Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pull Apart Loaves

12 thawed pieces of frozen dough (I used Rhodes dinner rolls)
You can get creative and use any combination of sweet or savory ingredients.  I did the following:

Loaf 1 - Cinnamon Sugar
3 Tbsp butter (melted)
Cinnamon Sugar 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 tbsp cinnamon

Loaf 2 - Blueberry Mascarpone
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries

Flatten each roll onto a flat surface (it should roll out to be about 4x4) and top with 1/2 of the ingredient then place each square of top of one another to create a full stack of 12.  Place that in a greased glass bread pan and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm spot for ~2 hours.  Top with a little additional sugar (or cinnamon sugar) and bake at 350 for ~40 minutes.  Cover with foil for about half the time. Enjoy!

The Flavors of Spring

Spring Green Risotto & Shrimp w/ Sweet Peas
Risotto (Ina Garten, adapted)
Saute the following in 1 tbsp olive oil in a dutch oven over low/med heat for 10 minutes or until softened.
1 bulb fennel (diced)
2 leeks (bottoms, quartered then finely sliced)
1 bunch asparagus (cut into 1 inch pieces)
Add 1 1/2 cup arborio rice, 1/2 cup white wine, 4 cups chicken stock and salt & pepper to taste.  Let simmer over low heat 22 minutes, stirring every five minutes.  Stir in 1/3 cup mascarpone, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1 1/2 cups peas, 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives, zest and juice of 1 lemon.
1 1/2 cup fresh large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Season with salt, pepper and a touch of sugar.  Saute in 1-2 tbsp olive oil over med/high heat until seared, approximately 2 minutes per side.  Top with pea mixture.
Peas ((make 30 minutes in advance) - Bobby Flay, adapted)
Whisk together the following and pour over 1 1/2 cups thawed peas.
 1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
dash of honey
2 tbsp fresh chopped mint
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Sweet Pea Dip (Michael Simon)
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan
2 tbsp fresh mint
puree all in food processor.  serve with toasted or grilled bread.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Slow Cooker Pork & Hominy Stew

  • 3 (15-ounce) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2-3 peppers (seeds removed), chopped; Anaheim, Poblano or Jalapeno 
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4-lb boneless pork butt roast or pork sirloin tip, trimmed, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1.  Puree 1 can hominy and 2 cups broth with a hand blender until smooth.  Add to slow cooker.
2.  Saute onion, carrot, pepper and garlic in oil in small skillet over medium heat until soften (5-7 min).  Then add to slow cooker along with all other remaining ingredients.
3.  Cover and cook until the pork is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
4.  Stir in cilantro and lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Serve with lime wedges, minced fresh cilantro, minced onion or scallions, diced avocado, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, rice, and/or warmed tortillas.

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

Pork Scallion Chinese Dumplings with Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce

  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 10 ounce package  pot sticker or gyoza wrappers (about 40 wrappers)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 12 ounces ground pork, preferably 85% lean
  • 2/3 cup minced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and ground white or black pepper
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallions, ginger and garlic. In a small bowl, whisk the stock, soy sauce, sherry, vegetable oil, sesame oil, 1/8 tsp. pepper and a rounded 1/4 tsp. salt.
  2. Pour the stock mixture over the pork mixture. Mix until well incorporated, stirring quickly at the end to create a thick, smooth mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and dust with flour. Place 1 wrapper on a work surface; brush the edges lightly with water. Place the wrapper in the palm of your hand, cupping it slightly in the center. Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the wrapper, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold the wrapper in half, enclosing the filling. Press the edges firmly to seal.
  4. Pleat the dumpling's sealed edge by folding every 1/4 inch, forming 4 to 5 pleats; press firmly to seal. Transfer the dumpling to the prepared baking sheet; cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, spacing the dumplings 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet.
  5. In a large nonstick skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp. oil over medium-high. Working in batches, add the dumplings, one at a time and seam-side up, to the skillet. Fry until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Holding the lid between you and the skillet in order to protect yourself from splatters, add 1/3 cup water, then cover the skillet immediately. Reduce the heat to medium; cook 3 minutes. Adjust the lid so it's slightly ajar (this allows steam to escape). Cook until most of the water evaporates and the dumplings begin to sizzle, 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Uncover and cook until the dumplings are browned and crispy on the bottom, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the dumplings stop sizzling, transfer them to a plate. Serve with the dipping sauce.
Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili oil
 Whisk all together.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pork Roast with Garlic-Parmesan Cream

Not the most photogenic dish, but damn it was good!


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled, but leave cloves whole
  • One 3-ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
  • 2 small sage sprigs
  • One 5-pound, boneless pork rib roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 medium fennel bulbs (3 pounds), trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. Melt butter in a dutch oven.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Sear pork over high heat (3-4 minutes per side).  Add a small amount of cream to deglaze the pot, scraping up the brown bits.  Add the cream, remaining buttermilk, garlic, cheese rind and 1 sage sprig. Bring to a simmer. Preheat oven to 350.  Cover and bake for 3 1/2 hours, until very tender. Transfer the pork and garlic to a large plate; discard the cheese rind.
  2. Boil the poaching liquid over moderately high heat, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°. On a large baking sheet, toss the fennel and the remaining sage sprig with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the fennel in a single layer. Place the pork on top of the fennel and roast until the pork is deeply golden and the fennel is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Thinly slice the pork. Arrange the fennel and garlic on a platter and top with the pork. Garnish with parsley and serve the sauce on the side.
ADAPTED FROM Food & Wine - 

Sausage and Broccolini Risotto

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch broccolini, roughly chopped (about 8 ounces)
12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14 -ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup grated fontina cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over high heat. Add the broccolini and stir-fry until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. Add the sausage, onion and carrot to the pot and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 5 more minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 more minute.

Add the wine to the pot and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a boil. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven. (Don't worry if the risotto seems wet; it will thicken when you add the cheese.) Vigorously stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the cheese until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the broccolini and divide among bowls.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Quick Tortilla Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon sauce
1 (14 oz-ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken meat
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
Toppings - crushed tortilla chips, monterrey jack cheese, avocado slices, cilantro
Heat oil over medium heat.  Saute onions and garlic until translucent. Stir in chipotles and tomatoes.  Puree half of the mixture using a hand blender.  Add in lime zest and juice, broth, chicken and corn.  Let simmer for 30 minutes.  Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.   

Serve in bowls topped with crushed tortilla chips, monterrey jack cheese, avocado slices and cilantro.

Simple Noodle Bowls

  •  2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp siracha 
  • 2 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 packages of ramen noodles (any flavor, noodles only, discard the flavor packet)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 c cilantro chopped
  • 1 cup snowpeas, washed
  • 1 cup coleslaw mixture (cabbage, carrot)
  • 1 1/2 cup diced grilled chicken (marinated in equal mixture of soy sauce and brown sugar)
  • 3-4 egg rolls, cooked and sliced into 1 inch pieces 
Bring broth, garlic, soy sauce and siracha to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the noodles and cook 3 minutes.   Add in veggies and chicken.  Serve in individual bowls and top with sliced egg rolls.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mexican Rice Bowl

1 recipe hidden valley ranch mix salad dressing made with mayo and milk according to  package directions
1 jalapeño, seeded and coarsely chopped
Leaves from 1 bunch of cilantro
Mix all of the above in the food processor or with a hand blender

1 lb ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 sauce
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded manchego cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all of the above. Place 1 inch balls on greased baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

3 cups white long grain rice
2 tbsp butter
Zest and juice of 1 lime
4 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp sea salt
Melt butter. Add all other ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and summer 25 minutes. Fluff.

1 cup cooked rice
4-5 meatballs
1/2 c black beans
1/4 c pico
1/2 cubes avocado
Shredded manchego
Drizzle of sauce

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tatum!

Fun with the pinata...

Enough fun kids...Daddy's turn. 
Of course he knocks it down on the first hit!
Thankfully they continue to attack it on the ground instead. :)

Thanks so much to all who came out to celebrate with us!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Salmon Cakes

1 1/2 pounds store-bought cooked salmon fillet, skinned and chilled
3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
6 scallions, green and white parts chopped separately
2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 large eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. Flake the salmon into a large bowl. Using a fork, mix in 1/2 cup panko, the scallion whites, the celery, the parsley, 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a pinch black pepper and the cayenne. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Form the mixture into 8 patties about 1 inch thick. In a bowl, mix the remaining 2 1/2 cups panko with 1 teaspoon salt. Coat the patties with the panko, then the eggs, then the panko again.
  3. In a heavy skillet, heat half of the olive oil over medium heat. Add 4 salmon patties and cook until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining oil and patties.
  4. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup mayonnaise, the vinegar and 1/3 cup scallion greens; season with salt and pepper. Serve 2 cakes per person with the sauce alongside.
Source: Rachael Ray Magazine 

Make Ahead Sunday Roasted Chicken - 2 Ways

I figure if you're going to go to all the trouble to roast a chicken, you might as well make 2 or in my case, 4.  The meat is great to have in the freezer for a last minute casserole or soup.


Chicken #1 - Roasted Chicken Dinner with Potatoes and Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Gravy
  • 2 (4 to 5 pound) chickens, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 12 small potatoes, quartered
  • 3 small onions, peeled and quartered, attached at root end
  • 6 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds or fennel pollen
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted, well drained and halved
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Liberally season the chickens, inside and out with thyme, and salt and pepper, to taste. Rub each bird with 1/2 stick of softened butter.

Cut the ends off 2 bulbs of garlic to expose all of the cloves for roasting. Put the potatoes and onions in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dress the whole cut bulbs of garlic with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Press the bulbs into the rosemary leaves so that some adheres to the garlic, then sprinkle the remainder over the potatoes and onions. Put 1 chicken into this pan. Sprinkle with fennel seed or pollen. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the chicken and put the lemon in cavity of bird along with 2 large cloves of crushed garlic. Tie the legs together with string. Add the dressed garlic heads to the pan and roast this bird for 15 minutes at 475 degrees F. Baste the bird with pan juices, then lower the temperature 375 degrees F and roast until the juices run clear, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Add the artichokes to the pan the last 20 to 30 minutes of roast time, mixing them in with the potatoes and the fennel. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes and then carve. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter along with the potato mixture. Pour the pan juices into a sauce pan, separate and discard fat that rises to the top, cook over high heat ~5 minutes to concentrate.  Puree using hand blender (if desired) and serve over the chicken/veggies. When ready to serve, divide the roasted garlic among the plates and serve with crusty warm bread for dipping.

Chicken #2 - Cilantro Lime
  • 2 (4 to 5 pound) chickens, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 limes
For the second bird, put it in a roasting pan and douse it with the juice of 2 limes, then stuff the limes into the bird along with 2 large cloves of smashed garlic. Tie the legs and roast for 15 minutes at 475 degrees F, baste, then roast 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from oven to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from bone and pull the meat into small pieces. Reserve for a enchiladas, quesadillas, soup, etc.  I reserve the pan juice to make black or pinto beans.  Separate and discard fat then combine with 1 lb presoaked dry beans, 1 can of crushed tomatoes and additional water if needed.  Cook until beans are done.

Adapted based on recipe by Rachel Ray

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach


1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Penne with Browned Butter, Tomatoes and Arugula

1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
In a high-sided skillet, whisk the butter over medium heat until melted. Simmer until foamy. Continue to cook until the butter has a nutty aroma and turns a caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and stock.  Add the pasta, dressing, arugula, tomatoes, Parmesan and pine nuts. Toss until coated.  Transfer to a large bowl and serve.

Adapted based on recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Pulled Pork 3 Ways

Pulled Pork
  • boneless pork shoulder roast (7-10 lbs), trimmed with excess fat discarded then cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks,
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup white wine (may sub water or stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
Preheat oven to 325.  Season pork with salt and pepper. I like to use a baking sheet to work pork in batches while searing. Drizzle dutch oven with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium/high heat.  Sear meat in batches (~2 minutes per size until lightly browned and meat lifts without sticking).  Don't worry about cooking it through.  Once you've seared all the meat.  Deglaze the pan with wine or water, removing all browned bits from the bottom.  Stir in garlic, shallot and lemon then return meat to the pan.  Cover and bake in dutch oven for 2 hours.  Remove pork from pot using slotted spoon and allow to cool 15-20 minutes on a baking sheet. Once cooled, shred using 2 forks.  Return meat the juices and divide into portions for other dishes.

Here are a few options:

Pork Tacos

Pulled Pork (~2 lbs)
1 or 2 chipotle in adobo, chopped (seeds removed if desired)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 bottle beer
Add all.  Simmer over low/medium heat until sauce is reduced.  Serve on corn tortillas with chopped cabbage, cilantro and sliced avocado.  Garnish with cheese if desired.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Combine pulled pork with your favorite BBQ sauce and ~1/2 of a beer. Simmer over low/medium heat until sauce is reduced. Serve with Coleslaw

Pork Fried Rice
  •  2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine ~1 lb pulled pork with 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger.  Simmer ~5 minutes to combine.  Set aside.
In extra large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. peanut oil until very hot. Add scallion whites and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add eggs and scramble until set, 45 seconds; transfer to bowl.  Stir in rice, peas and 2 tbsp soy sauce and stir fry 2 minutes. Stir in pork. Top with scallion greens.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Double Stuffed Shells

  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup (4 oz) baby pasta shells
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 lb italian sausage, castings removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound thawed frozen spinach, squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  1. Preheat the broiler. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the jumbo shells until al dente. In a smaller saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the baby shells until al dente. Drain separately, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Spread the jumbo shells out on a work surface.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, brown and crumble sausage.  When fully cooked, deglaze pan with wine.  All wine to reduce by half then add garlic, spices and tomatoes. Allow to simmer over medium heat for ~15-20 minutes.  Add in 1/2 cup reserved pasta water; season with salt and pepper. 
  3. In a bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, 1/4 cup pasta water and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stuff the jumbo shells with the spinach mixture.  Arrange in a greased 9x12 baking dish.  Fill in between shells with small shells and top with sauce then mozzarella cheese.  Store to make ahead.  On the night you want to serve, preheat oven to 350.  Bake 30 minutes covered, 20-25 minutes uncovered.  
Adapted based on original recipe by Rachel Ray Mag 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hummus Sesame Noodles with Glazed Asian Chicken

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 3/4 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 lb snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the hummus, chicken broth and soy sauce. Toss the hot pasta with the hummus mixture and let cool about 15 minutes.
  3. Add enough of the reserved pasta water to loosen the noodles. Mix in peanuts, sesame seeds, snow peas, scallions, and chicken.
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
Combine all ingredients into a heavy duty zip lock bag and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.  Heat wok or large skillet to med/high heat.  Add chicken and sear (~3 minutes on each side).  Add remaining marinate and allow to reduce/thicken while chicken cooks though (another ~3 minutes).
Serve over pasta.

Adapted based on an original recipe by Rachel Ray

Chunky Apple Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I forgot to take a picture, but this was heavenly!



  • 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted 
  • Chopped walnuts, toasted (optional) 

  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.
  2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup walnuts. Spread into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
  3. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened $
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Banana Muffin with Mascarpone and Walnuts

Didn't change a thing on this one - YUM!

  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells (16 pieces)
  • 1 cup (4 oz) baby pasta shells
  • 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound thawed frozen spinach, squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta (about 12 oz)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  1. Preheat the broiler. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the jumbo shells until al dente. In a smaller saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the baby shells until al dente. Drain separately, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Spread the jumbo shells out on a work surface.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, ovenproof skillet, toss the tomatoes with 3 tbsp. EVOO. Broil for 15 minutes. Remove, then stir in the garlic, herbs and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water; season with salt and pepper. Lower the oven to 350 degrees .
  3. In a bowl, toss the baby shells with the remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO. Stir in the spinach, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup pasta water; season. Stuff the jumbo shells with the spinach mixture; arrange in the skillet atop the sauce. Top with the remaining parmesan, cover and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.
Recipe by Giada Di Laurentis 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Asparagus and Zucchini with Toasted Walnuts

This is a quick, easy and fresh side!

1 zucchini, shredded using a grater
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
Cavendar's all purpose greek seasoning

Melt butter over low-medium heat.  Allow to brown slightly then add walnuts.  Toast ~2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add asparagus and cover to simmer ~2-3 minutes.  Add zucchini and seasoning.  Simmer another ~2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Serve immediately

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Greek Salad

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp cavendar's all purpose greek seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
Mix all and let stand. I also used the dressing to marinate some chicken, which we grilled and served with flat bread, hummus and the salad.  It's also great on sandwiches.

1 seedless cucumber, halved and sliced
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/8 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1/3 cup feta cheese
Toss all of the above with a small amount of dressing

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Make Ahead Sunday: Penne with Sausage, Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes


3/4 cup drained EVOO packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
 1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed
2 (8-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

Based on recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi


2 zucchini, trimmed
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce shaved Pecorino Romano, for garnish

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini into long thin strips. Thinly slice the asparagus on a diagonal. Toss the slices together and place the salad in a serving bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and drizzle over the vegetables. Toss to coat. Garnish with the pecorino shavings. Serve.

Source: Giada DeLaurentiis

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rigatoni with Butternut Squash & Shrimp


3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.

In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add the cooked prawns, basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.

Source: Giada DeLaurentiis

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Chicken Risotto with Spring Veggies


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears 
  • 3/4 pound skinned and boned chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips 
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice (short-grain)
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese
1. Bring chicken broth and 4 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan over low heat. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Cut into 2-inch pieces.
2. Sprinkle chicken with herbes de Provence and 3/4 tsp. salt.
3. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add chicken, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until done. Remove chicken; cover and keep warm.
4. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in Dutch oven; add zucchini, onion, and asparagus, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Remove vegetables; cover and keep warm.
5. Sauté rice in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add wine and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup hot broth mixture; cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time. (Total cooking time is about 30 minutes.)
6. Stir in grated cheeses, chicken, and vegetables until creamy. Stir in parsley and pepper. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Veal & Avocado


1 ripe Hass avocado
1 wedge fresh lemon
2/3 pound veal scallops
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
3 to 4 tablespoons cream, 3 turns of the pan
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, to garnish
2 tablespoons chopped or snipped chives, to garnish

Cut avocado in half all around and down to the pit. Twist the avocado to separate the halves. Hit the pit with your knife to pop it out. Scoop the avocado out of each half of skin with a large spoon. Slice the avocado and squeeze a little lemon juice on it to retard the browning. Reserve the avocado.

Season the scallops of veal with salt and pepper. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add the veal and cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove the veal to a platter or individual plates. Add vermouth or wine to the pan and deglaze it, lifting up any color or veal bits. Add cream and stir it in. Turn off the heat and let cream bubble 1 minute. Arrange the avocado on the scallops of veal. Strap the meat and avocado with sauce and garnish with a generous sprinkle of chopped thyme or chives.

Source: Rachel Ray