Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pork Loin is harder than it sounds...

Tonight was a simple and tasty meal. Roasted pork loin and veggies.

The thing about pork loin is that it can go dry on you within a few minutes. So you check it, not quite done, you check it again and it is sawdust. Dammit.

Anywhoo, I got mine between juicy and sawdust. I will try again another time. But it still was tasty, that's for sure.

I started by marinating a pork loin in Stubbs Pork Marinade all night and all day in a large baggie.
Oh Baggies how I love you.

When I got home from work today, I sliced some teeny potatoes and 1/2 an onion and placed them in the bottom of my olive oil'd roasting pan.Salt and pepper, done with that.
Then I put the pork loin up on top and baked at 375. I also drizzled a little more marinade on top, which settled into the veggies.

When the pork loin seemed about 10 minutes from done, I threw in some broccolini.
Sorry but I love that photo. Alot.
I'm sorry what did you say? You have not heard of broccolini? Or also called Asparation.
This lovely creature is like a cross between broccoli and asparagus (but it isn't. just seems that way.) I love it because you get the flavors and not the annoying huge heads of broccoli.
So I just drizzled some evoo on these suckers and threw them into the roasting pan for about 10-15 min.

I sliced the sorta-dry pork loin and served it up.Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.
What ever happened to Ren and Stimpy anyway?
I think Lola and Teddy are the new Ren and Stimpy.

Anyways - dinner was yum. I had iced tea (sweet of course) and Lee had beer or something. I didn't pay attention. He is grown and gets his own beverage.
But I still cleared his plate and washed up the roasting pan with the baked on goodness.
I can't help myself!

These shots were taken without flash and I tried not to move much. Seemed to work out ok.

Spicy Stir Fry

Once upon a time, I was burned out on stir fry. It was easy so I made it alot, then my grandmother caught on and got those bags of frozen stir-fry veggies and made it all the time - so before you know it... STIR FRY's GALORE!

For a long time, I never made them. Then I started again and they were bland and just all soy sauce-ish. I decided that if I wanted to make one, it would need spice.

I have been tinkering with a good sauce for awhile and I think I finally have it.
Bear with me, i don't measure so I have to guess.

Spicy Stir Fry

1/2 cup soy sauce (try the low sodium, you won't notice)
1 tablespoon Sirachi hot sauce (or chili paste, both found in the Asian aisle)
1 tablespoon ground ginger (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh minced ginger)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (no, regular is not a good substitute)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Meat of your choice (chicken or beef will work)
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 onion, cut into medium chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
Green beans, carrot, snow peas, sugar snap peas - whatever you like. I would cut the carrots into little strips so they soften in the skillet easy
2 cups rice (i cheated and used boil in a bag. and i used 2 bags - so 4 cups...)

If you have never heard of the Sirachi sauce, I recommend it but beware - it's HOT!

Start out by prepping all your veggies, it is essential to move quickly in a stir fry.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, whisking together. Add/subtract to your taste.
Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, whisk together until smooth.

Start the rice, either the bag kind or regular, whichever. The rice will be done around the same time as your stir fry.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a few swirls of olive oil and brown the meat of your choice. Once it is browned and not quite done, remove from skillet and set aside.
Throw in veggies and cook about 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add meat back in, mix well with veggies. Pour in sauce (first 5 ingredients) and stir/toss to coat well. Cook about 5 more minutes - if you are using chicken, make sure it is done before moving to the next step.

When you are ready to serve (meaning the rice is done) pour cornstarch/water mixture in and coat until the sauce begins to thicken. It should thicken to look almost like a glaze. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, place a serving of rice to one side, and a serving of the stir fry to another. Or one on top of the other, whichever you prefer. I use a large bowl because I hate chasing my food around a plate. I am the same way with pasta. It seems rice and pasta just spread all over the plate and I have a harder time getting it onto my fork! That is never a good thing.

(i didn't have bell pepper or carrot. but you get the idea)

I was at the grocery store the other day and walked by a new creation that I just had to try out.

Lee added this to his dish, but I found the sauce was spicy enough on it's own.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Turkey Taco's

Last time I made Taco's, I ate them so fast I didn't get a photo. This almost happened again!

Last night I made taco's with ground turkey, to convince myself it was healthy. I had 3, Lee had 4, and I do believe Donald had 5.

I suppose that means they were tasty. In fact, when I went to reach for the bowl of meat, thinking everyone was done, Donald reached out like a feral cat and almost jabbed me with his fork.

I have been MIA for a few reasons. 1. - i didn't cook at all from Friday to Sunday. 2. We were out of town for an alumni thing. I did cook Sunday, but it was something i have made and documented before - Roasted Chicken.

Tonight is a stir fry, so I will try my best to take photos.

My photos will continue to suck until I get a really nice camera. My bday is in Oct - maybe then...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Being single...

This is the one week a year I hate because Lee is at a big conference and I am on my own for dinner. I thought that getting a pre-made deal at HEB would help, but turns out, it wasn't.
I tried the chicken cordon bleu, which I really like as a whole (actually, the cafe in the bottom of the Amegy on Post Oak had a really good one!). This one was suuuuper dry, probably over cooked before I had to re-heat it.
But my rice and steamed snow peas were yummy.This makes me weary if the other ready-made meal. I may be eating out tonight...

I was out watering the garden and noticed some baby bell peppers!All the tomatoes are getting bigger too. We will have a plentiful garden before too much longer!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday Food Extravaganza!

I love Sundays in the Kitchen. Usually, I get to spend most of the day, but this week, I only had about 3 hours to accomplish what I needed to get done!
First, I got the chocolate chip cookies going. They didn't have the actual chips I wanted, so I ended up using some bigger chips that are usually used for baking. Made them kind of like chocolate chunk.
Oh whoops... you can see the one I "tested" on the rack...
Then while those were baking, I moved on to the blueberry muffins. I made a little homemade jam to swirl in. I can't take credit for this recipe, it is in Cook's Illustrated this month. Looked so good, even in black and white, I just had to make them!
Meanwhile, since I was starving and becoming mean, I was snacking on provolone cheese and chianti salami.Meanwhile, Lee was grilling steaks and I was baking potatoes for a basic meal.And we enjoyed that with a bottle of yummy wine...For some reason, I was actually surprised when I weighed 2 more pounds this morning. Has to be something else, right?

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Everytime we have to take the kids for haircuts, we know we will have about 3 hours to kick around. It is a little far from our house to go home and wait, so we always run a few errands.
We also always go for breakfast/brunch.
A few weeks ago we found Black Walnut Cafe and I am in LOVE. Simple breakfast for a great price. Lee loves omelets and they have many to choose from, plus a make your own list as well.
In Houston, Huevos Rancheros is a big breakfast item. Just about any brunch place you go has that on the menu. That doesn't always mean it is good. And it is made/served in a variety of ways. At Black Walnut - they describe it as "Two extra-large baked eggs, chipotle Pavia sauce, black beans, corn, cilantro, cheddar, pico de gallo, red onion, flour tortillas."
They forgot an ingredient in the beans - crack. I could not stop eating them!
Lee got a spanish omlet last time but this time tried the Peppered Bacon & Red Potato Omelet "Peppered bacon, red potatoes, red onions, scallions, sour cream, cheddar, mozzarella." He really really liked it!Last night for Donald's birthday we all went to our favorite Sushi place, Blue Fish House. When they sat the plates of sushi down, you would have thought we had never eaten before. In fact, we think the waitress was afraid to put her hand in between us for fear we would bite her! In all this frenzy, I didn't take any photos. But it was damn good. Even the other meals on the menu, which we often ignore, are yummy and some have funny names.

Afterwards, we ventured to The Chocolate Bar and had dessert. I had a slice of Creamy Dreamy Truffle pie/cake something and it was super delicious. It even came with a little chocolate truffle on the side. I ate the whole thing like a heffer. It was worth it.

Tonight I am not sure what is on the menu but I think I am about to have left over taco meat and make nachos for lunch.

Lee will be out of commission for dinner all this week, but if I cook anything, I will take a photo. Heck - it may be a photo of yogurt, cereal, or mac-n-cheese but at least it's a representation of how pathetic I get when he isn't home! Even worse, the week of May 5th he is out of town in New York. I already feel the doom and gloom!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bad Blogger! Bad!l

I am a bad food blogger. I cooked a yummy dinner tonight and forgot to take a single photo. Taking photos crossed my mind several times, but my brain is scattered today so I forgot.
Until each dish was cleared and put in the dishwasher. Then I was like "dadgum."

But, on the bright side, I cooked something anyone and everyone can cook. Tacos! Lee was so excited, we hadn't had basic tacos in a very very long time.

The only thing i did different was use a new spice, that I love, from Penzeys.

Simple Tex-Mex Tacos

2 pounds very lean ground beef (about the only healthy-ish thing at all in this...)
1 can rotel
4 - 6 tablespoons taco seasoning (you can use mccormick but beware - it contains MSG)
6 good shakes of the Tabasco bottle
1 tablespoon cayenne or chipotle pepper powder
1/2 large onion, diced

shredded pepper jack cheese
chopped tomato
chopped ice berg lettuce (about the only place this lettuce is acceptable!)
sour cream
whatever else your heart desires

Start by sauteeing the onion in oil until soft and translucent. Add ground beef and cook through. I didn't see the need to drain grease because the meat was so lean. I also found that cooking the meat at a high temperature cooked off the grease rather quick.
Add seasonings and stir well and let simmer a few minutes, until thick. Add rotel and cook a few moments to heat through and let everything party together in the skillet. (warning, I am on my 3rd beer).

Place all garnishes on the table along with a plate of warm tortillas (crispy or soft, whatever floats your boat) and put the meat in a cute bowl alongside. This is a little more fun and sofisticated than everyone in line at your stove... but if I was still without dishwasher, the stove buffett would have been the winner!

Serves 4 people comfortably, or 3 total piggies, like we were. Something about having tacos was nostalgic and college like. We had enough left over to eat nachos or something tomorrow.

I have yet to find already shredded pepper jack cheese. I always have to buy a block and shred it myself. This sucks but you have to think back to where people used to always have to shred it themselves. I am a bit spoiled with today's convenience! And out of all the things, I do not own a nice box grater. Just a stick grater/zester. Feel my pain yet?


Yesterday was our 4th Wedding Anniversary and I have to say, with all honesty, it just keeps getting better with us. We are so happy together, we do everything together, we have similar interests, and just get along so well. We hardly fight, and if we do it is usually more like a bickering because something else is bothering us.

Anyway, Lee really pulled out all the stops this year! He ordered a dozen long stemmed red roses and they were delivered to my office in a gorgeous vase.

He made reservations and didn't tell me where! So I didn't know until we pulled into the parking lot. The funny thing is, it is right next to a jewelry store so I was thinking "um... " then I looked further and saw Perry's Steakhouse!!! We have never been there but heard wonderful things.

When we walked in, they were like "Happy Anniversary!" and then we are brought to our table (right next to the wine room so we could see all the wine, really cool) and there were rose petals on the table. Then our waiter comes up "Happy Anniversary!" and i was totally overwhelmed. I got all teared up and was so touched. It was just a wonderful experience all around.
They are famous for this huge pork chop, so that is what Lee ordered. I ordered Chateaubriand, which is a filet minon, sliced into 3 portions, with a sauce poured on each one. The sauce I liked the most was a truffle merlot. MMMMMMMM... Divine.
They then brought us a white chocolate cheesecake (on the house) for d

All in all, this was just a wonderful experience. We will totally go back there, even for other
occasions than anniversary. We were treated like royalty and loved every minute of it.

I wanted to take photos, but I didn't want to look like a tourist or something!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lee's Favorite Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken is a mystery to me. I tried so many times to roast a whole chicken, and that is very difficult. The outside browns, the inside doesn't cook evenly.. a mess.
So one time I tried just roasting leg quarters and found I was on to something.
I have tinkered and played with roasted chicken over and over and finally have it down. Lee always enjoys this meal and it is easy and pretty healthy.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

4 chicken quarters
Potatoes (either a few handfuls of the tiny red ones, or a few biggers ones cut into smallish cubes)
Carrots (either some baby carrots or 3-4 carrots sliced into chunks)
1 onion, cut into large slices
Something green (asparagus, green beans, snow peas, etc)
1/4 cup chicken stock (or water works)
Fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Butter (1/2 stick...)

Oven: 425

Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Add potatoes, carrots, and onions. Place the chicken on top of the veggies and drizzle with a little oil. Season to your liking. Cut butter into little slices and place around the pan. Pour the chicken stock around the edges of the pan (careful not to wash the seasonings off the chicken).

Bake for about 30 minutes and check the chicken - you should be able to smell it around now. Once you think the chicken is about done, throw your green veggie in and roast about 10 - 15 minutes more. Now is also the time to throw the bread in the oven if you are serving some.

This is the tricky thing to roasting chicken. You have to figure out the timing. Normally, I budget about 45 minutes for the meal to cook, but sometimes it's more (bigger chicken?).

Tonight I tried 400 Convection Roast and my-o-my I will never go back! It cooked fast, even, and tasted wonderful!! My green veggie tonight was snow peas because there they were at the front of the store smiling at me. I have been looking for them in the frozen section for MONTHS! And here they were fresh... so crisp and good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday Night Meal

Mondays are everyone's worst day. You can't go to sleep Sunday night because you slept in, and you have lots of catching up on Monday at work... so cooking dinner needs to be simple and easy.

Last night, I turned to a basic 4 ingredient meal and it was super easy and yummy!

Pesto Cheese Ravioli with Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 package cheese ravioli (frozen or fresh)
1 package basil pesto (Buitoni makes a nice one)
Heavy cream (optional)

Place a pot of water on the stove to boil.

Cut chicken into cubes and saute with a little olive oil in a skillet, until done.

Once ravioli is cooked, add to skillet with chicken and use about 1/2 the container of pesto, stirring to mix. If you like, add about a 1/4 cup cream and stir. You can add more pesto if your heart desires.

Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with cheese and enjoy!!

I don't really have a photo because it was all eaten up pretty quickly and I already had a few "sips' of tequila...

Tonight we went out for dinner, both craving our favorite local place, Tia Maria's. We had the usual - beef fajitas for 2. It was yummy and a nice night off from the kitchen.

Not to worry, tomorrow night is my famous roasted chicken, Lee's favorite!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ready for Tomatoes?

Because we are about to be covered in them!

My Cayenne peppers still aren't red, but one is really really big!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lazy saturday Banana Cream Pie

For Easter tomorrow, I made a Banana Pudding Cream Pie.
The reason I put the word pudding in the title is because it is almost like Banana Pudding made into a pie. I didn't do anything fancy at all..

Banana Pudding Cream Pie:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

1 (4 serving) package vanilla pudding mix, prepared
3 medium bananas, sliced
Whipped topping

For the crust: mix all ingredients well and press firmly into pie plate, chill one hour.
For the filling: Prepare the pudding as directed on the package. Place the sliced bananas along the bottom of the pie. Pour pudding over bananas. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Top with whipped topping prior to serving.(maybe thaw your cool whip out a little more than i did....)

Remember that spring clean kitchen?
Yeah - that didn't last long....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Special Food

I forgot, I am cooking tonight. For 2 special occupants of my house...
Lola and Teddy.

I shall now dictate how to make the perfect meal for my dogs.

2 expectant doggies(even better if you find 2 that need haircuts)

2 bowls Science Diet W/D Kibble:
1 can Science Diet W/D wet food...
You don't want to know what happens if you take them off this food. And if you don't add the wet food, visions of sad puppy eyes will keep you up at night...

Now, mix together with a butter knife (Lee uses a spoon but I find a knife easier)And serve:
That's all it takes. Then Lola will run into the room and rub her beard all over the rug.
And now I have a Dyson for that....

New header

I would like to thank SARA RIDDLE PHOTOGRAPHY (which I wish every day lived in Texas) for the awesome custom header she made for my new food blog. She also made the one on my other blog and was so nice to change the color to a spring green when i felt the urge one day. She is a lovely person with cutie pie Schnauzers and a cutie pie hubby and is just a cutie pie herself!
You can check out her cutie pie life here and her awesome skills with a camera.

There isn't really any food to post. I will be eating either left over pork loin or chicken salad. I wish Lee was here because then I would be cooking cheese ravioli with grilled chicken and pesto sauce.
But I don't feel the need to go through all that trouble for just me.

But I do need to go fix dinner for the doggies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday Night Dinner

Tonight was Thursday-Night-Dinner that we try to do every week but some weeks it just doesn't happen... and that's ok.

Tonight was my night. I think the next time is Jimmy's night, then Donald and Don. And so on and so forth.

I am drunk right now - but not on alcohol - on southern goodness.

I made Meatloaf, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Stewed Green Beans. I am not really sure about giving out any of these recipes because one isn't mine, the other is pretty self explanatory, and one has a super secret ingredient that I have to put in my will so that Donald will someday know what it is.
That boy loves meatloaf.

I will say, for the mashed potatoes, i roasted 2 whole heads of garlic for about an hour and then Lee smashed them into the potatoes. So. Freaking. Good.
Ok fine - Recipe:
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

For the Roasted Garlic:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Take 2 – 5 heads of garlic and cut the tops off to expose the garlic cloves inside. Drizzle a round cake pan with olive oil, to cover the bottom. Place the garlic in the pan and drizzle with a generous amount of oil, to keep from easily burning. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover the pan with foil and cook for 40 minutes. Let cool slightly and press the garlic cloves out of the skins.

For the Potatoes: (can easily be halved)
5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and rinsed. (sometimes, i don't peel them.)
1 ½ sticks of butter
1 package of room temperature cream cheese
½ cup Half & Half (whipping cream works too)
Generous amounts of salt and pepper

Cut peeled potatoes into pieces and cook in boiling water until fork tender. Drain water and return to pot, and mash potatoes over low heat until lots of the steam has escaped. Mash in softened butter, cream cheese, and cream. Salt to taste. Dump in garlic cloves and stir in. Add fresh pepper over the top and sprinkle a few heads of garlic on top for show.
Then Don brought his chocolate cake.
I covet his chocolate cake. I dream about it. I drool over it. And the other day he made cupcakes with chocolate chips with the same batter and I had a semi-erotic moment.

And you know your dinner smells good when you look down and see this:
"Mom? Hey... so...can i have some?"

I am off work tomorrow, and off dinner duty (Lee won't be home). But my Dad may stop in Saturday night so I will be sure to have something yummy for him.

Dinner with Foodies

Our good friends, Jennifer and Dave, are major foodie's. When we go to their house for dinner, I can guarantee the food will be divine and last night was no exception. Jennifer served up a yummy dinner of grilled pork loin, rosemary roasted potatoes, sauteed spinach, and a green salad with green goddess dressing. YUM!
The spinach had not made it onto my plate when I took this photo, but I assure you it was yummy!
Then for dessert we had a Kahula Chocolate Bundt Cake with homemade whipped cream and strawberries... I was in heaven.I asked Jennifer if she may post her cake recipe on her blog and she thought maybe she will - if so I will put that link up later on.

Tonight is Thursday Night Dinner and I am planning meatloaf, green beans, and mashed potaotes. Jimmy is bringing a jalapeno cheese dip for appetizer and Don is brining chocolate cake. I am so happy I get chocolate cake 2 nights in a row - you just don't even know.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shrimp Tacos

Tuesday, April 7, '09

Last night was one of those - throw it in a skillet and see how it works - nights. We initially planned fish tacos for dinner, but when at the store, the shrimp were on sale! I love shrimp. My dream day would be to sit and peel-and-eat shrimp all day with a vat of red sauce and some Landshark beer. I may be strange, but I like hot shrimp. Not cold. I rarely get shrimp cocktail. When I go out for peel and eats, they are always cold and hard to peel. No thanks! I like mine right out of the pot.

With the help of a little store-bought-pico, I made guacamole with 2 avacados, some minced garlic, and lime juice and a spoonful of pico.
I squeezed one small lime over the shrimp and left them in a baggy for about 20 minutes. The edges turned a little pink from the acid, but it was fine.
I stared by sauteing about 1/2 a large sweet onion in evoo with a little minced garlic. Once that got really soft and cooked down (and Lee finally got home) I threw in the shrimp with a little butter, red pepper flakes, and several shakes of Chipotle Tabasco sauce. Maybe a pinch of salt...
Meanwhile, I made my corn tortillas. Don't be afraid of doing this, it is very easy. I got a tortilla press at Target for about $20 and all you do is buy a bag of Masa Harina (next to the corn meal) and mix 1 cup masa, 1/2 cup water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Roll it in a ball and press it with the tortilla press. I put a little plastic wrap on the press to keep it from sticking. Then throw in a hot (preferably cast iron) skillet with some veggie oil...I put a paper towel in the tortilla warmer to help absorb any oil.

Once all that was done, I put everything on the table with some monterrey jack cheese, the guac, the extra pico, and some sour cream. I also shook a little more tabasco on for fun...

That's it! This is one of those things that you add / take away as you like.

Tonight: Dinner at my favorite foodie's house, Jennifer (and Dave) Massey. She is roasting some potatoes and a pork loin. I will snap a photo and see if she has a recipe to share. You can check out her blog here:

She doesn't blog enough, btw. :)

First Recipe!

Monday - April 6, '09

Pork Chops with Leeks in Mustard Sauce

4 2inch thick bone-in pork rib chops

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 bacon slices, coarsely chopped

2 Leeks, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ brandy or white wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons freshly chopped sage

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/3 cup crème fraiche or sour cream

Pat chops dry and mix first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over each side of chops. Let stand to room temperature 1 hour.

Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté until crisp and lightly browned. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to small bowl. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chops to skillet. Sear until brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer chops to small baking sheet.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from skillet (or add olive oil to make 3 tablespoons). Add leeks and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Add brandy, then broth and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Return bacon to skillet; add sage and stir to blend. Nestle chops in leeks in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer 3 minutes. Turn chops over. Cover; simmer until thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 140°F to 145°F, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chops to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm.

Spoon off any fat from cooking liquid in skillet. Boil until all liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Whisk in mustard, then crème fraîche; do not boil. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chops.
I served this with Parmesan Risotto. YUM!