Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

This is a recipe we have made a few times and it always satisfies:

Barefoot Contessa's Tuscan Lemon Chicken
(I saw her make this on her show and promptly looked up the recipe!)

I usually serve it with this:
Pioneer Woman's Fettuccine Alfredo

Along with a big green salad.

However, tonight Lee's parents are coming over and since his dad just had quadruple bypass surgery about 4 weeks ago - he shouldn't eat things such as Alfredo! So tonight it's steamed green beans, fresh bread, and a big salad.

In all honesty, I should be eating less Alfredo as well since I just had a slight jump in my weight, but... but... it's so good! I am guessing we will use leftover chicken on Monday night and I will make the alfredo and all will be good in the world.

The salad cancels out the bad stuff, right?

If baby brain doesn't take over, I will take a photo of the chicken and post it later on.
But... we'll see!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stir Fry and Ice Cream

I have started some new recipes this week.
First on Sunday I started the recipe for Peach and Pecan Ice Cream, from this months issue of Southern Living. Holy crap it's yum!
Then when I got home Monday, I put the cooled mixture in my ice cream machine, let it go for about 30 min (stopped it early because Lee couldn't take the noise anymore) and then put it in the freezer until after dinner.

I also picked up this month's issue of Cooks Country magazine. I love this and Cooks Illustrated because they tell you in the recipe why some things work and why they don't. They also rate condiments like mustard, ketchup, and bbq sauce. Those reviews haven't failed me once!
I can't find a link to the recipe on the website without paying for an online subscription (lame!) but if it looks good to you, email me and I will write it out for you.
Tonight is a work party at St. Arnolds brewery so I won't be cooking. Tomorrow night is Pork Marsala. I will be better prepared for the recipe posting after seeing the website issue with Cooks Country....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oh hi...

Whoops.. it's been a long time since I have posted anything, mainly because I am either cooking something I have made a million times (turkey tacos!) or we are just eating out. Plus Lee has been really busy at work too!

A few weeks ago, I was driving home trying to think of what I could make for dinner that we hadn't had before. I had the following ingredients:

Chicken Breasts
Cherry Tomatoes (from our garden!)
Bell Pepper

HEY! Kabob's!

The minute I walked in the house I got the kabobs put together so that I could marinate them at least 30 min before cooking them. I put them in a freezer bag and poured a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette on them and flipped the bag around every few minutes.
In the meantime I cubed some potatoes, coated them in a little oil, and put them in the bottom of the baking dish.

I put them at 425 for about 40 minutes and they came out like this:
They were pretty good, a little bland though. But at least I was creative and healthy huh?

Next week I plan on trying a few new things from Cooks Country this month and hopefully that puts me back in the habit of blogging again..

Friday, June 25, 2010

Using what's in your pantry part 2..

Having a stocked freezer and pantry and be helpful and hurtful all at the same time...

For example:

Husband: Do we have anything to make for dinner?
Wife: I think we have some odds and ends, but I don't really know. (i.e. can't we just go get something? like pickles?)
Husband: Hmmm well what's in there?

THEN you make a dinner that he LOVES with crap from the freezer. He is going to get spoiled!

I had:

Chicken thighs
Homemade spaghetti sauce
Cheese ravioli
Green beans

I thawed the chicken for about an hour in some water in the sink. Once it was thawed I put salt and pepper on it and started it in the skillet in a little oil.
Once the chicken was nice and browned and almost finished, I removed it from the pan. At this point I had water almost to a boil. I threw the green beans into the skillet with the chicken jus and the oil and let them get going.
I thawed the sauce in the microwave in a bowl while all this was going on.

Once the water was boiling, I tossed the ravioli in the pot and put the chicken back in the skillet to finish cooking.

The finish product came out like this:
And dammit, it was really tasty.

Now he will expect magic meals to appear on the table with no grocery shopping all the time!

Using what's in your pantry.. Part 1

I have written about the advantages of using what's in your pantry before... but I wanted to provide another example or 2...

Last Friday, Lee and I decided we wanted some yummy steaks for dinner. Lee stopped on the way home to get the steaks and I went rummaging through the pantry to see what I could throw together on the side..
I had:
New potatoes
Red bell pepper

HEY! Roasted veggies it is!
I turned the oven on to 425 degrees, tossed the potatoes, onions, and bell pepper chunks in a little olive oil, ran outside and snipped some rosemary, and minced the garlic and tossed it all together. Whala! 35 minutes later the veggies were soft and flavorful.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Someday I shall cook..

Lee traveled Mon, Tues, and Wed. So Monday I made Chicken Spaghetti for Donald and I. It was fantastic!
However, my stomach was not excited when I ate leftovers the next night. Dang.

Anywhoo - all i want in the whole wide world right now are these:

Fried Pickles.


Lee is also traveling this next week on Mon, Tues, and Wed - so not much cooking again. Sorry....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dinner - the only time this week...

This week I have failed on cooking - except for Sunday.

I made lasagna for Lee's mother's birthday dinner. I would have loved to have made my mom's, but hers is a 2 day affair and I didn't have the time for that. Instead I looked to my next source for home cookin... Pioneer Woman!

I didn't get a photos during all the commotion, but it turned out pretty much like her photo...
Make this. Then eat the leftovers.

Pioneer Woman's Lasagna..

For dessert I made brownies with a salted caramel sauce (much like these) and they were wonderful as well!

All in all, great dinner. And great left over!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ice cream is your friend

It's just not friends with your hips...

We have aquired many gizmo's and gadets the last few weeks.. one being an Ice Cream Machine... they were half off at SurLaTable... and in purty colors. AND you got a $15 gift card! Um,..yes!
I chose the happy green color. I started with a vanilla base.. and then added about 6 thin mint cookies... Sorry for the blur - i may or may not have been hopping up and down when I took this...
Nom nom nom..

For Memorial Day BBQ at lee's parents - i will be making homemade blackberry cobbler..
I wonder what Pioneer Woman is making?


We have some tomatoes on the vines out there, and the zuccini squash is HUGE (although I just learned you have to stick your finger in the flowers and "screw your squash" to get it to make a veggie... ew.) but the only thing we have harvested is 2 tiny strawberries...My basil is growing-ish and the oregano is taking it's sweet time...OreganoBasil.
And the sprouting baby is this size this week. (a plumb)I hate the word fetus. Ick.

More spaghetti? Yes.

I will have to write this down, but my major pregnancy nom has been for marinara sauce. In all forms... meatless, meaty, spicy, cheesy. Doesn't really matter...Lee was gone all day yesterday helping someone paint their house, so I knew when I went to the store that I was having spaghetti for dinner. I grabbed a little ground chuck so I could meaty up my sauce. HEB had a deal that if you bought a jar of sauce, you got a bag of pasta for free. I had used half the bag for the truffle pasta, so I already had pasta and a jar of sauce at home. I love homemade sauce, but when it's just me... i didn't see the issue in a jar. I also don't buy Prego or Hunt's or something, i grab something interesting that i can add spice too. Keeping a jar of tasty pasta sauce around is a really good idea. You never know when you will need it...
I also had some left over mushrooms from the truffle pasta and added that in.

Whala - spaghetti for one (and 1/2? 1/4? it's the size of a plum so...)

Summer Lovin

Houston summers are brutal. When you get an evening that you can stand outside for more than 3 minutes without sweating profusely, you have to take advantage. My mom and pops visited this weekend and while Lee was grilling some seriously awesome chicken, I noticed it was quite nice outside. I ran inside and grabbed a tablecloth and went about getting us set up to eat outside. Later, my mom told me she thought that was just wonderful.
We sat outside for about 5 hours, listening to music, talking, and eating.

A wonderful southern meal of bbq chicken, potatoes, and baked beans.
No i didn't make them, too short of notice, but the Bush's worked just fine...

These potatoes are a bit of a family tradition when grilling. I used my veggie chopper from Williams Sonoma to get the potatoes chopped the same size, then used it to spare my fingernails from jalapeno juice!

Basically, you take about 5 or 6 good size potatoes (yukon gold is what i used. russet will work too) and chop them into cubes. Lay out a good about of foil to make a pouch for all this, and put the potatoes inside. Then dice about 1/2 an onion (or more depending on your eye and mood) and throw those in the mix. Dice one or 2 jalapenos (no seeds!!! unless you want some extra heat) and add those to the potatoes and onions. Mix around a little to get everything incorporated. Pour about 1/4 cup of water into the pouch. We have found this keeps everything from sticking. Then season with salt and pepper, and I added a little Cachery's (cajun seasoning). I also cut up about 1/2 stick of butter and layered that on top. Close up the pouch and throw it on a hot grill for about 30 minutes. You can move it over to indirect heat while grilling your meat, it should be fine. This is why you want the cubes smallish, so they cook quickly.
Lee did all this on a charcoal Weber, and it was some of the best chicken he has made in years. It was nice to get off the gas grill (since it's broken!) and get some good ole fashioned charcoal grilled bbq chicken.

Things are beginning to go back to normal

I have been cooking, but nearly as much as I used to. Some of this is due to how dadgum tired I am when I get home from work, and I either don't cook or I cook something easy like Turkey Tacos... which I have posted about more than once! Other reasons are Lee traveling more for his job, which I think sucks.

So when I DO cook, I am trying my best to go for stuff I haven't made before.

Of all places, I found a recipe at the grocery store when a lady in a kiosk was making that something that smelled wonderful. Then she said the word "truffle" and I halted in my tracks and went to see what she was up to.
Tuscan Pasta with Truffle Cream

um, YUM! I grabbed the recipe card and set about making this at home for Lee, but with my own added twists.

Ingredients:8oz pasta (whichever shape, I used a small curly pasta, but Fettucini would be yum...)
1/2 jar White Truffle Cream
1 shallot, finely chopped
8oz (1 cup) heavy cream
2 chicken breasts
1/2 package mushrooms

Start your water for boiling, adding a little salt.
Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat with some EVOO. Season chicken with salt and pepper, maybe a little Italian herbs. Cook in skillet until just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes each side.

Remove chicken and throw about 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook until soft and browned. Add truffle cream and stir to blend.
(check on your water about now...)Add heavy cream and lower heat to medium and cook until sauce has thickened to desired consistency.
Slice chicken and add back into mixture and stir well to incorporate, cook until chicken is heated through and done.

Drain pasta and ladle into bowls. Top with chicken mixture and watch as your guests eyes roll back into their heads!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Preggo Spaghetti

Apparently, my little fetus (eeek that word is just not pretty) really wants to have an italian mother.
For the past 2 weeks, all I want all the time is spaghetti!
Yesterday for lunch I had spaghetti with simple meat sauce. It was awesome.

Tonight - after a great walk - I got home thinking about what to make myself for dinner since Lee is out.
Here is where I saw the bad side to keeping a well stocked pantry.

I had everything I needed to make a down and dirty, college kid red sauce. And frozen ravioli in the freezer to boot. (where did they come from? no idea).

After seeing all these ingredients, I knew there was no going back to grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Here is my improv on red sauce in a pinch.

1 - 16 oz can tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 of an onion (or less, just whatever you like)
1 palm-full of italian seasoning
pinch of salt (check the can for sodium. may want to just add salt on your plate if you need it)
9-12 ravioli (yes, i counted!)

Start water for ravioli.

Chop onion. Drizzle oil in skillet and throw in onion once the pan is warmed up. Grate garlic with a microplane into skillet (this is my all time favorite way to use garlic).
Once these 2 are happy and acquainted, add the italian seasoning and pep
per. Stir around until you are dancing around the kitchen with the smell!
Add tomato sauce and stir.

Meanwhile, the water should be ready. Add ravioli to water. It only cooks about 7 minutes, which is enough time for the sauce to heat through.

Drain ravioli and add to bowl. Pour as much red sauce as you can possibly stand over the ravioli. Sprinkle with a smidge of cheese.

Whala! 20 minute decent spaghetti, and it was only about 400 calories!

I love marinara (can't you tell?)

I am sure this would have been good over plain spaghetti or whatever pasta you have on hand.

Baby Nash sure knows what it wants. I guess I should be happy it's something that I happen to love.

I better brush my teeth before Lee gets home - that garlic is strong!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

I am loving Sunset Magazine these days and this recipe caught my attention. I made them Friday night and took them to Jennifer and Dave's for their impromptu crawfish boil, they were a hit.
Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies
Makes 8 oversized brownies
Chewy, big enough to share!

1/2 cup of butter
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup cocoa
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter 8 muffin cups.
(note: i only had a 12 cup cupcake pan, so mine were a little smaller...)
Microwave 1/2 cup butter in a heatproof bowl to melt. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Add sugar and cocoa, stir. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add flour and stir until smooth. Spoon batter into cups.
Using a small spoon, make a depression in each portion of batter about 1 inch wide and 1/2 inch deep. Spoon 1 tbsp Nutella into each.
Bake about 20 - 25 minutes and cool on wire rack.


Monday, April 19, 2010

No Mr. Nash Week

I won't really be cooking this week, other than soup and salad and GRILLED CHEESE.
Sorry. got excited.

Lee is in a conference all week until at least 10pm each night so I am left to eat simple food. I am positive one night will include PW's Bacon Spinach Salad.. but otherwise I see alot of soup and GRILLED CHEESE's in my future this week.

Oh, other than Tuesday when Carl is cooking for Donald's birthday.

But seriously, the rest of the week - GRILLED CHEESE!
(and treadmills!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Donald's Meatloaf

Donald loves meatloaf.
So last night as an early birthday, I made him meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans.
I thought it was one of my best meatloafs so far...However, no matter how yummy the meatloaf may be...
Do NOT serve it to your husband the very next night after you made a Julia Child recipe. Just doesn't have the same ring to it...
(and I ran out of bacon for the green beans since I used it all the previous night. oops.)

Beouf Bourguignon

Sunday I went and bought the book... and I did it.
I made Julia Child's Beouf Bourguignon.

It was fabulous.... worth all the time and effort it took..

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garden Time

Around the Nash household, spring has sprung in many ways! One of them being our garden.

This week Lee and Bo built a garden bed. Then Saturday we went to Lowes and spent a bazillion dollars on dirt and compost. After filling in the bed, Donald and I ran up to Home Depot and got the veggie plants. Lowes sucks at plants, btw.
Here is the finished product!
Last year, we tried bell peppers and that didn't work out. So if it looks like we have alot of onions, well that is something I buy every trip to the store so I thought it would be nice to pluck one out of my own garden! We have 4 different types of tomatoes - Early Girl, Beefsteak, Cherry, and Solarfire.
The radishes are seedlings, so we'll see if they pop up or not!
I already had the rosemary in another pot and transplanted it. I am hoping it is really happy in this spot!
Teddy was a major helper:I will keep taking progress photos as things begin to bloom!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I had an AHA moment the other day.

Most of the recipes I cook are from magazines or the internet, and then I start messing with them to make them my own. But I normally need the recipe right in front of me because I don't really memorize things.For instance, I have made my chocolate chip cookies about 1 billion times, still need the recipe.
I have a knife magnet over the oven and all it holds is one knife. I have a chip clip that for some reason unknown to me, has a magnet on it.
AHA!The chip clip now holds the recipe above the oven for quick reference!
Like that pink paper? We bought that 5 YEARS AGO to make programs for the wedding.
And I still have a good 50 sheets. So i print stuff on it that I am trying. If it works out, I re-type it into my cook book format and it goes in my binder.
The binder... that is a post for another time...
Oh and about 5 minutes after I took this photo I broke the pretty measuring spoons hanging on the cabinet.
Then cried.
It's been that kind of weekend folks...

Anyway, the recipe up there is Pasta with Bacon and Peas.
Verdict: good. Something happened and it got a little dry - like the cream didn't really coat the noodles. But, it was tasty and I may try it again.
However, it was similar to a wonderful Pioneer Woman recipe, Pasta with Mushrooms... so maybe these recipes should get married? Just add a few peas to Pdub's recipe and you got it!

My Kitchen

I was cleaning up the kitchen today, before cooking dinner (because I can't start dinner without cleaning the kitchen first!) and it dawned on me how much I love my kitchen. See, I live in a little 1,165 square foot bungalow about 10 minutes from downtown.. yet with what we paid for it, we could have a nice 2,500 square foot house in the burbs.
But we don't like the burbs.Not to live there and drive in from anyway.

So when we got this house, I knew that with the kitchen size and living room size, we would be happy here. Through bathroom renovations, kitchen renovations, and misc house issues and tasks, this little house has really become ours. All that is left is to paint the brick and put in a new driveway.Here is my kitchen "BEFORE":Original 1954 cabinets and counter (yellow tile!). I livened it up with some blue paint, that I quite honestly miss a little! It was fun! We took down the big upper cabinets and put up shelving so display my bright plates. Notice: No Dishwasher.
I had been using my butcher block on the right side of the oven before for extra counter space. Now that I have real counter space on that side now, I can use this for it's intended purpose! My grandfather built it by hand and I love it. I wanted the open look of the shelving but EGADS the dust it accumulated! So glass doors helped with that feel. Originally the little upper cabinet by the back door should have had glass but something happened when putting up the cabinets. So this is my cook book cabinet. This is one of the original photos I took after it was done. There are dog food containers under the butcher block now, and blinds over the windows, but this is my home. I am in here about 75% of my time. Watching tv, cooking, baking, cleaning, drinking coffee. It's MY ROOM. Next thing we need is a new dining table. We are thinking of the pub height, but then the bench wouldn't be sat on... hmmmm....
While I long for a spacious master bedroom that I can put a pretty chair in to sit on and put on shoes... I will settle since I have my kitchen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dinner with Kelly and Clark

Last night Kelly and Clark wanted to cook for us, since I am always cooking for them. Well thanks to the Easter Holiday, lamb is on sale all over town. So Clark was in charge of the lamb and Kelly made a wonderful sundried tomato risotto and roasted asparagus!Lola took her spot under the table, as always...They had picked up some cupcake and cannoli's from Whole Foods for dessert. Our consensus was that they were made last week - very dry!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This week's easy dinners..

Sunday, I took a pork loin from the freezer and threw it in a baggie in some marinade, and let it thaw in the fridge over night.
By the time I was ready to cook it on Monday night, it was good to go.
This is super easy and very hands off, so you can do other chores things while
it's in the oven.
I cut about 8 baby red potatoes in half, cubed a large onion, and cut up some carrot
s into medium chunks. I spread this in the pan with a little oil, salt, pepper, and Cacherey's, laid the pork on top, and roasted for about 45 min in a 400 degree oven.
Tuesday night I got home and started homemade pizza dough. This is the easiest thing ever, and you will never look back.

1 cup very hot water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 packet Rapid Rise yeast
a few pinches of salt
2 tablespoons oil
more all purpose flour (about 1/2 cup total)

Combine the 2 cups of flour, yeast, salt, and water in a large bowl. Start mixing together, and add oil. Start kneading in the bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of flour, to make the dough get a little softer and smoother.
Lay on a flour surface and knead about 5 minutes. Cover with a clean kitchen towl and let rest for 10 minutes. Turn the oven on to 375 degrees.
While it's resting you can start preparing your other pizza ingredients.
I like to sautee about 1/2 onion with 2 cloves of garlic, then add in 3/4 of a 12oz can of crushed tomatoes. Once that gets bubbly I turn the heat off and add about 4 spoonfulls of pesto (I like the Buitoni brand).
Around now your dough is ready. Roll it out to fit your pizza stone (if cooking on the grill) or pizza pan. spread sauce on your dough (as much as you like. I tend to add alot of sauce!)
Next add your toppings. I decided to use some left over smocked chicken from Sunday night, then the left over mini-mozz balls from last week's dinner (i cut them in half) and about 1/4 bag of 2% shredded mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and italian seasoning on top and pop in the oven about 15 min or so...
I also served this with a salad, which we have been having before every meal this week. It helps fill you up. Oh, and a bottle of Skinney Girl margarita. YUM.

Tonight, Lee is out at a work function so I am on my own. Trying to use up more of that chicken, I chopped up part of the chicken breast, and tossed it with lettuce and caesar dressing.

Now I am watching my guilty pleasure shows while drinking a little white wine with sleeping puppies on the sofa.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eating what's on hand

It's sort of amazing what you can do when you just look through your pantry and your fridge and freezer. Saturday night, we didn't really want to go anywhere to eat, so I had to get creative. I had all the things to make a pizza, but Lee wasn't feeling that. I kept digging around and happened to have all the ingredients to make a stirfry and some sesame noodles on the side.
This is one of Lee's favorite stir frys, and he loved the sesame noodles on the side as a change to rice.


5 chicken thighs, cut into chunks/strips (i had from the freezer)
1 red bell pepperbok choy
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
For the sauce:
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
And for the noodles:
(Pioneer Woman's Sinfully Good Sesame Noodles!)

Start by getting everything cut up and ready to go, that way you aren't rushed..Mix your sauce as well.
Start your water for the noodles, and mix your sauce.
Next, put the oil in the skillet and let it get a little hot, then throw in the chicken. Add a little salt and pepper. Let the chicken get nice and browned, then remove to a bowl.
Next add in the onion and bell pepper. Once that gets a little softened, throw in the garlic, ginger, and bok choy. Your house will start to smell gooooood!
(check on your noodle water!)Once that is all softened and wilted (about 5 min), and just about ready to serve, throw the chicken back in. Let that get heated back up and toss in the sauce. It should start to thicken nicely.
By now the noodles should be done, so toss them with your sauce in a large bowl.
Serve a little of the noodles in a bowl with the stir fry on top.
(Sorry, didn't get a photo of it in the bowls. I was hungry)Note: this was all stuff I had around the house. Throw in green beans, carrot, whatever you have into your stir fry. Mine is never the same way twice!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week continued...

Blogger is acting strange so I have to continue this post..

Wednesday we had folks over so I made another crowd pleaser. This one is easy to make, although keeps you running around alot, and looks like you worked really hard.
Another Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal..

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Sausage Meatballs
  • 2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tub bocconcini, bite size fresh mozzarella in water
  • 2 pounds Italian hot or sweet fresh chicken, turkey or pork sausage, bulk if available
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccolini
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or milk
  • 1 tub grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tub good quality fresh pesto from the refrigerated cases of the market

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Quarter baby potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then salt water and cook until tender, about 12 minutes.

While potatoes come up to a boil, place a nonstick baking sheet alongside a mixing bowl. Remove 12 pieces of bite sized mozzarella from the water and set on work surface. Remove sausages from casings, if bulk not available, and place in a bowl. Combine the meat into a single mound then score it into 4 sections. Each section will yield 3 large sausage meatballs. To form each ball, take a handful of meat and wrap it around a piece of mozzarella. Roll 12 balls. Wash up. Coat balls with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until cooked through and evenly browned.

While the balls are cooking, trim ends of clean broccolini and scatter evenly over a baking sheet. Grate or chop 2 to 3 cloves of garlic and drizzle the broccolini and garlic with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and roast 12 to 15 minutes to crisp the broccolini tops.

While the broccolini is roasting, add tomatoes to a small pot or skillet, mash with a potato masher and season with salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat then simmer to reduce about 8 to 10 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, drain and return to the hot pot to dry them out a little. Mash the potatoes with 1/2 cup stock or milk, 1/2 to 2/3 cup grated Romano cheese, a few generous handfuls, lots of black pepper and a little salt.

Turn the heat off the tomatoes and stir in 1/2 cup prepared pesto.

Serve three cheese-stuffed sausage balls with tomato-basil sauce on top or underneath, cacio e pepe smashed potatoes and broccolini alongside.

**I have found it really hard to find just plain chicken sausage. So I have substituted this with ground turkey (just made a regular meatball recipe) or beef. I will say, I don't think the beef is the best way to go at all. And if you find the sausage, it's the best way to go.
This photo is from the website, but I made it exactly as it is stated above, but forgot to take a picture because we were hungry!

For dessert I made Strawberry Parfaits:These are easy. All you do is take heavy whipping cream and add a few teaspoons of sugar and whip until thick (but don't make butter!). Then you make a smaller batch with a little extra sugar and 2 teaspoons (or so) of cocoa. I just added until it tasted the way I wanted. Then you just layer with strawberries. It is nice and light(tasting) and doesn't make you feel full like chocolate cake.
Though I LOVE chocolate cake...
Anywhoo, my friend Jimmy made these for us once, using Splenda. However, I was out of splenda.
Still was yummy!

Week o' Cooking

I cooked a lot this week.
I really did.

And I was so busy I couldn't post about it!

Sunday: I made Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast. Holy crap it's good. I have made it a good 5 times now. Perfect Sunday meal.Monday I made: Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy. I found this in a cooking light magazine many moons ago and it's always a hit.
Here is the recipe:


1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons cumin

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

1 ½ teaspoons paprika

1 ½ teaspoons oregeno

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 ½ pounds cubed steak

½ cup flour

½ cup onion chopped

½ cup green bell pepper

½ cup red wine

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, fire roasted if you can find them

2 cups beef broth

salt and pepper

Egg noodles to serve underneath….

Combine cocoa and all spices. Toss with beef in a bowl. Remove beef from bowl, leaving left over seasonings. Add flour to bowl, add beef and toss again.

Heat a little olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Add beef and sauté over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Remove beef from pan. Add onion and green bell pepper and sauté 5 minutes. Add red wine and tomatoes, cook 3 minutes. Stir in beef broth, some salt and pepper, and return meat to pan. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Wonderful on a cold night!

Then on Tuesday night I whipped up another recipe that is a favorite around here. It's a Rachael Ray actually. I have found that her "30 minute meals" from Food Network are better than her show (please stop with the burgers already!) and her books.

Italian Barbequed Chicken


  • 4 bone-in chicken thigh and leg or chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 thick cut slices pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup quick cooking polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmiginao-Reggiano
  • Torn fresh basil leaves


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, poultry seasoning, and grill seasoning. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet and brown the chicken a few minutes on each side to put some of it's flavor and drippings into the pan then transfer to oven and roast 15 minutes more or until juices run clear. Meanwhile, add 1 more tablespoon olive oil to the pan and cook pancetta or bacon, if using, until crisp. Add onions, garlic and rosemary, cook 5 minutes then add the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup chicken stock, reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer 5 minutes more.

Bring remaining 1 1/2 cups stock and milk to a boil, whisk in polenta and season with salt and pepper. Whisk polenta 2 to 3 minutes until it thickens, stir in butter and cheese, remove from heat.

Remove chicken from oven and turn in barbecue sauce. Fill shallow bowls with polenta Top with chicken, spoon extra sauce over chicken and garnish with some torn basil leaves.

I served this with Orzo, rather than polenta. But it's good either way.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Oh man, I didn't realize it had been so long since I updated with a recipe!

This week I made my speedy version of Tortilla Soup. Lee LOVED it.

Weeknight Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 store bought rotisserie chicken, shredded.

1 cup frozen corn

1 red bell pepper, sliced and seeded

1 teaspoon poultry season

1 teaspoon cumin

1 zucchini diced small

1 onion, chopped

3 gloves garlic, chopped

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and diced

28 oz can tomato puree

5 cups chicken stock

Tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

Avacado sliced

Sour cream


In the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven, drizzle a little olive oil and sautee onions and garlic, until onion gets soft. Add in vegetables and seasoning and peppers. Cook until veggies are softened. Add in tomato puree and chicken stock and bring to a bubble, simmer 20 min. Salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken and simmer 10 more minutes, to let chicken heat through.

Serve in a deep bowl with tortilla chips in the bottom, sprinkle cheese on top!

Avacado and sour cream optional.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Give me Mexican Breakfast NOW!

Look - I am from East Texas. I love all things Tex Mex. I don't eat celery and peanut butter in an effort to be skinny. I yam what I yam you know?
So this morning, I woke up to the beautiful sound of the barking dogs next door. Again. So after rolling around in bed for an hour, saying bad words and generally complaining, I was hungry.
For mexican food.
Like, now.

So after digging around for places to go, I remembered where the best breakfast place is when you are in this mood.

Mama's Cafe!

They are known for the extremely large breakfast tacos they serve. I, however, can't stop eating the eggs benedict.
Before you ask why - let me show you.

{please excuse the blurry photo. I was excited ok?}
What we have here is a failure to communicate!

Oops. This is not Cool Hand Luke.

What we have here is eggs benedict covered in QUESO, hashbrowns, and refried beans. And SALSA!
I almost got up and asked the chef what the heck was in those beans but then I figured it out.


Good to know.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Sticky" chicken wings, broccoli, and rice.

Last night I made something, mainly to empty some chicken out of the freezer. I got the idea from Martha's magazine this month (the food one.)
It was pretty tasty, but needed some spice, maybe a good squirt of Siracha or a spoon full of garlic chili sauce.It was perfect to get rid of some chicken wings I have had frozen a good while. They weren't as sticky as the photo in her magazine but trust me, they were messy enough!

Lee said "I knew you were the one when I saw you eat wings like a man at Sports Shack."

Awww, true love right there folks.

Meatballs, stewed green beans, and taters

Monday night, I was feeling a good, southern meal. My mom was still here and I wanted to make a nice big meal for her. I had no idea she would love it so much!

I served BBQ Meatballs (thank you Pioneer Woman), stewed green beans, and steamed fingerling potatoes.
Looks like she felt the need to re-post this recipe this week. They really are that good. The thing I do different is that rather than pour the sauce on top, I dab them about 20 minutes into the cooking, then again before serving. I mean, why waste this awesome sauce getting charred on the bottom of the casserole dish right?
(my thighs agree!)

For the green beans, I just diced some onion, garlic, tomato, and bacon - sauteed it all in a sauce pot until soft, then threw in green beans and about 2 cups (or almost enough to cover the beans) of chicken broth and let it cook, nearly an hour. Lee likes his green beans totally soft and almost mushy. Quote: "Always make these green beans. Always."

Potatoes - simmered in a steam basket on the stove about 1/2 hourish. Served with a little butter.I had a little meat left over so I froze it for an emergency or something.
Mom wanted to drink the bbq sauce out of the bowl, it is THAT GOOD! I substitute 1/2 of the ketchup called for with chili sauce. It just adds a little something (to my thighs).