Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Start of Pumpkin Season!

I LOVE Pumpkin Season, which to me starts right around Halloween. To kick things off, I made Mini Spiced Pumpkin Muffins. YUM!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Watching Rachael Ray ALWAYS Pays Off

I've been saving Rachael Ray's Sausage and Butternut Riggies for a while now waiting for fall to finally kick in. Instead of Butternut Squash, I used canned Pumpkin, which I think has very similar flavors. I can't begin to tell you how yummy this dish was and perfect for fall! I love how she always calls for broiling her pasta casseroles cuz it's such a time-saver and beats baking for 30 minutes to brown the topping anyday!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Keeping the Fiesta Theme Going ALL Night!

Monday nights are now Football nights and we love nothing more than Chips and Guac while watching a game especially when the 49ers are WINNING! To keep the Fiesta Theme going, I decided to make a Tex-Mex style pasta dinner. Very simple and very flavorful, what's not to love right?


1 c penne pasta, uncooked
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 lb bulk sausage
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 c corn
1 c salsa
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
Chopped fresh parsley


1. Cook penne as directed on package.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink.

3. Add onion, corn, salsa, chili powder and cumin; mix well. Heat to boiling. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Turn off heat. Stir in cheese add cooked penne until cheese is melted. Spoon mixture onto serving platter and garnish with parsley.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Apple and Seafood, Who Knew?

I came across this recipe for Spicy Shrimp Curry with Coconut Milk and Apple and was intrigued by the combinationa. I mean, I love fruit with pork and poultry but never thought of seafood. Well, tonight curiosity got the best of me and I decided to try the recipe using Imitation Crabmeat instead. The verdict? We LOVED it! The Coconut Milk made the dish really come together and all the spices gave it a nice kick. I served the crabmeat over rice noodles and it was an amazing curry feast!

Friday, October 26, 2012

$5 Rotisserie Chicken!

We have these $5 Friday Deals at our Safeway and today they were offering Rotisserie Chicken! How can I resist that right? I decided to make Chicken Tortilla Pie, a recipe I'd been saving for a while now. It just seemed like the perfect easy dinner to make on a Friday night. I already had all the other ingredients at home so the meal took no time at all to put together. VERY good and I'm sure the leftovers will be even better!

Happy Halloween with Candy Corn Cookies!

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween and I haven't dressed up since I was a kid but I do love all the fun candy! Since we don't get any Trick-or-Treaters at our place, I always try to bake with some of the special goodies that are only available this time of the year. What says Halloween more than Candy Corn right? These are Martha Stewart's Candy Corn Sugar Cookies and I made both the regular ones and chocolate variation. They were incredible! The only problem was that I ended up with only 20 cookies from the dough and I made my cookies smaller than usual so I'm not sure what happened. Since I made 2 batches though, I had enough to go around the office but they were gone before lunch!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Pasta Revolution Goodness!

I'm so in LOVE with my Pasta Revolution Cookbook and tonight, I made another recipe from it, Baked Chicken Parmesan and Penne. It was SO simple, yet incredibly good! The fire-roasted tomatoes created such a flavorful sauce along with the garlic, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. I also liked placing the chicken on top of the casserole instead of mixing everything together so that strips stayed intact. My favorite part though, of course, was the super cheesy crust!


1/2 lb breaded chicken strips
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (14 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
Penne, cooked
1/2 c Parmesan, grated
1/2 c Mozzarella, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a baking pan. Cook chicken according to package directions.

2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.

3. Stir in pasta and Parmesan. Transfer to baking pan. Scatter chicken over top and sprinkle with Mozzarella.

4. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 minutes.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Falling in Love with Fall Ingredients!

I LOVE fall for all of its produce like figs, pumpkins, butternut squash and of course, apples! (I know apples are around all year but something about fall just makes them even better!) Besides Apple Pie, my favorite is having them with pork so tonight, I made some Pork Chops with Cranberry-Apple Sauce. I served them over some cheesy polenta and it was the perfect fall meal!


2 bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small apple, diced
1/2 c onions, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c apple juice
1/4 c dried cranberries


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

2. Turn heat down to medium and add the apple and onions. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add thyme and garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

3. Add apple juice and bring to a boil. Add pork back, cover and simmer until pork is tender, 10 minutes. Remove chops to serving platter.

4. Add cranberries and turn heat up to high. Boil until sauce is thickened, 5 minutes. Pour sauce over pork and serve.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm ALL For Taking Shortcuts!

When I first started cooking, I wanted to make everything from scratch. I baked my own bread, slow-roasted meats and even attempted to make homemade pasta. (THAT was not a good idea!) I guess I must've watched way too much Food Network and realized very quickly that cooking wasn't my fulltime job! Nowadays, I'm all about pre-chopped onions, cooked chicken and tonight, I discovered Hormel's Roast Beef. Of course with most shortcuts in life, you have to get a lil creative unless you like the taste of microwave dinners. Tonight, I transformed my convenience food into Penne with Roast Beef, Balsamic Goat Cheese Sauce. Made from scratch, it's not but homemade tasting, it definitely was!


1 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 lb roast beef tips, cooked
3 oz goat cheese
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Penne, cooked until al dente


1. Place dried mushrooms in a microwaveable bowl with 1/2 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 2 minutes until water starts to boil. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes, until mushrooms are reconstituted.

2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute, until fragrant.

3. Add beef and mushrooms along with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes, until reduced by half.

4. Turn off heat and stir in goat cheese, balsamic vinegar and pasta until cheese is melted.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Perfect Combo of Sweet and Spicy!

I love playing with sweet and spicy combinations, especially when it comes to pork. It's also just perfect with fruity flavors so tonight, I made a sweet and spicy apricot sauce to go along with some beautiful bone-in chops. Super flavorful and super moist! I served them with mashed potatoes and it was the perfect way to start the week!


1 Tbsp apricot preserve
1 Tbsp chili sauce
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp oil
2 bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper
1/2 c onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced


1. In a small bowl, stir together, the preserve, chili sauce, mustard and brown sugar.

2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm.

3. Turn heat down to medium and add onions. Cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

4. Add sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze. Add chops back and turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer until meat is cooked through, 5 minutes.

5. Remove chops to serving platter and turn heat up to high. Boil until sauce is thickened, 5 minutes. Pour over chops and serve with mashed potatoes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

First Sporting Event of the Season!

It's been a while since we've gone out to watch sports since well, we're not big baseball fans and there hasn't been much else going on. Today, however, we went out with our friends to watch the Stanford/Cal game and had an awesome time! (I think it's always more fun when you don't really care who wins but that's just my opinion.) Our favorite sports bar is The Public House since it's within walking distance from our place. They've got all the usual bar food but my favorite is the homemade potato chips that come with every order. They're SO SO SO good and you can ask for extras if you're REALLY nice! :)

Me and my hubby
Me and the girls

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crabby Pad Thai

My hubby LOVES Pad Thai and I've finally figured out how to make it just the way he likes it after years of practice. Nowadays I can pretty much make it with anything but he especially likes it with Imitation Crabmeat. My recipe is obviously NOT authentic (I realize that ketchup is not from Thailand) but it's super flavorful and just the way we like it!


2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
8 oz imitation crabmeat
Rice noodles, cooked
2 green onions, sliced
Sesame oil, for drizzling


1. In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, lim juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar.

2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add eggs and scramble until set. Remove and set aside.

3. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil.

4. Turn heat down to low and add the carbmeat, noodles and green onions. Stir and heat through. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Island Cookies for Island Weather!

The weather's been unusually nice here so I decided to bake some White Chip Island Cookies. The coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and white chocolate were just the perfect tropical combination! These are the type of cookies that you definitely don't wanna overbake. They should still be fairly soft and only slightly browned on the bottom when they come out of the oven. As they cool, they'll harder a bit but shouldn't get crunchy so watch them carefully! Here's to hoping this summerlike weather lasts through the weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Easy Dinner on a HOT Night

Maybe it's not technically HOT but 80 degrees is pretty high up there for San Francisco especially since it only cooled down to about 70 at night. The last thing I wanted to do was stand over a hot stove so I knew dinner had to be something that can cook itself. The solution? Cheesy Chicken and Pasta Casserole! You might think that turning on the oven will heat up our apartment but thankfully our kitchen is designed in a way that the heat escapes out the window without reaching the living room. (I know, genius!) To make things even easier, I used cooked chicken strips and left out the bell peppers so all I had to do was mix everything up and in the oven they go. 20 minutes later and we were enjoying a VERY comforting pasta dinner!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Feeling Just Peachy!

I saved this recipe for Pork and Peach Chutney the other day and decided to make it tonight. I'm glad I did cuz it was DELICIOUS! I've always liked the combination of pork and fruit so I knew peach would be great especially with the raisins! The only changes I made were substituting balsamic vinegar for the white and orange juice for the broth to add to the fruity flavor. I served it over rice to soak up all the yummy sauce. YUM YUM!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Does Pillsbury Know about Garam Masala?

I was surprised to find a recipe for Ground Beef Curry from the Pillsbury website, especially since it called for Garam Masala. I guess when it comes to Pillsbury, I only think of good old American baking and of course, the Dough Boy! Anyway, I decided to try the recipe and was very pleased with the result. The combination of the Garam Masala, cumin and chili powder flavored the meat really well. I would've liked a lil more heat but nothing some hot sauce can't take care of!

Yummy New Find at Whole Foods!

I get so excited when I go to Whole Foods cuz there's always something new and healthy to try in their snacks aisle. This time, I found some new chips called Pentils, which are made from lentils so they're packed with protein and incredibly good for you. I tried the Margherita Pizza flavor and it was SO yummy! They're also Gluten-free and made with no artificial ingredients, which is definitely an added bonus!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I REALLY Should Get a Tagine!

I've fallen in love with Mediterranean dishes and when I see a picture like this Sweet and Sour Chicken in a beautiful Tagine, I totally wanna get my own. BUT since a decent Tagine costs almost $200, I feel like my Dutch oven will have to do for now. (*sigh) Anyway, this recipe was really good especially since I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I loved the addition of the prunes and raisins which gave the sauce a sweet fruity flavor. I served the chicken over couscous and we had an amazing Sunday Night Mediterranean feast!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Impossibly Easy Leftovers!

I LOVE to turn my leftovers into something new and one of my favorite ways is to turn them into Impossibly Easy Pies. It's just basically a topping made with a mixture of 1/2 cup Bisquick, 1 cup milk, 2 eggs and 1 cup shredded cheese. I've used chili, casseroles, various mixes of meat and veggies and tonight, it's Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese! (Don't worry, I froze the leftovers so they haven't been sitting in the fridge for a month!) I've been running around all day so this was the perfect easy dinner, not to mention very satisfying!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fiesta Friday Night!

I came across this recipe for Taco Pasta Bake and knew immediately that I wanted to make it ASAP! I mean, we LOVE Mexican food and we LOVE baked pasta so this was right up our alley! The only change I made was leaving out the corn since I didn't have any and it wasn't missed at all. Oh yea, of course I had to top it all off with more sour cream!

You Can't Go Wrong with Adding Cream Cheese!

Ever since I discovered Oprah's Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies, I've been obsessed with adding cream cheese to baked goods. It just makes everything taste so creamy and decadent! I came across these Chocolate Cheese Mini Muffins and definitely wanted to make them. I decided against the glaze for easy transport and also left out the cocoa but doubled-up on the chocolate chips. They were AMAZING! The perfect creamy texture with LOTS of chocolatey goodness! I'm SO glad I made a double batch!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Can't Wait until Thanksgiving!

It finally hit me that the holidays are just around the corner when I received 2 of my cooking magazines both with Thanksgiving recipes featured on the cover. That's just fine with me cuz we LOVE holiday food at our house. Flipping through the magazines I suddenly had a craving for stuffing so that's just what I made for dinner to go along Maple-Glazed Chicken. I thought they were the perfect match and hubby agreed! My stuffing had apple chunks and raisins with a sprinkle of cinnamon for that perfect autumn flavor. I guess we just can't wait till Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dinner Inspired by Paula Deen

I just finished reading Paula Deen's It Ain't All About the Cookin and was just craving southern food for dinner! I highly recommend the book BTW because it's very inspiring with lots of good laughs and of course, LOTS of food talk! You really feel like Paula's actually talking to you and she's just as real as you can get. Anyway, I remember watching her make Grillades and Grits on a recent show and decided to make my version of it. Hey, I might not be a southern girl, but I do know how to make some mean grits! Do you know what the secret is? Stir in a lil sour cream at the end and you'll end up with some SUPER creamy grits with just a touch of tang.


1/2 lb boneless pork, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp flour
1 c beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp dried basil
1 c tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
Grits, for serving


1. Dredge the pork in cornstarch and toss lightly. Heat oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown meat for 5 minutes and remove to a plate.

2. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until browned. Add flour, stirring constantly and slowly until flour is a nice deep brown, being careful not to burn the flour.

3. Slowly add beef broth, bay leaf, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and basil. Stir and bring to a boil.

4. Add pork back along with tomatoes.  Turn heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pork is cooked through.

5. Remove bay leaves and stir in the parsley. Serve over hot grits.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Welcoming October with Pumpkin Cookies!

I can't believe it's already October so I decided to welcome the season with Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm definitely a pumpkin lover and nothing goes better with it than chocolate! These cookies don't spread much and should be soft so the key is to not overbake them. I had to watch mine really closely but they turned out perfect!


2-1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
1-1/2 c sugar
1 c pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together dry ingredients into a bowl.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin, egg and vanilla.

3. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix to combine. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 18 minutes, or until firm on the edges. Remove to a rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No-So-Authentic Thai Pork

Tonight, I made Black Thai Pork from the National Pork Board website. (Yes, it does exist!) I'm sure it's far from authentic but I'm not one to judge especially since it was VERY tasty! The combination of peanut butter and all the spices made the dish incredibly flavorful! I'm a sucker for sweet and spicy so this was right up my alley. I served the pork over rice noodles since it's Thai afterall and we LOVED it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Too Hot for the Oven!

It's a VERY rare occasion when it's too hot to turn on the oven in SF. Tonight, it stayed around 80 degrees, which meant that the oven was out of the question when it came to dinner! I turned to another recipe from my Pasta Revolution cookbook and make Pasta with Chicken Cacciatore Sauce. All done on the stovetop and VERY easy! I rarely get the chance to use Herbes de Provence and loved it in this dish!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c onions, chopped
1 c mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 c red wine
1/2 c chicken broth
1 c diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 lb cooked chicken, sliced
Penne, cooked
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until browned, 5 minutes.

2. Stir in garlic and Herbes de Provence and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.

3. Whisk in wine and broth until smooth. Add tomatoes and sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce is thickened, 10 minutes.

4. Stir in chicken, pasta and Parmesan. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tropical Food for Our Unexpected Heatwave!

After living in San Francisco for almost 10 years, I've learned to ignore the weatherman, especially when he says we're expecting a Heatwave. Why? Cuz 99% of the time, that means everywhere BUT the city will get hot and somehow it'll be even foggier and colder for us. Today was one of those rare 1% when it actually got HOT and stayed HOT even at night! So I thought it'd be the perfect day to make something tropical like Jamaican Pork for dinner. This is a very unique curry and has bananas in it along with pineapple and coconut flavors. That might sound odd at first but trust me, it came out REALLY good! The balance of the heat and sweet were just perfect and I added just a touch of Jerk Seasoning to kick up the flavors even more. I served the pork over rice cooked in Coconut Water and it was an amazing dinner on a hot summer night!

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