Friday, December 26, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Honey!

My hubby's birthday fell on a Tuesday so that means we're definitely celebrating it both the weekend before AND after! The weekend before, I treated us to appetizers and Margaritas at Tres, a local Mexican place that we both love. We started out with a plate of chips, which came with 3 yummy salsas. The spicy one on the right is my hubby's favorite!

For a comforting bday dinner, I made Curry Braised Lamb Shanks. It was incredibly flavorful and the meat was so tender, it fell right off the bones! I served the lamb on top of couscous and it was just perfection!
Since we believe in dragging out of bdays for at least 2 weeks, I decided to treat my hubby to some yummy appetizers and drinks at Lark Creak Steakhouse. We got some oysters and steak tartar and had a blast! Can't wait till Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons

Or in my case, when a coworker brings in a huge bag of Meyer lemons from her lemon tree, I just couldn't resist! I mean, who passes up on free food right? I grabbed a few to make a yummy dinner of Meyer Lemon Chicken. I loved the addition of the capers and frying up some lemon slices to go on top was just genius!

Then, since she kept bringing more lemons in and I was afraid they'd go to waste, I decided to make a special treat for the office, Meyer Lemon Cardamon Crinkle Cookies! They were a HIT! I mean who doesn't like cookies dipped in sugar right?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Not Ready for Fall to be Over Yet!

We've still got a couple of weeks of fall left and I'm definitely taking advantage! First up, Orange-Glazed Pork Chops. Any recipe that includes stuffing is all good in my book!

Next up, super simple Red Curry Meatballs using store-bought meatballs. You really don't need to make them from scratch when you add amazing flavor with Red Curry Paste and Coconut Milk!

More meatballs went into this yummy sliders! Just heat them up with some Marinara Sauce and add a slice of cheese. PERFECT football-watching dinner!

Finally a sweet treat, M&M Pretzel Cookies using Fall-colored M&Ms. Such a perfect combination of salty and sweet!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Third Thanksgiving

Since my hubby and I spent Thanksgiving separately this year, we decided to do another celebration after he got back. This is our third Thanksgiving since we already had a Pre-Thanksgiving the weekend before! These are very simply baked chicken leg quarters with carrots, potatoes and onions. Not even a recipe required! It's just chicken seasoned with Italian seasoning and baked in the oven for about an hour. Served over stuffing, of course, cuz it's still Thanksgiving after all!

For dessert, I whipped up an easy boxed mix of Pumpkin Pie Bars with Gingerbread Crust. You can get anymore HOLIDAY than these!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving with my Mommy!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I'm so happy I got to spend it with my mommy this year! I don't get to spend much time with her and a couple of days of food and fun is just what we needed! Ina's Pecan Shortbread are her most favorite treats in the world so I make them for her every chance I get. I used to be so intimidated by rolling and cutting out cookie dough but practice makes perfect! I used fall-themed cookie cutters to make pumpkins, leaves and turkeys. How cute right? These are super buttery but not too sweet and the perfect combination with pecans.
I also made some Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins so she can enjoy some for breakfast during her stay and also take some home with her. I added some walnuts into the mix cuz my mom loves them and they added a nice lil crunch!
We went out to dinner on Wednesday night and came home to make these really cute Turkey Cookies from my new Smart Cookie cookbook. Aren't they adorable? My mom was happy and her cookies definitely came out better looking than mine! (Love you mommy!)
Thursday finally came and we began our big feast day with some Creamy Crab Dip. OMG it was SO good! Instead of the Old Bay Seasoning, I used some mango and orange herb blend because my mom's not a fan of spicy food. I served the dip with crackers and veggies but honestly I was eating it with a spoon!
Our Thanksgiving dinner started out with a warm green bean salad. I just dressed the beans with Balsamic Vinaigrette and tossed it with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and crumbled Feta. SO refreshing unlike the usual greasy Green Bean Casserole!
For the Grand Finale, I made Sandra Lee's Herb-Roasted Cornish Game Hens. We fell in love with the roasted veggies on the bottom. I ended up using a honey mustard vinaigrette, which worked so well in the dish! It was definitely so much easier than making a big turkey and having our own little hen was just perfect!
We finished our meal with the cutest Mini Pumpkin Pies! A perfect sweet ending to a perfect meal!
I think we can all agree that I had the most amazing Thanksgiving with my mommy! I sent her home with lots of yummy leftovers and treats so I'm sure she'll be enjoying them for days to come!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Early Thanksgiving with my Hubby!

We usually spend our Thanksgiving with my in-laws but I have to work on Friday this year. My hubby is still flying down to SoCal but I'm staying here and spending the holiday with my mom. That doesn't mean we can't have a little celebration of our own beforehand though! I decided to make it a Pre-Thanksgiving weekend because why not right? It started off with Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies. So soft and yummy!
Then following our tradition, I made Bobby Flay's Corn Muffins that we all love so much from Mesa Grill. (Mine were made with yellow corn cuz blue just never comes out very appetizing!) They're spicy and full of bell peppers and corn.
Friday night, I used some of the leftover pumpkin from the cookies to make a VERY yummy Pumpkin and Thai Curry Chicken. Probably not the most traditional recipe given that it's from Betty Crocker but you can't go wrong with Thai over rice noodles. No complaints here!
Just for kicks, I decided to make some super cute Acorn Cookies from my new cookbook, Smart Cookie. I'm totally in love with all the recipes in there using storebought cookies to make some really creative stuff! In case you can't tell, these were made with Nutter Butter, Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Sprinkles and Pretzel Sticks. SUPER CUTE right?
Saturday night was our real Pre-Thanksgiving meal with Herb-Roasted Game Hens over Stuffing. Not much of a recipe here. I just drizzles balsamic vinaigrette over the hens and sprinkled Italian seasoning on top. Baked for an hour and they're golden brown and SUPER tasty!
Finally a Sunday night favorite, braised Chicken Legs. Simply browned and slowly braised in my Dutch Oven with onions, garlic and more Balsamic. Served over (what else?)...STUFFING!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lovin' Me Some Porkchops!

I've been on a porkchop kick lately probably because the weather is getting cooler and I'm craving comfort food and what's more comforting than some big O porkchops right? Braising is definitely the only way to make moist chops and it's the simplest using my Dutch oven. (Thanks mom!) First off it's Giada's Porkchops alla Pizzaiola. The way she describes them is that they taste just like pizza and it's so true! I mean, how can you go wrong combining 2 of our favorites right?
Next up is a meal made for fall, Porkchops with Pear Chutney. OMG SO delicious! The kitchen smelled amazing from the Madras Curry and the sweetness of the cranberries was just the perfect addition! Both of my porkchop dinners were served with stuffing because what's more appropriate for fall right?
Finally the perfect meal for football-watching, leftover shortribs served slider-style on Hawaiian sweet buns. PERFECTION!
And I can't end the week without cookies! These are Heath Toffee Bits Cookies, AMAZING is the only way to describe them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More Fall Eats and Treats!

First off, some treats! Pumpkin Pie Pudding Cookies! Instead of the Cinnamon Chips, I actually found Pumpkin Pie Chips. (I just LOVE seasonal baking ingredients!) They came out soft and tasted just like Pumpkin Pie but in tiny cookie form.

A perfect weeknight meal of braised porkchops topped with dried fruit and pineapples served over Couscous.

More Crockpot goodness with Martha Stewart's Spiced Chicken Stew. We LOVED the raisins in this dish and perfect over stuffing.

A Sunday night feast of Apple and Sage Porkchops served over, what else, STUFFING! It feels like Thanksgiving already!

Since we had the day off for Veteran's Day, I decided to bake some 7-Layer Magic Bars. These had a combination of chocolate, white chocolate and peanut butter chips along with coconut and walnuts. A definite hit at the office and super easy to make too!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Finally Fall!

I LOVE everything about Fall! The weather starts getting cooler, the leaves start turning pretty colors and of course, it's the official start of the HOLIDAYS! In our house, it only means one thing...COMFORT FOOD! I just love all the flavors of fall especially pumpkin so I decided to make Pumpkin pasta with sausage. It's just Pasta Roni Shells and White Cheddar with some canned pumpkin and spicy sausage stirred into the sauce. SO EASY and SO YUM!

The cooler whether also means it's time to take out my slow cooker! I remember my mother-in-law gave us a slow cooker at our first apartment. (Thanks mom!) It was HUGE and I'd use it to make a dozen chicken thighs, which my hubby loved! I'd shred the meat and freeze most of it and it would last us months! Then I decided to get a smaller slow cooker for making less food and it worked out great. These are super easy BBQ Short Ribs and they were incredibly good! I just turned the slow cooker on in the morning and it did all the cooking while I ran errands. By the time I got home, our kitchen smelled like the best BBQ restaurant in the world! The meat just fell off of the bones and I served them over stuffing (another Fall Fav!). I cannot WAIT to make more slow cooker meals!

Another cold-weather fav at our house is pork chops! These are Rachael Ray's Pork Chops Smothered with Peppers and Onions. They were featured in an episode titled Man Food, so I KNEW I had to make them for my MAN! LOL. I served the chops over, what else, STUFFING! BEST SUNDAY NIGHT EVER!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LOTS of FUN and EASY Food!

Starting off with some easy and yummy snacks!
Frozen French Fries with melted cheese and garlic on top.
Trader Joe's frozen Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls and Chicken Samosas. I made a very special dipping sauce for them with soy sauce, Sriracha, hot Chinese mustard and Mango Chutney. It was TO DIE FOR!
More goodies from Trader Joe's, Pumpkin Ravioli with Cheddar Alfredo Sauce and sausage. The pumpkin filling was slightly sweet and paired really well with the spicy sausage.
I can never leave Trader Joe's without their Korean Sausage, which I ALWAYS have to add an egg on top!
Safeway Meatballs with Pasta-Roni and LOTS of Parmesan cheese on top!
Shredded BBQ Chicken on Hawaiian buns with melted cheese. BEST SLIDERS EVER!
My first time ever with Short Ribs. Slowly braised on the stove top and served over Stuffing! Hubby LOVED it!
More braising with some big O Chicken Legs and this time over Couscous. Sunday night dinner at it's best!
Last but definitely not least, it's pumpkin season, so I busted out the Pumpkin Chili Mexicana complete with Corn Muffins! YUM YUM YUM! I love fall!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Velveeta Eats and A Couple of Sweets!

Another week has flown by and it seemed to be centered around one very special item, Velveeta! First up, some Spicy Cheesy Mini Meatloaves for a quick weeknight meal. This was my first time using Velveeta and it was amazing!
Since I couldn't seen to get enough of the stuff, some Famous Queso Dip while watching football.
Next up, Ultimate Nachos (with chicken instead of beef) because we still had more Velveeta left. (Football makes us really hungry for cheese!)
Finally, Cheeseburger Pizza, which literally combined our favorite 2 items into 1!
Coming off of our Velveeta high, I made some simple hot dogs with grilled peppers and onions and spiced up with Jalapenos and Jalapeno cheese.
Now onto some sweets! I haven't posted many cookies recently because they haven't been that interesting. (Chocolate Chips have been a very reused theme!) On a recent grocery trip, I found Pillsbury's Maple Brown Sugar Cookie Mix and it just seemed perfect for the season. They were super easy to make and I added Butterscotch Chips for extra flavor. They turned out really yummy and no one knew they weren't made from scratch! Shhh....
For my manager's birthday, I made some Chocolate Cupcakes (using cake mix) topped with Pink Vanilla Frosting. SO pretty and sweet!

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