Blog number two.... it might explain my current lack of enthusiasm for blog number 1

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

what was your first?

Potato cakes were among the first things I ever made. Sauteed onions were also around in the beginning. There is just something about sauteing an onion when you are 5 that makes you think you rule the world. Staying the night at meme's always meant two things - unlimited food network consumption and potato cakes.

Now that I am a little older and know how to decide what add ins will be good for a dish, I have expanded on the traditional potato cake. Although, the basic recipe is still pretty awesome in my book. Bradley has never eaten one and I always say I'm going to make them but we never have left over mashed potatoes. Truth be told, anything made from a potato in this house isn't going to be here long. I used my 45 minute drive home from work yesterday to think about all the things that I love to put on my baked potato and came up with this recipe -

Loaded Potato Cakes
recipe by me

2 cups left over creamed/mashed potatoes - still cold
4 strips of bacon
1/4 - 1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 cup your favorite cheese
1 tbl spn flour
1 egg, beaten
your favorite breading - i used a flour cornmeal mix with special spices
oil for frying

cook the bacon and crumble it into the potatoes. add the onions to the bacon grease and let them become translucent, drain them from the grease and add to the potatoes. stir in the cheese, flour and egg.

heat a pot of oil.

take a spoon full of the potato mixture and form a ball shape , roll it in your breading and drop into the hot oil. cook until golden brown.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Mama Mia, thatsa spicy meatball!

Well, they weren't spicy but they are definitely meat balls!

This time when spaghetti night rolled around, the only thing store bought were the noodles. Angel hair, of course. I even made the garlic cheddar drop biscuits to eat with this italian delight. I didn't get to take pictures of the sauce, but I do have the recipe written down to share, eventually. I cooked it for 3 days. Actually, I made and cooked it a little on Thursday. Then it set in the fridge until mid day Saturday when I brought it to a simmer again until dinner was ready. I also made sure to make extra, so there would be left overs this week. I'm leaving bradley for my other love - the beach!

Jaime over at Burnt Toast recently made a gouda stuffed meatball. They were really good, believe me, I tried one! I went off of her recipe and omitted the stuff part and used roasted garlic dressing instead of milk. The dressing really shined through in the final product. It gave them an incredibly nice garlicy flavor. If you aren't a big fan of garlic, I would try using a different sauce, maybe a parmesan based one.

Parmesan Meatballs
recipe inspired by Rachel Ray's Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup roasted garlic dressing
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley,
1 large egg
1 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in dressing. Add the beef, parsley, parmesan cheese, egg and salt to the soaked bread crumbs and stir with a fork until combined. Take two spoon fulls of the meat and form a ball. Cook them all together in a large skillet for about 20 minutes.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Part 2 of 2

The meal is complete. Although, I don't think it has a better name. I really really really enjoyed it, I think Bradley just really enjoyed it, he didn't like that the onions still crunched. In his world, all veggies should be mush.

We both love pesto. It was so good! I purposefully fixed our plates to leave enough behind for my lunch today.

Preparation was not hard at all. Excluding the marination process, it took about 45 minutes. It could of been less, but at first I didn't think of multi tasking. It is also a 2 pan meal. One for the pasta and one for the steak and veggies.

Speaking of the marination process, mine really hit the nail on the head. The steak was so full of flavor and no one taste stood out above the rest. They all meshed very well, which made me smile. That is now my go to marinade. I have to buy more roasted garlic dressing....

Let's get started with the tutorial!

Steak with Pesto Pasta
recipe by me

one steak, your choice of cut and weight, fully marinated and brought to room temperature
your favorite house seasoning
1 tblspn olive oil
2 tblspn butter
1 & 1/2 cup dry pasta - i used penne
8 tblspns pesto sauce (or whatever equivalent that is)
1/4 cup parmesan
white wine
8 oz your favorite mushrooms (i used baby bella)
1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced

bring a pot of salted and oiled water to a boil and boil your pasta for 10 to 12 minutes. drain and return to the pot. stir together with the pesto and the parmesan and set aside.

While the water is boiling for the pasta, heat your butter and oil in a large heavy skillet. rub both sides of your steak with your preferred house seasoning, i used herbes de provence, they are my favorite at the moment. get the pan nice and smoky hot and lay your steak flat on it. i cooked mine for 15 minutes, only turning once. this put it right about medium rare in the middle and more of a medium well on the ends. perfect for the two of us. when you are finished cooking, set it on a plate and let the juices re-distribute. DON'T CUT INTO IT YET! that ruins the tenderness.

now that the steak is finished, turn the heat down and let's de-glaze the pan to get all those yummy pieces un-stuck to it. pour a little white wine into the pan and rub the bottom of it. add the onions and let them start to break down. when they are almost finished caramelizing, throw in the mushrooms and garlic. they don't take nearly as long.

Aren't those mushrooms beautiful?? All that is left to do now is plate it up! I put the pasta on one side of the dish, topped it with the mushrooms and onions and fanned out slices of the steak beside it. a very easy and simple dish that tastes like it took you hours to prepare!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Yes, that is what I saw tonight. A man eating fish, and he really liked it!!

ha ha!! hee hee! haaa..... ha.....huh....hoooooooo kay, you didn't find it funny....


I went on a tilapia buying spree earlier this year and there is a ton if it in my freezer. It wasn't until my freezer became so in need of a re-stocking that I realized how much was left! I have been wanting to broil fish lately and now was my chance. So I created a simple baste for the fish, stuck them under the broiler for 8 minutes and voila! Dinner in under ten! Top THAT Rachel Ray!!!

Broiler Fish
by me

2 tilapia fillets
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil

mix the spices and cheese together and then drizzle in the olive oil. mix well with a fork and let sit for ten to fifteen minutes so all the flavors can get to know each other

from there, line a cookie sheet with foil and set your fillets on it. spoon the mixture on top, try and make sure most of it stays on the fish. you can add more parmesan on top if desired. then, pop it under the broiler for 8 minutes.

Dinner is served!

PS - if you are married to one of those guys that will eat roasted grape tomatoes topped with feta and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.... that would go perfectly with this fish!!!

something old meets something new

Tonight I decided to try cooking something that I was supposed to cook for the Platinum Chef competition that I lazied out on. I tried cooking leeks.

When I told Bradley what I was doing, he asked what a leek was. I showed it to him and his face fell. I knew what he was thinking so I reassured his onion hating self that, "they aren't nearly as strong as an onion. just be open minded." He was. He described this dish as "excellent". I really loved them, too. It was a sweet and savory mix that was oh so good.

Leeky Potatoes
by me

8 small red potatoes (slightly larger than new potatoes)
1 leek
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. stir in the red pepper and the rosemary and heat for at least 5 minutes to infuse the oil. i actually added the garlic at this point and i knew better than that, my garlic burnt. please do not make my mistake. do as i type, not as i do.

wash your potatoes and cut a small piece of each end off. then cut them in half long ways and slice them into half moons. make sure all your slices are about the same size so they will cook evenly. (the pieces with the flesh showing are the end pieces i cut off)

crank the heat up to about medium and let the pan get a little smoky. arrange the potatoes in a single layer and cook, tossing and stirring every few minutes.

prepare the leek by cutting the green end and the woody bit on the white end off and discarding. from there, cut the leek in half long ways, and then into half moons.

once the potatoes start to turn golden brown, stir in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. then sprinkle on the leeks and cook just until they become limber. if you overcook them, they turn to mush and aren't good at all.

salt and pepper to your liking, give it one last stir - and plate it up!!!

Part 1 of 2

Today at work a recipe came to me. I have been wanting to try pesto, but hear how expensive it can be to make. Not even knowing if I will like it or if one of us will be allergic to something in it combined with the fact that I'm kind of on a budget right now led me to trying a jarred pesto before venturing out to make it on my own. Wouldn't you know it, publix had their classico jarred sauces on sale this week. I trust classico, so I purchased.

The recipe I wrote is called "Steak with Pesto Pasta". I know, I know... bad title. Maybe after I eat it a better name will emerge. Until then - ya gotta live with this one.

Part one is allllll about the marinade! I picked up a 1.25 pound top sirloin steak for only $8 at publix.

I also bought one of their "go green" shopping bags for $0.99 and the bag boy fit all $35 of my groceries in there. Including a 3 pound bag of potatoes..... it was a long walk to the car!! But I loved it. The pretty heather green color of the bag matched my shirt. As I walked to my 4 cylinder car, sunglasses on head.... flip flops on feet.... I felt so deliciously hippy!!

Back to the meat - I originally planned to make this dish tonight but then decided to let my steak marinade a full 24 hours so it would be really flavor full. That way, if the pesto pasta is a flop.... the dinner won't be a total loss!

I love to marinate steaks with mustard. Not only does it tenderize, it also adds a great element of flavor. I usually use course ground dijon, but recently ran out. While browsing the mustard aisle I found horseradish mustard. It appealed to both my love of mustard AND love of spicy things.

I really do love mustard. It's like the perfect condiment! I always have no less then 3 different kinds in my fridge. I love it almost as much as I love cheese, and that's saying something!

This is my newly revised steak marinade.

Steak Marinade
by me

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup moore's sauce
2 tblspn roasted garlic dressing (mine is from harry and davids, but any kind will do)
2 tblspn horseradish mustard
generous helping of fresh coarsely ground black pepper
nice pinch of kosher salt

whisk everything together. put meat in a gallon ziploc bag, pour marinade over meat, press out all the air, zip the bag, place in fridge until you are ready to cook the meat.


stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

life as I know it, in - and out of - the kitchen

This post is dedicated completely to the "and out of" in the above quote. Life, as I know it, has been pretty hectic lately. Lots of things are changing in my life. That matched up with my horrible pollen allergy has not only kept me from having the energy/want to cook, but not even the desire to blog about documented recipes!! Yes, that's right! I have a great bread recipe and a new cookbook I need to blog about. And I am sorry. Please forgive me.... I still love YOU, so you should still love ME!

Ok - that was weird.

You've heard me talk about Jaime on my blog. I work with her and she's pretty much my hero. Not only does she have her husband completely trained, but she is a great cook. Even when she is 2 months from child birth! And don't even get me started on the fact that she is 7 months pregnant and from behind, looks smaller than she did pre-pregnancy.

Wow - I really got off subject for a minute.

The point is, she was tagged for a MeMe (which to me means something totally different than what it means to most of the blogging world) and had to tag other people whose answers she wanted to hear, and I was one of them. What I am supposed to do is choose 6 words that best describe me, at the moment. Here we go -

  • first time home owner
  • newlywed / in love
  • dog lover
  • changing
  • sun worshipper
  • outgoing

I am tagging -

John Evan - my brother in law

Kayci - a new friend

Paige - my cousin in law

Anne Marie - another cousin in law

Julie - I like her blog

Here are the rules:
1. Write your own six-word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
4. Tag five or six (choice is yours) more blogs with links.
5. Remember to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Best Macaroni and Cheese.... EVER

For evah-evah, for real, bar none, that fat lady has sang, say good night barn "goodnight barn" - in other words, stop trying because I have mastered it!

There is an on-going joke in this house that if something is really good, then you better enjoy it because chances are if it just came out of my head I will never be able to make it again. I just get so excited and start throwing things into the mix and at the end I'm left wondering what the actual ingredients were.

So I have made a conscious effort to start writing while I cook, and boy am I glad I did. I will be the first one to say "I hate home made mac and cheese". Blame it on the fact that growing up mama always cooked velveeta cheesey shells so that was just what I was use to. With home made mac, you don't have that great drippy melty over processed cheese flavored sauce, and that was my favorite part!! I knew there had to be a way to bring creamy and cheesey (through and through, not just on top) to the home made mac and cheese, and I found it. For this certain recipe I used cheddar and gouda. But that is just because we had cheddar and gouda in the fridge. Today there is colby, monterrey jack and butterkase in the fridge and I would also recommend those cheeses, it is really just whatever you have on hand.

So here it is.... without further adieu..... the world's best macaroni and cheese, cross my heart and hope to die.

World's Best Macaroni and Cheese
recipe by me

3/4 cup elbow mac - season your boiling water with 1/4 tspn salt
1 tblspn butter
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cup milk
1/2 tspn salt
1 tblspn flour
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded gouda (if you use smoked gouda, the end result will have a "bacon-y" taste)
3 triangles laughing cow, swiss - sliced (i would stick to always using swiss)

boil your noodles in the salted water. preheat your oven to 350* and use it to melt the butter in a medium casserole dish. whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and flour in a large mixing bowl. stir in the cheeses. when the noodles are finished, drain them and put them into the mixing bowl with the cheese mixture, stir around until the heat starts to melt the cheeses a little. pour it all into the dish with the melted butter, and sprinkle a little extra cheddar on top. bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is no longer liquid.


Be prepared to get the urge to cry, sing, laugh, moan with pleasure, and possibly even the desire to slap yo mama! IT'S THAT GOOD!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Vinegar: It's what's for dinner!

Sort of! As I mentioned in the last post, warm weather means you can find the two of us by the grill - chatting while dinner slowly cooks. It is a great way to catch up and wind down after a long day at work.

One of my favorite things for Bradley to grill are porkchops. Bradley has become very open minded in his eating, but he still won't let me mess with what he grills. It is "his territory". That's fine! But this marinade is so simple and so delicious that I don't see why anyone wouldn't want to try it!

Balsamic Blast Marinade for Chicken and Pork
recipe by me

Balsamic Vinegar
Course ground dijon mustard

mix equal parts and whisk together until mixture is soupy. pour over your meat and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. cook however you like, but i grilled mine :)


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Creative Casserole

Last summer I developed an unhealthy obsession for hash brown casserole, and once I figured out I could make it.... oh, it was on! We were eating it once a week. Great for the waistline... I know! I could make a meal out of it myself, but Bradley needed something to satisfy his carnivorous tooth.

During the summer months I can't keep Bradley away from the grill. One of his favorite things to grill is chicken. One afternoon when I wanted hash brown casserole and he groaned at the thought of eating it again, I had the idea of adding meat to the casserole. We had all this left over grilled chicken, so I thought.... why not? And from that simple thought came this great recipe!

Chicken Hash Brown Casserole
recipe by me!

1-2 cups of chicken, shredded
equal amount of shredded potatoes
1 can "cream of anything" soup (i used potato and mushroom this time)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ranch powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
ritz crackers, crushed
poppy seeds

preheat oven to 350*. in a large mixing bowl combine everything and then dump it into a casserole dish and spread it out evenly. top with crushed ritz and top that with poppy seeds. bake for an hour or until the ritz turn golden brown.


Accidental Dinner

Yesterday I completely planned on making my version of chicken casserole with some left over grilled chicken that we had Sunday night, it is one of Bradley's favorites. But when I went to the store and picked up a can of condensed soup for the casserole, I couldn't help but notice the recipe on the back that read "Seafood Tomato Alfredo". Uh... YUM, and it looked so simple! Of course I didn't stick to it, I used it as a crutch to create something totally off course for last nights dinner.

Seafood Tomato Alfredo
recipe by me with help from campbell's (serves 2, maybe 3)

2 tblspns butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
half a small onion, sliced into half moons
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if you're in a spicy mood)
1/2 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup diced fire roasted tomatoes (canned)
raw shrimp
cooked linguine pasta

heat the butter in a skillet and cook the garlic, onions, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes until the onions are tender. mix in the soup and milk, add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. add your shrimp and cook until they are done. pour the mixture over hot linguine.


Really good! Although, I don't know why they would call it an Alfredo if there is no cheese involved.

As you can probably guess, I had some left over fire roasted tomatoes. Oh, the taste of those tomatoes was SO good by itself!! But, in order to get Bradley to even think about trying them I knew I had to be cunning and mix them with a few things I knew he could not pass up. So I took the left over tomatoes, added a little minced garlic and feta crumbles and served it "bruschetta style" atop toasted sour dough slices.