Sunday, February 28, 2010

Short Rib Stew

I caught Brian Boitano making this on the Today Show last weekend. I thought it looked good, so I tried it out on my in-laws last weekend. I think we all enjoyed it. The short ribs made the stew very flavorful. It was easy to make, and we had enough for leftovers the next night- minus the short ribs. Clay and girls enjoyed it the second night over a piece of bread.

Recipe Courtesy Brian Boitano

2 pounds bone in short ribs
1/3 cup flour
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 red peppers, cored seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups red wine
1 can (15 ounces) chopped tomatoes
3 cup vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
5 sprig of fresh thyme
1 pound baby new potatoes, cut half
½ pound of Cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped

Season meat generously with salt and pepper and then dredge into flour. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch over medium heat. Sear meat in batches until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate. To the same Dutch oven add half of the of the carrots, onions, red pepper and all of the celery and sauté for 8 minutes until vegetables begin to brown and caramelize. Add garlic and tomato paste and sauté for another 2 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the red wine. Add the tomatoes, seared meat, vegetable stock, bay leaf, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover and turn heat to low and let simmer for 2 to 2½ hours. Add remaining vegetables and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until vegetables are tender and meat is fork tender

Crunchy Granola

I can't believe I made this recipe this weekend, but it will become a staple item now. I don't know what possessed me to make it. I saw this, it looked good, so I made it. Clay also told me a few weeks ago he likes the granola on top of the yogurt at McDonald's. I know this is much healthier than that! :) So, here it is:


  • 4 cups of old fashioned oats

  • 1 cup nuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • 1 cup of chopped dried fruit (I tried raisins and apricots this time)


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

  2. Line a rimed baking sheet with foil and grease generously with oil or spray.

  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl

  4. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and honey, stirring to combine. Add the vanilla and stir.

  5. Pour the honey butter over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and spread over an even layer.

  6. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir. Return the granola to the over and bake for 10-15 minutes more, checking to make sure it doesn't burn

  7. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack, the transfer to an airtight contain.

Cranberry Chicken

The recipe book I found this in calls this dish "Surprisingly Delicious!", and after having it tonight I found it was true. I thought it might be too sweet, but it was really just right. This recipe is also one that you can make ahead and freeze. So- try and enjoy!

8 oz of Catalina Dressing
1 pkg of dry onion soup mix
1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
4 boned chicken breast

1. Mix together dressing, onion soup mix, and cranberry sauce and add chicken

Option 1- Freeze for later use

Option 2- Place in greased baking dish, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Serve over a bed of rice and side of veggies.

Cajun Jambalaya

We spent the weekend down at the lake with the parents and in-laws. Friday night we walked in to a GREAT meal of jambalaya. I asked Debbie for the recipe and she pointed me in the direction of Emeril. So, here is Emeril's Jambalaya.

12 medium shrimp, peeled, deviened and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper

In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

Vegetable fettuccine with butternut squash and white wine sauce

This was a great experiment one night. It does take a bit of prep work, but I did it on a work night. Very tasty and healthy, too!

Vegetable fettuccine with butternut squash and white wine sauce
By Curtis Stone
Serves 4


For the sauce
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 onion, roughly diced
• 1 clove garlic, chopped rough
• 2 cups diced butternut squash, skin removed
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
For the pasta
• 1 pound fettuccine noodles
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 onion, julienned
• 1 leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise and cut across into thin ribbons
• 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
• 1 small fennel bulb, julienned
• 1 cup snow peas, ends trimmed and cut in half diagonally
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 4 tablespoons whole butter, small diced
• 1 small block of Parmesan Reggiano, for grating
• 1/4 cup chopped chives

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

Add the oil and sweat the onion for 2 minutes, stirring often, then add the garlic and the squash and saute for 1 minute.

Add the white wine to the pan and allow to reduce by half, then add the chicken stock.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.

Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the squash has become soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and puree the squash with the cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. If the puree is too thick, thin out with a little water.

Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer, season to taste with salt and pepper and reserve.

While the squash is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Once the puree is made, add the pasta to the water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat.

Add the oil to the pan and sweat the onions and leek for 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add the garlic and fennel to the pan and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes.

Add the snow peas and the wine and allow the wine to reduce by half, then add the sauce to the pan and mix well.

Strain the pasta into a colander set in the sink, then add the drained pasta to the pan of vegetables and sauce.

Add the butter and, using a pair of tongs, toss well to mix and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Using a two-pronged meat carving fork, swirl a quarter of the pasta onto the fork and mound the pasta onto the center of a warm pasta bowl in a spiral shape, then repeat with remaining pasta and bowls.

Spoon the remaining vegetables from the pan evenly over the pasta in the 4 serving bowls.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave some Parmesan onto each bowl of pasta and garnish with the fresh chives.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Cabbage Soup

Shredded Cabbage Soup
I have soany new recipes to post! I have gotten way behind! So, here is the first of many. This is Monday's meatless selection. If you want to, you can use the No Beef flavoring.


2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon butter
2 cans (10 1/2 oz each) condensed beef broth
1 small head green cabbage, coarsely shredded
2 carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 stalk celery (including leaves), sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 tsp salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Cook and stir onions in Dutch oven until tender. Add beef broth, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, celery and tomatoes. Add enough water to thoroughly cover all ingredients by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add seasonings. Simmer for 2 hours.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

Here's a crowd pleasing veggie--

2pounds carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices (12 to 14 medium)
1/2teaspoon salt, if desired
2/3cup packed brown sugar
1/4cup butter or margarine
1teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2teaspoon salt

1.Heat 1 inch water to boiling in 3-quart saucepan. Add carrots and, if desired, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered 12 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
2.While carrots are cooking, heat brown sugar, butter, orange peel and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly. Be careful not to overcook or the mixture will taste scorched. Remove from heat.
3.Drain carrots. Stir carrots into brown sugar mixture. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and gently, until carrots are glazed and hot.

Valentine's Day Dinner 2010

So for V-day I have always chosen to cook a nice meal for my husband rather than fighting the crowds at a restaurant (maybe someday I'll change my mind though). This year I found a nice meal idea from the Martha Stewart website. I have to say the flavor of the food was really good. I would definitely make it again!!

Here was the main course:

Filet Mignon with Herb-and-Cheese Potatoes


Serves 2

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup finely grated cotija cheese (I couldn't find this, but parmesan is a substitute)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 russet potatoes, about 9 ounces each, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and again into 1/8-inch-wide strips, set aside in a bowl of cold water
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together butter, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic in a small bowl. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use. Stir together remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon garlic, the cheese, and cayenne in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil; set aside. Drain potatoes; pat dry. Add to bowl with cheese mixture; toss to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes; turn potatoes, and cook until golden, about 20 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, season both sides of beef with salt and pepper.Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Brush both sides of beef with vegetable oil; place in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook beef 7 minutes; turn, and cook until mediumrare, 7 to 8 minutes more. Top each with cilantro butter; serve with potatoes.

The flavor of both the meat and the potatoes was really excellent (and I'm not a big steak eater, so that's saying a lot). I did go to HEB (TX grocery store with better quality, but not overly fancy) to get a better cut of meat than Walmart has to offer.

For dessert I served this from Cooking Light:

Crepes with Bananas and Hazelnut-Chocolate Sauce


  • - 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • - 1 tablespoon sugar
  • - 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • - 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • - 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • - Cooking spray

  • SAUCE:
  • - 1/4 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
  • - 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • - 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • - 2 large firm unpeeled bananas (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • - Powdered sugar (optional)


To prepare crepes, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine 1 1/2 cups milk and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring with a whisk just until smooth. Cover batter; chill for 15 minutes.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Remove pan from heat. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into pan; quickly tilt pan in all directions so batter covers pan with a thin film. Cook about 1 minute.

Carefully lift edge of crepe with a spatula. The crepe is ready to turn when it can be shaken loose from the pan and the underside is lightly browned. Turn crepe over; cook 30 seconds.

Place crepe on a towel; keep warm. Repeat procedure until all the batter is used. Stack crepes between single layers of wax paper or paper towels to prevent sticking.

To prepare sauce, combine the hazelnut-chocolate spread, 2 tablespoons milk, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Keep warm.

Peel bananas and cut in half lengthwise; cut each half crosswise into 2 pieces.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Arrange 4 banana pieces in a single layer in pan. Cook 1 minute or until lightly browned. Turn pieces over; cook 1 minute. Remove banana pieces from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining banana pieces.

Place 1 banana piece in center of each crepe; fold sides and ends over, and place, seam side down, on clean surface. Repeat procedure with remaining banana pieces and crepes.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon sauce onto each of 4 plates, spreading to cover center of plates. Arrange 2 crepes on each plate; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

I have to admit that I could not flip a crepe for the life of me without tearing them, but I was able to make it work. I will need some more practice though! I served this with some homemade sweet cream ice cream and it was really good!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fried Rice with Egg - Meatless Monday

Last week I made fried rice with egg drop soup for Meatless Monday. It was a meal that will definitely be repeated. I was not thrilled with the egg drop soup, so I am going to wait on that recipe. However, after cooking both of them I realized what I waste of money it is to purchase it. It is super cheap to make at home. A bag of rice is $2.00, a bag of frozen peas $1.00, eggs $2.00 a dozen, chicken broth $2.00 for four cups and all of the proper seasoning. So, for $7.00 we had a great meal with leftovers. Can't beat that! Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup of fresh frozen peas, defrosted
  • 3 T of peanut oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 T of minced garlic
  • 1 T of minced ginger (I omitted this one)
  • 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup of cooking sherry or white wine
  • 2 T of soy sauce
  • 1 T of sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of mince scallion (optional)

1. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. A minute later, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to brown, five to ten minutes later. Lower the heat if needed. Using a slotted spoon, take the onions out and transfer them into a bowl.

2. Add the peas to the skillet for a minute or two, or until hot. Add them to the bowl.

3. Put the remaining oil in the skillet, followed by the garlic and ginger. About 15 seconds later, begin to add the rice, a bit at at time, breaking up any clumps and tossing it with the oil. When all the rice is added, make a well in its center and add the eggs. They will begin to cook into the middle. Keep them moving and incorporate them into the rice.

4. Return the onion and the peas to the rice. Add the wine and cook, stirring for about a minute. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, then taste and add salt and pepper.

5. Turn off the heat, stir in the scallion, and serve.

Red Beans and Rice- Meatless Monday

Okay, tonight we had meatless red beans and rice. I knew this could be done, but I was a little hesitant because I love the sausage I usually add to it. Everyone really enjoyed it except the youngest child, but she was being extra stubborn tonight. I don't know that she really ever took a bite. However, it was good with the other two, it passed the Clay and Hannah test. I am taking it for lunch tomorrow- so 3 out 4 isn't too bad. :)

  • 1 pound red kidney beans, dry
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 ribs celery, chopped
  • As much garlic as you like, minced
  • Creole Seasoning Blend
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 or 5 cups of water (enough to cover the beans)
  • 2 No Chick'n Bouillon Cubes

  1. Soak the beans overnight, if possible. The next day, drain and put fresh water over them.
  2. In a pan saute the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add all ingredients to the crockpot: beans, tomatoes, sauteed veggies, bouillon cubes, water, seasoning
  4. You will have to play with seasoning- it is REALLY bland without enough salt, but tasting is the only way to get it right.
  5. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours

Serve generous ladles-ful over hot white rice, with a side of bread. Enjoy!

Great New Products

I have used some new products in the last few weeks that I really love. I thought I would share them here.

  • Monterey Mushrooms These mushrooms are chopped and cleaned and in a resealable bag. I have used them with no waste. They kept for over two weeks- may have kept longer, but I used them up in two weeks. I found them at the local Kroger store. I found I put them into recipes easier than if I had to prepare them.

  • Not Chick'n Bouillon I was to told about this product from a friend that is vegetarian. I was having trouble seasoning foods without meat. This has greatly helped. I keep it on the shelf with my chicken bouillon. There is also the No Beef Bouillon.

  • Birdeye Steamfresh I have never been a fan of frozen vegetables, even knowing how much healthier they are than the canned vegetables. So, I was shocked when I tried these and the whole family liked them. My oldest who has never liked corn, is eating it without any hesitation. We have also tried the sweet peas, asparagus, and the broccoli. This is quickly becoming a staple food item. It also does not hurt that the bag cooks in five minutes in the microwave! Here is a link for a coupon from the Birdseye Website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Healthy Snacks During and After School

For those who don't know, our mom, Jane, is a dental hygienist. Tracie and I grew up in a very sugar sheltered world. I was probably seven before I tried Lucky Charms. As deprived as I thought I was then, I can't believe that stuff is still on the shelves now. My girls are growing up in the same kind of household 25 years later. Mom gave me this list of healthy kids snacks over Christmas, and I have now uncovered it on day 3 of being off for snow. So, here it is. . .there are some great ideas!

  • Fruit kabobs; melons, grapes, and berries
  • Slivers of carrots of celery with hummus
  • Whole grain bagel with peanut butter
  • Soft, whole wheat taco shell with melted low-fat cheese
  • Mozzarella string cheese with whole grain crackers
  • Smoothies made with low-fat yogurt and frozen berries
  • Trail mix made with popcorn and nuts
  • Salsa and chips
  • Mini pizzas made on whole wheat English muffin
  • Turkey roll ups
  • Whole grain cereal with fresh fruit
  • Slice banana with peanut butte and cereal sprinkles

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Herbs de Provence

Last summer I picked up a jar of seasoning at TJ Max, one of my favorites, to try out. It is called Herbs de Provence. It was in a beautiful little jar. Turns out I love it. I am about out, so I will need to concoct my own recipe soon, or find another jar to purchase. The mixture of herbs is a wonderful of blend of aromas and tastes. Yet, it is not overpowering. We have had it on chicken, fish, potatoes, and even on fresh cucumbers with vinegar and oil. If you don't make your own I would at least try to find a jar to try out.

1 teaspoon lavender
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons thyme
4 teaspoons summer savory (or 1 tablespoon winter savory)
2 tablespoons tarragon
2 tablespoons of marjoram

Spices and Herbs! Oh my!

Along with my baking organization, came my organization of my spices and herbs. Can you tell I was a bit stir crazy!?!?!? But, I am ready for all that may come my way. . . for cooking anyway. Here is my list of essential herbs and spices.

The Basics for Everything

  • Olive Oil
  • Salt (Kosher and table)
  • Pepper (ground and pepper corns)
  • Bouillon Cubes (chicken, beef, and vegan)
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar (Balsamic and Salad)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Honey

Herbs and Spices

  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cumin
  • Ginger Root
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon Sticks

Seasoning Mixes I LOVE that save cooking time!

  • Steak Seasoning
  • Creole Seasoning (Emeril's in particular)
  • Greek Seasoning (Cavenders)
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Cinnamon and Sugar Mixture
  • Seasoning Salt
  • Herbs de Provence (French mixture- recipe to follow)

Baking Essentials

Well, being cooped up for a few days while it sleet and snows allows one to do things one normally doesn't do... like clean and organize cabinets. So, I am now restocked for any baking needs I may have. Here is what I found I need for almost any dessert. If I keep this stuff around, I can bake and take for almost any occasion. It also saves me money in the long rum when I only have to pick up a couple of things for before a project. Is there anything I missed?

• sugar
• flour
• brown sugar
• vegetable oil
• vanilla
• confectioners sugar (powdered)
• baking soda
• baking powder
• cocoa
• chocolate chips
• yeast
• Crisco
• Cinnamon
• food coloring
• cake mixes
• boxes of jello
• boxes of pudding
• frosting tubs
• cool whip
• eggs

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black Bean Burger

Meatless Monday is here again. Last week Clay said he was about "souped out." This means spring is coming, and soup season is coming to a close. So tonight I tried a new recipe. I enjoy blackbean burgers when I go out, but this was super easy. It will become a staple for me.

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 to 1 cup bread crumbs

1. In a skillet saute the onion, carrot, bell pepper, and celery with a bit of olive oil.

2. Once they have been cooked down add them to a food processor with the black beans. Also add the egg, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pulse the food processor until the mixture is ground evenly.

3. Remove the mixture from the food processor. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. It will take anywhere from 1/2 cup to a cup of breadcrumbs.

4. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 30 (or overnight) to let it thicken a bit. Then, form into four patties.

5. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side. If skillet cooking, about 8 minutes on each side, on medium heat.

Add to bun with all of the burger "fixins" you can find. Enjoy!