Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
lattice chicken pot pie
Mexican street corn pasta
chicken Ghiveci
creamy chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno jack popovers
butter basted ribeyes, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
brisket tacos, pinto beans
pork souvlaki, naan

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Brisket Tacos

Brisket Tacos

2 cloves garlic
1 onion sliced
2 pound brisket, trimmed of most of the fat
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 15 ounce can red enchilada sauce
12 tortillas
Guacamole


Place the garlic and onions on the bottom of the crockpot and place the brisket on top. Sprinkle the chile powder and salt over the brisket, pour in the enchilada sauce. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Remove the brisket from the crockpot and shred with two forks. Return the meat to the crockpot and toss with the sauce. Serve on warm tortillas with guacamole.
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Monday, October 16, 2017

Creamy Tortilla Soup


We could live on tortilla soup in our house, doesn't matter the variety.  I always make a huge batch so that both C and Miss F have plenty of leftovers for their lunches, I always take some too.  This recipe was fantastic and was a huge hit.  I only wish their wasn't such an avocado shortage right now, it pains me to pay nearly $3 an avocado, even though they are totally worth it, I much prefer the normal $1 price.  This recipe was adapted from Cooking Classy.
Creamy Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 cups half and half
¼ cup flour
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
¼ cup sour cream
For serving:
Shredded cheese, diced avocados, corn tortilla chips

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeno, sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Add the broth, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts, bring the mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove the chicken and let rest for 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes. Whisk ½ cup of the half and half with the flour. Pour the half and half mixture into the pot, stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining half and half and cook for 3 minutes, until the soup has thickened. Dice the chicken, add it to the pot along with the black beans, pinto beans and corn. Stir in the sour cream just before serving. Serve topped with cheese, avocadoes and tortilla chips.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Butter Basted Ribeyes


I made two ribeyes, figuring Miss F could share with C and me. Turns out, these steaks were a huge hit with everyone and I definitely finished dinner wanting more. Next time, I will make each one of us our own steak.  Miss F still refuses to eat potatoes, she tried one bite of the twice baked potato and declared them to be gross.  Such a silly girl.  This recipe is adapted from Food and Wine.
Butter Basted Ribeyes

Two 1 pound, bone-in rib eye steaks
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig

Season the ribeyes with the salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the steaks and cook for 5 minutes, flip the steaks and add the butter, thyme, garlic and rosemary to the pan. Baste the steaks with the butter and herb mixture, for about 5 minutes more. Transfer the steaks to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Pumpkin Gingerbread Bundt Cake


To continue with my mindset of willing it to be fall even though it feels like 100 degrees outside, Miss F and I decided to bake with pumpkin after we purchased a few pumpkins for our porch. She had requested a cake of some sort and having just made a bundt cake for my mom's birthday, I knew I wanted to use the pan again.  I adore gingerbread, especially when served warm with a healthy dollop of whipped cream.  This recipe had the perfect spice and the pumpkin made the cake incredibly moist.  This recipe was adapted from McCormick.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Bundt Cake

4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, brown sugar, molasses and butter on medium speed until combined. Add the egg, mix well. Add the flour and water, alternating and beating on low just until blended. Pour the batter into a greased 12 cup Bundt pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, invert cake onto the wire rack and cool completely. Slice and serve with whipped cream.
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Spicy Corn Chowder


We were in Colorado this past weekend, where it actually felt like fall...and then winter.  A huge winter storm rolled in on Sunday and we made it out of town just in time.  Vail Pass was closed overnight because of the poor driving conditions and the next morning our neighbors reported that we had gotten over a foot of snow!  Hopefully this is a good omen for ski season.  And then we returned to the land of eternal summer, but I can still pretend it is fall and make all sorts of soups for the 90 degree weather.  This recipe is adapted from The Neelys on Food Network.
Spicy Corn Chowder

4 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small jalapeno, chopped seeds and ribs removed
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 large red potatoes, well scrubbed and small diced
1 cup half and half
16 ounces frozen corn
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the onions and red pepper, sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the jalapeno and garlic, saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour until thoroughly combined. Cook the flour until it reaches a slight blonde color, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken stock and the potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes; potatoes will become soft. Add the half and half, corn, cayenne and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 more minutes. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with the reserved bacon.
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Monday, October 2, 2017

Garlic Shrimp and Sundried Tomato Pasta


Whenever C is out for the evening, Miss F and I always indulge in seafood. We had visited my parents for crabs and got a couple pounds of fresh shrimp from the Kemah seafood market. The shrimp there are so much better than what you can get in the grocer.  Miss F has become and expert shrimp peeler, which makes dinner prep a breeze.  She wasn't a huge fan of the sun dried tomatoes, but that meant all the more for me.  I used dried sun dried tomatoes and rehydrated them with boil water.  I added a bit of the water the tomatoes steeped in to the sauce.  This recipe is adapted from Julia's Album.
Garlic Shrimp and Sundried Tomato Pasta

12 ounces linguine pasta
2 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup sundried tomatoes
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 cup half and half (or milk)
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Prepare the pasta per package instructions, drain and set aside, reserving the cooking water.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and tomatoes, sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the shrimp, salt and paprika, cook for 5 minutes more, until the shrimp are pink. Add the half and half, basil and red pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and pasta, adding any of the reserved cooking water if the sauce needs thinning.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Crockpot Hatch White Chicken Chili

Crockpot Hatch White Chicken Chili

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
¾ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cups chicken broth
3 to 4 roasted hatch chiles, chopped
1 package frozen corn
4 ounce cream cheese, softened
¼ cup half and half
sliced avocados
tortilla strips
shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Add chicken breasts to bottom of slow cooker, sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Top the chicken with the onion, garlic, broth, Hatch chiles and corn, stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the chicken and cut into chunks. Return the chicken to the crockpot, add the cream cheese and half and half, stir, cover and cook on high for 20 minutes more. Serve with avocadoes, tortilla chips and cheese.
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Rigatoni all'Amatriciana


C is semi-obsessed with Mario Batali. Every time he visits New York City, he has to go to Babbo. His main obsession is the olive oil cake, but he loves every dish he has ever been served there. We are going to NYC in a few weeks, it will be Miss F's first ever visit, and he was sure to make reservations at Babbo as soon as possible. The funny part is that he has seen Batali twice on the street, once in Aspen and once in NYC, and he didn't have the courage either time to stop and say hello. This recipe from Batali was a huge hit in our family and it might be the best tomato sauce I have ever made. It was truly amazing.
Rigatoni all'Amatriciana

2 pounds fresh tomatoes
1 pound rigatoni
¼ pound thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
½ red onion, halved and thinly sliced
¼ cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
½ cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

Seed and chop the tomatoes, add to a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the tomatoes release their liquid, stirring often. Press the tomato mixture through a mesh strainer, making sure to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the skins, reserve the strained liquids.

In a large saucepan, cook the rigatoni until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook 3 minutes moe. Add the tomato paste and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the strained tomatoes and bring the sauce just to a simmer.

Add the pasta and reserved cooking water to the sauce and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the pasta is coated. Remove from the heat and stir in the ½ cup each of cheese and parsley. Season the pasta with salt and black pepper and transfer to bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve, passing more cheese at the table.
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Firecracker Chicken

Firecracker Chicken

3 tablespoons Sriracha
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the Sriracha, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic in a small sauce pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved into the sauce. Heat the oil in an oven safe sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Pour half of the sauce over the chicken, reserving the remaining sauce for dipping. Bake for 15 minutes, serve over rice with additional sauce on the side.
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Tomatillo Pork Enchiladas

Tomatillo Pork Enchiladas

12 corn tortillas
2 cups cooked pulled pork
2 cups shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
½ cup tomatillo salsa (or your favorite salsa verde)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 40 seconds. Mix the pork with 1 cup of the cheese. Place a couple spoon fulls of the pork mixture in each tortilla, roll up and place in the prepared pan.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or so, whisking the whole time. Whisk in the broth and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth, heat for 5 minutes until thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and salsa. Pour the sauce over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for 3 minutes or so to brown the cheese. Serve.
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Emeril’s Shrimp Etouffee

Emeril’s Shrimp Etouffee

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ½ tablespoons flour
½ cup onions, chopped
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning Emeril's Original Essence
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked white rice

In a large sauté pan over mmedium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring continuously to make a roux. Stir until the roux is peanut butter colored, about 5 minutes. Add onions, peppers and garlic to roux, cook stirring often for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, whisking well to incorporate the roux. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the shrimp with the remaining Cajun seasoning. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Serve over rice.
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hatch Chile Tortilla Soup

Hatch Chile Tortilla Soup

4 large summer tomatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 frozen package corn
4 hatch chiles, roasted, stemmed and seeded, then diced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Slice the tomatoes in half, place cut side down onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Broil for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining olive oil to a dutch oven and heat over medium. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic, cumin and salt, cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan. Stir in the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend with a hand blender. Stir in the black beans, corn, hatch chiles and chicken breasts. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred with two forks, return the shredded chicken to the pot. Serve, topped with tortilla chips, cheese and avocado slices.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston


I had a recipe set to post today, but in light of the last few days, I decided against it.  Houston and the surrounding areas have suffered massive losses.  We have been incredibly lucky to only have to deal with a leaking roof and fireplace.  So many of my dear friends have suffered so much through the rains of Hurricane Harvey.  Many people have been forced to evacuate, leaving their homes and all their possessions behind, not knowing what they will be coming home to or even when they will be allowed to return home.  I have a friend who's neighborhood was overwhelmed with rising flood waters and her amazing husband got in his canoe and rescued hundreds of people.  The devastation and sadness is immense.  The life changing decisions that are having to be made right now in our city breaks my heart.  I didn't grow up here, but for the last 22 years I have been proud to call Houston my home.  I love this city and the people in it.  And I hope the rains stop so that we all can get a chance to collect ourselves.  

A friend texted me a picture of a fresh baked loaf of bread she had just made from a recipe on the blog.  Most grocery stores aren't open and the ones that are certainly don't have bread, that was sold out last week.  I know it's a silly thing, especially in such a dark time, but I got a little smile this morning knowing that bread was being baked through all this mess.  We baked  my grandmother's Lazy Daisy cake on Saturday, having a slice of cake each day has brought a tiny bit of joy to us.  Cooking and baking is part of my family life and I am so grateful to be able to share that with you.  I hope that all my neighbors are safe, warm and enjoying a good meal through this storm.  The rescues continue and Houston's strength is showing. #HoustonStrong
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Monday, August 21, 2017

Peach Lemonade


Miss F's school participates in the program, One School, One Book, every summer. The whole school reads the same book and activities are planned around it during the start of school. This summer, they read The Lemonade War.  The kids were encouraged to have a lemonade stand over the summer.  Miss F wanted to incorporate the fresh Palisade peaches we were loving in Colorado in her lemonade and the results were fantastic.  As a side note, our house in Colorado came furnished, complete with a peach and lemon breakfast table.  I despise it and hope to replace it soon, but it was the perfect backdrop for fresh peach lemonade.  Miss F made some pocket money after purchasing her supplies and had a great time with the lemonade stand.
Peach Lemonade

8 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 large peaches, pitted and chopped
1 cup lemon juice, from about 5 large lemons

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water with the sugar and the peaches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the peach liquid from the saucepan through it. Press to extract all the juice from the peach pieces. Stir together the remaining 6 cups water, the lemon juice and the strained peach juice. Refrigerate and serve over ice.
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rainbow Trout with Green Bean Succotash


City Market finally had trout! It was cause for much celebration.  We decided to take our favorite farm stand's vegetables and combine them with Miss F's favorite ever fish.  She did eat her corn raw, because she prefers it that way, but she inhaled her most favorite fish.  This was the first meal we enjoyed on our new patio set, that I triumphantly put together all by myself.  It was a true feat.  We only have a few days left of patio dining and then it is back to Houston where patio dining won't be an option for months to come.
Rainbow Trout with Green Bean Succotash

2 rainbow trout filets
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob
¾ cup chopped green beans
½ cup grape tomatoes, cut into halves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

Coat the trout filets with the flour and sprinkle with the salt. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the trout skin side down, sauté for 5 minutes. Flip and sauté for 3 minutes more. Remove the trout to a plate, cover to keep warm. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add the corn, green beans, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Sauté for 4 minutes, stirring often. Plate the succotash and top with a fish filet.
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Cream Sauce


Miss F and I are loving our summer of seafood.  She is mildly obsessed with the green sauce at Pappasitos and I make a quick version of equal parts tomatillo salsa and sour cream to appease her.  I have been wanting to use it on fish tacos forever, just never got around to it.  I do miss our seafood selections in Houston, the seafood counter is much more limited here in the mountains of Colorado.  I am still a little bitter that trout is so hard to come by.  These tacos are the perfect summer meal and couldn't be any easier. 
Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Cream Sauce

¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup tomatillo salsa
pinch of salt

For the Baja Fish Tacos:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound mild fish, I used cod, but would prefer red snapper
½ teaspoon salt
8 small corn or flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cabbage (I used a cole slaw bag, so it had some carrots as well)
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1-2 limes, cut into wedges

Whisk together the sour cream, salsa and salt. Set aside.

Add butter and oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the garlic to the pan for 30 seconds. Season the fish on both sides with the salt. Sauté the fish 2 to 4 minutes a side until cooked through.

Take a tortilla and add a small amount of the cabbage, squeeze a little lime over it (this helps flavor it a bit), then add the fish pieces and top with the avocado. Top with a drizzle of tomatillo cream and a squeeze of lime juice.
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Palisade Peach Pie


I had never heard of Palisade Peaches before, but my BFF raved about them when we were talking about peaches (like you do) and so when I saw a pick up truck with a giant "Palisade Peaches" sign, I knew I had to stop.  I got a huge bag of peaches for $8, one of which was eaten by Miss F straight away, and knew pie was in my future.  I used refrigerate pie crusts because I didn't want to try and deal with making pie crust in a kitchen with out air conditioning.  We are hosting Thanksgiving in Colorado and I will attempt homemade crust then, when there will hopefully be snow on the ground.  C loved the filling, but was meh on the crust.  I guess he much prefers homemade, who doesn't? 
Palisade Peach Pie

3 ½ pounds peaches
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup flour
2 refrigerated prepared pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pan of water to a boil and make a large bowl of ice water. Score an “X” into the bottom of each of the peaches. Boil each peach for a minute, then put straight into the bowl of ice water. Peel the peaches, then slice into wedges.

In a large bowl, stir together the peaches, lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Place the one of the pie crusts into a pie pan. Add the peach mixture to the pan, mounding high in the center. Top with the second pie crust and crimp the edges to seal. Make three cuts in the center of the crust to vent the pie.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and cover the edges of the pie with foil, bake for 30 to 40 minutes more. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Shrimp Stir Fry


I have had this recipe from Pioneer Woman pinned for years.  I finally got around to making it for Miss F and I, but I made a bunch of changes from the original.  We don't have air conditioning in Colorado, even though we are at nearly 9000 feet, it gets hot in the evening.  I prefer to spend as little time in front of the stove as possible, so I decided to cook everything at once instead of in phases.  The tomatoes melted into the butter providing the most delicious sauce which was really brightened up with the squeeze of lemon at the end.  You could easily toss a half pound of angel hair with this dish for an even more substantial meal.  But cooking angel hair means more heat in my kitchen, so that wasn't happening. 
Summer Shrimp Stir Fry

3 tablespoons butter
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Juice of ½ lemon

Melt the butter in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Squeeze the lemon half all over the shrimp and vegetables, toss well to coat, serve.
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Roasted Steelhead Trout with Green Beans and Tomatoes


Ever since our visit to the lakes region in Austria, Miss F has been obsessed with fish. Her favorites are char and trout. Seeing that we are in trout country, I decided to have prepare trout for dinner. The only issue we had was that there was only steelhead trout available at the grocer, which isn't a very Coloradoan fish. Nonetheless, the tomatoes and green beans were from the Vail Farmer's Market, so we had a somewhat local meal.  The dish is amazing and the perfect summer weeknight dinner.  Miss F loved the fish and could have probably eaten both filets.
Roasted Steelhead Trout with Green Beans and Tomatoes

4 steelhead trout filets
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
¾ pound green beans, trimmed

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the filets on it. Stir together the butter, 1 clove of minced garlic, and ½ teaspoon of the lemon pepper. Brush the butter over each filet. Whisk the olive oil, remaining clove of minced garlic and ½ teaspoon of the lemon pepper in a bowl. Toss the tomato wedges and green beans in the olive oil. Add the tomato and green beans to the pan. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thai Basil Shrimp


Long time, no post... It's been a crazy month or so. We took an amazing vacation to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos for two and a half weeks and then drove up to our house in Colorado, where we will be spending the next five weeks.  It made for lots of amazing eating, but not so much in the way of cooking.  Miss F devoured basil shrimp when we were in Thailand, she couldn't get enough, so I decided to try and replicate the recipe at home and I think I was pretty successful.  I used a mild Fresno chile, but feel free to amp up the heat if you are so inclined.  This dish was successful, the rice, not so much.  Cooking rice at nearly 9000 feet is proving to be very tricky.
Thai Basil Shrimp

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ cup basil leaves
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 chile, seeded and chopped (I used Fresno)
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked white rice

In a small bowl, stir together the fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and basil leaves. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chiles to the skillet, sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the shrimp, stir fry 2 minutes more. Pour the sauce over the shrimp, stir fry 2 to 4 minutes more, until the shrimp are cooked through. Serve over rice.
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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Shrimp with Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad


My mom broke her patella while she was in Maryland a few weeks back, so she hasn't had quite the summer that she imagined she would have.  Luckily, she didn't need surgery, but she did need help in the kitchen.  My dad isn't a cook.  He once boiled hot dogs and corn on the cob in the same pan.  His rationale was that the grease from the hot dogs would "butter the corn."  Gross.  My mom has lots of fresh herbs and she always has gulf shrimp from the Kemah seafood market.  I stopped at the store on the way to her house to make lunch, picked up some fresh vegetables and this salad was invented.  Miss F inhaled the shrimp, tolerated the avocado and refused the rest.  Her loss.
Shrimp with Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 large avocado, chopped
10 leaves basil, minced
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, juice of ½ the lemon, ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently toss the tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and basil in the dressing. Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with the remaining salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan, juice the remaining lemon half over the shrimp. Sauté until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve the shrimp with the salad on the side.
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Instant Pot Steak Chimichangas


I love a good chimichanga, whether smothered in queso or dipped into guacamole, salsa and sour cream, it's all delicious.  I have never attempted making actual fried chimichangas at home.  I can get amazing chimichangas at one of the many amazing TexMex restaurants near our house, but I am totally happy baking up chicmichangas for dinner.  The Instant Pot makes shredded steak a breeze.  Miss F is a huge fan of anything that allows her to have guacamole, these chimichangas were a huge hit in our house.
Instant Pot Steak Chimichangas

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound flank steak, cut into cubes
¾ cup salsa

4 burrito (large) size tortillas
1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese

Place the oil in the Instant Pot and turn to “sauté.” Brown the steak pieces on all sides, then stir in the salsa. Cover and lock the lid, selecting the “meat/stew” setting for 30 mintues. When the beef is finished cooking, allow to rest for 10 minutes before manually releasing the steam calce. Shred the beef with two forks.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet. Combine the shredded steak with the cheese. Lay out the tortillas and top each with ¼ of the chicken mixture. Roll up the tortillas burrito style, placing them seam side down on the cookie sheet. Spray the top of the Chimichangas with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with sour cream, tomato and guacamole.
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Sesame Chicken


I love any sort of chicken stir fry, especially in the summer time when I don't want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen. Anything that cooks up in under 10 minutes is a huge win for me, especially when it is consistently 90+ degrees here, even in the evening time.  I much prefer using boneless skinless thigh meat in stir fries.  I think it cooks up nicer than boneless skinless chicken breast, which can dry out quickly in a stir fry.  I have this giant bag of sesame seeds that I got at a farmer's market and I have finally found a recipe that may allow me to actually use the whole bag, thank goodness. This recipe is adapted from Budget Bytes.
Sesame Chicken

1 large egg
2 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup water
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the egg mixture. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, when heated, add the chicken and all of the egg mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, stir together the soy sauce, water, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds and cornstarch. Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss well to coat completely. Once the sauce has thickened, serve the chicken over white rice.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Baked Chicken Gyros


This was a total recipe merge of two favorites in my house: Chicken Gyros and Baked Chicken Fajitas.  This is a fantastic summer meal, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for the win.  The chicken bakes easily, retaining it's moisture and flavor from the yogurt marinade.  I much prefer my recipe for Naan instead of pita bread, so I always serve gyros on Naan.  That being said, I tried to use my tortilla press to roll out the naan.  Baaaad idea...very bad.  You have to go the old fashioned way and roll them out by hand, but it is totally worth it.
Baked Chicken Gyros

4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound chicken breast

1 cucumber
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
24 ounces plain Greek yogurt
2 tomatoes, diced
6 pitas, warmed

Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken in a 9x13 baking dish in a single layer. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes,

Add the cucumber to the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 to 8 times until it reaches a coarse grated consistency. Drain liquid from the cucumber. Mince garlic with salt until it forms a smooth paste. Stir the cucumber and garlic into the yogurt.

Serve the chicken in the pita topped with the tzatiki and diced tomato.
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Thai Sweet Chili Pork Tenderloin


I have been obsessed with Thai Sweet Chili sauce for years.  Back in the wedding planning days, my friends and I would always go to this one sushi restaurant for happy hour after our bridal fittings with Arlene, the best seamstress ever.  The sushi was good, but I was completely obsessed with the calamari they served.  It was very lightly battered and a small dish of sweet chili sauce was on the side, perfect for dipping.  I always keep a bottle in our fridge and I decided to try it as a glaze for pork tenderloin.  It was perfection.  I served it over Edamame Succotash, which was the perfect pairing. 
Thai Sweet Chili Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin
½ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Place the pork tenderloin in the prepared dish. Bake the pork tenderloin for 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Whisk together the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Brush the sauce over the pork tenderloin and return to the oven for 5 minutes more. Remove the pork from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes more. Slice and serve with the sauce from the baking dish spooned over top.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo


The date on this recipe from Epicurious is 1995, which is about how long I have been making it.  I have made it countless times...from engagement parties to casual dinners at home to dinner parties.  It is a no fail recipe and is perfect for parties because everything can be prepped in advance.  The Monterrey Jack cheese adds a real richness beyond the cream and parmesan that you usually expect in an alfredo.  Feel free to add any fresh vegetables that you enjoy in an alfredo pasta, but I prefer the broccoli and red bell pepper as the original recipe calls for.
Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into ½ inch-wide strips
4 cups broccoli florets, from one large head
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups cream
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound penne, freshly cooked

Grease a 13x9 glass baking dish with cooking spray, set aside. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the chicken, broccoli and bell pepper; sauté until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, 1 cup of the Paremsan, Monterrey Jack, salt and red pepper. Simmer until the sauce is thickened slightly, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the penne pasta, toss well to coat. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan. Broil for 3 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. Serve.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Banana Blueberry Muffins


Miss F declared these to be the best muffins ever. She ,made them nearly entirely on her own, the only thing she didn't do was crack the eggs. For some reason she isn't ever wanting to crack the eggs, not too sure why. I think the addition of the orange juice is really what made these the best muffins ever for Miss F.  She couldn't stop talking about them!  She also loved the batter, after she was done dishing out the muffins (without too much mess,) she licked the bowl completely clean. This recipe is from Go Go Go Gourmet.
Banana Blueberry Muffins

2 overripe bananas, peeled and mashed
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
¼ cup orange juice
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, butter, sugar, vanilla and orange juice until well combined. Stir in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Use an ice cream disher to scoop the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Salsa Verde Tortilla Soup


As soon as I saw this Salsa Verde Tortilla Soup on The Barbee Housewife, it went onto our meal plan. Miss F is obsessed with salsa verde, so I knew it would be a huge hit in our house. And I was totally correct.  For the first time ever, Miss F tried avocadoes on her soup and she loved it.  I am known to be a bit of an avocado hog, so now I will have to buy an extra avocado whenever we have tortilla soup.  I usually give C a few slices and hoard the rest for myself.  I adapted the recipe a bit from the original because I never have cooked chicken and it was easy enough to cook and shred the chicken breasts while the soup cooks.  I am going to try this with traditional salsa as well, I bet it will be equally fantastic.
Salsa Verde Tortilla Soup

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups salsa verde
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package frozen corn
1 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
Tortilla chips
1 lime, cut into wedges

In a Dutch oven, stir together the chicken broth, salsa verde, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add the chicken. Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Shred the chicken with two forks, return to the pan. Stir in the black beans and corn, simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve topped with cheese and tortilla chips, with a lime wedge on the side.
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Monday, June 5, 2017

Instant Pot Barbecue Brisket


I love making barbecue brisket in the crockpot, but I really wanted to try it in the Instant Pot for a quicker weeknight summer meal.  The brisket cooks beautifully in the Instant Pot and comes out very tender.  Miss F despises barbecue sauce, so she topped hers with mustard instead.  She will put mustard on nearly any type of meat (and vegetables!)  The brisket was also great leftover on a sandwich made with Texas toast.  With plenty of pickles, of course.  This recipe makes a good amount of brisket, so be sure to count on leftovers from it.
Instant Pot Barbecue Brisket

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 fresh beef brisket (2-1/2 to 3 pounds), trimmed
2 cups beef broth
Barbecue sauce

Combine the salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the brisket. Pour the broth into the Instant Pot, then add the seasoned brisket to the pot. Set to “Meat” for 60 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally, remove the brisket. Slice against the grain and top with your favorite barbecue sauce.
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin


Pork tenderloin is such a great meat for the summer. It cooks great on the grill and in no time. I love hoisin sauce, the sweet Japanese barbecue sauce pairs perfectly with pork tenderloin.  I served it over the easiest (and quickest) brown rice ever.  1 cup brown rice and 1 1/4 cups water in the Instant Pot set to manual for 22 minutes...and you have perfect rice every time.  I steamed some broccoli in the microwave and a complete meal was on the table in under 30 minutes.  Miss F was wary of the rice because she has only ever seen me make risotto in the Instant Pot.  And she hates risotto (why?)  Luckily, she quickly realized that this was not risotto, so she doused hers in Sriracha and ate it all up.
Hoisin Pork Tenderloin

2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 pork tenderloin

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oil and Sriracha. Pour the marinade over the pork tenderloin in a large Ziploc bag. Seal and toss well to coat the tenderloin. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a glass baking dish and place the tenderloin in the pan, pouring the marinade over top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the internal temperature of the pork registers to 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Alternately, the tenderloin can be grilled over medium heat until the internal temperature of the pork registers to 160 degrees. Slice and serve.
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bagels


I adore bagels, they are one of the few breakfast foods that I actually enjoy. But I am very particular in how I like to enjoy my bagels. They have to be lightly toasted with just butter. No spreads, no schmears, no toppings. Plain toasted bagels with butter. Since I am so simple in my tastes, the bagels have to be quite spectacular. And this recipe, adapted from Sophisticated Gourmet, does not disappoint.  Miss F had so much fun trying to shape the bagels, she wasn't always successful, but she sure enjoyed trying to make the perfect circles.  Miss F is also a purist like I am, she has been enjoying a plain bagel with butter each morning for breakfast.  But she doesn't like them toasted...or even sliced!
Bagels

1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Add ½ cup of the water to the bowl of a stand mixer, stir in the sugar and then sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt, then the remaining ¾ cup of water. Mix until well combined. Using the dough hook, knead the dough for 10 minutes at medium-low speed. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with a towel, place in a warm spot and allow it to rise for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes more. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, shape each into a round ball. Gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball and form a ring, stretching each one until there is about a ½ inch hole. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly dust a baking sheet with the corn meal.

Reduce the boiling water heat to medium, using a slotted spoon, add the bagels to the water. Simmer for 2 minutes and flip over each bagel and simmer for 2 minutes more. Place the boiled bagels onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Butter Shrimp


Miss F served crawfish macaroni and cheese at her school Farm to Table presentation. One of her good buddies had chosen to present on shrimp. His mom brought in a crockpot full of shrimp and there wasn't a shrimp left! All the kids loved them, especially Miss F. I got the "recipe" from his mom and there wasn't much to it, but it was a huge hit at our house with Miss F's Grammy and Grandad.  My friend recommended HEB's house rub, but I realize that HEB isn't a national chain.  Any seafood rub will work, whatever best suits your taste.  I bet it would be amazing with Cajun seasoning as well. 
Butter Shrimp

¼ cup butter
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon HEB House seafood rub (or your favorite spice blend)

Heat the butter over medium high heat, once melted, add the shrimp to the pan. Sprinkle the shrimp with the rub and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Serve.
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chocolate Mousse


Miss F has a chocolate mousse obsession. Every since she first tasted it in Paris, she has been hooked. And I agree! I also had it for the first time in Paris as a kid and I adored it. It came out in a giant communal bowl and you served yourself from it. Not the most sanitary way to enjoy chocolate mousse at a restaurant, but it was delicious nonetheless.   This is a great dessert to serve at a dinner party because everything is done in advance.  Last dinner party I served this in cute little glasses that I got at the dollar store.  You can top with whipped cream if you are feeling indulgent and whatever fresh berries you have on hand work great. 
Chocolate Mousse

4 cups chilled heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat 1 ½ cups cream in a 2-quart heavy saucepan until hot over medium-high heat. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add the hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160 degrees on the thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.

Beat remaining 2 ½ cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
Spoon mousse into 16 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Instant Pot Rotel Chicken

Instant Pot Rotel Chicken

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chiles

Place the chicken in the Instant Pot and cover with the Rotel. Set the Instant Pot to “Poultry” for 30 minutes. Once the Instant Pot is done, do a quick release of the pressure. Shred the chicken with two forks or add it to a KitchenAid mixer and shred with the paddle attachment. Serve in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc…
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan


Miss F saw oven baked chicken parmesan on an episode of Pioneer Woman, but I didn't love the recipe at all. She really wanted to make it, so I decided to make up my own version. This recipe seems like it has lots of steps, but it is really quite easy. And it makes a ton. I served it with a pound of spaghetti...leftovers for days!  I hate frying in my kitchen and this chicken turned out nearly like the original recipe, which requires even more pans and lots of oil.  This is going into regular rotation for our dinner around here.
Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
¼ cup red wine
1 can tomato paste
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded Mozzarella

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion for 2 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, then add the tomato paste. Stir in the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the chicken breasts into ½” thick pieces. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and water. In another shallow bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Dip each chicken piece in the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixtures, tossing well to coat completely. Place the chicken into the prepared baking dish. Spray each chicken breast with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the dish, add the prepared tomato sauce to the dish. Nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce. Top the chicken with the remaining Parmesan cheese and the Mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve.
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese


Miss F's big school project was "The Back 40 Museum" aka her Farm to Table project. Each kid selected a food and researched the process of farm to table. Of course Miss F selected her most favorite food: crawfish. She mad an incredible 3D model demonstrating the process of catching to table and filmed a crawfish commercial promoting her project. She also prepared a short speech to give when people visited her display at the museum. It was a spectacular project, but we had one issue. We had to make 40 "bites" of food that worked with her theme. She wanted to do boiled crawfish, but I think that wouldn't have gone over too well with the school. I don't think they had any interest in 40 2nd graders peeling crawfish tails. I suggested that we make crawfish mac n cheese, take it in a crockpot and serve it in little cups. I was worried that most of the kids wouldn't even want to try crawfish, but I was shocked to find that I was quite wrong. Many kids came back for second and third helpings...one girl had never had crawfish before and she absolutely loved it. Success!
Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese

4 tablespoons butter, divided
12 ounces crawfish tailmeat
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
¾ pound macaroni, prepared per package instructions.


Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the crawfish tails and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tails from the pan. Add the remaining butter and reduce the heat to medium-low. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour. Cook the roux for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese and Cajun seasoning until the cheese is melted. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the crawfish tails and macaroni. Serve.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Chipotle Vegetable Dip


My best friend was visiting from Colorado, so I had a few friends over to hang out and enjoy some TexMex. We drank two bottles of tequila worth of margaritas (oy!) and had a fantastic time. Neither the BFF nor I like traditional TexMex sides, we both detest beans, so I decided to make a spicy dip to go with our chicken fajitas, chips, guacamole and queso. Feel free to adjust the chipotles to your taste, I used three and it had quite a nice kick.  I served it with fresh cut bell pepper, cucumber, carrots and broccoli, but any dip worthy vegetable will do.
Chipotle Vegetable Dip

16 ounces sour cream
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Juice from one lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, process until smooth. Serve with fresh cut vegetables.
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sticky Ginger Chicken


This dish is inspired by the Sticky Ginger Chicken from Budget Bytes.  I had a bell pepper and broccoli in the fridge, so I decided to incorporate them both into the meal.  Pretty much any vegetable that works in a stir fry will work with this sauce.  Miss F was disappointingly, not a fan, but C and I were major fans.  I think it was really because she had a friend over to play and they had snacked on chips and guacamole that afternoon, so much was eaten that I don't think she would have enjoyed anything that I served for dinner that night.  I usually use chicken thighs in stir fry, it really works wonderfully, and that is no different here.
Sticky Ginger Chicken

¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, Sriracha and 1 tablespoon oil. Place the chicken in a shallow bowl, pour the marinade over top. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, bell pepper and broccoli to the skillet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the skillet, then pour the marinade into the pan. Bring the marinade to a boil and let it thicken. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan, tossing to coat in the sauce. Serve over rice, sprinkled with the sesame seeds.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup shredded mozzarella

Process the garlic, vinegar, egg yolk, sugar and mustard in a food processor. Stream in the oil with the processor running. Salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and mozzarella with the prepared dressing. Serve.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Killen’s Creamed Corn


I have enjoyed the creamed corn at both Killen's Steakhouse and at Killen's Barbecue.  When I saw that the recipe had been published in the Houston Chronicle, I knew I had to try it.  The at home version totally met my expectations.  The  corn cob infused half and half really makes a big taste difference compared to my usual creamed corn recipe.  I can't wait to try this recipe in the summer with sweet corn, I doubt it will need any sugar at all!  And if you are ever in Houston, head down to Pearland to try this spectacular creamed corn yourself!
Killen’s Creamed Corn

4 ears of corn
1 ¼ cup half and half
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar (can use more or less, depending on corn sweetness)
¹/8 teaspoon white pepper
¹/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Parmigiano-Regginao cheese, grated

Instructions: Shuck and cut corn off ears. Bring the half and half to a simmer and add corn cobs to infuse for about 30 minutes. In a separate pan melt butter and add corn niblets, sauté corn over low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove cobs from milk/cream mixture and scrape off all milk. Discard cobs. Add ¼ of the sautéed corn to milk/cream mixture and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the corn and simmer till thickened usually about another 30 minutes. Season to taste and put in casserole dish. Finish in a 500-degree or as high as your broiler will go, with a little cheese sprinkled on top. Broil until cheese just turns brown. Serve immediately.
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Artichoke, Spinach and Chicken Lasagna


I initially thought my friend Jen was attending my dinner party, so I decided to make a main dish tailored to her. Whenever we go out to lunch at Houston's, she always orders the spinach and artichoke dip. Without fail.  I want to make some sort of dish that mimicked that dip and lasagna seemed like a natural way to do it.  One of my biggest complaints about lasagna is that I don't love the texture of ricotta.  Here, I halved the ricotta, replacing it with cream cheese, more in line with the spinach and artichoke dip everyone loves.  The result was a perfect dinner party dish, I love things that can just bake while I socialize.  Unfortunately, Jen had to cancel at the last minute, which means I will have to have her over soon and serve this again.  The recipe looks long, but it is really quite easy, especially if you use the Instant Pot and Fasta Pasta shortcuts.
Artichoke, Spinach and Chicken Lasagna

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup water
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound lasagna noodles
¼ cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
3 cups milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan
10 ounces chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 15 ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
16 ounces ricotta
16 ounces cream cheese. softened
4 cups shredded mozzarella

Instant Pot instructions:
Place the chicken, water, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in the Instant Pot. Place on “Poultry” setting for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Shred the chicken and set aside.

Regular instructions:
Place the chicken, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Heat over high heat until the water boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Shred the chicken and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Fasta Pasta instructions:
Place 9 of the lasagna noodles in the Fasta Pasta and fill to level 4. Microwave for 13 minutes. Drain and allow the noodles to cool. Repeat with remaining lasagna noodles.

Regular instructions:
Cook lasagna noodles in boiling salted water until al dente per package instructions. Drain and allow the noodles to cool.

In large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Whisk in the flour, until fully incorporated. Add the milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When the mixture thickens after about 5 minutes, remove from the heat. Stir in the parmesan, spinach, artichokes and shredded chicken.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta and cream cheese.

Layer ¼ of the chicken mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with 6 lasagna noodles. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta and cream cheese mixture over top. Layer ¼ of the chicken mixture over the ricotta and top with 1 1/3 cups mozzarella cheese. Layer with 6 more lasagna noodles, then 1/3 of the ricotta, ¼ of the chicken and 1 1/3 cups mozzarella cheese, twice more, ending with the mozzarella cheese. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray, cover the lasagna spray side down. Bake for 45 minutes covered, remove the foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more. Allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Pasta


Whenever C is out for the evening, I usually default to some sort of shrimp dish since it is a quick meal that I know Miss F will gobble up. I had a ton of grape tomatoes (and wine!) left over after a dinner party and I knew I wanted to make a shrimp pasta with them. The tomatoes "pop" once they simmer in the sauce for a bit, which adds a nice flavor to the sauce. Add as much cayenne as you prefer, Miss F and I enjoy spice, so I added a heaping 1/2 teaspoon, the spice was tempered by the half and half.  Be sure not to over cook the shrimp, they can get chewy very quickly, which is why it is best to keep them warm on a plate while you make the sauce.
Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Pasta

12 ounces linguine pasta
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup grape tomatoes
½ cup half and half

Prepare the pasta per package directions. Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt and cayenne pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer, flipping after 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth, slowly add to the pan, stirring constantly, stir in the tomateos. Simmer for 5 minutes more, gently pressing a few of the tomatoes once they soften. Stir in the half and half, pasta and shrimp. Stir gently to combine and cook for 2 minutes more. Serve.
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Veal Marsala


I adore veal. I keep a bottle of Marsala wine in my refrigerator, usually reserved for creamy chicken Marsala pasta.  I had thought I had made veal marsala before, but when I tried to look up the recipe, I realized I didn't have one...so obviously I had never made it before.  One major must when I make chicken marsala is that it has to be served with really creamy mashed potatoes, which go perfectly with the rich Marsala wine sauce.  This recipe is adapted from Giada de Laurentis.
Veal Marsala

1 pound thin veal cutlets
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup sweet Marsala
¾ cup low-salt chicken broth
Leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig

Sprinkle the veal with the salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veal cutlets to the pan and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the veal to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, add the shallot and the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Marsala and broth, simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Return the veal to the skillet, cook until heated through. Stir in the remaining butter, serve.
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lemon Roast Lobster


Whenever C is gone, Miss F and I always have seafood. Recently, lobster has become her favorite. It started with her "sampling" some of the tempura lobster from a meal I was having at Artista.  And by sampling, I mean she ate every single piece of lobster from my plate.  She loves the stuff...loves.  I am always looking for new ways to have lobster, beyond just steaming a whole lobster.  My mom had brought me a bunch of lemons from her tree and Lemon Roast Lobster was created.  It is so deliciously simple and would make a great entrée at a dinner party, as long as your guests love lobster as much as Miss F does.
Lemon Roast Lobster

1 lemon
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 lobster tails, split
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut half of the lemon into slices and juice the other half. Stir the juice with the melted butter. Place the lobsters in a baking dish, brush the lemon juice and butter mixture over the meat of the lobster, add the lemon wedges to the pan. Roast the lobster tails for 10 minutes until the meat is opague.
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Steak and Broccoli


I have been obsessed with flat iron steak as of late. It has so much flavor, is super easy to cook and fairly inexpensive (when it's on sale!) I love beef with broccoli, but I really wanted to try it with flat iron steak. I knew it would cook up beautifully and stand up to the rich, brown sauce. And I was right!  C insisted there was too much sauce, but I disagree completely.  I love having extra sauce to mix with steamed rice, it is vital to have extra sauce so I don't end up dousing my rice with soy sauce and Sriracha. 
Steak and Broccoli

1 pound flat iron steak, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/3 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 pound broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

In a bowl, toss the beef with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the sherry. Let marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature. In a 2-cup measure, whiske together the remaining soy sauce, sherry and corn starch. Stir in the oyster sauce, beef broth, brown sugar and sesame oil. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the broccoli and sauté for 2 minutes more. Pour the reserved sauce into the pan, stirring constantly for a minute more until the sauce begins to thicken. Serve over rice.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Instant Pot Pulled Pork Carnitas


The Instant Pot is perfect for making carnitas and it does so about 10 times as fast as my go to crockpot recipe.   Carnitas are perfect in tacos, on a tostada or even in a bolillo for a delicious torta.  They also make great burrito and chimichanga fillings.  Since the recipe makes a ton of carnitas, I usually put a couple recipes calling for them on our weekly menu.  I also usually have enough left over to freeze for later.   I also freeze the leftover canned chipotles to use later, I really like the smoky flavor they add to this recipe.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Carnitas

1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 ~4 pound pork shoulder, cut into 3” chunks
1 onion, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1 chipotle, minced

Stir together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder. Rub the pork pieces with the spice mixture. Add the pork, broth, onions and chipotle to the Instant Pot. Close the Instant Pot and set on “Meat” for 60 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then release the pressure manually. Shred the pork with two forks, discarding any large piece of fat. Serve as desired.
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Flat Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce


I have been going through a flat iron steak obsession right now...they have so much flavor and are quite easy to cook.  I was the only one in the family who enjoyed the sauce with my steak, no one else was interested in having any.  Oh well, their loss.  We are still working with Miss F and eating asparagus.  She was happy to have her steak, she still refuses any and all potatoes, but she was content to only eat the stalks of the asparagus.  Such a strange child.  This recipe is inspired by Giada de Laurentis.
Flat Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce

1 pound flat iron steak
1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons cold butter
½ onion, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ¼ cups dry red wine


Pat the steak dry with a paper towel. Add the olive oil to the skillet, cook the steak 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Allow the steaks to rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.

While the steak is resting, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, garlic and oregano, sauté for 30 seconds more. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the wine, simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Strain the sauce into a small bowl. Discard the solids and return the sauce to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the sliced steak topped with the red wine sauce.
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Thursday, March 23, 2017

BLT Wedge Salad

BLT Wedge Salad

6 slices of bacon, cut into ½ “ pieces
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 head of Iceberg lettuce
18 grape tomatoes, halved

In a small skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, vinegar, pepper and garlic salt. Cut the lettuce into 6 wedges. Place the wedges on serving plates, top each with the bacon, tomatoes and dressing, serve.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Garlic Sizzling Shrimp


Is it bad that Miss F and I devoured nearly this entire pan of shrimp? That's how good they are. This recipe comes from Emeril Legasse (feel free to use his "essence" in place of the Tony's) and it is fantastic. I served these with corn on the cob and biscuits, a full on southern meal. The shrimp would be great over polenta or rice. Next time I make this, I will serve it with a big garden salad.
Garlic Sizzling Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon Tony Chacheres or other Cajun seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a medium sized bowl, toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning and salt. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, when hot, add the butter and garlic. After 30 seconds, add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Add the broth and lemon juice, cook for 1 minute more. Serve.
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Best Buttermilk Biscuits


I love biscuits. I remember making biscuits at least once a month once I got my own apartment. These were of the Bisquick variety, usually in drop form, because I was too lazy to use a biscuit cutter. I may have finally found my most favorite ever recipe. The major break through for me was cutting the biscuits into squares instead of using a biscuit cutter...no wasted scraps! More importantly, no overworked biscuit dough. These biscuits are incredibly fluffy and quite perfect. Maybe it's the stick of butter that goes into them...
Best Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the butter cubes to the bowl, using two forks or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it is the size of small peas. Slowly stir in the buttermilk just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and shape into a 12” x 9” rectangle about 1” thick. Cut the dough into twelve 3” squares and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14 minutes until golden brown. Serve.
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