Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Twist on the Retro Tuna Noodle Casserole!

Tuna Noodle Casserole is such a retro dish and totally takes me back to my childhood. I mean, who doesn't love creamy noodles with a crunchy crust? My hubby wasn't feeling well and was craving some comfort food so I thought it was the perfect time to make this dish. Instead of tuna, I used Imitation Crab (which is one of his favorites!) and it turned out amazing! For the sauce, I used a can of Cream of Chicken Soup (ran out of mushroom) and a cup of Half and Half. Then I topped everything off with Corn Flake Crumbs for some extra crunch! Easy and comforting and hopefully made my hubby feel better! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pork Chops and Apples, A Match Made in Heaven!

I love pairing pork with apples so when I saw this recipe for Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney, I knew I had to give it a try! Thanks to Cooking Light, it was not only yummy but also very healthy. The sweet and spicy chutney was just perfect on the tender pork chops! I served it with some couscous and it was a delicious and easy dinner.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Testing Out a New Hot Sauce!

I found a new hot sauce at Target today and of course, had to test it out ASAP. It's a brand called Valentina and is imported from Mexico. I used it along with some salsa as the sauce base for some Mexican Stuffed Shells and it turned out really yummy! The stuffing is ground sausage mixed with Ricotta and Taco Seasoning. A VERY nice trip to Mexico (kinda) on a Sunday night!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Reinventing A Favorite Cookie Recipe!

Everyone LOVES it when I baked Oprah's Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies so I thought I'd reinvent it into something a lil bit different. I added more Orange Zest (about 1 Tbsp from 1 large orange) and added White Chocolate Chips instead. They turned out tasting just like Orange Creamsicles and everyone loved them!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trader Joe's Can Do No Wrong!

On my Baking Nights, dinner needs to be really quick and easy. That usually means either pasta or Trader Joe's marinated meat. Tonight, we tried their Pollo Asada and it was just perfectly seasoned and took no time at all to cook! I served it over some left-over rice that I jazzed up with some Ro-Tel Tomatoes and it was an easy Mexican Feast!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Pork Stir-Fry That Hits ALL the Flavor Senses!

Tonight's pork stir-fry definitely hit all the flavor senses! It's sweet from the brown sugar and pineapple chunks. Savory comes from the soy sauce. Tart from the red wine vinegar and hot from the Srirach. We loved it and it was super easy too!


2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used Srirach
1/2 lb pork tender loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 c pineapple chunks
Rice, for serving
Green onions, for garnish


1. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, 1 Tbsp oil, brown sugar, garlic, bay leaf, black pepper and hot pepper sauce in a bowl. Add pork, cover and marinate 15 minutes in refrigerator.

2. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Drain pork, reserve marinade, and add to the pan. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until pork is browned and almost cooked through. Remove and keep warm.

3. Add onion and bell pepper to the pan. Cook 5 minutes, until softened. Add reserved marinade along with pineapple and reserved pork. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 5 minutes, until pork is cooked through.

4. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cooking with Bloody Mary Mix!

We always have a bottle of Mr and Mrs T's Bloody Mary Mix in the fridge for those mornings when hangovers demand that special drink. One day I opened the fridge and saw the bottle staring at me and came up with a great idea. Why not cook with it? I mean, Bloody Mary Mix is just a combination of tomato juice with lots of yummy spices that I can't imagine would NOT taste good in a dish. Anyway, tonight, I made Bloody Mary Chicken Thighs and they came out SO good! My hubby was actually shocked when I told him and praised me for being so creative! If you like Bloody Mary, you should definitely give this recipe a try!


2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c Bloody Mary Mix
Pasta, for serving


1. Coat the chicken with the flour. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Pour off any fat.

2. Add the Italian seasoning, zucchini and onion to the skillet and saute until veggies are soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

3. Add Bloody Mary Mix and bring to a boil. Deglaze and add the chicken back. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with the pasta.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No One Knows Comfort Food Like Paula Deen!

I've always dreamed of having a grandmother like Paula Deen who would pass down family recipes that remind me of my childhood. Sadly, the only recipes I've inherited involve a microwave or drive-through. (Not that I don't love my mom for being such a great single parent!) I just sometimes wish I could whip up something that would take me back to being a kid running around the house (although the smell of McD or KFC usually does). Oh well, one can always dream and there's always Paula Deen's recipes! Tonight, I made her Beef Stroganoff and it was comfort food at its best! The meat was tender and not chewy at all like some of the ones I remember. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Yummy Trip to Greece on a Sunday Night!

Sunday nights are perfect for slowly-braised meals like tonight's Lamb Giouvetsi cuz I can just start the cooking process and do my chores while the kitchen is filled with yummy aromas. Giouvetsi is a slowly braised Greek dish made with either chicken, beef or lamb and served with Orzo. It came out SO good and definitely worth the wait! The meat was so tender and flavorful and I love the creamy texture of the orzo! What a yummy trip to Greece on a Sunday night!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cookies with a KICK!

This week, I decided to bake some Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies to "Kick Start" everyone's Friday morning. I received some sample packets from Taster's Choice and used a combination of Vanilla and French Roast cuz those are my favorites. They came out a lot flatter than I expected and chewy in a good way. Everyone LOVED them and they were within hours!

Yummy and Healthy Chinese Takeout at Home!

We LOVE Chinese Takeout, especially Kung Pao Shrimp but most of the time it's way too greasy and I don't even wanna guess the sodium levels! So when I found this healthier version from Cooking Light, I couldn't wait to try it! Marinating the shrimp in the cornstarch mixture was really the key to make them tender and succulent. The flavor combination was just perfect and definitely just as good, if not better, than the greasy takeout version!

Friday, August 19, 2011

More Seafood Goodness from Emeril!

Emeril's Shrimp Pasta was SO good on Wednesday that I decided to try another one of his recipes for Seafood Mac and Cheese. I love how versatile this recipe is and you can basically use any seafood and cheese combination. Tonight, I used Imitation Crab and Mexican Cheese Blend and it turned out amazing! The best part was the Panko Breadcrumbs on top, which were super crunchy after being baked. What a great way to start the weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yummy Shrimp Pasta Thanks to Emeril!

I LOVE Emeril's Essence and always keep a jar of the mix on hand. It's literally good on EVERYTHING, especially seafood! Tonight, I made his Shrimp Pasta in Tomato Chile Cream Sauce and it was SO delicious! The sauce was creamy with just the right amount of kick. I used Fusilli instead of Linguine cuz I feel like they do a better job at soaking up the sauce. Thanks Emeril!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Plumy Good Pork Chops!

Am I a dork with my Titles or what? It's Plum Season and plums were on super special so I picked up a few. I found this recipe for Pork Chops with Sweet Plum Reduction and couldn't wait to try it! The sauce was the perfect combination of sweet and savory and I love the addition on Five Spice! If you've never had Five Spice, you should definitely give it a try. It's a Chinese spice mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and ground fennel seeds. Super flavorful with just the right amount of kick!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Conquering My Fear of Steak!

I have a deep dark secret...I've never cooked a steak before. Why? Cuz it scares me. Well, tonight I've conquered my fear and I'm damn proud of myself! I followed this recipe Peppercorn-Crusted Top Sirloin, except I finished my steak in the oven after searing it on both sides. It came out PERFECTLY medium rare, which is the way we like our steaks. The crust was the BEST part and the creamy mushroom sauce was such a nice compliment to the meat. I served my steaks with some Mashed Potatoes and it was definitely a restaurant-quality meal!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vindaloo Take 2!

I discovered Vindaloo a few months ago and absolutely loved it! I mean, what's there not to love about a SPICY curry dish? I followed this Pork Vindaloo recipe and it came out just as good as the last time, if not better since the meat was marinated overnight. Spicy and full of flavor! YUM!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crack Cookies? Oh Yea!

One of the guys at work suggested Oatmeal Raisin Cookies this Friday so I went searching for the perfect recipe. I mean, sure I could make these Vanishing Cookies again but we all know how much I hate repeating recipes. When I found these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip CRACK Cookies, I knew I found a winner! Instead of 2 cups of chocolate chips, I used 1 cup of white chips and 1 cup of raisins. The word "crack" is definitely the way to describe these cookies! The Vanilla Pudding kept them so moist and almost cake-like. They disappeared FAST at the office!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Super Flavorful and Fiery Chicken

What makes these chicken thighs fiery? Fire-Roasted Tomatoes! I LOVE how much flavor they add to just a simple braised chicken dish. Served over some couscous and our Greek-inspired dinner is complete!


2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 c dry white wine
1 can (14 oz) Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic, undrained
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 c grated Parmesan Cheese
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Couscous, for serving


1. Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Mix salt, pepper and cinnamon in a small bowl; rub chicken with mixture on both sides.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down. Cook 5 miuntes on each side, until browned. Remove chicken and set aside.

3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and cooke 3 minutes until softened. Add wine and deglaze for 3 minutes, until reduced.

4. Add tomatoes and oregano. Return chicken, skin-side down and any accumulated juices. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked, turning half way. Remove chicken to serving platter.

5. Stir in tomato paste and turn heat up to high. Boil until sauce is thickened. Pour over chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Serve over couscous with parsley sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pork with Nectarine Chutney, Perfect Summer Meat!

Summer is the season for Nectarines and they were looking extra juicy at the store so I had to pick some up. I'm not much of a fruit eater (I know, shocking!) but I love cooking with them especially with pork. This recipe was adapted from My Recipe's Pork Medallions with Nectarine Chutney and they came out amazing! Sweet and tangy with a bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes. Served over buttery rice pilaf and dinner was a quick winner!


1 Tbsp oil
2 bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 nectarines, diced
1/4 c dried cranberries
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 c white wine
1/4 c chicken broth


1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add pork; brown 3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

2. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, nectarine, cranberries, vinegar, cinnamon, pepper flakes and cloves; cook 3 minutes or until nectarine is tender.

3. Add wine and deglaze. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Add pork and cook 5 minutes until meat is done. Remove pork to serving platter.

4. Turn heat up to high and boil 5 minutes, until sauce is thickened. Serve over pork.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tomato and Red Wine Sauce is PERFECT with Lamb!

Lamb Shoulder Chops were on sale over the weekend so of course, I had to pick some up. These can be a bit tougher than the Loin Chops so braising is definitely the way to go. Unlike Shanks though, they don't need to be cooked for hours, just 30-40 minutes is enough to tenderize them, which makes them doable on a weeknight. Tonight, I made these Tomato and Red Wine Braised Chops and they turned out just perfect! Whenever a recipe calls for canned tomatoes, I always use Fire-Roasted cuz it gives the dish a much deeper flavor. The meat was really tender and the sauce was just perfect served over some mashed potatoes! What a great way to start the week!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Yummy Trip to Morocco with Meatballs!

WE LOVE MEATBALLS! Yes, I've never met a meatball that I didn't love and I've had my share of meatballs, trust me! Tonight, I made Spicy Moroccan Meatballs, which I've made before but this time even better. Why? Cuz I finally got my hands of Ras El Hanout, thanks to Amazon! Last time I substituted with a similar spice blend, but let me tell you, it's just NOT the same unless you've got the real stuff! These meatballs were super flavorful with just the right amount of heat. The eggs were the best part and just oozes into the sauce as you break the yolk!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finally Discovering Nutella!

I can't believe I've never had Nutella before! I'm seriously ashamed of myself! Anyway, I was looking for Cookie Friday inspirations and decided to switch it up. I thought Banana Mini Muffins would a good choice and came across this recipe for Banana NUTELLA Mini Muffins. OMG! What a genius idea! Chocolate and banana is like the PERFECT combination! My coworkers LOVED them and I believe the word "crack" was used more than once to describe them. Nutella has opened a whole new world of sweet treat ideas for me and did you know there's an entire website dedicated to it? YUM!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Swore Off Whiskey But...

Many years ago, (being young and stupid) I decided to take shots of Jameson at a friend's house. I will never forget that day and neither will my poor yummy. (I'll spare you the details.) I swore I would NEVER touch whiskey again but tonight, I broke that promise. No, I didn't take shots! Instead, I made some YUMMY Shrimp in Jameson Cream Sauce. I was afraid the traces of whiskey flavor would bring back those horrible memories but not at all! The shrimp was succulent and the sauce was just amazingly rich and creamy! I served it over some buttery mashed potatoes and it was just the perfect meal!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

$1 Plums Made YUMMY Chicken Tagine!

I've been saving this recipe for Moroccan Plum Chicken for a while now so when I saw 2 for $1 Plums, I knew it was time! (The recipe called for Nectarines and Plums but I only have Plums so that was all I used.) It came out REALLY good and you can really taste the spicy Harissa! It was also the first time I ever had Preserved Lemon (which I ordered from Amazon) and they added a really unique tangy and salty flavor. A fun trip to Morocco on a weeknight!

Lamb Shoulder Chops LOVE Braising!

Some people like to grill lamb shoulder chops, but to me, the only way to cook them is to braise them nice and slow for that tender, fall-off-the-bone result. I marinated some chops overnight in the fridge and they were ready for the Dutch oven tonight. The marinade was a very simple sweet and tangy mixture and it not only flavored the meat but also helped tenderize it thanks to the acid. I braised it with onions and carrots, which basically melted into the sauce. Such a nice treat on a Monday night!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp honey mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 bone-in lamb shoulder chops
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch circles
1/4 c chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c beef broth
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
Mashed potatoes, for serving


1. Combine the marinade ingredients in Ziploc bag. Add chops and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least an hour, preferably overnight.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove chops from marinade and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside. (Reserve marinade.)

3. Add carrots and onions and cook 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in broth and rosemary. Boil, scraping up brown bits, for 5 minutes.

4. Add the lamb back, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Turn lamb over and simmer 30 minutes more, until meat and veggies are tender. Serve with mashed potatoes.
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