Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stewing for the First Time!

It's the middle of summer and we're craving stew. Why? cuz it's 50 degrees in foggy San Francisco. No, I'm not jealous of all the triple digit temperatures the rest of the world is getting, but can we at LEAST get past 70? I know all we need to do is drive 20 minutes away from the city to enjoy some warm sunshine but on a lazy Sunday, that's just not happening. SO...we pretend it's winter and we make stew. I've actually never made stew before so it was pretty exciting (or as exciting as stew can be). You basically take a cheap cut of meat, chop it up and simmer it in a pot with whatever veggies you like, in my case potatoes and carrots. You can cook it all day or as little as an hour as long as your meat and veggies get tender. It was definitely comfort food to the max and perfect on a winter, I mean summer, night!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 lb beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 c dry red wine
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf
6 baby potatoes, cut into quarters
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch circles
Rice, for serving


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a pie plate and dredge beef in the flour, shaking off excess. Add the beef to the pan and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

2. Add the onion and carrots and sauté 5 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.

3. Add the wine and deglaze. Add the thyme, broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add the beef back, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour, until meat and vegetables are tender.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yummy Braised Lamb Shanks, Moroccan Style!

I picked up some HUGE Lamb Shanks on sale at the store so I decided to make these Moroccan Lamb Shanks. Since it was already Friday afternoon, I didn't have time to cook them in the slow cooker so I braised them on the stovetop for 2 hours instead. The meat was super flavorful, not to mention fall-off-the-boone tender! What a great way to start the weekend!

Kids LOVE M&M's!

We're having our first company picnic tomorrow and there will be a LOT of kids! So for Cookie Friday, I thought I'd bake something that no kid could resist, M&M Cookies! I mean, seriously, what kid (or adult) doesn't like M&M's? I decided to go all out and baked 100 cookies, yes 100 and I'm sure they'll all be gone by the end of the day!

Update: yes, they were ALL gone! I swear, each kid had like 5 at least!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Restaurant-Quality Bulgogi from Trader Joe's!

Here's yet another reason I love Trader Joe's, Bulgogi! It's another one of their pre-marinaded meat packages that takes no time at all to prepare but yet tastes AMAZING! My hubby LOVES Bulgogi and orders it every time we go to a Korean restaurant. He basically determines whether or not he'll go back based on if he likes that ONE dish. I was a bit unsure when I first brought the package home since I didn't know how authentic it would taste but OMG I'm SO glad we tried it! It literally tasted better than a lot of restaurants we've been to! I served the meat over rice and topped it with a fried egg Bibimbap style!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Mommy Got Me Tamarind Paste!

Tamarind Paste is a very common ingredient is many Asian dishes and I've been substituting lime juice for the similar tangy flavor since I couldn't find it at the store (and Chinatown scares me!). My mommy, however, lives in Milpitas, where they have nice and CLEAN Asian Markets so I asked her to pick up a few things for me. Tamarind Paste was one of them and I couldn't WAIT to use it! I decided to marinate some chicken in a mixture of Tamarind Paste, white wine, Siracha, parsley and garlic. (Don't ask me why, it just felt like a good Asian-ish combination!) It turned out really flavorful and yummy! Tangy and spicy, just the way we like it! Thanks mommy!


2 Tbsp tamarind paste
1/4 c dry white wine
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
1/4 c onions, diced
2 green onions, chopped
5 dried chilli peppers
1 Tbsp butter


1. Mix the tamarind, white wine, Sriracha, salt, parsley and garlic to make a marinade. Pour the marinade over the chicken, mix well, and let marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight (preferred), in the refrigerator.

2. Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving marinade and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the onions, green onions and red chillies and cook until softened, 5 minutes.

4. Add the chicken back and pour the marinade on top. Turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Hubby Claimed He Didn't Like Gravy!

I mean, seriously, who doesn't like Gravy? My hubby has always claimed that he didn't...until TONIGHT! I almost felt like I was tricking him when I made my Smothered Pork Chops in Gravy but I figured if I call it something else (like Creamy Pork Chops), he probably wouldn't know the difference. He's now a BIG fan of Gravy, that goodness, cuz there are a LOT of yummy Gravy recipes I wanna try! :)


1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c chicken broth
1/2 c buttermilk
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Grits, for serving


1. Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.

2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the pork chops from the pan and set aside

3. Add the bell pepper and onion to the skillet and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about half a minute longer.

4. Add the seasoned flour to the pan drippings and mix to dissolve. Pour in the chicken broth. Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy.

5. Return the pork chop to the pan, covering it with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Serve with grits and garnish with chopped parsley.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fancy Shmancy SHRIMP Enchiladas!

I probably make Enchiladas every other week but have yet to make them with Shrimp! I picked up a package of small cooked shrimp on super special and dinner was born! I mixed them with our favorite Rosarita Spicy Refried Beans and made the most yummiest Enchiladas EVER! Fancy Shmancy on a Sunday night!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Getting Creative with My Leftovers!

With only 2 people in the house, leftovers are an unavoidable part of life so I've learned to get really creative with them. Tonight, I've turned my Chicken Carbonara into Spaghetti Pie and boy, was it yummy! This recipe works for basically any type of leftover pasta dish and it's really easy too.


2 large eggs
1/4 c whole milk or cream
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 c leftover pasta
1 c shredded Mozzarella


1. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti and egg mixture, spreading evenly and pressing down in pan. Let mixture set for 5 minutes.

3. Invert mixture onto a plate and slide back into pan so that the other side is now being cooked.

4. Scatter mozzarella on top and cook 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and golden at edges.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Double Chocolate Goodness!

One bite of these Double Chocolate Cookies and you'll think you've died and gone to Chocolate Heaven! They're seriously chocolatey and almost taste like brownies in cookie form. So good and addicting!

Easiest Lamb EVER Thanks to Trader Joe's!

Tonight's yummy lamb dinner came together in less than 15 minutes, thanks to Trader Joe's. They have these pre-marinaded packages of meat and we've pretty much tried all of them and they're all REALLY good! This is their Burgandy Pepper Boneless Leg of Lamb, which are chopped into bite-size pieces. All you have to do is open the package and pan-fry the meat about 5 minutes on each side. Really, it's THAT simple! I served my lamb with couscous and a dollop of Greek Yogurt mixed with some Garam Masala. Hey, gotta jazz it up somehow right? PERFECTION!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting Over My Fear of Shrimp

I rarely cook shrimp cuz I'm always afraid of over-cooking them. (Rubbery shrimp is the WORST!) My idea of cooking shrimp is usually adding cooked shrimp right at the end, which was what I intended to do tonight. I usually have some Cocktail Shrimp in the freezer so I thawed some overnight in the fridge to make Coconut Curry Shrimp. Well, turns out it was a package of UNCOOKED Shrimp WITH PEEL and everything, which I'd completely forgotten about purchasing a while back. Since I had nothing else to work with for dinner, I had no choice but to give it a shot. It turns out that cooking raw shrimp (and peeling them!) wasn't so difficult after all and the dish turned out REALLY yummy! Now I can't wait to make more shrimp dishes!


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 c chopped green onions (about 8 small)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Rice Noodles, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


1. Heat peanut oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper and curry paste. Cook, stirring, until pepper are softened, about 5 minute.

2. Add coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar. Bring a boil for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook just until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

3. Serve over rice noodles and garnish with parsley

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What is Chimichurri?

Chimichurri is more than just a really fun word, it's also a REALLY yummy sauce! According to Wikipedia, it orginated from Argentina and generally consists of culantro, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Since culantro is hard to find in the states, many recipes substitute parsley instead, which is what I did. I also jazzed it up with some basil, onion and oregano. It was very flavorful and yummy on top of our pork chops. The chops were just simply sprinkled with salt and chipotle powder for some kick!

Chimichurri Sauce:

1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried onion
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Great Recommendation!

My new coworker, Jessica, is definitely my new recipe buddy! Her first recommendation for Chicken Carbonara was definitely a winner so I knew she had good taste! She suggested another recipe for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic from The Barefoot Contessa (who I absolutely LOVE!). At first I was a bit skeptical cuz well, 40 cloves of garlic is a LOT. But then I noticed that Ina was cooking an entire chicken and since I usually only cook 2 thighs, I'll only be needing 10 cloves. It's still a lot more garlic than I'm used to but I decided to give it a shot anyway. Boiling the garlic really does mellow out the flavor and they just sorta melt into the sauce. I served the chicken with some mashed potatoes and added my own touch by topping them with some CHEESE! My hubby loved it! Another winner! Thanks Jessica!

Creamy Raspberry Muffins

It's summer and that means Berry Season and you can't beat Buy 1 Get 1 FREE Raspberries! These Raspberry Muffins have a secret ingredient in them, Cream Cheese! It made them super moist and rich-tasting! I swear, add Cream Cheese to anything and it just makes them BETTER!

Ingredients: (12 muffins)

5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c half and half
1 c fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 c finely chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line or grease 12 muffin cups.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add vanilla egg; beat well.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and half and half to cream cheese mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Gently fold in raspberries and walnuts.

4. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meatloaf...Mexican Style!

I had some Chorizo left over from making my Chicken and Chorizo so I decided to make some meatloaf with it. To add to the Mexican flavor, I also added Diced Chilies, Cumin, Cayenne, Sour Cream, Salsa and topped it off with Mexican Shredded CHEESE! It was so yummy and just perfect on a Saturday night!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound ground pork
6 ounces soft Mexican chorizo, removed from casing and crumbled
1 can (4 oz) diced chilies (I used Ortega Fire-Roasted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup Mexican cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. In a large bowl combine the onions, garlic, pork, chorizo, diced chilies, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, eggs, ketchup and sour cream. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and mix thoroughly with clean hands.

3. Put the mixture into a 9x5-inch loaf-pan. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf registers 160 degrees F, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully pour off any accumulated pan juices.

4. Spoon the salsa over the meatloaf and add cheese. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oprah's Cookies Have Done It AGAIN!

It's my 1st Cookie Friday at my new job so I decided to WOW them with a favorite, Oprah's Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies. OMG, were they a total HIT! I made 5 dozen and they were gone within an hour! I guess I'll have to double my recipes from now on! Love it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quickest and Easiest Dinner EVER!

Cookie Fridays are back so that means Thursday nights are my baking nights and dinner needs to be quick and easy. My go-to is Trader Joe's fresh stuffed pastas and cooked sausages. Tonight, it's Cheese Tortellini with Italian Chicken Sausage topped with Alfredo Sauce. Yummy and only took 15 minutes to make!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Coworker and New Recipe Buddy!

A new coworker and I were chatting about recipes and she recommended Giada's Chicken Carbonara so I had to try it. It was a lil difficult finding Pancetta at our local grocery store but I finally found some and it turned out AMAZING! Nice and salty from the Pancetta and Parmesan and SO creamy and delicious! What a great recommendation!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Coconut Curry is GOOD on EVERYTHING!

We love coconut curry so much that I literally order coconut milk from Amazon by the dozen. Tonight, it's Coconut Curry Pork with Potatoes and Rice Noodles. Again, the trick to tender and moist meat is dredging it in cornstarch first. It works every time and you'll never end up with dried out pork ever again!


1 boneless pork chop, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 c onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
3 (or more) dried chillies
6 baby potatoes, cut in half
Rice noodles, for serving
Green onions, for garnish


1. Toss pork with cornstarch. In a pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pork to the pan and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, curry, cumin and turmeric and cook over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant and the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the coconut milk, stock, sugar, Fish Sauce and chillies and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and pork back.

4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the meat is cooked through and potatoes are tender. Serve over rice noodles.

The BEST Burger in SF?

My hubby LOVES burgers so when I read about Lark Creek's Steakburger, I knew we had to try it. It's definitely not a gourmet burger, which is what makes it so good. They basically take all the scraps that didn't make it onto their steaks and grind them into the perfect patty. It's also "cooked to the perfect medium-rare" as described by my hubby. We ordered the regular Steakburger with Gruyere Cheese, which is only available on the Lunch and Afternoon Menus. The dinner menu offers only the Truffle Burger, which I'm sure is good as well but my man likes his burgers nice and simple. Conveniently located at the mall, I'd say Lark Creek is gonna be a regular dining spot for us!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicken and Chorizo: Match Made in Mexican Heaven!

I recently found Chorizo at our local Safeway and couldn't WAIT to try it! The only other time I've ever had Chorizo was breakfast in Cabo and remember just LOVING it. Yea, it's totally fatty, which makes it totally yummy! I thought I'd try it with some chicken and add some more Mexican flavors like Ro-Tel tomatoes and smoked paprika. I also served it with some Spanish Rice to soak up all the yummy sauce. A trip to Mexico on a Monday night. Gotta love it!


Flour, for dredging
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz Chorizo, casing removed
1/2 c red onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 c sherry
1/2 c chopped tomatoes (I used Rotel)
1 Tbsp butter
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Spanish rice, for serving (I used Knorr)


1. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, breaking meat apart with wooden spoon. Remove with a slotted and set aside.

2. Add chicken, skin-side down, and brown 5 minutes. Flip and brown 5 more minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. Turn heat down to medium and add onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and add thyme, paprika and bay leaf. Stir in sherry and deglaze for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes

4. Add chorizo and chicken back and coat with sauce. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

5. Remove chicken to serving platter. Stir in butter, turn heat up to high and boil until sauce is thickened, 5 minutes. Serve over chicken and rice. Garnish with parsley.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Enchiladas That Actually Look Pretty!

I don't know how many Enchiladas pictures I've taken but generally they look like a cheesy mess on a plate. That's probably why I've stopped posting about them, especially since there's really no recipe involved and I make them every other week. BUT I had to post this picture cuz it actually looks pretty! YEA! FINALLY!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Zucchini Loaves That Taste Like Brownies!

It's summer and that means Zucchini Season! I absolutely love Zucchini Bread and have been seeing lots of chocolatey recipes lately so I decided to try one myself. These have walnuts and coffee in them and taste just like brownies! If you have kids (or a hubby) that won't eat their veggies, just sneak them in these and I guarantee they'll eat them!

Ingredients: (1 regular loaf or 8 mini loaves)

1 c grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 medium)
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c cocoa
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c walnuts, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 c all purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray and set.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, cocoa, coffee powder, salt and baking soda, and beat until combined.

3. Add zucchini and walnuts and mix until combined. Stir in flour and mix just until moistened.

4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes for a regular loaf or 25-30 minutes for mini loaves, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Using Up That Meatloaf Again!

We LOVE meatloaf at our house and leftovers are just the best! We're usually happy making sandwiches but once in a while I like to get creative. Tonight, I mixed some leftovers with Ricotta cheese and stuffed them in jumbo shells. What a yummy way to start the weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tonkatsu at Home!

My hubby LOVES Tonkatsu and orders it almost every time we go to a Japanese restaurant so I really wanted to recreate it at home. It's actually not difficult at all but the key is making the perfect sauce. I came up with this sweet and slightly tangy recipe that tasted just like I remembered from the restaurants. The pork is just pounded into 1/4-inch thick, dipped in eggs and then in Panko. You don't even have to deep fry it. Just some oil in a non-stick pan and cooked for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and completely delicious!

Ingredients: 1/2 cup

1/4 c ketchup
2 tsp dry sherry
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp dry yellow mustard
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp garlic powder


Mix all together and chill in the fridge for an hour for the flavors to combine.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yummy Caramelized Chipotle Chicken

I've been saving this recipe for Caramelized Chipotle Chicken for a while now and finally made it tonight. I'm so glad I did cuz it's REALLY good! The only change I made was simmering the chicken on the stovetop instead of baking it in the oven. We like our meatmore tender rather than crispy. I also added extra Chipotle cuz we like it spicy!

Mini Cheddar Biscuits

I haven't made biscuits in a while so I decided to whip up some mini cheddar ones. Why mini? Well, because mini things are just cuter, of course! They also make you feel less guilty about eating more than 1!

Ingredients: (about a dozen mini biscuits)

1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 c grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 c all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp Italian seasoning


1.Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the melted butter and eggs until creamy. Add the cheese and mix until combined. Add the baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and flour and mix well.

3. Roll out dough onto a floured surface to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out small circles with a biscuit cutter and place onto baking sheet.

4. Brush wash on top and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tourists in Our Own City!

The weather had been so gorgeous so my hubby and I decided to take a day off and tour our own lovely SF. Can you believe I've NEVER been to the Coit Tower? I've stared at it from my office window for the last 5 years but I've NEVER been! (I've also never been to Alcatraz but it's just too depressing for me!) ANYWAY, so we finally went and it's AMAZING! We didn't go to the top cuz there were a TON of real tourists waiting in line but did manage to get a pretty picture. (Yes, those 2 mini people in the middle are us!)

After that, we decided to continue the Touristy-trend and went to Fisherman's Wharf. We walked around and ended up with lunch at Bubba Gump. Now how touristy is that right?

My hubby REALLY enjoyed his HUGE platter of Onion Rings!

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