pan over a high heat and add oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, chiles, garlic, ginger and green onions. Stir well and cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Add the egg stir briskly until almost set. Stir in the noodles, curry and brown sugar.

4. Add the chicken and shrimp. Cook until heated through. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil before serving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sticking with the Mexican Theme with Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo literally translates to "Rice with Chicken" and it can be cooked up a gazillion different ways. I chose to make mine with lots of pretty colors from red bell peppers, orange tomatoes, yellow corn and green jalapeño. The rice really absorbed all the wonderful flavors and kept the chicken really moist. Happy Fiesta Week everyone!


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1/4 c onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c corn kernels
1 tsp tomato paste
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c rice
1/4 Mexican shredded cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


1. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken, skin-side down and brown 5 minutes. Turn and brown 4 minutes on the other side. Remove and keep warm.

2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, jalapeño, garlic and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable starts to soften, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, corn, tomato paste and broth, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the rice and add the chicken back. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the chicken and rice are just done, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Yummy Caribbean Dinner!

Last week's Caribbean Mango Chicken was so yummy that I decided to make something similar with pork. I rarely get to use my Jerk Seasoning and thought it would be perfect in this dish. I LOVE the combination of spicy and sweet and it tasted so exotic! To keep the pork tender and moist, I dredged it in some cornstarch first. (It's a trick I learned from making Asian Stir-fries.) I served the pork with some couscous and it was an easy and super flavorful dinner!


2 boneless pork loin chops, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Caribbean jerk seasoning blend
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 c orange juice
1 tsp jalapeño pepper sauce (I used Tabasco)


1. In a bowl, toss the pork with cornstarch. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add pork and Jerk Seasoning. Brown 3 minutes and stir. Cook 3 more minutes. Add mango and stir. Cook 5 minutes or just until pork is no longer pink.

2. Stir in orange juice and pepper sauce. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kicking Off The Fiesta Week!

It's almost time for Cinco de Mayo so I'm kicking off the fiesta week with this Layered Tortilla Pie. It's like Enchiladas baked in pie-form with layers of beef, refried beans and LOTS of cheese. How can that NOT be good right? We pretty much devoured the entire pie tonight even though left-overs would've been good. Oh well, at least we're nice and full and ready to take on another work week!

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