Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Perfect Southern Meal at Home!

Hey y'all! What's a perfect southern meal? Pulled Pork Sammies with Coleslaw, of course! It's just the most wonderful comfort food on a cold rainy night like tonight. These buns were filled with tender, slow-cooked BBQ pork along with thick slices of pickles. (Claussen, of course!) Making pulled pork in the slow cooker could not be easier! All you do is put the pork in (I used shoulder meat), add in some BBQ Sauce and chicken broth, then let the slow cooker do its job. The meat comes out with SO much flavor and completely falls off the bones! On the side I made a quick and easy coleslaw using this recipe from Taste of Home. Simple and SO satisfying! Now I know why people in the south are always so happy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Baking with Raisin Bran

I had so much fun baking with my Raisin Bran Cereal that I decided to do it again. This time I made a nutty quick bread that was yummy and VERY filling. The cereal gave it a dense texture and the combination of raisins and nuts were just perfect here!


1/2 c (1 stick) margarine, melted
1/2 c milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 c sugar
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 c Raisin Bran Cereal
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans


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

2. Mix margarine, milk, eggs, lemon peel, juice and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Stir in flour, cereal, baking soda and cinnamon until blended. Stir in nuts.

3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour or until bread is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gold Raspberries?

I found the strangest thing over the weekend, Gold Raspberries! They were completely new to me so I had to buy some to try. These berries taste almost exactly like the red ones, maybe a bit milder, and has the same shape and texture. Since I don't really like to snack on fruit, I decided to bake with them. I found this recipe for Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins and decided to do sort of the opposite. So I made Gold Raspberry Dark Chocolate Muffins. They were great! Tart and sweet all at the same time. Oh and of course, I added some walnuts for that extra crunch! Although these Gold Raspberries were a fun discovery, I think I'll stick with the regular red ones just cuz I love their vibrant color!

BBQ Ribs Transformed Again!

Who knew my Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs could be so versatile! I had about a cup of meat left so I made Beef Stroganoff with it. It was quick and simple and definitely did not taste like leftovers! (The longest part was waiting for the water to boil for my noodles!) All I did was sauté up some mushrooms, onion and garlic, then I added cream and a pinch of nutmeg. I let the sauce thicken a bit and then added the leftover beef with a touch of sour cream stirred in at the end. Dinner is served!

Mashed Potatoes turned into Muffins!

We had some left over mashed potatoes from Sunday night and I thought it would be really interesting to turn them into muffins. I found this recipe and put my own spin on it by adding some ham and cheese. These muffins were definitely tasty mini-meals!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

2/3 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 large eggs
1 c mashed potatoes
1/3 c milk
1/4 c chopped green onion
1/4 c chopped ham
1/4 c shredded Cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 6-cup muffin pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cornmeal, baking powder and Italian seasoning.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, potatoes and milk. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

4. Stir in the green onion, ham and cheese. Stir just until combined.

5. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups.

6. Bake until a toothpick placed in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, about 13 to 16 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before turning the muffins out onto a wire rack.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yummy Buttermilk Unfried Chicken

One of my favorite things about Saturday mornings is watching Everyday Food on PBS. They just have such simple but wonderful recipes. A while back, they featured this Buttermilk Baked Chicken dish that I'd been meaning to try. Since I had some chicken thighs left over from Friday night, I knew it was time. I mean, who doesn't love Buttermilk Fried Chicken right? But it's not exactly healthy so you really can't have it too often. Buttermilk BAKED Chicken, however, is a different story! I served them with some mashed red potatoes and a healthy Sunday Night Dinner was born.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

$3 for These Huge Lamb Chops?

I can never pass up a good deal so when I saw these 2 HUGE lamb chops on sale for only $3, I had to grab them! I have no idea why they were so cheap cuz they looked super fresh and the date stamped on the package was today. Oh well, lucky for me! I didn't know what to do with them at first but then remembered how great my Pork Chops turned out so Braised Lamb Chops were born. I always liked lamb with some Indian flavor so I added some curry and cumin to the mix. I served the chops over some boxed curry-flavored couscous, which soaked up some of the wonderful juice. Our kitchen smelled like a yummy Indian Restaurant and I am NOT complaining!


2 bone-in lamb chops
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c chicken broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


1. In a deep skillet over medium heat, sauté the lamb chops until well browned, 10 to 13 minutes per side. Set aside on a plate.

2. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onionn begin to brown and have released their moisture, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, curry, cumin and thyme.

3. Pour the stock into the skillet and bring to a boil. Stir up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of a pan with a wooden spoon.

4. Return the lamb to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook until the meat is fork-tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with sprinkled parsley on top.

What's Better than a Bowl of Raisin Bran?

Raisin Bran has always been one of my favorite cereals so I was thrilled when I found this recipe for Raisin Bran Yogurt Bars! I love Kraft's website cuz they always have these yummy and easy recipe using just simple ingredients. In most cases (like this one), I already had everything on hand so these bars came together in no time! I chilled the pan in the fridge overnight after being baked so that the bars would set and be easier to cut. They tasted almost like cheesecake bars but much healthier, of course! I definitely wanna experiment with different cereals and yogurt flavor next time. Maybe some Cap 'n Crunch with Raspberry (think PB & J) or Lucky Charms with Chocolate (think S'Mores)? Now I'm really excited!

Savory Zucchini Bread = YUM!

I've made plenty of Zucchini Breads but never thought of making them savory. So when I spotted this recipe for Zucchini Cheddar Bread, I knew I had to try it! I added about half a cup of chopped mushrooms to the mixture and they were just perfect here! I love baking savory breads cuz they're more versatile than sweet breads since you can have them basically any time of the day. This one was no different. I had a piece for a late lunch right after the loaf came out of the oven and I'm sure I'll have another for a snack later. (I'm also thinking of having some for breakfast tomorrow!) I wonder if there'll be any left for my mom?

Friday, March 26, 2010

So I Bought a Box of Oreos...Now What?

As a kid I used to scarf down about half a package of Oreo Cookies everyday after school. Of course, back then I didn't know about calories, sugar and all the other ugly truths that I know now. BUT that still didn't stop me from bringing home a box of my favorite childhood snack just cuz it was on sale at Safeway! I managed NOT to eat half a package while driving home and actually got a wonderful idea. I would make Oreo Muffins! This was just a simple muffin recipe that I added crushed Oreo Cookies to and they were GREAT! I added very little sugar to the mix cuz I knew the cookies were already sweet enough and didn't want it to be overkill. I still love my Oreo Cookies but these muffins definitely come close!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1-1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c Oreos, crushed


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 6-cup muffin pan.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together the egg, milk and butter. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined. Fold in the Oreos; batter will be lumpy.

3. Spoon into prepared muffin pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

More Braising Fun with Chicken!

I had some chicken thighs in the freezer and thought they'd make a good braising candidate. I've always cooked them in the slow cooker so I thought it'd be fun to try something different. I searched around for a good recipe but ended up just doing my own thing. I think I've gotten to the point where I'm comfortable enough with braising to just kinda wing it. I thought of adding a bottle of dark ale or maybe some red wine but found a bottle of Napa Valley Marsala Cooking Wine and thought it would go great with the chicken. WOW! I served this over some store-bought couscous and it was the PERFECT Friday night comfort meal!


3 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 c button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (12.7 oz) Marsala Cooking Wine (or another white wine)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


1. In a deep skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook until well browned, 10 to 13 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate.

3. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to brown and have released their moisture, about 10 minutes.

4. Pour the wine into the skillet and bring to a boil. Stirring up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of a pan with a wooden spoon.

5. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook until the meat is fork-tender and just starting to come off the bone, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with sprinkled parsley on top.

BBQ Ribs Morph into Panini!

I watch a lot of Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller and she's all about "morphing key ingredients from one meal to another." It basically just means using up your left-overs in creative ways so you feel like you're eating something completely new. I had a lot of meat left over from my Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs, so I decided to be creative and made Panini! They were quick and did NOT taste like left-overs at all! I just sliced up some of the meat and layered it in between sourdough bread along with Swiss Cheese and Pickles. SO good! I still have some more meat left so I'm sure another creative meal will be featured soon!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meatloaf Idea from Guy Fieri

Remember those Cheesy Corn Muffins I made? Well, THIS is the big plan I had for them. I was watching Guy's Big Bite the other day and he made a Cornbread Stuffed Meatloaf that just looked SO good! Guy's recipe called for 3 pounds of meat and cheese slices on top, which I thought were a lil too much so I made a slightly smaller version. Now I've made Stuffed Meatloaf before but this was different. By having a layer of cornbread stuffing in the middle, it almost tasted like an inside-out meatloaf sandwich! YUM!


2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 c mushrooms, sliced
2 corn muffins, crumbled by hand
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Salt and pepper

1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 c ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/2 c dried breadcrumbs
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 lb ground beef


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. For the stuffing: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and mushrooms. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the corn muffins, parsley and Mozzarella. Set aside.

2. For the meatloaf: In a bowl combine the garlic, parsley, thyme, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire and egg and thoroughly mix. Stir in the Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Crumble beef over everything and mix gently, just until combined.

3. Place half of the meat mixture into the bottom of a loaf pan. Top with stuffing, then the rest of the meat mixture. Bake for about 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 150°F.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rachael Ray's Pork Chops

I don't make porkchops often cuz I'm always afraid of over-cooking them. I mean, you can't exactly serve pork still rare in the center. So pretty much all the times that I've made porkchops, they came out over-cooked and dry. Not THIS time! Since I've been on a "braising" kick lately, I thought I'd try it on some chops and found this recipe from Rachael Ray. It was so easy and took no time at all! The pork came out tender and (I'm quoting Greg here) "cooked to perfection!" I've always liked applesauce on the side of my chops so the apple slices worked really well. The potatoes also made this a hearty meal without needing any other sides. I just love one pot dinners!

I Got Some BIG Plans for These Cheesy Corn Muffins

I love making Savory Corn Muffins and they're great as a treat any time of the day. BUT these muffins are gonna be part of something GREAT! You'll just have to wait and find out!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1 c all-purpose flour
1 c cornmeal
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, lightly beaten


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

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar baking powder, salt and seasoning. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, and egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until they are just blended.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one to the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until the tops are crisp and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the pan.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Taking Another CRACK @ It!

Ok that was pretty cheesy! (CRACK...cracker, get it?) ANYWAY, the last I attemped homemade crackers, they came out a bit too salty. (I think it must've been the Blue Cheese!) So this time, I thought I'd try some with a different (non-salty) type of cheese instead. I did some research and decided on this recipe for Parmesan Almond Crackers. I remembered how crumbly the dough was using the Stand Mixer and it was nearly impossible to roll it into a log! This recipe called for the Food Processor and it was a LOT easier to handle. I actually put my log into the freezer for about 20 minutes since I didn't wanna wait 3 hours and it worked just as well. I LOVE the strong Parmesan flavor these crackers had and the little bit of crunch from the almond was just perfect too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Version of 5 Ingredient Fix

After watching many episodes of 5 Ingredient Fix, I've learned that you really don't need a lot of items to make a yummy meal. It also doesn't take a lot of effort when you're using the slow cooker. The hardest part was waiting for those ribs to cook over night but waking up to the smell of BBQ meat is just awesome!

My 5 Ingredients:

1. Beef Short Ribs
2. Onion, sliced
3. BBQ Sauce (I used the new Honey Roasted Garlic from Kraft)
4. Couscous (I used Near East Parmesan)
5. Butter (how ever much is called for on the box)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Creamy and Yummy Potato Salad

I had a few red potatoes left from making my Corned Beef and decided not to waste them. This was a very simple salad of boiled potatoes, roasted red bell peppers, green onions and mayo. I went very easy on the mayo so this salad tasted very light but still had a nice creamy texture. You could definitely substitute yogurt to make it even healthier but I think in moderation, a lil mayo never hurt anyone!

Bisuits + Gravy = The PERFECT Saturday Brunch!

After my recent discovery of how easy it is to make Biscuits and Gravy from scratch, I feel the need to make it at least every other month. It's just the perfect comfort food to start the day! The smell of warm biscuits baking in the oven is definitely worth every minute of kneading. My last plate was a bit too heavy on the gravy side so I resisted the urge to shower my biscuits this time. What a perfect way to start the weekend!

My AeroGarden is Growing Again!

After everything else besides the Basil died from my 1st batch of AeroGarden Herbs, I decided to start all over. This time I bought the Tuscan Italian Kit, which came with Basil (of course!), Oregano, Italian Parsley, Majoram, Mint and Savory. I've actually never had Marjoram or Savory before (not that I know of anyway) but I love trying new things so I'm looking forward to finding recipes for them! I'm sure I'll be using the Basil and Parsley ALL the time and the Mint will be great in the summer months. (Think Mojitos!) The herbs are growing so quickly so I'm sure I'll be cooking with them in no time!

The CUTEST Mini Apple Pies EVER!

I had some apples sitting around and was looking for something other than bread or muffins to make with them. I thought Apple Pie might be fun but didn't think it would be very easy to transport and share (or eat by myself!). So imagine how thrilled I was when I saw this recipe for MINI Apple Pies baked in muffin cups! I already had some premade pie crust in the fridge so these came together in no time. I know my tops don't look quite as nice as the original but they were flakey and just perfect! I also used about a tespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice in place of the Cinnamon and Nutmeg, which reminded me of the holidays. I do miss holiday baking but I'm definitely looking forward to spring and sunshine!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nothing Fake about These Crab Cakes!

I know when you hear "Imitation Crab", you don't exactly think "yummy crab cakes". That's how Greg felt too until he tried these! We had some Imitation Crab left from pasta the other night so I thought I'd try out this recipe for some easy Crab Cakes. I used my mini food processor to make fresh breadcrumbs out of some sourdough bread and also to chop up the crabmeat. The crabmeat might not be real but these cakes are REALLY good! They were great on their own but a few dollops of Mustard Aioli really put them over the top!

Meal in a Scone

My last batch of Savory Scones turned out so well that I decided to make some more. I found this recipe for Ham and Cheese Scones and thought they'd be perfect! I tried doing all the mixing with my food processor but it actually wasn't much easier so next time I'll be doing it the old fashioned way with my hands. The dough was really sticky but I was able to shape it into a ball (with some VERY floured hands). These scones make great mini meals with the ham and cheese. They would be perfect for lunch with a nice bowl of tomato soup!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another Go-To Meal

I grew up eating Mac and Cheese either out of a box or the freezer so I never learned how to make it from scratch until just recently. (I'm not saying my mom was a bad cook but she was brought up in China and made mostly Chinese food.) I guess I'm just proud to saw that I can now make Mac and Cheese whenever I want without looking at a recipe or even really thinking about it! Tonight's dinner featured some ground beef and mushrooms. Simple but really delicious!

Coffee + Cream Cheese = YUMMY Breakfast Treats!

My last batch of Cheesecake Bars were such a hit that I decided to make some more. I found this recipe for Mocha Cheesecake Bars from Betty Crocker and knew they'd be perfect! I left out the chocolate chips cuz I thought the coffee flavor would be more intense that way. They were SO good! Coffee and cream cheese definitely make the perfect breakfast treat!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Creamy Blueberry Ricotta Muffins

I bought some blueberries and had some Ricotta cheese in the fridge so naturally, I made muffins! This was a recipe from Dorie Greenspan cookbook. I've been flipping through it a lot recently since I'd hardly used it. She has some amazing recipes and I'm sure I'll be making a lot more them! These muffins were really creamy from the Ricotta cheese and the blueberries reminded me that spring is finally coming! We're enjoying some beautiful weather in the city these days and I'm hoping it'll stay that way. :)

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1/2 c ricotta, preferably at room temperature
1 large egg, preferably at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 stick (1/4 c) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 c fresh blueberries
1/2 c chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease or line 6 muffin cups.

2. Whisk the ricotta, egg and vanilla together, then stir in the melted butter.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the Ricotta mixture (The batter will be lumpy). Fold in the blueberries and walnuts.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until muffin tops are golden, springy to the touch and a knife inserted into the center of the muffins come out clean.

Greg Like Imitation Crab!

I guess no matter how long you've lived together, you're still constantly learning new things about each other. I love Imitation Crab so I was really happy to learn that Greg does too! I recently saw a recipe somewhere for Crab Alfredo and thought it would make a perfect weeknight meal. I just cooked up some egg noodles and made a sauce out of jarred Alfredo, mushrooms and crabmeat. Quick and easy and super yummy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When Life Gives You Strawberries...

Or when your mom gives you strawberries! My mom had an extra carton that she couldn't finish so she gave it to me. I personally don't like fresh strawberries but I love them in baked goods. I also had some yogurt in the fridge, so I decided to make this Strawberry Bread recipe from one of my favorite websites, Joy of Baking. I love the flavor of the toasted walnuts and the yogurt kept the bread really moist. I guess you could call mine a Double Strawberry Bread since I used strawberry-flavored yogurt!

The Last of My Corned Beef

Ok no more Corned Beef for a while, I promise! I used the last of it to make some scrambled eggs this morning. It was a decent breakfast but I'm sure it would've been better if we hadn't had Corned Beef all weekend! I'm glad we got to try it in so many different ways though but I'm not sure if I'll be making it again any time soon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pear + Yogurt = Good Muffins!

I had a pear lying around and some yogurt in the fridge so I decided to make muffins! I love the soft texture from the yogurt and the walnuts added just the perfect crunch. These are PERFECT for a quick breakfast or snack!

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Chai Spice Blend
1 medium pear diced
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1 large egg
1/2 c yogurt
1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease or line 6 muffin cups.

2. Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and spice blend in a medium bowl. Add diced apples and walnuts, tossing to coat. Whisk together eggs, yogurt and butter in a small bowl. Gently fold the liquid mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups.

3. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until muffins are brown around edges and spring back when touched. Remove muffin pan to a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, turn out muffins onto the wire rack.

Left-Over Corned Beef Turns into YUMMY Hash!

I was flipping through my new Food Network Magazine and saw a recipe to make a yummy breakfast hash using left-over Corned Beef. Did they just read my mind? I immediately knew what we were having on Saturday! I still had about half of my Corned Beef left so I used most of that along with the left-over potatoes and carrots. I have no idea what made me think of adding that fried egg on top but it was perfect! What a nice way to start the weekend!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Corned Beef Makes AWESOME Panini!

That 3 pound Corned Beef left us with a LOT of meat so I decided to make sandwiches. I found a lot of recipes using it to make Reuben Sandwiches but since we don't really like Sauerkraut at our house, I decided to create my own version. And of course, by "sandwich", I mean PANINI! These had a wonderful combination of corned beef, Provolone cheese and pickles. I also made a quick spread with mayo, ketchup, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce. (I guess my version of Russian Dressing?) They were just the perfect quick Friday night meal!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Healthier Version of a Fried Favorite

Since my Baked Spring Rolls turned out so well, I decided to try healthifying another fried dish, Shrimp Cakes! I remember having these yummy treats at Dim Sum restaurants as a kid but instead of frying them in lots of oil, I just pan-fried them like crab cakes. They were awesome! I used some left-over cocktail shrimp that I had frozen and chopped them up in my mini food processor. Like any crab cake or fish cake mixture, you need to refrigerate the patties for a while so that they firm up and won't fall apart as you're cooking them. I'll definitely make these again and maybe next time, add some more exotic flavors like curry horseradish!

Ingredients: (4 cakes)

1/2 lb cooked shrimp
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon juice
1 c soft breadcrumbs
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil


1. Place shrimp in a food processor and process into small pieces. Combine all ingredients except vegetable oil in a large bowl. Stir until well blended.

2. Shape mixture into 4 patties. Place patties on a wax paper-filled baking sheet; cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp patties 4 minutes on each side or until golden.

Baking Bread - Irish Style!

Since my Corned Beef was actually NOT traditionally Irish, I decided to make something that is. I've always been curious about Soda Bread cuz there are so few ingredients but they look so hearty and delicious. I found a large variety of recipes but decided on this one from one of my favorite blogs, Baking Bites. According to The Preservation of Irish Soda Bread Society though (yes they do exist!), my version would be considered a "Spotted Dog" since I added raisins. I really like the dense texture of this bread and the raisins added just the perfect hint of sweetness. I can see why this bread was a staple in the old days cuz you could easily fill up on this really inexpensive side dish. (Hint: MUST smear a pat of butter on it!)

Slow Cooked Corned Beef = YUM!

It's almost St Patty's Day, which means that there are a lotta of Corned Beef recipes floating around. After some research though, I found that pork was actually the main staple in the Irish culture. So I guess the whole idea of celebrating St Patty's Day with Corned Beef is a total myth BUT I thought it'd be fun to make it anyway. I found many recipes that called for boiling the meat or baking it for a few hours but I thought putting it in the slow cooker would be the best way. Corned Beef is a tougher cut of meat so I knew it would come out super tender that way and I was SO right! Since Greg doesn't like cabbage, I just threw in some carrots and potatoes instead. Everything was SO flavorful and I can't wait to make sandwiches with the left-over meat!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another Yummy Pear Bread

My last pear bread was really good so when I saw this recipe for Pecan Pear Bread, I knew I had to make it. It completely rivaled the other one! I chopped the pear up in my mini food processor and added some dried cranberries for sweetness and color. SO good! I can't wait to have it for breakfast tomorrow!

My Healthy Baked Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are yummy but they're usually oily, fried and definitely not too healthy. BUT I decided to try a baked version and they came out REALLY good! The trick to getting that nice crispy skin is brushing a lil bit of oil on the rolls before placing them in the oven. I made a simple filling of ground pork and coleslaw mix but I think next time I might experiment with some shrimp or even baked tofu.

Ingredients: (10 rolls)

1/2 lb ground pork
1 c coleslaw mix
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp water
10 (7-in) spring roll wrappers
1 Tbsp vegetable oil


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Cook pork in a saucepan over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Remove from heat and drain. In a medium bowl, mix together pork, coleslaw, green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

3. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl.

4. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture in the center of spring roll wrappers. Roll wrappers around the mixture, folding edges inward to close. Moisten fingers in the cornstarch and water mixture, and brush wrapper seams to seal.

5. Arrange spring rolls in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with vegetable oil. Bake for 20 minutes, until hot and lightly browned.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stuffed Pasta Never Fail Me

Whenever I'm out of ideas for dinner, I know I can always turn to stuffed pasta. It's one of my "go-to" meals that I can make with ingredients I usually have on hand. It's such a versatile dish too and I know it's gonna turn out yummy! Tonight, I stuffed some jumbo shells with a mixture of Italian sausage and Ricotta. Then I jazzed up some jarred Vodka sauce with some mushrooms and baked everything in the oven with LOTS of Mozzarella on top. Quick and easy! Now it's time to watch Lost!

More Ravioli Filling

I had the last of my left-over Ravioli filling sitting in my freezer so I decided to try a muffin recipe I saw in a cookbook. They were awesome! There's something just so comforting about the smell of sweet potatoes baking in the oven. The pumpkin pie spice reminded me of how much I miss the holidays! Is it really only March?

Ingredients: (6 muffins)

1 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 c mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 c maple syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c raisins


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease or line 6 muffins cups.

2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spice. In another bowl, stir together sweet potato, syrup, egg, butter, water and vanilla until blended. Add to dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Stir in walnuts and raisins.

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 5 min before removing muffins from cups and finish cooling on wire rack. Serve warm or store in an airtight container at room temperature. These muffins freeze well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mexican Style Lasagna

I really wanted to make Enchiladas for dinner but discovered that I had no Enchilada Sauce. I did have plenty of Taco Sauce so I decided to make Mexican Lasagna instead. I can't believe it's been so long since I've made this! This time I used some left-over pulled pork that's been sitting in my freezer and it was SO yummy! Isn't it a beauty?

All plated with some sour cream on top ready to be DEVOURED!

Ingredients: (4 servings)

2 c shredded pork
1 c Taco Sauce, divided
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes with green chili
1 Tbsp chili powder
8 flour tortillas (6-inch)
2 c shredded Mexican-style cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or spray an 8-in baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the meat, half of the Taco sauce, tomatoes and chili powder.

3. Pour the remaining Taco sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange 4 tortillas on top, followed by half the beef mixture and half the cheese. Repeat layers.

4. Bake for 20 min, until cheese is bubbly. Let stand 5 min. Serve with sour cream and chopped green onions on top.

A Weekend of Braising

I was watching one of my favorite new Food Network shows, Five Ingredient Fix, the other night and Claire made Red Wine Braised Short Ribs. The dish looked AMAZING and seemed really simple. I can't believe I've never BRAISED anything before! I guess I always thought that you had to use one of those fancy (and expensive!) Le Creuset pots (which I totally intend to put on our Wedding Registry BTW!) but after some research I found that any non-stick heavy pot will work! I decided that Friday night would be a good "first time braising night" so I went and bought a good slab of pork ribs. After browsing through an endless number of Braised Ribs recipes, I finally put together my own. It was a total success! In fact, Greg loved it SO much that I decided to create another "braised meal" Sunday night. This time I bought some beef back ribs and added onions and mushrooms. I also experimented with different flavors by adding some cumin and curry to the mix. SO good! Both nights, I served the meat over a very simple polenta, which soaked up some of the sauce and was a wonderful pairing to the tender meat!

Ingredients: (2 servings)

2 lbs pork ribs
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
2 bottles dark ale (I used Sierra Nevada)
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 c BBQ sauce


1. Cut ribs into individual pieces and sprinkle each liberally with salt.

2. In a large Dutch oven, cook the garlic and oil on medium-high. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the ribs and brown each side (2-3 minutes per side). When the ribs finish browning, transfer them to a plate.

3. Add 1/2 cup of the ale to deglaze the pot. Add back the ribs and pour enough of the remaining ale to cover the ribs. Add the vinegar, syrup and sugar and stir well. Bring the pot up to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook for an hour.

Ingredients: (2 servings)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lb beef back ribs, cut into 4 pieces
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 c beef broth
1 c dry red wine
1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
1/2 c slice mushrooms
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp curry powder


1. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in s Dutch oven over high heat. When oil is hot and sizzling, brown the meat about 5 minutes each side. Remove to a plate.

2. Add onions and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Return beef to the pot along with mushrooms, broth, herbs and wine. Allow mixture to come to a boil; reduce heat, simmer over very low heat until meat is fork tender and nearly falling off the bone, about 1 hour.

Easy Creamy Polenta Recipe

Ingredients: (4 servings)

2 c water
Salt to taste
1/2 c yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the cornmeal until fully incorporated.

2. Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the cornmeal to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

3. Finish by stirring in the sour cream and Parmesan.

Friday, March 5, 2010

White Chocolate + Raspberries = A Match Made in Baking Heaven!

I love the combination of the sweet white chocolate with tart raspberries in this bread. It totally reminds me of summer! This butter-less bread is definitely a healthy treat with the whole wheat flour and very little oil. Don't you just love it when you can feel GOOD about eating bread?


1 c all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 c milk
1-1/2 c raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped pecan


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg, vanilla and vegetable oil until smooth. Stir in 1/2 of flour mixture and all of the milk. Stir in the rest of the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the raspberries, chocolate chips and pecan.

3. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf. Turn loaf out onto a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Salmon Cakes - Asian Style!

Salmon Cakes are a great way to use up canned salmon, which can sometimes taste a bit too fish, especially if they're in water. The last time I made some, I saved a couple for my mom and she loved them. So this time I thought I'd make some Asian-style Salmon Cakes just for her. I pretty much used every "Asian" ingredient I had and they came out really good! The ginger paste I used was from Gourmet Garden, which comes in a tube and lasts forever! The trick is to refrigerate the patties for at least 30 minutes so they don't fall apart as your cook them. I kept mine in the fridge overnight and they stayed together even when I flipped them.

Ingredients: (4 patties)

2 cans (5-6 oz each) salmon, drained & flaked
2 tsp ginger paste
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce
1/2 c crushed saltine crackers
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp vegetable oil


1. In a medium bowl, mix together the salmon, ginger, green onions, lemon juice, soy sauce and Teriyaki sauce using a rubber spatula. Stir in the crackers and eggs and mix to combine.

2. Dividing the salmon mixture evenly; form into 4 1-inch thick patties. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight before cooking.

3. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the salmon patties and cook until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until opaque throughout and golden brown on the other side, about 3 minutes longer.
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