Friday, September 28, 2012

Make Ahead Meal: Autumn Golden Veggie Lasagna



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (10 oz.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups White Sauce (see below)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 10 egg roll wrappers (5-inch square)
  • 1 cup shredded aged gouda cheese (about 8 oz.)
  • 8 large basil leaves (I substituted sage)


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add the squash and 1 cup water and simmer over medium heat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the water is evaporated and the squash is golden and tender, about 13 minutes; set aside.
  2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . Meanwhile, lightly grease an 8-inch square glass baking dish and spread 1/2 cup white sauce in the bottom. In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and egg.
  3. Cut half of the egg roll wrappers into 3 strips each. Fill a large bowl with hot tap water (as you work with the wrappers, dip them in the water to rinse off the starch). Use 1 whole wrapper and 3 strips to cover the bottom of the dish in a single layer (there will be overlap). Spread a generous 1/2 cup of pumpkin mixture on top and sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat the layering.
  4. Add another layer of egg roll wrappers. Spread with 1 cup white sauce, then top with the squash, basil and 1/3 cup cheese. Add another layer of egg roll wrappers, the remaining pumpkin mixture and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with the remaining egg roll wrappers, then spread with the remaining white sauce.
  5. Cover the dish snugly with foil and bake on a baking sheet in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup cheese on top and bake until golden and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

White Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper


  • Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in warm milk; bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.

Source: Rachel Ray Magazine

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beef & Avocado

1 lb beef tri tips - cubed 1-2"
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp butter
1 lemon (zest + juice)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 avocado, sliced

Preheat dutch oven over medium high heat.  Season beef with s&p.  Add olive oil to pan.  Let heat ~1 minute.  Add beef.  Do not move until crust has developed and meat moves without pulling ~ 4 minutes.  Flip to develop crust on the other side.  Remove from heat.  Deglaze with wine, scraping brown bits and reducing by half.  Add garlic, parsley and lemon zest then butter.  Return meat to pan to coat.  Then remove from heat.  Place on serving platter and top with avocado and lemon juice.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Halloween: Food Ideas

Cute cupcake decor from Midwest Living.
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 Witch Hatch (Hershey's Kisses, Fudge Stripe Cookies and Icing) from Barb Schram
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Halloween: Decorative Ideas and Printables

Fun countdown printable from Detail Oriented Diva.
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Chalkboard Pumpkin (source unknown)
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Cover a pumpkin with round stickers and spray paint black....then peel off stickers.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homemade Ghosts

Supplies needed:
White trashbags, drawstring removed if applicable
newspaper (crumbled)
paper clips

Stuff the trashbags with some newspaper.  Tie with the ribbon and use a sharpie to draw on the face.  Use paperclip to hang - be sure to push one side through the plastic & some newspaper.  Otherwise the bag will tear over time. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chicken Fajitas

In Texas, we all love our tex-mex.  This is my favorite tex-mex dish (besides queso and guacamole, of course)!

2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced against the grain
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
vegetable oil

juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth
fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp goya seasoning
1/2 tsp ancho pepper powder

Mix together all marinade ingredients.  Add 1/3 to bowl or zip lock bag with chicken.  Add the remaining marinade to bag with veggies.  Heat oil (~1 tbsp) in dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add chicken.  Cook 3-4 minutes until you can turn without having to pull and chicken develops a crust (do not turn or move earlier).  Flip and cook 3 minutes on other side.  Remove and set aside.  Add veggies and remaining marinade, using liquid and wooden spoon to deglaze pan/chicken drippings. Cook 20-25 minutes stirring often until onions begin to carmelize and liquid has reduced.  Add chicken back to the pan and allow to come together (cooking 3-5) additional minutes.
Serve with tortillas, cheese, pico de gallo, and guacamole.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Longhorn Subway Art

So I might be a little obsessed with subway art...It seems a little too early for halloween and summer is definitely over.  But our little frame seems so empty so I created this!

Download here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Fire Roasted Rigatoni

1 cup diced roasted red peppers
6 italian sausage linked, uncooked, castings removed
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red cherry pepper, seeded and firely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup zinfandel red wine
2 cans diced fire roasted tomatoes ( 14.5 oz each)
1/2 cup beef stock
1 lb rigatoni pasta
chopped flat leaf parsley and parmigiano reggiano for garnish

Brown sausage in dutch oven until browned and crumbled (~8 minutes).  Stir in onion, cherry pepper and garlic and cook until softened.  Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute then deglaze pan with wine and reduce for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, stock and roasted peppers.  Simmer to thicken.  Set sauce aside for make ahead meal.
The night you want to serve, reheat sauce and cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Mix together sauce, pasta and reserved water.  Top servings with cheese and parsley.

Adapted based on a recipe by Rachael Ray

Monday, September 3, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday #2: Pasta e Fagioli al Forno



  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne rigate or whole-wheat penne
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, 3 to 4 slices thick cut like bacon
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Romano

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, cook pasta to just shy of al dente.
Chop pancetta into 1/4-inch dice.
While pasta cooks, heat a skillet and add pancetta.  Cook until crispy then drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Discard all but 1 Tbsp of the remaining fat then add celery, carrot, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf to the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add beans and heat them through. Stir in 1/2 cup wine, simmer 30 seconds more and turn off heat. Remove bay leaf.
While vegetables cook, place a small sauce pot over medium heat, add butter, melt butter then whisk in flour and cook 1 minute then whisk in milk. Season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and reduce 4 to 5 minutes, stir in half the grated cheese, turn off heat and adjust seasoning.
Drain pasta and return to the pot, toss with white bean mixture and sauce, stir to coat, transfer to a casserole dish, top with remaining cheese. Cool and refrigerate.

The night you want to serve.  Heat over to 350 and bake 30 minutes covered.  Increase heat to 425, uncover to brown cheese (about 20 minutes additional).

Adpated based on an original recipe by: Rachael Ray

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday:Cipollini Onion and Fennel Pot Roast


  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound (about 2 cups) cipollini, boiler, or pearl onions, peeled
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth, plus extra, as needed
  • 2 dried bay leaves
For the rub: In a small bowl, mix together the rosemary, thyme, oil, salt, and pepper until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub on all sides with the herb rub. In a heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.

Add the remaining oil, onions, carrots, and fennel to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the sherry and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the broth and bay leaves. Return the beef and any juices to the pot and bring the liquids to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the beef is fork-tender, about 4 hours, turning the beef over halfway through and adding extra broth, as needed, to keep the beef halfway covered in liquid.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and cooking juices together until smooth. (The vegetables can also be pureed in a blender). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm over low heat.

Cut the beef into 1-inch pieces and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Source: Giada de Laurentiis

Herbed Flatbread



  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup water, plus extra, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, rosemary, and thyme in the bowl of an upright mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add the water until the mixture forms a dough, adding more water, if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form into disc shapes and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 8 to 10-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Brush each circle with olive oil and grill for 4 minutes each side. Remove the flatbread from the grill and cool slightly before serving.

Source: Giada de Laurentiis