Friday, March 30, 2012

Using Up Those Extra Apples!

We always seem to have extra apples laying around needing to be eaten so I'm constantly looking for creative ways to use them. This week for Cookie Friday, I decided to switch things up with these Cinnamon Mini Apple Muffins and they were a total hit! Not too sweet and just the perfect bite-size treats!

My Hubby Thought He Didn't Like Shepherds Pie!

I've brought up the idea of Shepherd's Pie numerous times but my hubby's always shot it down claiming that he's not a fan. I found that very hard to believe since I can't imagine him NOT liking a meat pie made with a mashed potato crust! Tonight, I finally convinced him to give the humble pie a try and guess what? He LOVED it! (Hum, how did I guess that?) This was a very simple recipe especially since I already had leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge. Happy Friday!


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 c onions, diced
1/2 c carrots, diced
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 c ketchup
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 c cooked mashed potatoes
1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Heat oil over medium-high heat and add onions and carrots. Cook until slightly softened, 5 minutes.

3. Add beef and cook until no trace of pink remains, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in the ketchup and Worcestershire and cook for 1 minute. Spoon into a baking dish.

5. Spread potatoes over the beef and top with cheese. Bake until heated through, 10 minutes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sloppy Joe + Manicott = A Match Made in Yummy Heaven!

I ran across Rachael Ray's Sloppy Joe Manicotti and couldn't wait to give it a try. I mean, we LOVE Sloppy Joe's and we LOVE any type of stuffed pasta so I was sure we'd LOVE this recipe and we sure did! Comforting and very flavorful, this was definitely a winner! I loved Rachael's idea of piping the stuffing into the shells cuz usually I just use a spoon and end up with a mess. Thanks again Rachael Ray!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is Ragù?

That was the question my hubby asked when I announced that I was making Pork Ragù for dinner. In case you're also in the dark, Ragù can be any meat-based sauce served over pasta. Ground meat is common but braised meat can also be used, which is what I made tonight. Pork Ragù is often made with pork shoulder, which takes at least an hour to cook but since I used boneless pork chops, my dish cooked in just 30 minutes. Tender and flavorful, the sauce was just perfect on top of some Rigatoni!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless pork, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1/2 c carrots, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c dry red wine
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c chicken stock
Rigatoni, for serving
Grated parmesan, for topping


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season pork with rosemary, thyme, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Sear pork in the hot oil until well brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Add carrots and onions; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Pour in wine and deglaze to release any brown bits from the bottom. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes with juice and stock. Bring to a simmer and add pork back.

4. Cover and cook until meat is very tender and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.

4. Serve over Rigatoni and garnish with Parmesan.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Our House Smells Like Curry!

Curry is definitely one of those REALLY strong smells that stays around LONG after your meal's been cooked and eaten. I can't say that I mind since it just reminds me of how yummy the meal was. Tonight, I made Sunny's Curry Lamb Shanks with Potatoes and I'm sure I'll be smelling it for the next couple of days! The meat was so tender and literally melted into the sauce after 2 hours of braising. I used Jalapenos since I didn't have any other chiles around and it was just spicy enough. I served it over some rice and it was a Sunday night feast!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Last Minute Dinner

It was a rainy cold Saturday and we just couldn't find the motivation to go through with the dinner plans we made. (At least it was just for the 2 of us so we didn't disappoint anyone!) I hadn't really thought about dinner but after 2 nights of takeout, we really didn't want another delivered meal. What to do? What to do? Well, there was a package of Lobster Ravioli in the freezer and a can of crabmeat in the pantry. Oh and there's a jar of Alfredo Sauce sitting next to the crabmeat! Dinner was born and we could not be happier and more satisfied! See, a stocked kitchen is really all you need in life! :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Going Korean with Guy Fieri!

I've been saving Guy Fieri's Kimchi and Pork Stir-Fry for a while now and finally made it tonight. In fact, I went out and bought Kimchi just for this recipe but it's been sitting in the fridge all this time. (Thank goodness fermented cabbage doesn't really go bad!) Spicy and sweet with a nice crunch, we loved every bite of it! I'm definitely glad I gave this non-traditional recipe a try! Thanks Guy!

White Chocolate and Lime? Who Knew?

I didn't think white chocolate and lime would go so well together but these cookies proved me wrong. I knew they were winners when my hubby with no sweet tooth ate 4 last night! There's something about the bright citrus that paired just perfectly with the creamy white chips. Good thing this recipe made 5 dozen cookies cuz they were gone in no time at the office!

I've Been Published!

I LOVE to write, especially about food, and my dream has always been to actually get published. Now I know it's not exactly The Food Network but She Budgets is a great start! They've published 2 of my articles so far and I've got much more to come! Read about my Costco Tips and Ingredient Substitutions and let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You Can't Go Wrong with Pork and Apple!

Pork and apple is one of my favorite combinations! They just go so perfectly together and I'm always trying out new ways to make them. Tonight, I decided to add curry to the mix and OMG was it a winner! Sweet and spicy and just the PERFECT weeknight meal!


1/2 lb pork, diced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 apple, chopped
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c raisins
Rice, for serving


1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add pork and brown for 5 minutes.

2. Add apple and onions and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3. Sprinkle in flour and stir until to form a paste. Stir in curry powder, ginger and cinnamon.

4. Pour in broth, milk and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent sticking.

5. Add raisins and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Casseroles are Perfect for Using Stuff Ups!

Whenever I need to use up stuff I have in the fridge, I always turn to casseroles. They're perfect for throwing everything in and they always come out great! Tonight, I had to some penne, chicken and bell peppers so I made this incredibly easy and yummy dinner! What could be better than a cheesy casserole on a cold weeknight?


1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c chopped onion
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c milk
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1 c Penne pasta, cooked according to package directions


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking dish.

2. In a saucepan, sauté the chicken, pepper, onion and seasonings in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, broth and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

4. Turn off heat and add pasta and mozzarella to the chicken mixture. Stir until cheese is melted. Spoon into baking dish.

5. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Putting my Ras el Hanout to Work!

I ordered a packet of Ras el Hanout some time ago and am always looking for recipes to use it in. If you're not familiar with this Moroccan spice blend, it's a mixture of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn and turmeric. It's REALLY flavorful and is used throughout North Africa. I came across this recipe for North African Fish Stew by Cat Cora and decided to try it out. I was a little concerned that it might taste too fishy but it wasn't at all! In fact, the sweetness from the bell peppers and tomatoes paired so perfectly with the heat from the spices. The fish kinda just melts into the sauce giving it a wonderful texture. I highly recommend this dish for anyone that's trying to eat more fish in a very exotic way!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First Time with Oxtail and I Winged It!

I've seen oxtail made a few times on TV but have never cooked them myself until tonight! I found some on sale at the market and decided to give them a try. I thought the slow-braising method would work the best since oxtail is a tough and gelatin-rich cut of meat. Since I've been braising for a while now, I knew exactly what to do! I browned the pieces first and then simmered them low and slow in a red-wine mixture with onions, garlic and carrots. After about 2 hours, the meat was falling-off-then-bone tender and I served them with some mashed potatoes. THIS was Sunday dinner at its best!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Giada Knows Her Pasta!

Giada definitely knows her pasta and her recipes have not failed me yet! Tonight, I made her Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce and it was another winner! The only change I made was substituting Seafood Stock for the Clam Juice only cuz that was what I had on hand. The sauce was deliciously creamy and the shrimp were just perfectly tender and succulent! What a YUMMY way to start the weekend!

Who Put Whiskey in My Cookies?

It's almost St Patty's Day and what better way to celebrate than with Whiskey Chocolate Chip Cookies right? This is just a basic chocolate cookie dough with a few tablespoons of Jameson added to the mix Somehow the liquor made these cookies softer and more moist, which I love! They were gone in no time at the office!


2-1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp Tennessee whiskey
1 (12-oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In mixing bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with white and brown sugars. With mixer still running, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and whiskey.

4. Slowly add dry ingredients and chocolate chips. Form into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet, 1 inch apart.

5. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Place on a cooling rack and cool completely.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Basque-Inspired Chicken

I've seen lots of recipes for Chicken Basquaise, which just means chicken cooked basque-style that includes tomatoes and red bell peppers. Basque people reside on the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast so their cuisine is heavily influenced by those 2 countries. Now that we've done our cultural lesson of the day, let's get on to some food! I did some research and finally came up with my own recipe for Chicken Basquaise. Probably not the most authentic but then again, nothing I make is ever authentic! As long as it's yummy, it's ALL GOOD!


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Flour, for dredging
Salt and pepper
1/4 c onions, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 oz bacon, diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 c chicken broth


1. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken in flour and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the pan and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

2. Lower the heat to medium and add onions and red pepper. Cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and bacon and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste, smoked paprika and cayenne.

3. Add the tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan and turn the pieces to coat with the sauce. Let the liquid return to a boil.

4. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuna Noodle Casserole - A Retro Class!

There's just something so classic and retro about Tuna Noodle Casserole. It takes me back to a childhood that wasn't exactly mine but somehow images of the Brady Bunch comes to mind. (Don't ask!) Anyway, that was what I made to comfort us on this rainy night and it worked like magic! Creamy noodles with a cheesy crust, what's there not to love?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thai Chicken from Campbell's...Why Not?

We all know how NOT authentic I am with my cooking (or generally everything else!) so when I saw this recipe for Thai Peanut Chicken, I knew I wanted to try it. I always keep Cream of Mushroom Soups on hand so this recipe was really easy to put together. It was also VERY tasty, not too spicy and perfectly creamy! Served over some rice and it was a very yummy weeknight meal!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marsala is NOT Masala!

You would think after being with a foodie (such as myself) for over 7 years, my hubby would know the difference between Marsala and Masala. NOPE! When I said that I was making Lamb Marsala for dinner, he said "Oh I love Indian lamb!" (*sigh) Then I explained to him that I actually meant I was cooking the lamb is a reduced wine sauce and NOT in a mixture of Indian spices. "That sounds good too!" he replied. Oh well, at least my man's not a picky eater! In fact, I love that he's willing to try new recipes that I find or come up with and most of the time really enjoys them! I guess that's why we're a match made in yummy heaven!


2 lamb shoulder chops
Salt and pepper
1/4 c flour
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c diced carrots
1/4 c diced onions
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 c Marsala wine (or Sherry)
1/4 c beef broth


1. Season chops with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.

2. Heat oil and butter on medium-high in a Dutch oven until butter is melted. Add chops and brown for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.

3. Add carros and onions and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.

4. Pour in wine and broth and bring to a boil. Deglaze and add chops back. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer until chops are tender, 20-30 minutes.

5. Remove chops to serving platter. Turn heat up to high and boil until thickened, 5 minutes. Pour over chops and serve.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cubano Panino for my Hubby-O!

What is a Cubano? According to Wiki, it's just a ham and cheese sandwich originally created in cafes catering to Cuban immigrant workers in Florida. My hubby loves to order the Cubano at our local restaurant, 21st Amendment, so I thought I'd make it a special treat for him today for brunch. I kept the ingredients authentic by using Black Forest Ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and Mayo and pressed in my Panini Maker. Look at that ooey gooey cheese just ready to be devoured! YUM! YUM!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pantry Dinner at its Finest!

Tonight my fridge is looking pretty empty and I'm too tired to go to the grocery store. Not to fear cuz I have a stocked pantry and that means I can whip up some Crab Fried Rice in no time! These are really ingredients that I always have on hand and they really are life-savers on weeknights! Even when I say that my fridge is empty, I'm still always guaranteed to have some eggs, onion, garlic, butter and milk, which to me are the bare minimum items for survival. Trust me, when you have those few things and a stocked pantry, you'll never need to order takeout!


1 Tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce (or fish sauce)
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 (6 oz) can crab meat, drained
2 c cooked rice
2 green onions, chopped
1 egg, fried


1. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add beaten eggs and spread out in an even layer. Cook until eggs are set, 5 minutes. Remove and chop into slices.

2. Add oil into the same skillet. Once oil is hot, add onion and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

3. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar and stir to combine. Add crab meat and rice. Cook until everything is heated through, 5 minutes.

4. Stir in green onions and reserved egg slices. Top with fried egg and serve.

Who Put Pudding in my Cookies?

I came across this recipe for Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies and couldn't wait to try them since I always have some Jell-O Pudding Mix around. I decided to make mine with Butterscotch Chips and they came out REALLY good! I LOVE the combination of butterscotch and vanilla and the pudding mix gave them a soft cake-like texture. I can't wait to try some different combinations like maybe Banana Cream with nuts? YUM!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Getting Fishy with My Shells!

Browsing through my new Everyday Food Magazine, I came across a recipe for Creamy Tuna-Stuffed Shells. Since I'm always trying to incorporate more fish into our diet, I thought I'd give it a try. It came out REALLY yummy and a good change from our usual meat-stuffed shells. The sauce was so rich and creamy that we didn't even miss the Ricotta Cheese. I used sourdough bread to make the breadcrumbs and we just loved the nice crust on top! A very yummy and healthy meal!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c onions, diced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 c whole milk
Salt and pepper
2 slices bread
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can (6 oz) tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked
10 jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a baking dish.

2. In a pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly, and cook until slightly thickened and bubbling, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and let cool slightly.

3. In a food processor, combine bread, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Process until fine crumbs form. Transfer half the mixture to a bowl and combine with tuna and half the sauce. Fill each shell with 2 heaping Tablespoons of tuna mixture and place in baking dish.

4. Top with remaining sauce and breadcrumb mixture. Bake until sauce is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, 20 minutes.

Good-for-you Savory Muffins

I love baking savory muffins cuz they make the best breakfast or snack! Most of them are also a lot healthier than the usual sweet treats, which is always a good thing. I came across these Red Pepper Cornbread Muffins and couldn't wait to give them a try! Instead of adding the bell peppers raw, I cooked them in the butter so that they'd become softened. In my experience, they have much more flavor that way. I also added a handful of shredded Cheddar Cheese cuz I like cheese in everything! VERY yummy and perfect good-for-you, anytime-of-the-day treats! Pastry schools can teach you cool baking techniques if you wanna make more of these savory treats!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You'll Never Guess What's in This Yummy Baked Pasta Dish!

If getting creative with leftovers could make money, I'd be a millionaire! Can you guess what I used to make Giada's Italian Baked Chicken and Pasta? Probably not, so I'll just tell you. Leftover Buffalo Wings from pizza delivery! I tore the meat off of the bones and it made a very flavorful addition to the dish. Very easy and very creative, don't you think?

My 3rd Crazy Cooking Challenge!

This is my 3rd Crazy Cooking Challenge and this month, we're making Spaghetti with Red Sauce. I chose The Cooking Photographer's slow cooker recipe and loved it! The combination of beef and sausage was awesome and simmering the sauce all day makes it so flavorful! I love making slow cooker recipes on Sundays cuz I just put all the ingredients in and run my errands while dinner is being made. The apartment also smelled amazing when I came home, which was definitely a great welcome!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Not Your Average Wiener Schnitzel!

I cracked up when I saw this recipe for cuz I definitely get an image of a giant sausage in a bun when I think of Schnitzel thanks to LOTS of trips to Wienerschnitzel as a kid. This, however, was MUCH different and MUCH better too! A thin tender pork cutlet dredged in Panko and browned to perfection with a creamy dill sauce drizzled on top! Of course, I had to add my special touch of a fried egg on top cuz, well, everything's better with a fried egg on top!

More Cricut Fun!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to Jamaica Mon!

We took a yummy trip to Jamaica with this Pork and Mango Stir-Fry served over Coconut Rice. If you've never made Coconut Rice before, you NEED to give it a try! All you have to do is substitute half of the water with Unsweetened Coconut Milk and add a little bit more water is your Coconut Milk is super thick. It makes SUCH a difference and the rice becomes so creamy and delicious! Now back to the pork. The sweetness of the mango paired so well with the spicy Jerk Seasoning! A VERY yummy dinner MON!

Mini Things are SO Much Cuter!

I mean, who doesn't love Mini things right? Mini Quiches, Mini Cakes and of course, Mini Muffins! When I saw these PB Mini Muffins with Mini Chocolate Chips, I knew I had to make them! I used my Mini Flower Bundt Pan and they were SO incredibly cute! Almost too cute to eat...ALMOST!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Giada's Bechamel Sauce...YUM!

I've always kept Giada's Cannelloni recipe cuz of the yummy but super easy Bechamel Sauce. It's just a fancy name for White Sauce and also known as the "Mother Sauce of French Cuisine". Tonight, I stuffed my Cannelloni shells with a mixture of bay shrimp, Ricotta, Parmesan and Italian seasoning. VERY yummy and VERY comforting! If you wanna know how to cook French cuisine, there are online cooking schools that offer culinary classes.

New Popchips Flavor

If you know me, you know I LOVE Popchips! In fact, I wouldn't be totally exaggerating if I said that I practically live off of them! I switch off between the BBQ, Cheddar, Sour Cream and Parmesan Garlic flavors and was SO excited when I spotted a new one, Sweet Potato! They taste a bit like Sweet Potato Fries, but of course, a lot better for you. I also tried the other new flavors, Chil Lime and Jalapeno but wasn't a big fan of either. Oh well, one great new find is good enough for me!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...