Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
chicken pot pie with cream cheese biscuits
Emeril's shrimp creole, rice
snow crab legs, corn on the cob, salad
grilled salmon with creamy cucumber salad
crab imperial, green beans
Buffalo chicken chowder, celery and carrots
super bubbly pizza

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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Monday, March 13, 2017

Lobster Risotto


Does it get any better than lobster risotto? According to Miss F, it's the best. But it's the best as long as you pick out the peas, or even better, don't bother to add any peas to the dish at all. This lobster risotto is incredibly easy, I purchase one of the cooked lobsters from Kroger, but feel free to steam your own. The lobster stock is incredibly simple to make, but adds a real lobster flavor to the dish, moreso than using any store bought stock.  The key is using the hot stock in the risotto.  It makes the stock absorb very nicely into the arborio rice.  Your hand may get a bit tired from all the stirring, but it is completely worth it when it comes time to eat.
Lobster Risotto

1 whole Maine lobster, cooked
4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 cup Arborio rice
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup peas

Remove the meat from the tail and claws of the lobster, chop into bite sized pieces and set aside. Add the lobster shell to a sauce pan with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the salt. Ladle ½ cup of the water from the saucepan with the lobster shells into the saucepan with the rice. Stir constantly until all the liquid is absorbed, then add another ladle full and repeat. Keep adding the water from the lobster shell pot until there is none remaining, making sure to allow the rice to absorb all the liquid between each ladle. Stir in the reserved lobster meat and peas, cook for 3 minutes more, stirring. Serve.
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chicken Ramen Bowls


I have a small ramen obsession. My most favorite "snack" is drained ramen noodles doused in "lite" soy sauce. Preferably eaten with chopsticks. I used to enjoy this snack after school when I was a kid. It is a comfort food for me. The best flight ever for me was on Eva Air, manily because there was an unlimited ramen supply in the back of the plane...you could have it all flight long! I adapted this recipe from my favorite stir fry recipe.  Feel free to add whatever vegetables you have on hand....carrots, mushrooms, onions, zucchini...whatever works!
Chicken Ramen Bowls

2 packages ramen soup
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

Bring four cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Discard the seasoning packet from the ramen, then boil the ramen noodles for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a two cup measure, whisk together the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, oyster sauce and cornstarch. Set aside. In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, bell pepper and broccoli. Sauté for five minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Pour the broth mixture into the pan, heat for a minute more, until thick. Divide the noodles between four bowls, then top with a quarter of the chicken mixture in each bowl. Serve.
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Monday, March 6, 2017

Overnight Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls


I made crockpot creamy TexMex chicken and was left with four ounces of cream cheese. I am not a huge eater of plain cream cheese, so I knew it had to be baked into something. Miss F and I decided to make my favorite overnight cinnamon rolls, but instead of their usual icing, we topped them with massive dollops of cream cheese icing. Delicious. Our family ate nearly the whole pan on Sunday morning.  There were only two left, which Miss F claimed for herself for breakfast during the week.  The cream cheese frosting makes these decadent treats even richer and even more delicious. I don't know that I will ever make the plain icing ever again.
Overnight Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 eggs

½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cup confectioners' sugar

Heat the milk in a small saucepan just until it begins to bubble, remove from the heat. Swirl in the butter until melted.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the milk mixture. Add the sugar, 2 cups of the flour, salt and eggs; stir well to combine. Add the remaining flour a ½ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Knead for 5 minutes using the dough hook of the stand mixer.

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10x10 inch square. Lightly brush the far edge with water. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and brown sugar, sprinkle over the prepared dough. Roll up the dough into a log and seal the seam. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and place into a greased 9 inch cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rise overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, while the oven is heating, let the prepared rolls rise on the countertop. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. While the rolls are baking, cream together the cream cheese with the confectioners’ sugar, adding the sugar in ½ cup portions. Spoon the frosting over the baked rolls and serve warm.
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cheesy Chicken Corn Chowder


When I saw this recipe on Tide and Thyme, I knew I wanted to make it. Even though I have a ton of chicken chowder recipes, this one looked very special.  Unfortunately, the weather in Houston hasn't been very chowder friendly.  We had basically a three day winter and that has been it.  This is a great weeknight meal, it comes together quickly.  Don't make my mistake though, I served it without stirring in the cream.  It was sitting on the counter, pre-measured and all, and it just slipped my mind.  After a taste, I instantly realized my mistake, luckily, it was easily correctable.  I try to get everything organized for busy weeknights, but even when I try my hardest, there can often be mistakes.   
Cheesy Chicken Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
½ onion, peeled and diced
1/3 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 white potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (12 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup cream
2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onions, sauté for 2 minutes to soften. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly, until a light roux is formed. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the corn and chicken. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks, return the chicken to the pot. Stir in the cream and cheese, simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Lobster and Shrimp Paella


Firstly, let me apologize for my extended absence.    We have been travelling a ton and life has just gotten a bit crazy...

Whenever C goes out of town, it is a seafood extravaganza around here.  I had originally planned on making paella for a dinner party, one seafood and one chicken & sausage.  I decided that might have been a lofty goal, so I decided to make it for Miss F and my parents one night while C was out of town for work.  This paella couldn't be any easier, it is brimming with shrimp and lobster, which are the standouts of paella for me.  Now that I know how easy it is to make, I will be making this for a dinner party in the future.  This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten.
Lobster and Shrimp Paella

¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 cups white rice
5 cups chicken broth
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 lobster tails, split in half
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ cup white wine
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven, add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice, chicken broth, tomatoes, saffron, red pepper, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the lid, stir the rice gently and nestle the lobster tails and shrimp into the rice and sprinkle with the paprika. Return the pot, uncovered, to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Return the pot to the stove top over medium heat. Stir in the wine and peas, stir until the wine is absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve, garnished with lemon wedges.
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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Chicken, Broccoli and Tomato Fettuccine


This originally started out as a lemon and chicken pasta, but a steal on grape tomatoes (99 cents a package) and broccoli (49 cents a pound) totally changed the game plan.  I used my Fasta Pasta and in the 17 minutes it took the fettuccine to cook, dinner was done.  Dice up some chicken, pull apart some broccoli heads and that is really all the heavy lifting this meal takes.  Some of the tomatoes burst as the sauce cooks, adding a really light tomato flavor to it, complete perfection.  C and Miss F picked out their tomatoes, but they were happy with the sauce nonetheless.  Ah well, all the more for me.
Chicken, Broccoli and Tomato Fettuccine

12 ounces fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 container grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic
¼ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 cup half and half
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Prepare the fettuccine per package instructions, drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and garlic to the pan, sauté until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Whisk together the chicken broth and corn starch. Pour the broth mixture and half & half into the pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and fettuccine. Serve.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Sriracha Shrimp Stir Fry


I wanted to make my most favorite stir fry ever, Ultimate Sriracha Chicken Stir Fry, with shrimp. I knew it would be great and I knew Miss F would gobble it up.  I was right on both accounts.  Miss F celebrated Lunar New Year this past week at her school, they had take out Chinese food and she was thrilled they had dumplings, but quite disappointed that there weren't any shrimp dishes.  Thank goodness we can have it at home whenever we like, as long as C isn't hope to complain about the seafood smells.
Sriracha Shrimp Stir Fry

½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
5 mushrooms, quartered

In a two cup measure, whisk together the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, oyster sauce, Sriracha and cornstarch. Set aside. In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté for 20 seconds. Add the shrimp, onion, bell pepper, broccoli and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Pour the broth mixture into the pan, heat for a minute more, until thick. Serve over rice or noodles.
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Instant Pot Risotto


I adore risotto, but I don't adore the stir stir stir it requires.   Enter the Instant Pot.  Same creamy risotto deliciousness with nearly no effort at all.  A quick saute of the rice and you are pretty much done.  My friend Brandi recommended this recipe to me and I can't wait to try other additions to it.  I mainly want to try mushroom risotto, but I will have to try that on a night I am home alone, since the rest of the family would reject it completely. 
Instant Pot Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio Rice
1 tablespoon white wine
4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function. Add the oil to the pan. Add the onion and saute until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and saute until it becomes translucent. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and stir until it evaporates. Add the broth; close the top of the Instant Pot. Set to high pressure and cook for 6 minutes. Release the pressure and remove the inner pot carefully. Stir the parmesan cheese into the rice and serve.
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Homestyle Chicken and Noodles


We had our full three day winter here in Houston, temperatures are now back in the 80s, though we may get another "cold" front this week.  And this is the perfect meal for a cold front, even if it really isn't that cold (high is still in the 60s.)  The whole family approved of the meal and I was shocked how quickly it came together, it tasted like it was simmering for hours.  Thanks to Elly Says Opa for the amazing recipe!
Homestyle Chicken and Noodles

6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 onion, chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
12 ounces frozen egg noodles
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour

In a Dutch oven, add the chicken, onion, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the broth over top. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken, shred the meat and discard the bones. Return the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the egg noodles and cook for 15 minutes. Add the peas and cook 5 minutes more. Whisk together the milk and flour. Pour the milk mixture into the pot, stirring constantly. Simmer for 3 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer until warmed through. Serve.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Twice Baked Potatoes


Miss F hates potatoes. HATES. I don't get her aversion at all, she doesn't even like French fries, how crazy is that? So one night while she was spending the night at my parents, I decided to make twice baked potatoes for C and I. I had never made them before and I was quite nervous about keeping the skins in tact, but it turns out, it was quite easy. So easy in fact, that I am going to make them for an upcoming dinner party. I can do all the prep work in advance, then just warm them for the dinner party. I like to be as hands off as possible for dinner parties, I like to spend time with my guests (and my wine!), not spend time in the kitchen.  These potatoes are very decadent, so half a potato per person is plenty.
Twice Baked Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes
¼ cup butter
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a fork, prick a few holes into the top of each potato. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour, until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthways. Scoop out the insides of each potato making sure to keep the skins in tact. Place the skins on a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, smash the scooped out potatoes with the butter, sour cream, ¼ cup of the cheddar cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Spoon the potato mixture into the prepared potato skins. Top each with 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Crockpot Cuban Shredded Beef


This recipe was a massive hit in our family. Miss F, C and I all really enjoyed this meal. I didn't partake in the beans, but I was just as happy to have the beef over rice alone.  Make sure you add a generous squeeze of lime juice before you eat it, it makes a huge difference.  We used the leftovers in quesadillas the next night, but the qould be equally good in tacos, burritos or taquitos. The meat is amazingly tender, thanks to being cooked low and slow all day.  Next time I will try and prepare it in the Instant Pot, for a dinner when I don't have time to mess with the crockpot in the morning.  Thanks to Little Spice Jar for the amazing recipe.
Crockpot Cuban Shredded Beef

2 to 2 ½ pounds beef chuck roast
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oil
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped cilantro
white rice
black beans
1 lime, cut into wedges

Using a paring knife, score three small “X” marks into the meat, press one garlic clove into each “X”. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the roast and sear on each side for 5 minutes.

Chop the remaining cloves are garlic. Add the chopped garlic, tomato sauce, bell pepper, onions, chilies, tomato paste, oregano, salt, cumin, vinegar, red pepper flakes and cilantro to the crockpot. Add the seared roast, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the beef with two forks and stir into the sauce. Serve with white rice, black beans and lime wedges.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lobster Linguine


I bought crablegs at a Kroger on my way home from work instead of my usual two Krogers I alternate between. I noticed that they had whole steamed lobsters in the seafood case and since Miss F adores lobster so much, I knew I wanted to make a pasta with it next time C was out of town.   I decided to hit the grocer after school, so the lobster would be fresh and so that Miss F could help select which lobster she wanted.   Our regular Kroger only had the tails and I wasn't interested in smelling up the house steaming lobster.  So we went to another Kroger, no lobster, and then to the Kroger where I had initially seen the whole lobsters, no luck.  I tried to convince her to have shrimp pasta instead, but once I had tempted her with lobster, there was no going back.  I ended up steaming the lobster tails at home, then boiling a pot of water with 1/4 cup of white vinegar to kill the smell.  It was worth it.  Recipe inspired from Simple Seasonal.
Lobster Linguine

12 ounces linguine
1 large steamed lobster or 3 small steamed tails
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup white wine
¼ clam juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¾ cup half and half

Prepare the pasta per package instructions, drain and set aside. Break down the lobster and chop the meat into bite sized pieces, set aside. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, whisking for 1 minute until fully incorporated. Add the wine while still whisking, cook for 1 minute more. Add the clam juice and tomato paste while still whisking and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the drained pasta, lobster and half and half into the sauce; salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
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Monday, January 9, 2017

Enchiladas Suizas


I was instantly intrigued by the Enchiladas Suizas recipe from Recipes for Laughter.  I have always seen crema Mexicana in the dairy section of my grocer and I have always wanted to try it.  I ended up heavily adapting the original recipe, but I made sure to use the crema Mexicana and it didn't disappoint at all.  These enchiladas are deliciously rich.  I have included two alternate ways to cook the chicken, either in the crockpot or in the Instant Pot.  Either method works perfectly well, whichever is most convenient for you is the best choice.  Just be sure to choose to use crema Mexicana.
Enchiladas Suizas

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa verde

12 white corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
¾ cup crema Mexicana
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 can green enchilada sauce

Instant Pot instructions:
Add the chicken and salsa to the Instant Pot. Set to “Poultry” for 10 minutes if using fresh chicken or for 30 minutes if using frozen chicken breasts. When the pressure has released, shred the chicken with two forks and return it to the cooking liquid.

Crockpot instructions:
Add the chicken and salsa to the crockpot, cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks and return to the cooking liquid.

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 chicken with 1 cup of the cheese. Place a couple spoon fulls of the chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll up and place in the prepared pan. Spread a tablespoon full of crema Mexicana on top of each rolled tortilla.

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 enchilada sauce. 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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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Simply Delicious Fettuccine Alfredo


Fettuccine Alfredo is definitely a family favorite around here. I saw Mario Batali's recipe for fresh pasta and I knew I wanted to try it. Unlike my usual recipe, which uses nearly a dozen eggs, this recipe was a lot simpler. This was the easiest fresh pasta I have ever worked with, which is an added bonus.  I decided to make a very simple alfredo sauce to go along with the super simple pasta, it was perfection.  The pasta is so tender and holds up beautifully to the sauce.  Miss F was also a huge fan of dipping her broccoli in the alfredo sauce, smart girl!
Simply Delicious Fettuccine Alfredo

2 ¼ cups flour
3 eggs

4 tablespoons butter
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup parmesan

Add the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs and turn the mixer on low speed. Mix until the eggs are well incorporated. Swap out the paddle for the dough hook and knead the dough on medium for 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand for 1 minute more. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Feed each piece through the pasta attachment at level 1. Fold the dough in half and run through the pasta maker twice more. Reduce the setting to level 2 and run the sheet through twice. Reduce the setting to level 3 and run the sheet through once. Reduce the setting to level 4 and run the sheet through once. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces. Run the sheets through the fettuccine cutter or cut by hand. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cut pasta to the pot and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the fettuccine rises to the top.

Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the cream and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the parmesan. Toss the drained fettuccine in the sauce, serve.
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Monday, January 2, 2017

2016: A Year in Review


What a year! I think we may have topped 2015 with all the travelling we did, so many amazing trips (and amazing food!) We started the year off with an incredible ski trip to Banff, the Fairmont Banff Springs is hotel perfection, I cannot recommend it enough. I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Aspen with a couple girlfriends, girls trips are always so much fun and we certainly had a blast. We spent a week in Whistler over Spring Break, and while it wasn't the greatest skiing, the scenery was spectacular. We enjoyed quite a few weekends in San Antonio, visiting friends, Six Flags and eating lots of delicious TexMex. Of course we had to get a trip to Disneyland in, a long weekend in May provided perfect weather and a ton of Disney fun. In the summer, we returned to Banff for a week with my parents. Lake Louise is so beautiful and we had a great time canoeing and horseback riding. Our big two week trip was to Fiji and New Zealand. The highlights were the amazing outer islands of Fiji and visiting an active volcano on White Island in New Zealand, the lowlight was losing my bag for three days in Fiji. We visited Disney World over Labor Day, which is becoming a family tradition. I had two more amazing girls trips, one to Lake Charles for gambling and relaxation, one to Vail to visit my best friend and her new baby boy. We had a whirlwind trip over Thanksgiving break, Tokyo, Hong Kong and an eight hour layover in Chicago for lunch at Carmine's and an afternoon at Lincoln Park Zoo. We had to visit Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disney, along with a bunch of sightseeing. C and Miss F visited Las Vegas for a weekend of Penn and Teller magic, while I stayed home for holiday booze and cookie exchanges. I cannot believe how much we have toured this year.

Below are the top posts from last year...and Miss F totally approves of this list, lots of her favorites.

 Wishing you all an amazing 2017!
#1 Instant Pot Bolognese

#2 Reverse Sear Steaks

#3 CFA Tortilla Soup

#4 Cheesy Refried Bean Casserole

#5 One Pot Chicken Pot Pie

#6 Crockpot Italian Chicken & Peppers

#7 Hula Chicken Sandwiches

#8 Slow Ferment Pizza Crust

#9 Buttermilk Chess Pie

#10 Four Ingredient Carbonara

#11 Crockpot Mexican Chicken Soup

#12 Easy Muffin Tin Meatballs

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