Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheesy Bloomin' Onion Bread

Here is a quick and scrumptious appetizer sure to please!  I changed things up a bit by using the same (amounts slightly modified) buttery mixture I use for my Ham and Swiss Party Rolls instead of plain melted butter.  Thanks to my dear friend Avril who introduced me to this yumminess!

Cheesy Bloomin' Onion Bread
Recipe adapted from:  Baking and Creating with Avril
  • 1 loaf crusty Sourdough bread.  You want something with a good crust on it, otherwise, it will not survive the cutting
  • 14 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Melted Butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Green Onions, white and green parts sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread length-wise and width-wise without cutting through the bottom crust.
Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Insert cheese slices between cuts. Combine butter, Worcestershire Sauce, Dry Mustard,and Onion Powder.  Drizzle over bread. Sprinkle Poppy Seeds and green onions over the top of the bread, making sure to get into each nook and cranny.  Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Unwrap the bread and bake 15 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
The Country Cook
This Chick Cooks
Eat at Home

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Choco-Chery Chookies

Kiddo C loves cherries...I mean LOVES cherries.  So, it shouldn't be a shocker that she LOVED these cookies.  I mean, really, who doesn't love that chocolate and cherry combination?!  These cookies are a delightful fudgey brownie like bite with a splendid cherry surprise. 

Choco-Cherry Cookies
Recipe Source:  My Tasty Treasures
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 48 Maraschino Cherries (10 oz jar) undrained.  (I only used about 30-ish)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, combine flour and cocoa powder, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on high for 30 seconds.  Beat in sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add in egg and vanilla and continue beating to incorporate.  Slowly, add flour/cocoa mixture. 
Shape dough into 1" balls.  Make an indentation into each cookie with your thumb.  Drain cherries, reserving juice.  Press a cherry (or half of a cherry if they are large) into each cookie.
In a small pan, melt chocolate chips in the sweetened condensed milk.  Add 4 tsp cherry juice.
Spoon 1 tsp frosting over cherry in each cookie.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for one minute before removing to rack.

This recipe has been linked to:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Eat at Home

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pecan Crack

These.  Are.  AMAZING.  Like seriously, unbelievably amazing.  Oh, did I mention super-simple to make to boot?!  Oh, and did I mention that your house will smell so freaking luscious that your neighbors will be walking zombie-like down the sidewalk towards the smell?!  Oh, and did I mention they are AMAZING?!  OK, enough of that...go and make these immediately.  I will wait until after the holidays for the songs of gratitude to be written in my honor.  I am a giver that way ;)

Pecan Crack
  • 1 pound Pecan halves
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 TBSP Vanilla
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Preheat oven to 275 degrees
Beat the egg white and vanilla together until frothy. Stir in one pound of pecan halves into the mixture. Stir to coat.
In another bowl, mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, and  pumpkin pie spice. Pour sugar mixture into moistened pecans. Thoroughly mix so that pecans are well coated with sugar and spice combination.
Spread on large cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Even though it may not look like it is working, the last 10 minutes or so it really starts drying out and getting that amazing candy crunch on the outside.

This recipe has been linked up at:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oatmeal Coconut Chewies

These are fabulous cookies....dare I say my favorite of all the auditioning newbies.  Butter-y, vanilla-y, with a sublime crispy/chewy thing going on.  Even my coconut-hating husband loved them!  The oatmeal and coconut just lend the right amount of flavor and texture to kick these babies right to the permanent Goody Tray' shizzle!

Oatmeal Coconut Chewies
Recipe Source:  My Tasty Treasures via Mel's Kitchen Cafe
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to cool room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup quick oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream together the sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased or lined (silpat or parchment) baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are set but not overly browned (bake a few minutes longer for a crispier version).

This recipe has been linked up at:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Goody Platters

...SHHH!  Don't tell my neighbors, the Fire Department or the Police Station in my neighborhood, but here are the goodies that will be on this year's Holiday Goody Platters.  There are pictures and links to the recipes I already have on the blog, but I need your help deciding which others to share sooner rather than later.  What, of these goodies would you like the recipe for right away?  Give me your top 3 and I will FOR SURE get those posted by Monday, pinky promise! :)  Hopefully I can squeeze in a few more between Monday and Saturday. 
Hope you are all remembering to have FUN and take time for extra snuggles during this crazy time of year!

~Holiday Spiced and Roasted Candied Pecans, aka Pecan Crack
~Melted Snowman Cookies
~Oatmeal Coconut Chewies
~Coco-Cherry Cookies
~Deconstructed Popcorn Balls
~Super Simple Peanut Butter Fudge
~Peanut Butter Blossoms
~White Trash Candy  (The name of this CRACKS me up)
~Graham Cracker Toffee
~Nutella Potato Candy
~Cream Cheese Mints
~Holiday Nuggets (an almond-y, shortbread-y cookie that looks like a sparkly Mexican Wedding Cookie)

Reindeer Poop  -  I will make these into small truffle-sized balls....hey, my kiddos named them, lol!

Blinged-Out Holiday Rolo Turtles  -  Will drizzle with white chocolate and sprinkle with red and green sprinkles

Brown Butter Sea Salt Rice Krispy Treats  -  Again, will dress these bad-boys up with a drizzle of white chocolate and holiday sparkly goodies

And here are some additional ideas for your holiday platter:

This post has been linked up at:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scooter's Baked Spaghetti

We are back from Texas.....WHEW, what a trip!  I think I deserve an award or something for going on a 3-day-each-way road trip by myself with 3 kiddos.  Or maybe a weekend spa getaway.  Or maybe a week-long nap.  Or maybe some of my favorite Sara Bee wine administered by intravenous drip.
We had a great time and the road trip was actually a breeze.  The kiddos were GREAT and there were no problems.  The only meltdowns/temper-tantrums were from me, lol!
During this time of the year, I firmly believe it is of the utmost importance to keep some sense of normalcy.  It is too easy to get swept up in the craziness.  For me, keeping up with family dinners is vital.  Not only does it ground you and remind you of what is really important, but it nourishes your body and soul for this stress-laden season.
This recipe has turned into a family favorite for sure.  The unique combination of ingredients gives is an almost lasagna-type quality.  Ohhh, the French Fried Onions really bump it up a notch and give such a great flavor and texture.  It is a cinch to make and would be a great dish to put together in the morning (sans French Fried Onions) and simply bake when you are ready.  We all really, really loved it!

Scooter's Baked Spaghetti
Recipe adapted from: Salad in a Jar
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)    
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
  • French Fried Onions (small can)
Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese and milk.  If your cream cheese is not soft enough, you can stick it in the microwave for a few seconds.  It should be able to spread easily.  Set aside.
In a skillet, saute the onions and peppers until translucent.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, but do not let it burn.  Combine vegetables to cream cheese mixture.  Add 1 cup of Mozzarella Cheese and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese to the cream cheese/veggie mixture and stir to incorporate.
In same skillet (less dishes) brown ground beef. Drain excess grease. Add spaghetti sauce to skillet and heat.

Using a 10 x 6 dish (I used a 9x13 and was ok), assemble in the following order:
Thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
Spaghetti Noodles
Cream cheese/vegetable/cheese mixture
Spaghetti Meat sauce
Remaining cup of Mozzarella Cheese and remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese (or more taste of course)
French Fried Onions (added during last 5 minutes of cooking)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with French Fried onion and continue baking 5 more minutes. (This is the secret ingredient–don’t let them burn.)

Make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze without the French Fried onions. Don’t forget to add them 5 minutes before casserole is finished cooking.

This recipe has been linked up to:
The Counrty Cook
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
This Chick Cooks

Monday, December 5, 2011

Menu Plan 12/5 - 12/10

Can I just say how happy I am to make and eat a homemade dinner?!  After about 2+ weeks of eating out and on the road, I am over to moon to dirty up my kitchen.  So, before I give you my final post on the Texas trip, here is my weekly menu plan:

Monday - Pulled Chicken Suiza Melts, Tortilla Chips (new)

Tuesday- BBQ Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Wednesday- Cranberry Mustard Pork Tenderloin, Rice, Salad
Thursday- Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken, Rice, Potstickers
Friday- Salmon, Cucumber Dill Relish, Rice Pilaf, Green Beans
Saturday- Roasted Green Bean and Red Potato Soup, Cornbread (new)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Puffy Tacos, Pot Brownies, and lots-a Meatballs

Well, after 3 days in the family truckster we made it to San Antonio!  Our trip went pretty smooth....and the only real melt-down happened when Kiddo A wanted to listed to Hakuna Matata...and Kiddo B thought it would be HI-larious to download the Chinese version of the song.  So of course, he freaked out, the harder we laughed, and then the more he freaked out some more.
So, let's get to the tasty portion of this blog post!
Road food highlights include:
This SERIOUSLY cool Coke Freestyle machine.
It had so many phenomenal flavor combinations and add-ins.  We enjoyed Peach Sprite, Raspberry Sprite, and Grape Sprite.  You MUST click HERE to find a machine in your is really so cool! We also enjoyed some Jack in the Box tacos and egg rolls.  Of course I had to eat a Breakfast Jack for my Dad....those were his FAVORITE!    We were also able to hit Steak and Shake for kids-eat-free weekends as well.
No trip through Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, and Austin would be complete without some Ikea Meatballs!
Ok, well maybe we only had them in Charlotte and Austin, but I waved lovingly in Atlanta and Houston, lol!
On Sunday night, we went to dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse
Which was really like the Old Spaghetti Factory, but not.  In all honesty, it made me miss the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Not that we ever really went all that often, but I have lots of great memories of the OSF in Seattle and when I eat in a bed, I expect to eat pasta with Mizithra Chesse and Browned Butter...and they did not have it (((sniff, sniff)))  As it was, the hubs and I spilt one of those ultimate feast plates that had a little bit of everything.  Their 15-layer lasagna and Chicken Parmesan was tasty!

Monday for lunch, we stumbled upon a uber-cool place called FREEB!RDS World Burrito

It was a totally funky joint with a hippy/free lovin' type thing going on.  They had a great Taco Special....$5.00 for 2 tacos, chips and salsa, and a drink.  I enjoyed one Steak Taco with pinto beans and Spanish Rice and one Carnitas Taco with Black Beans and Cilantro-Lime Rice.   Then I totally devoured a Pot Brownie!

They were scrumptious, baked  in a pot, lol! 

Last night, we went to dine at the beautiful La Hacienda.  This was the same place that was on Throwdown with Bobby Flay when he took on the ever-famous San Antonio Puffy Taco as well being featured on  Food Nation, Good Morning America, and Emril Lagasse.

It is truly a magical place.  FULL of outdoor seating with live music and TONS of twinkle lights hung on the trunks of these amazing trees.  We sat down at our table and ordered.  I of course ordered the famous Puffy Taco filled with chicken.  It was not like anything I had ever had before.  It wasn't a fried flour based dough like a Navajo was a corn base, but thick and puffy with a crispy outside.  It was a textural delight!

photo courtesy of
Louis Barrios (the owner) came to our table and introduced himself.  When he found out we were from out of town, he went and got us even more food to try and sat there smiling while we groaned in delight with each bite.  This is one of those restaurants that the service and management truly infuse their food with love and respect for the ingredients, and that makes it taste even better!
Louis had us try this amazing green sauce that he described as an Argentine Pesto (I think).
It was AMAZING!  He first sprinkled it in our rice, which was amazing, but I loved the garlicky/cilantro love on their ridiculously thick, hot, and homemade tortillas best.  This is one I will be trying to replicate FOR SURE!
Well, thanks for indulging me in this on-line travel diary of sorts.  I don't want to forget any morsel that made me smile on this trip :) 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Southern-Fried Roadtrip 2011

Why aren't we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.
So...just wanted to give you guys a heads-up.  The next few weeks will not be filled with Thanksgiving/Christmas goodies.  It will be filled with tales (and hopefully good food) from the road as I take our 3 kiddos on a road-trip from North Carolina to San Antonio/Austin, TX.  I will be sharing our trip with you...where we are going, what we are eating, things we are doing, my total and utter craziness, etc.   A real Southern-Fried Roadtrip if you will.
We are seriously considering a move to the San Antonio/Austin area and are trekking out there to do some reconnaissance.  I have explained before that I am the ying to Pioneer Woman's yang, so do not expect her travel diaries....we will be doing this trip staying extremely budget no 5-star hotels and fancy-pants food for us.  But that doesn't mean we can't have fun and tasty time, right?
I couldn't leaving you hangin' on the whole Thanksgiving feast case you missed it last year, here are the links for the Thanksgiving Extravaganza we did...there are TONS of recipes from friends and family!
Thanksgiving Appetizer Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Main Dish Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Side Dish Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Dessert Extravaganza
Thanksgiving Traditions and Table Scapes

Monday, November 14, 2011

Better Than Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

I am this close to a trifecta my friends!  I present to you "Better Than Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana".  The name pretty much says it IS better than the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden.  I am working on finding a fabulous salad dressing for the "Better Than Olive Garden's Salad".  I already have the breadsticks that I think are way better than Olive Garden's, found HERE.  Don't wait to make this one, it is SCRUMPTIOUS!

Better Than Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana
Recipe Source:  Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 lb ground hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (32 oz) chicken stock
  • 3 cups russet potatoes, cubed
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups kale, washed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
In a large pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain the grease. Add the sausage, breaking it apart as it cooks. Once sausage is browned and crumbled, remove sausage and drain off grease leaving a tbsp to saute the onion.
Add the onion to the pan; saute until translucent; add garlic; saute until fragrant.  Add the bacon and sausage back into the pot.
Stir in the stock and potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add kale and heavy whipping cream. Bring to a simmer. Top with Parmesan cheese, when serving.

This recipe has been linked up to:
This Chick Cooks
The Country Cook
Tidy Mom
SImply Sweet Home
Eat at Home

Monday, November 7, 2011

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla

This combination worked beautifully, amazingly, and scrunptiously.  Seriously, don't even question this one, just try it!

BBQ Chicken and Pineaaple Quesadilla
Recipe slightly adapted from:  Pioneer Woman
  • 8 Flour Tortillas
  • Butter
  • 1-2 cups Grilled Pineapple.  I used the canned Dole Tropical Gold, each chunk sliced in half once grilled
  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Optional, Cajun or Creole Seasoning
  • 3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated - I used a Cheddar, Jack, and Mozzarella blend
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced - I grilled my slices to mellow them out a bit
  • Cilantro, chopped - to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce, more to taste - My favorite is Bullseye original
Preparation Instructions
(To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.)
(To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun or Creole spice.  Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.
Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.
To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices. Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You'll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)
Add to a heated oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.  Black beans and rice make a GREAT side!

This recipe has been linked up to:
This Chick Cooks
The Country Cook
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sloppy DiMaggios

Blogging has introduced me to so many wonderful people that I truly count as friends.  One of those friends I met VERY early in my blogging life is Jill.  Jill had a food blog that was simply wonderful called Sublime Hodge Podge.  Though she has decided to stop writing for it, it is still up for a time to go grab her delicious recipes.  She is cooking up some good soap though, her Etsy shop, Sudsy Soaps, has the most spectacular soaps I have seen!  I am totally dying to try her Twilight Quad Soap Set for him and her.  LOVE it!
Anywho, Jill is the one who introduced me to this Rachael Ray recipe.  Since Kiddo B is a bonafide chili-dog NUT, she was all over it!  Kids and adults of all ages love this Sloppy Joe/Chili Dog hybrid.  Like all of RR's recipes, it is super quick and easy!  I made my Homemade Hoagie Rolls to serve it on,  but you could just use Kaiser Rolls or some other soft and chewy roll from the store.  Make sure and try this one soon!

Sloppy DiMaggios
Recipe Source:  Rachael Ray
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds lean ground sirloin or ground turkey
1 packages beef or pork hot dogs, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 onion, chopped
1 TBSP steak seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 TBSP chili powder
3 TBSP dark brown sugar
3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
9 soft burger rolls - like at the ballpark.  Click HERE to get the recipe for my Homemade Hoagie Rolls.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and crumble as it browns. Add chopped hot dogs after 3 to 4 minutes then cook 3 to 4 minutes more. Add the onions to the pan and cook to soften, 5 to 6 minutes more. In a bowl mix the spices, sugar, Worcestershire and tomato sauce. Pour sauce over the meat and simmer a few minutes to combine flavors. Slop onto buns and serve.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Taste and Tell Saturdays with Rachael Ray
This Chick Cooks

Monday, October 24, 2011

Snickers Caramel Apple "Salad"

...and by salad, I mean dessert.   Make no mistake, this is not a healthy is a Cool-Whip-Snicker-Bar-Caramel thing with the "salad" portion coming from the ever-so-lovely apples that are EVERYWHERE right now.  All that being said, this is a super yummy, completely unexpected treat.  This is a perfect dish for a Halloween party as well as a summer potluck. 

Snickers Caramel Apple "Salad"
  • 6 (2 1/4 ounce) Snickers candy bars, chill and chop
  • 6 apples, cored and chopped into bite sized pieces.  I like the combo of Granny Smith and Braeburn.  It is quite sweet, so the tartness of some Granny Smith really balance nicely. 
  • 1/2 cup Kraft Caramel Bits (they are by the chocolate chips in the grocery store)
  • 1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip
  • 1 TBSP instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix
  • 1 TBSP instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • Caramel Sauce for garnish
Mix the dry powdered pudding mixtures into the Cool Whip container until well combined.
In a large bowl, add chopped apples and Snickers Bars.  Add the Cool Whip mixture to the bowl and fold gently making sure to coat all the pieces evenly.  Warm caramel sauce in microwave, just to make pouring easier.  Drizzle top of "salad" with the caramel.  Chill for one hour.  Enjoy!

This recipe has been linked up at:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Caramel Apple Crisp Pizza

The NC State Farmer's Market is busting at the seams with apples, apples, apples.  It is just such a  fall sight for my sick-of-summer eyes.  In that spirit, here is a very fall recipe for you!  It is super scrumptious and really a snap to put kind of dessert.  It is perfect topped off with some vanilla ice cream, you know, to lighten it up a bit, lol! 

Caramel Apple Crisp Pizza
Recipe adapted from:  Life as a Lofthouse
  • Pastry for single-crust pie ( 9 inches )
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 TBSP All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Large apples, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces.  I like to use 1 Granny Smith and 2 Braeburn.  Definitely make sure you use at least 1 Granny Smith...the tartness pairs so well with the sweet.  Also, the combos of textures and taste keep it interesting!
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Butter, softened
  • Caramel topping...of course, if you can, use Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce

Lay out the pie crust on a pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Roll out slightly; fold under or flute the edges. Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add peeled, diced apples and toss. Arrange the apples in a single layer over the pie crust to completely cover it.
Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl and then sprinkle evenly over the apples.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven, cut into slices, and serve with a drizzle with caramel.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
This Chick Cooks

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Menu Plan 10/17-10/23

Monday - Poppy Seed Chicken, Steamed Rice, Peas, Rolls

Tuesday - BBQ Bacon Turkey Burgers, Garlic Potato Wedges

Wednesday - Upside Down Pizza Supreme, Olive Garden Salad

Thursday - Sweet and Sour Chicken, Steamed Rice, Potstickers

Friday - Oven Roasted Salmon, Creamy Cucumber Dill Relish, Rice Pilaf, Garlic Almond Green Beans

Saturday - Spasangna, Cheesy Garlic Bread

Sunday - Dave's Famous Chili and Cornbread

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken....a copycat recipe

It seems the older I get, the more unimpressed I get with restaurant food.  The concept is good, but somehow the execution just isn't there.  More often than not, I end up leaving a restaurant thinking "I could have made that".  So, it should come as no surprise that I love copycat recipes.  Can I just say, this was one tasty chicken dish!  I mean come on, what is not to love...chicken in a delightful honey mustard marinade that makes it insanely juicy, sauteed mushrooms, bacon, cheese?!?!  Also, as impressive as the dish seems, it is surprisingly easy to put together. 

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken
Recipe Slightly Adapted From:  A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur
  • 4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (10-12)
  • 2 TBSP Butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
For the Honey Mustard Marinade
  • 1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Whisk together the Honey Mustard Marinade ingredients either by hand, hand mixer, or blender until well combined.
Place defrosted Chicken Breasts into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and pour 2/3 of the marinade over top, making sure all the chicken gets covered by sauce.  Place remaining 1/3 Honey Mustard Marinade in the refrigerator.  Once it is nearing the end of the marinating time, cook your bacon and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
In a skillet over medium heat, heat up 2 TBSP of the Olive Oil.  Sear the chicken 3-4 minutes per side and remove to a baking dish. DISCARD Ziploc bag with marinade!
While the chicken is searing, heat Butter and reserved Olive Oil in a saute pan.  Add sliced mushrooms and allow to saute until soft and brown.  Near the end of the saute time, add Garlic Clove and cook until fragrant.
Once in the baking dish, brush each chicken breast with some of the reserved Honey Mustard Sauce, saving any leftover for serving if desired.  Stack 2 slices of bacon on each chicken breast, creating an "X".  Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the bacon, making sure to coat each breast evenly.  Spread 1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese and 1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese on top of the mushrooms. 
Bake the chicken for 8-10 minutes.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
This Chick Cooks
Eat at Home

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chili Verde (Mexican Stewed Pork)

You all know how I feel about the Mexican food here in North Carolina.  It is simply horrendous.  Stuffing a Poblano Pepper with hamburger and Velveeta does not a Chili Relleno make.   There were so may choices for a true, authentic Chili Relleno smothered with ridiculously SCRUMPTIOUS pork green chili when we lived in Colorado....Hacienda Colorado, Los Dos Patrillos, Brewery Bar, just to name my favorites.  So, what's a girl to do??  Experiment and try a billion recipes until she comes up with a winner.  As far as pork green chili goes, this is a winner.  It is much thicker and much more meaty than the smothering kind, but OH SO FLAVORFUL!  We enjoyed this stuffed in flour tortillas and topped with cheese, sour cream, and lettuce.  My daughter (who comes by her obsession with Chili Rellenos honestly) made a cheese and green chili quesadilla and used it almost as a scoop.  Brilliant I tell ya! 
However you choose to eat it, just eat it.  It is spectacular!

Chili Verde, aka Mexican Stewed Pork
Recipe slightly adapted from:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe
  • 2 TBSP vegetable or canola oil
  • 5 pounds boneless pork roast, or boneless country ribs, trimmed of as much fat as possible
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning roast.  I used salt and Montreal Steak Seasoning.
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
  • 3 (4 oz.) cans diced green chilies
  • 3 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 beef bouillon cube (or 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Cut the roast into 3-4 large chunks. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper on all sides. In a large heavy pot, the oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering and hot. Add the pork, being careful not to crowd the pot (brown the pork in shifts, if needed). Brown the pork on all sides until golden and well-browned, about 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Leave the roast in the pot and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Place the pork and garlic and onions in the slow cooker. Stir in the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. After the roast has cooked for the allotted time, remove the roast. Shred it into bite-size pieces and set aside, covered with foil to keep warm. Pour the remaining liquid and ingredients from the slow cooker into a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stove, and simmer vigorously over medium-low or medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking or burning, until the mixture considerably reduced and thickened. DON'T SKIP THIS STEP!!!  Reducing the sauce is essential in deepening the flavor of the sauce.  Add the pork roast and sauce back to the slow cooker. Stir to coat the pork with the sauce. Turn the crockpot to low or high and allow the pork to heat through again. Serve with warm tortillas and desired toppings, such as sour cream, cheese, avocados, lettuce, tomatoes.

This recipe has been linked up at:
This Chick Cooks
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
The Country Cook

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Menu Plan 9/26-10/1

Whoops...this should have been up yesterday....however, yesterday I had to do the Costco, Trader Joe's, Super Target run with my blue-eyed Monkey and his monkey named Jack.
Good-ol-Costco lunch

Jack got a piggy-back EVERYWHERE we went
 All of a sudden, it was 7:00pm.  I was starving and my dogs were-a-barkin'.  Dogs as in feet, not our sweet Bella. 
She never barks...or does anything else for that matter except grunt and  hold down the carpet. is what is on the menu for the week, as always, in no particular order:
  • BBQ Turkey Burgers, Fajita Fries
  • Crockpot Balsamic Chicken over Angel Hair Pasta, Caprese Brushetta
  • Skillet Beef Mac with Green Chilies and Corn, Rolls
  • Alice Springs Chicken (Outback Steakhouse Copycat recipe), Smashed Potatoes, Steamed Normandy Mix
  • Mandarin Chicken (Trader Joe's), Stir Fry Veggies, Steamed Rice, Potstickers

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blah Post

This isn't so much a blog-post as it is a blah-post. I just wanted to let you all know that I am still here. The Virgo-side of me is kicking in to give you a bullet point list (yes, I am SUCH a list-maker) at the reasoning for lack of posts lately:

  • I have been dealing with some schedule challenges as I embark on some new paths and priorities.
  • I am just feeling kinda "blah" right now.
  • I haven't really cooked anything new that has been "blog-worthy" lately.
  • Brutal honesty....Up until summer started, I had been working my ass off, literally, to lose weight and get into shape. Long story and several reasons later, I have gained it back. Embarrassing but true.
  • Food blogging is not a good outlet when you are trying to break your obsession of food. Imagine a freakin' crack addict trying to write about what it was like to get high. Extreme, yes, but to anyone who has struggled with weight loss/food addiction, you totally get it.
  • Food blogging feels like Project Runway..."One day you're in, the next day you are owwt". It has been a rollercoaster ride of feelings lately. I unfortunately haven't developed that tough layer yet. I don't like feeling like the needy, petty Jr. High girl in glasses and braces. I don't like the competition...but I am not sure if I don't like it because I am not winning...I don't like that I feel that way even less.
I am not quitting, but I will definitely be scaling back for a while. I feel inspired to share more of the journey that I am on now, you know, losing my ass...again, so perhaps I will start-up a separate blog detailing that. I just wanted to thank you all for all the love and support you have shown over the last 18-ish months and to let you know what was going on in my head and life right now. Love you all to pieces! XOXO


Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan 9/12-9/17

Here is what is on the menu plan this week (in no particular order)....what are you making?

~Southwest Chicken Enchilasgna

~Roasted Salmon, Rice Pilaf, Cucumber Dill Salsa, Garlic Green Beans
~Strawberry Chicken Salad, rolls
~Sausage and Roasted Peppers Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Ceasar Salad
~Whisky Peach BBQ Chicken, Smashed Potatoes, Ranch Wedge Salad
~Crockpot Chili Verde, Spanish Rice and Beans

Treats to make this week:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Pillows

Keeping it short and sweet today.
These fancy-shmancy looking little numbers are as easy as they are scrumptious.  The filling is so adaptable, my mind has been racing since I originally made them of all the wonderful tweaking I could do!

Chicken Pillows
Recipe Source:  Another spectacular one from Holly at Life as a Lofthouse
  • 2 cups Chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 TBSP Butter, softened
  • 1/2 TBSP dried Chives
  • 1/2 TBSP dried, minced Onion
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1- (8 oz) can Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 packet Chicken Gravy mix
  • 3/4 cup Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
Mix together the softened cream cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Add in chicken, chives, onion and season with salt and pepper.
Unroll your crescent dough and press together two triangles to create one rectangle. Make sure you press together the perforations well so your filling wont ooze out. You should have 4 rectangles total.
Spoon about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture into the center of rectangle. Fold each corner over the center of filling. Press together to cover filling entirely. Shape into a ball. Repeat with all rectangles. Once all pillows are formed, dip each into the melted butter, and then coat in breadcrumbs. Shake off excess. Place each coated chicken pillow onto the greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
While chicken pillows are baking, make the chicken gravy. In a small saucepan, mix together the cream of chicken soup, gravy packet and water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and let simmer and thicken until ready to use.
Pour gravy over each chicken pillow, serve, and ENJOY!

This recipe has been linked up at:
Eat at Home
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cube Steak Casserole

As we are preparing for our first hurricane experience which may or may not effect us, I have been drawn to comfy, homey dishes.  The kind of dish that is like a big-ol-hug from your Grandma.You know, staring down an angry category 4 hurricane, pushing it out to sea with your mid powers can sure take it out of you. 
This dish was a perfect choice, but careful, this is one FUGLY dish. 
Fugly, but YUM-I-LICIOUS!
This is one of those dishes that I wished for a scratch and sniff feature for my blog.
The highly affordable cube steak cooks until fork tender with creamy, beefy, mushroom-y rice on top.
The only change I will make next time is to cut the cube steaks into smaller steaks.  I had some gargantuan pieces that I ended up having to split because they were just too big, so I think cutting them into palm sized steaks will help with serving.

Cube Steak Casserole
Recipe Adapted From:  The Serendipity Bistro
  • 4-6 Cube Steaks
  • 1 packet dry Onion Soup mix
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 1/2 cans water (soup can, obviously)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, drained and chopped small
  • 1 cup Minute rice (brown or white)
  • flour seasoned to taste.  I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dredge cube steaks in seasoned flour. Brown cube steaks on both sides in a skillet of hot oil. Transfer cube steaks to a 9x13 baking dish. Mix Cream of Mushroom Soup, Onion Soup, Mushrooms, and water together. Pour over cube steaks. Sprinkle rice over all (aiming most to be in the liquid portion). Cover with foil & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Recipe linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
This Chick Cooks

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan 8/22/11-8/28/11

Trying a few new recipes this week and some tried and true favorites.  What are you having this week?

Monday - Cube Steak Casserole, Corn

Tuesday - Upside-Down Pizza Supreme, Salad

Wednesday - Chicken Pillows, Peas, Rolls

Thursday - Bowtie Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Homemade Breadsticks

Friday - Oven Roasted Salmon, Rice Pilaf, Cucumber Dill Relish, Garlic Almond Green Beans

Saturday- Easy Peasy Chicken Legs, Macaroni and Cheese, Ranch Wedge Salad

Sunday - Garlic Chicken with Pasta and Veggies

Goodies to make this week:
Baked Oatmeal
Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sticky Bun Granola

Friday, August 19, 2011

Strawberry Chocolate Nachos

Today is the last day of school before the kiddos track out for 3 weeks.  This last 6 weeks has flown by!  Seems like yesterday I was making my sparkly-eyed girls this scrumptious treat for their first day after-school snack.  I first saw this idea on Our Best Bites and fell in love.  What  better way to talk about your first day of school than over a plate of this deliciousness?!  Yes, this IS as good as it sounds and looks, plus it is super simple to put together.  Who was a ROCKSTAR, bestest-Mama-ever that day...this gal right here!

Strawberry Chocolate Nachos
Recipe Source:  Our Best Bites

Proportions are up to you, make to taste!
  • Baked Cinnamon Chips*** (see super simple recipe below)
  • Diced strawberries tossed with granulated sugar and left to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Melted Chocolate Chips (your choice of flavor).  Simply place desired amount of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second interavals, stirring in between until melted.
  • Whipped Cream.  I used the aerosol can stuff, but you can use fresh made or Cool Whip
Place Cinnamon Chips on a platter and top with diced strawberries.  Drizzle with melted chocolate (which I did by placing in a small sandwich baggie, snipping the corner) and top with whipped cream.

***For the Cinnamon Chips***
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt 4 TBSP butter and mix in 1 tsp vanilla.  Simply spread melted butter/vanilla mixture on top of some flour tortillas and sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top.  We liked it when we went a tad heavier on the cinnamon sugar than the ones we gave a light dusting.
Using a pizza cutter, cut tortillas into 8 wedges.  Place them (not touching each other) on an ungreased baking sheet (cinnamon sugar side up) and bake for  10-12 minutes.  Keep an eye on them so they don't burn!  Remove from baking sheet and put on a cooling rack.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.
These are AWESOME just eaten as a snack as well.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Simply Sweet Home
This Chick Cooks
Eat at Home

Monday, August 15, 2011

Eton Mess, aka our new favorite dessert

I have made this dish at least 10 times since Brandi, aka The Country Cook, first posted about it.  That is 10 times BEFORE I got a picture of it because the thought of not digging in immediately was ludicrious.  This simple dish is simply amazing.  Who doesn't love strawberries and cream?  Now add in the sweet delicate crunch of meringues, and you have a spectacular experience. 
I have tweaked some of the measurements based on personal prefernces, but it is more or less the same.
I hope you try it and love it as much as we have!

Eton Mess
Recipe adapted from:  The Country Cook

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • 2 TBSP granulated white sugar (more or less to taste)

  • 7-8 Meringue Cookies.  I use the Vanilla Meringues from Trader Joes, but use what you like or make your own, see recipe below.

Wash and slice strawberries placing them in a bowl.  Remove about 1/3 of them and process in food procesor or blender to make a chunky puree.  Add puree and sugar to sliced strawberries. 
Meanwhile, in a cold bowl using cold beaters, beat whipping cream until soft peaks start to form.  Add vanilla and desired amount of powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Don't go too long though, or you will get butter ;)
Gently, but throughly, fold the strawberry mixutre into the whipped cream.  Break up meringue cookies into smaller bite-sized chunks and carefully fold in as well.  Serve immediately. 

Meringue Cookies
Recipe Source:  Joy of Baking (video tutorial also avaiable by clicking the link)
  • 3 large egg whites (3 ounces or 90 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) superfine or caster sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar simply take granulated white sugar and process it for about 30-60 seconds in a food processor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can form the cookies with a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) plain tip, or I often just use two spoons to make the cookies.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Note: The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
Before placing the cookies on the cookie sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) tip. Pipe 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) rounds of meringue in rows on the prepared baking sheet. Alternatively, spoon mounds of meringue, using two spoons, onto the prepared sheets. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a few shaved almonds, if desired.
Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. (The meringues will release easily from the parchment paper.) Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying several hours or overnight. The meringues can be covered and stored at room temperature for several days.
Makes about 10 - 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) meringues

This recipe has been linked at:
This Chick Cooks
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Country Cooks Across America

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3 Envelope Crockpot Chicken

I took the kidlets to go see the Smufs this weekend, or as my 4-year old likes to call them, the Smurps.   It has inspired a song...

"La, la, la, la, la, la it's so Smurfing hot...
La, la, la, la, la, la how can you Smurf the whole day long?
Sooo, la, la, la, la, la, la Smurf this Smurfing song!"

Sorry, the heat has left me a wee-bit-cranky and drained my song-writing mojo.
Moving on...

I tend to pick my meals lately based on how little heat it will create in the house which is why we spend most of the summer eating salads, grilled foods, and Crockpot meals. The recipe I am sharing today creates a flavorful, juicy piece of chicken cooked in a fantastic gravy....and did I mention it is silly simple?! You can throw this bad-boy in the Crockpot, go to the pool for the afternoon, and come home to a house that smells slap-your-sunburn GOOD!

3 Envelope Chicken
Recipe Source: Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
  • 1 packet Ranch Salad Dressing mix
  • 1 packet Italian Salad Dressing mix
  • 1 packet chicken gravy mix
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Place thawed chicken breasts in a cold Crockpot.
Combine the Ranch Dressing Mix, Italian Dressing Mix, and Chicken gravy mix with 1 cup of cold water. Stir to combine. Pour over chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-4 hours. Make sure and cook up some mashed 'taters, egg noodles, or rice to pour some of that fabulous sauce on!

This recipe was linked up at:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Copycat KFC Coleslaw

Remember the Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders I shared with you last week?  Well, here is the slaw that I made to go with them.  Coleslaw and BBQ go together like Bert and Ernie...peanut butter and chocolate...Edward and Bella.....mac-n-cheese and fat-on-my-ass.  I like to put the slaw on top of the meat of the sandwich, it provides a wonderful acidity and crunch to counter balance the sweet, tender pork.
ANYWAY, this slaw is yum-i-licious.  It works wonderfully to make this the night before or even in the morning when you throw your meat in the want to let all the flavors make friends in the fridge for as long as possible.

Copycat KFC Coleslaw
Recipe adapted from:  My Tasty Treasures

  • 1 bag packaged Coleslaw Mix
  • 2 TBSP finely minced onion
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 TBSP white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
Pour 1/2 of the bag of Coleslaw mix into a large bowl and stir in minced onions.  Chop remaining Coleslaw mix into fine pieces and add to the bowl.  I like the combo of larger pieces and the smaller pieces, but if you like, you can leave it all as is, or chop it all fine to make it more of the "KFC-ish" texture.
Combine remaining ingredients, mixing until smooth to make the dressing.
Pour over vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly.
Cover bowl and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

This recipe has been linked at:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Menu Plan 8/1/11 - 8/6/11

UGH!  I have been so sporadic about posting menu plans lately...quite honestly, I haven't been all that great about following them either.  My girls started school mid-July and we have been getting used to a new routine and schedule. 
But, here it is...the menu plan for the week.  Here's hoping we can stick with it!

Monday - Salmon, Creamy Cucumber-Dill Relish, Rice Pilaf, Garlic Almond Green Beans
Tuesday - Okinawan Takoraisu
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Roasted Peppers & Onions, Homemade Breadsticks, Caesar Salad
Thursday - Shake and Bake Chicken Legs, Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
Friday - BBQ Pork Corn Bread Cakes, Ranch Wedge Salad
Saturday - Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti, Peas, Rolls

What are you having this week?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

This isn't a new has been around forever.  So, why has it taken me so long to try it?  Who knows...maybe it was the thought of using root beer.  However, it is the root beer that takes this BBQ Pork to a new level-o-yum!  For these IN-sanely hot days, this is a perfect crock-pot meal.  As a total bonus, it is silly simple as well as scrumptious. 
OK, going to go sit under the AC vent....keep cool everyone!

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders
  • 3-4 lbs pork butt/shoulder. 
  • 2 TBSP Montreal Steak Seasoning 
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) your favorite root beer.  Again, DO NOT USE DIET!!!  Seriously, seriously scary stuff happens when you heat all those crazy chemical sweeteners
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce.  My favorite is Bullseye Original.  I just saw a big taste test thing for BBQ sauces and Bullseye Original took first place ;)  Yup, I know how to pick a winner, lol!
  • Hawaiian Sweet Rolls for serving
Sprinkle Montreal Steak Seasoning over you pork roast.  Place in cold crock pot.  Add bottled root beer to crock pot, pouring around the roast to not disturb the seasoning.  Cook on low for 8 hours, or until it shreds easily.  Remove meat from crock pot and shred into desired sized pieces.  Drain and reserve liquid.  Add meat back into crock pot and add just enough reserved liquid to re-moisten meat, about 1/4 cup.  Add enough BBQ sauce to give meat a nice coating.  Let sit in crock pot on low until warm.  Serve on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.

This recipe has been linked up at:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Okinawan Takoraisu, aka Taco Rice

Today, you not only get an amazing recipe, but a little of the food-history behind it. 
In the 1960's, a Japanese chef took the love of American Tacos, popular with the US military stationed there, and gave it an Asian flair.  A hybrid if you will.  A wee splice.  A tweak.  Interestingly enough, it has now become one of the most well-known Okinawan dishes.  So, cliff-notes version:  taco flavors + Asian flair = major YUM enjoyed by all!
Everyone loved this dish, adults and kidlets.  There was something so subtle and special about the soy sauce in the taco meat...and then serving it over rice made it so cozy and scrumptious.  PLUS you get this amazing hot/cold thing that is amazing. 
お楽しみ !

Okinawan Takoraisu, aka Taco Rice
Recipe source:  La Fuji Mama
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef - use a leaner mix.
  • 3 TBSP Soy Sauce - I used low sodium
  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 4 cups steamed rice
  • 2 cups lettuce, shredded
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 12 ounces Queso Blanco, crumbled OR 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 cup your favorite salsa
  • 4 TBSP Sour Cream
Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until the onions are barely soft. Add the ground beef and break it into small chunks. Once the meat is cooked, add the soy sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Let this simmer until the liquid reduces.
Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of the steamed rice on each plate. Top with the seasoned beef.
Then top with the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and salsa, and finish it off with a dollop of sour cream.

This recipe has been linked up at:
This Chick Cooks
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Steak Pizzaola

You know that Sheryl Crow song "A Change"? 
You know....
"A change (change, change) would do you good
I said a change (change, change) would do you good  (a change would do you goooood)"
What does that song have to do with this recipe?  Well, not too much other than it is the song that kept going through my mind as I ate it, and now that I am sharing it with's BACK!
This recipe is a fabulous change-up to the taste buds.  Not really a typical "spaghetti with meat sauce", it is my favorite pizza toppings with scantly sauced steak so tender and flavorful, your mouth will be doing the happy dance.
So, go make a change and try this recipe, it will do you good.
Yes, corny segway...what can I say...I am EXHAUSTED today and the coffee has not kicked in quite yet.

Steak Pizzaola
Recipe slightly adapted from:  My Tasty Treasures who adapted from Rachael Ray
  • 2½ pounds steak.  I used Sirloin, but you can use Porterhouse or Ribeye, I would not use a Flank Steak.
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 3 TBSP olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced, crushed or pressed.
  • 1/2  tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced.  I used 1 red and 1 green.
  • 2-3 ounces sliced pepperoni, diced
  • ½ cup dry red wine(I used Merlot)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste 
  • Cooked pasta, I used Bowtie to stand up to a heavier sauce.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Season the steak with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to the pan. Brown 3 minutes on each side and remove. Add another turn of the pan extra-virgin olive oil and reduce heat to medium high. Add garlic, pepper flakes, mushrooms, onions, peppers and pepperoni, if using. Cook mixture 5 minutes, then add wine and scrape up any good-bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, to taste. Slide steak back in and reduce heat to medium. Cover pan and cook 6 or 8 minutes for medium rare, 10 to 12 minutes for medium well. Remove meat, let rest a few minutes, slice and place back in sauce. Serve over pasta.  Make sure to top with plenty of grated cheese.

This recipe has been linked to:
This Chick Cooks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Eat at Home