Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sexy salad

I am naming this "sexy salad" because, for reals, I could lay this salad down and give it a good time.

Anyways, I got the base idea from a local salad place, then threw on a few touches. I can't give you specifics on amounts, I just throw it together until it looks right:
- Romaine (Can also do Mesclun, but I am not a fan)
- Peaches
- Chevre
- Walnuts
- Shallots
- Sunflower Seeds
- Fresh Basil

- 1 clove garlic
- half a shallot/ small one
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, it's what I have)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 or 3 dashes hot sauce
- fresh salt/ pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil

Throw these in a food processor until it smooths out. The dressing would probably serve 4.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Side dishes

Grilled pineapple

1 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored (made the mistake of not doing that once) and cut into 1 inch rings
1/4 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 dash hot pepper sauce
salt to taste

Place pineapple in a large resealable plastic bag. Add honey, butter, hot pepper sauce, and salt. Seal bag, and shake to coat evenly. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.
Grill pineapple for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until heated through and grill marks appear.

Grilled asparagus or Grilled Yellow Squash with sesame oil

large flaked salt (i/e sea salt)
ground pepper
A few dashes of sesame oil

Toss the ingredients in a big to mix them well. Throw them on the grill for about 6-8 minutes. I like them best when regularly turned in a grill wok.

Bulgur Wheat with Dried Cranberries

1 cup water
1/2 cup dry bulgur wheat
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules (You can also cook it in a cup of premade chicken stock)
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup dried cranberries


Bring water to a boil in a pot, and mix in bulgur, bouillon granules, and butter. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes.
Fluff cooked bulgur with a fork, and gently mix in the dried cranberries.

Grilled sweet potatoes

- 2 sweet potatoes
- Garlic salt, onion powder, salt and pepper- season to taste
- olive oil

A few shakes (enough to coat but not drown), 2 sweet potatoes diced, and the rest of the seasonings to taste... put them in a plastic bag and shake it up. I put them on in my grill basket, and cook for about 15-20 minutes at about 400 on the grill, but test to see what works for your grill. If you overload the basket, it will take longe.

Asparagus Guacamole

Not a fan of avocados? Looking to watch your waistline? This is only 20 calories per serving, and practically no Weight Watchers points. It can get a little watery, if you want to minimize that, keep stirring it or add some sour cream.)

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon fat-free Greek-style yogurt (you could also use sour cream or do half and half)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup onion thinly sliced and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
hot pepper sauce to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place the asparagus into a steamer insert and set into a pot over one inch of water; bring the water to a boil. Place a cover on the pot and steam the asparagus for 5 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.

Combine the asparagus puree with the yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno pepper, garlic, tomato, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce in a large bowl; gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled.

Italian style pork chops

This is a quick meal that is equally delicious to anything I've tried in a restaurant.

4 tablespoons butter
4 (1 inch thick) pork chops (thicker is better!)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced


In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook chops in butter, turning once to brown evenly.

Pour in wine, and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic.

Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until chops are tender. Transfer pork chops to serving plates, and spoon sauce over the meat.

Jess's chopped & Jeanne's salads

Summer Chopped salad, with cilantro lime vinagrette dressing (which is hilarious, if you know me as I am not the hugest cilantro fan but it's yumtastic with the lime.)
by Jess

This has been my favorite chopped salad to make this summer, with fresh veggies. I make this much to serve 2 of us.
- 1 corn on the cob, uncooked, kernels removed
- fresh basil leaves
- 1 head of romaine
- handful of mexican shredded cheese mix
- 1 pepper, diced, I happen to like orange or yellow
- 1 avocado diced
- Approx. 2 tablespoons red onion diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- half a cucumber, diced

for Cilantro Lime Vinagrette Dressing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (key limes are good)
1 small jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped (leave in some seeds if heat is desired)
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch salt, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Jeanne's summer salad- one I learned from my sis
I don't have exact amounts of anything, I play with it until it looks "right"
- Feta
- Fresh raspberries
- Walnuts
- red or vidalia onion (you can do it without but I kind of like it)
- romaine
- Poppy seed dressing (the expensive kind in the case is really awesome!)
Play with it a bit- perhaps some tomato or whatever else you might have

Margarita Grilled shrimp

I got this recipe off of, and it's so amazing, I had to share!

This makes 4 servings, but Pete and I were able to share together with a side salad.

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I bought the frozen kind and thawed them first)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons tequila
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes


Combine the shrimp, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, tequila, cilantro, red pepper, and salt in a bowl; toss to combine; refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Drain the marinade from the shrimp and discard; thread the shrimp on the skewers.
Cook on preheated grill until the shrimp turn pink, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Jess's you-won't-miss-beef Turkey burgers

This recipe makes about 12 burgers, they freeze well between some wax paper. Also, the recipe can be halved.


3 pounds ground turkey
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs*
1/4 cup finely diced onion (I like red, they do mellow out while cooked.)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced (sometimes I cheat and use the jarred kind.)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 shake of hot sauce
8 shakes of Worchestershire sauce.

(*- I make my own seasoned bread crumbs using plain breadcrumbs, dash of basil, dried parsley, garlic salt, onion salt, and shaved parmesan.)


In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, seasoned bread crumbs, onion, egg whites, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 12 patties.
Cook the patties in a medium skillet over medium heat, turning once, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Or throw them on the grill until cooked through.

Quick and yummy, Mexican Chicken for the grill

Yes, it's been awhile since I posted! But I have been cooking. Time to catch up with a few new favorites. It's summer-yummy time.

6 servings- this is fast and delicious


1/2 cup mayonnaise (could also use some low fat/ fat free sour cream)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lime juice and taco seasoning until smooth. Place chicken on grill over medium coals. Sear one side; turn and brush with sauce. Grill, uncovered, for 6 minutes; turn and brush with sauce. Grill another 6 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Leek and Root Vegetable Gratin

Sorry, no long time, no see! Life's been hectic and I haven't had a chance to post some receipes.

Made this recipe for friends this weekend and it went over well! This is probably best served as a fall dish. Root vegetables have lots of great nutrients. And I love leeks.

Also, I would highly recommend this dish if you have vegetarians at the table. It's filling and offers some variety.

As far as the fresh herbs mentioned in the recipe, I selected thyme.

I opted for the munster cheese option, even though I had to grate it myself.

Here are some examples of why, this is a great dish:

Parsnip nutrients:
Parsnips provide an excellent
source of vitamin C, fiber, folic
acid, pantothenic acid, copper,
and manganese. They also offer
a very good source of niacin,
thiamine, magnesium, and
potassium. They are a good
source of riboflavin, folic acid,
and vitamins B6 and E.

Sweet Potato nutrients:
Calcium 28.6 mg
Sodium 16.9 mg
Potassium 265.2 mg
Folate 18.2 mcg
Vitamin C 29.51 mg
Vitamin A 26081.9 IU

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pasta Puttanesca

Made this Italian classic (my favorite) last night for friends. I've tried different variations, and this is the best. I used to fear the anchovy, but don't fear it, it makes the meal.

Besides this being a classic meal, you can always tell the story of the name of this meal. Puttanesca refers to "puton" or "whore"- basically the ladies of the night are thought to have made this dish as it was easy and they had time later (or before?) to perform their tasks.

Just an aside- I do make all of my meals organic. I feel it makes a great meal.

This meal was taken from Jamie Oliver.

1 pound (455 grams) dried spaghetti, the best you can get- I actually prefer penne.
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (You can go 3-4)
1 handful capers, soaked in water and drained
2 handfuls big black olives, pitted
12 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
3 small dried red chiles, crumbled ( I used a little red pepper flakes instead.)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 (14 ounce/400gram) cans tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 good handful fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the spaghetti in salted, boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile fry the garlic, capers, olives, anchovies, chiles, and oregano in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until you have a lovely tomato sauce consistency. Remove from the heat, plunge the drained spaghetti into it, toss it over, and cover with the sauce. Rip all the basil over it, correct the seasoning, and drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil.

Fancy dinner for Pete

I forgot to post about the dinner I made for Pete. It was from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook that my sister had bought me for Christmas. Really simple, but really delicious.

Cornish Hens

2005, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Show: Barefoot ContessaEpisode: Thanksgiving
Rated: 4 stars out of 5Rate itRead users' reviews (41)
Filed under: Poultry, Chicken, Poultry, Vegetables, Celery, more
Cook Time:35 min Level: Intermediate Yield: 2 servings
Recipe Tools:
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1 large Spanish onion, sliced
2 Cornish hens
Cornbread Stuffing, recipe follows
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the sliced onion in the bottom of a roasting pan. Remove the giblets from the hens, and rinse them inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outsides dry. Place the hens on top of the sliced onion.

Pack the cavities of the hens with the cornbread stuffing.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the hens. Rub the hens with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the hens for 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Cornbread Stuffing:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups cornbread
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Break the cornbread into pieces and place the pieces in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture to the cornbread. Add the celery, chicken stock, parsley, salt and pepper, and mix together.

Yield: 2 servings

Here is a link to the recipe on the food network:

OMG- awesome breakfast casserole.

OMG. This is one of the best breakfasts I've ever made. I made it with Challah, and sprinkled it with Confectioner's Sugar. Also, I served it with bananas, strawberries, and blueberries.

I only had dark brown sugar available and it was so amazing, I am not sure I'd go with the light brown sugar. Thumbs up!

from Virginia Willis, BON APPETIT,Y’ALL

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 loaf brioche or challah bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch slices

8 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Confectioners’ sugar for accompanimen

Pure Maple Syrup

-Combine the melted butter and sugar in the bottom of a baking dish.
-Make a nice even layer of the mixture to cover the entire area.
-Arrange the bread slices on top, squeezing them in place.
-Whisk the eggs, add all the remaining ingredients except the pecans.
-Pour over the bread, letting it soak in.
-Top with pecans and cover with plastic wrap. (The casserole will not look real moist, don’t worry I promise it will be so when you eat it)
-Keep refrigerated for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours.
-Set out at room temperature for 20 minutes before popping into a hot oven set to 350 degrees.
-Bake until lightly browned and set, 35 to 40 minutes.
-Remove and slightly cook if you can wait a few minutes.
-Serve hot or warm with sorghum, cane or maple syrup.

Serves 8

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'd like to make

One of my coworkers always brings in the following salad for our holiday potluck gatherings. It is so delicious. I had asked her the recipe, and searched for it. I am adding it here as something I'd like to try and make at home. It's full of crunch and flavor. And since there's nuts, it packs a punch with protein and antioxidants. The best part? No cooking! Clearly it's great for a potluck situation, but this could be a whole dinner meal for me, I like it that much!

Ingredients for salad:
16 ounces shredded premixed coleslaw mix
1 bunch scallions, sliced with tops
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup cashew halves
1/2 cup slivered almond
3 ounces oriental-flavor instant ramen noodles, reserve seasoning packet
1/4-1/2 cup grated carrot
1 apple, with peels, diced
1/2 cup sweetened cranberries
1/2-1 cup seedless cucumber, quartered, peels on
1/2-1 cup sugar snap pea, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup radicchio, for color (optional)

Dressing ingredients:
seasoning packet from soup
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar ( other recipes say 1/2 cup white vinegar or white vinegar, but I know my coworker used rice wine vinegar.)


1 Mix all veggies, nuts and fruits together.
2 Break up DRY noodles (**do not boil) and add to veggie mix before serving.

Can be refrigerated overnight. If serving a party, add the ramen noodles right before served, so they are extra crunchy.

editted to add: I made this this week, great recipe. Keep the dressing and ramen noodles seperate if you have leftovers. It will keep it fresher for the next day.

Bored with chicken?

I feel like chicken can get a little boring in the kitchen. Today, I've decided to post two recipes I've made that are really delicious. They are both pretty easy, but feel fancy. Serve them up with some healthy vegetable or salad as a side. People will think you slaved over a hot stove far longer than you actually did!

The first recipe is kind of fun to make. My hubby enjoyed battering the chicken and beating it flat. The lemon zest really makes this dish for me.

Flattened, breaded chicken with lemon and sage
Serves 4
4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup toasted bread crumbs ( Can be homemade. I cheated and used the store bought wheat type. I suppose you could use panko as well, but that might be too crunchy for this recipe.)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
4-6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
salt, pepper to taste. (I always use ground pink himalyan or austrian salt with meat.)

1. Sandwich the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or the side of a rolling pin until very thin and evenly flattened. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Combine the bread crumbs and lemon zest in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Mix together and spread on to a plate. Put the flour on another plate. And the beaten egg on to yet another plate. Coat the chicken first in the flour, then the egg and finally the bread crumbs. Repeat for all of the chicken.

3. Heat the oil on high heat in a large heavy frying pan. Cook the chicken two pieces at a time or 8-10 minutes, turning once, until golden. Add oil if needed. Transfer to a warm platter and squeeze lemon juice into the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, and mix in the sage. Scrape the mixture over the chicken and serve hot.

Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and basil.
Yes, this is as delicious as it sounds. And it's easier than you'd think.

4 boneless chicken breast halves, skinned

1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet) (about 4 ounces)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 basil leaves, shredded or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten to blend
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter melted

For chicken:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to thickness of 1/4 inch using meat mallet. Pat chicken dry. Combine cheese, green onions and basil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread cheese mixture lengthwise over half of each chicken piece. Tuck short ends in. Roll chicken up, starting at one long side, into tight cylinders. Tie ends with string to secure. Dip chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Roll in breadcrumbs, shaking off excess. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate.)
Place chicken in 8-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter over. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

For the original recipe:
Read More

This recipe can be made in conjunction with a sauce, it is found on the epi.cur.ious website. I found that I did not need the sauce.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another quick, delicious meal

This is another quick, but delicious meal I like to make us.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

I make this quick and easy, by purchasing Organic premade frozen Ravioli from Whole Foods. If you want to make this super fresh, here is a link to recipe for butternut squash ravioli. If there were more than 2 of us, I'd consider it. If you don't like Butternut Squash (I like the idea of the extra nutrients it brings), cheese also works.

But, the Whole Foods raviolis are delicious and cut the cooking time, which is perfect for when I get home at 7 PM and need to make dinner (fairly often.) Hey, if I had more time, I'd cook fresh every night, but that's not the way of our dual income home.

Anyways here are my directions, I don't have a lot of specifics, as this is something I learned how to make and don't have a written recipe for. Please note this is for 2 servings.
- Cook the Frozen Ravioli according to package directions
- While it's cooking, start making the sauce in a separate pan. Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat in a pan.
- As it starts to melt, add in 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh sage, half as much if you use dried sage, also add some salt and pepper to taste. (If you have them, diced shallots add some nice flavor also but aren't required.)
- Stir occasionally until the butter reduces to a brown liquid. Do not burn. This takes about 2-3 minutes.
- I like to throw in some walnuts right before it's done and toss them around in the sauce
- Finish cooking raviolis, strain them thoroughly.
- Toss the ravioli into the pan and stir, in the sauce
- Remove the raviolis and top with cheese. I have tried feta and grated parmasean.
- I have also tossed in fresh green veggies (peas, snow peas, carrots, anything I had frozen or at home) and mixed them into the sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes or less

You can play with it, to add more or less sauce as needed. But, it's delicious!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Part 3- Breakfast with the fam

My mom and her boyfriend stayed overnight, and I decided to make a nice breakfast for them. I got the recipe from a magazine from better homes and gardens.

I used dried apricots. If I were to make it again, I would not use as much cream cheese between each or maybe would have made 2 more little stuffed french toasts. May have needed to play with the recipe to enable this, but just an FYI.) This made 4 little "sandwiches" and Pete said he could have used a little more. But try it out, and see what works for you and yours. They were really tasty and easy. I love being able to put something together for breakfast the night before.

PS- I made the error of not greasing under the bread in some way, and it did stick to the foil. Or use nonstick foil.

8 x 3/4" slices French Bread
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Dried apricots or golden raisins
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
Fresh or frozen raspberries (optional)


1. Make cream cheese filling in a large bowl. To do this, combine the cream cheese, and apricots or raisins, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Place half of the bread slices in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Spread with cream cheese filling mixture. Cover with the remaining bread slices.

3. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, and OJ. Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread stacks, covering all the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2-24 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil. Arrange breadstacks on the pan. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until golden, turning once. If desired, serve with syrup and/ or fruit. Makes 4 servings.

USE low fat cream cheese to decrease the calories!

Dinner with the Fam, part 2

Part 1 was a ham (see prior post.) Part 2 is desert!

This recipe went really well with the ham, as I was able to use some of the same ingredients in it. This cake was REALLY tasty and really easy (which was great as I needed more time to bake than clean.) I think it would make a great holiday party dish, but I am happy to eat gingerbread any time really. I think it would also go well with Thanksgiving dinner.

I actually served this with some leftover vanilla bean ice cream and pumpkin ice cream I had in the freezer. This was mostly to drawn in the kids, but everyone enjoyed it.

Without further adieu, I present-

Gingerbread Cake


1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup mild-flavor molasses
1 1/4 cups cold water
powdered sugar


1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. Grease a 13x9x2inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves; set aside.
4. Beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed (I had to keep it a little lower on my high powered one!) for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, beat until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses, beat until well mixed. Alternately add flour mixture and cold water to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined . Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (Do check after 40, mine was done then!) or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Makes 16 servings or more, depends on how big you cut it.

Yum, yum!

Dinner with the Fam, part 1

We had a nice potluck dinner last weekend that was part 2 of our holiday celebration. I decided to prepare a meat and a desert. I will cover the meat in this section. I was cooking for 12 people, (2 kids). Luckily, family members brought a lot of sides, so I wasn't on the hook for such a big dinner. (Though I did make some green beans, with some olive oil and sea salt.)

So.... this dish ROCKED! I highly recommend it. People went back for seconds, thirds, fourths and everyone requested to take some home. The recipe was printed in Bon Appetit, but can be found on too. By the way, I had plenty of the glaze left on the side (probably because I didn't use the large size they suggested) which people were able to pour on their ham and man, it was delicious.

Ham with Bourbon, Molasses, and Pecan Glaze

1/2 cup apple juice (preferably fresh unfiltered- by the way, this stuff is really tasty!)
1/4 cup bourbon
1 3/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup pecans, toasted, cooled, finely ground
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 tablespoons dry mustard

1 whole bone-in 16- to 18-pound ham (UM... I did not buy this large of a ham. 10.43 pounds was plenty and MUCH cheaper.


Boil apple juice and bourbon in small saucepan until reduced to scant 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes. Combine sugar, pecans, molasses, and mustard in bowl. Add bourbon mixture; stir to form thick paste. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line large roasting pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving overhang on all sides. Trim off skin and all but 1/4 inch fat from ham. Place ham, fat side up, in prepared pan. Roast ham until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 130°F to 135°F, about 10 minutes per pound or 2 hours 40 minutes for 16-pound ham.
Remove ham from oven; increase oven temperature to 425°F. Lightly score fat on ham in diamond pattern. (I didn't do that part!) Rub glaze thickly over top and sides of ham. Return ham to oven and roast until glaze is deep brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let ham stand at least 20 minutes and up to 45 minutes.

Meat tip from epicurious:
: Choose a bone-in ham or a boneless ham that has the natural shape of a leg. Don't use a pre-formed ham (known as deli ham), which is best sliced cold for sandwiches.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Easy meal- yum

This meal is pretty easy to prepare, and it's really delicious. If you're a fan of "one dish/ pot/ pan" meals, than this is the one for you. I am a big fan as it has the same elements I love about a good chopped salad- many tastes in one bite.

It's from the Bet.ter Homes and Gar.dens One-Pan publication.

Chicken Supreme Casserole

Prep: 25 mins
Bake: 30 mins
Stand: 10 mins
Oven: 350 degrees

8 ounces dried rotini pasta (I used the Bar.illa high protein/ Omega 3 pasta discussed in a previous post)
1 16 ounce package frozen stir fry vegetables (they suggest broccoli, carrots, onions, red peppers, celery, water chestnuts, mushrooms)- I had to put 2 packs of frozen together and get a can of water chestnuts to get the flavors I liked
2 10.75 ounce cans condensed cream of chicken soup (I used some organic soup in this initially and it was a little runny, I think it turns out better with a thicker creamy paste.)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup mayo or salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups chopped cooked chicken, about 10 ounces (I was low on time and cheated and bought some pre-cooked Chicken, it helps to save some time if you need it)
2 cups cubed French bread
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions (Cook chicken if you need to first...)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions (make sure it's in a pot with extra space- I learned this one the hard way.) Add the stir fry vegetables for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together soup, milk, mayo, and the 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Once complete, stir in the pasta/ veggie mixure as well as the chicken.
3. Spoon mixture into an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking (13x9 usually) dish. (Note: for me I didn't use all of the sauce in the bowl, I thought it would have been too much for my taste. It still turned out great.) In a medium bowl, toss bread cubes with melted butter and garlic powder; sprinkle over pasta mixture.
4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or heated through and bread cubes are golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper to paste. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sorry I don't have a photo for you, but it's creamy and full of all sorts of tasty goodness. The bread cubes add a nice, tasty crunch. I highly recommend this one!

Note- if you are really watching your waistline, this may not be the recipe for you. There are 584 calories per serving. But there is about 28 g of protein per serving and could be more if you add the protein-y pasta in to meal. Sodium by far the biggest problem, whenever using canned products. But you can select and try a condensed soup that works for you and your dietary needs. And also, I added some sodium in by using precooked chicken.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sunday night dinner

I have decided that Sunday nights will be the night I will try out more difficult recipes that may require more time. This week, I decided to try a French (Normandy) recipe I found in the Gourmet cookbook.

My Sunday night dish- Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce and a side of oven roasted sweet potatoes. Please note I am NOT going to win Top Chef with my plating here. I should have put the apples on top for a prettier picture.

I love French cooking, which is part of my foodie-ness. The sauces are just so rich and so perfect. But sauces are not always an easy thing to master, otherwise we would all have our own restaurants. The sauce for this recipe was a true labor of love, as are most french sauces- but it was delicious. I do think it could have been a tiny bit thicker, and I did try some tricks but to no avail. Perhaps it was some of my ingredients. But it was pretty good all the same. My only complaint was we made the full sauce recipe but with one less apple and 3 less pork chops. The pork chops I bought had surprisingly little meat. Though the bone-in was fancy and such, I think I will go for a meatier pork chop in the future. I did not feel full for so much work! We had plenty of sauce to go around though so some bigger chops could work.

My side dish was some oven roasted sweet potatoes. I diced them, tossed them in a bag with some olive oil, sea salt and onion and garlic powder and baked them at 375 until they looked a little brown. They were also delicious. The apples lended themselves as a second side- they were probably the most delicious part!

Without further adieu, here is the recipe-

Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook)


3 tablespoons of butter
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of fresh sage, chopped or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 pork chops (about 3/4-1 inch thick, 2 1/2 pounds total)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 golden delicious, gala or fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons light brown sugar


Melt one tablespoon of butter in a medium heavy sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add apple cider, vinegar and sage and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes.

Add 1 cup stock and return to a boil. Boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 12 minutes. Add cream and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, another 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat pork dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chops (if cooking 6 you will have to cook in 2 batches) and cook, turning once, until just cooked through. This should take about 6-8 minutes and internal temperature should be 145 degrees. Transfer to a plate to let rest and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Pour fat from skillet and add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add apples and cook over medium heat until golden and just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with brown sugar.

Add remaining 1/4 cup stock to the skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat and scraping up the brown bits for 1 minute. Stir deglazing liquid into sauce along with any accumulated meat juices and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, top pork with apples and ladle sauce over.

Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What to do on those nights...

Well what do you cook on the nights where you don't feel like making a recipe from scratch and you don't have any fresh meats/ fruits/ veggies? I want to talk about those nights as well. I am hardly pulling recipes from the Gourmet cookbook every night. (Though, it's one of my favorites- all of the recipes are easy and short but taste... well... gourmet. My only complaint- no photos. But Gorumet is connected to, so you can find photos there for many of the recipes, along with many delightful tips.)

Anyways, I digress...what to do on those nights you get home late and you just need FOOD? And you want to be healthy as possible or at least, get some good nutrients.

Well, today I am going to discuss one of my favorites- Ba.rilla PLUS! I love it. It tastes a lot better than a lot of other Multigrain pastas I've tried. (I am Italian and we always had the GOOD pasta, so I am a bit of a pasta snob.) But usually pasta is such a no-no with it's a carbarifficness....Not with with this product.

This is their description "Made with golden semolina and wholesome flaxseed, spelt, oats, barley, and legumes, Barilla PLUS® nourishes your body with multi-grain goodness–and nourishes your soul with rich, delicious flavor." Found here:

There are 17 grams of protein in one uncooked cup!
It has 7 grams of fiber (28% of recommended amount!
It's a good source of Omega 3's!

They also have many shapes, which is exciting for me. (again as an Italian- you use different shapes with different sauces! Very picky!) Last night I made the angel hair with a touch of pesto (not too healthy), olive oil, and pine nuts. I have also used walnuts too. If I had more fresh in season veggies, I would have chopped them and tossed them in as well.

So, this is my product recommendation of the day. The whole meal took about 20 minutes to prepare- and it was mighty tasty too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Do you use quinoa at all?

I am in the need of some yummy quinoa recipes. Pete isn't always in love with the taste, but we are both in love how it's healthy and filling.

I am very interested in this healthy grain, but trying to figure out the best way to cook it. Making it from the box straight up can be time consuming with the rinsing (or maybe just the instructions I've found), so I've tried other options.

I did try a trader Joe's boxed quinoa, and made it as part of one of my Dutch oven recipes, but didn't love the way it turned out. It was sort of dry.

Last night, we tried the Trader Joe's frozen Quinoa with vegetable melange. It was pretty good.

I have also tried The Ancient Grains, nuke-able Quinoas and found those to be my favorite taste. (And very easy for those of us who are tired after a long 9-5er but still want a healthy dish.)

My concern with the previous 2 is the sodium content, but the benefits may outweigh the risks. I forgot to compare the 2; I will have to do so in the future.

I have also found this recipe today for a quinoa salad that sounds pretty tasty=

Have you used quinoa, and if so, in what form?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dutch ovens rock

Because I will be making leftovers tonight, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes.

I love cooking in a Dutch oven and making one pot meals. I think it's convenient, and healthy. Outside of grilling, it's one of my favorite ways to prepare fish.

The following recipe is one I've made often. Even though, once again, it's always a little better in the summer with fresh veggies, I've made it to success in the winter. The butter does really add some richness for the fish, I do suggest it unless you need to leave it out for dietary reasons!

If you'd like to try out a fantastic Dutch oven cooking book, please purchase this book:


Glorious One-Pot Meal recipe: Dill Salmon by Elizabeth Yarnell.

Dill Salmon Serves 2
This is a great, light summer meal and is particularly great for filling your diet with omega 3s! Adding a thin coating of olive oil on top of the fish will result in a less-dense fillet. For an even richer flavor, place several pats of butter on the fish.

Olive oil spray
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 pound salmon fillet
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
5 to 7 whole dill sprigs
5 or 6 red potatoes, thickly sliced
2 large carrots, cut into long strips
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into sticks
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 medium cucumber, cut into sticks

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
2. Spray the inside and lid of a cast iron Dutch oven with olive oil.
3. Scatter the scallions in the pot. Set the salmon on top of the scallions, skin-side down if not skinned, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, followed by the garlic.
4. Top fillets with the lemon slices and half the dill sprigs. Scatter potatoes around the fish. Add the carrots, zucchini, celery, and cucumber. Tuck more dill sprigs into crevices and lightly season again with salt and white pepper.
5. Cover and bake for about 43 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Greek Casserole- Dinner 1/2/2010

I made this Casserole tonight. The pita bread added a nice crunch. It may not be the best season for this recipe, as the tomatoes aren't the best, but it was pretty good. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars. I left off the black olives, as I don't like them. I had to make the Greek seasoning myself, the book I had, did have a recipe for it. (Cinnamon and nutmeg- who knew?)

4 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 medium red onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 6-inch pita bread rounds, cut into bite-size wedges
Nonstick cooking spray
3 medium roma tomatoes, chopped (1 cup)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine chicken, zucchini, soup, onion, broth, 1 teaspoon of the Greek seasoning, and the garlic. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish.

2. Coat pita wedges with cooking spray; sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning. Sprinkle pita wedges, tomatoes, cheese, and olives on top of chicken mixture. Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes 4 servings.

Post #1

I am Jess and my hubby is Pete, and we are foodie wannabes. Why wanna-bes? Well, we are really into gourmet foods and cooking, and we attempt to bring it into our lives, but not yet with 100% success.

This blog will be a travel through our 365 of eating well.

The title of this blog involves the word "scrumtrulecence" which is a made up word used on the SNL version of the "Inside the Actor's Studio," starring Will Farell and Alec Baldwin. It came on while I was trying to think of a name, and I thought- well WTH?

We recently traveled to Vegas and experienced some wonderful restaurants, which I thought I would share with you. Remembering good meals is a great memory from vacation for me!

1) Bouchon- French food. At the Ventian. This was our favorite meal.

Started with a cheese plate with a whole honeycomb on it and really wonderful fresh French bread.

Pete had:
Côtelette de Porc
pork delmonico chop, Brussels sprouts,
red wine-glazed pears & roasted shallot pork jus

Jess had:
Poulet Rôti
roasted chicken with glazed celery root,
Jura wine-poached apples, herb quenelles,
chestnut confit & chicken jus

Desert- I had the creme brulee. Pete had a complimentary desert which was chocalate and brownie related, but I can't remember! I do remember though that it had a brandy ice cream I believe.

2) Sinatra- Italian Food. At the Encore at the Wynn.
I had a Prix fixe menu.
First- was a squash soup that was a bit spicy and had small lobster filled pasta tortellini
Second- Branzino alla Genovese
grilled Mediterranean sea bass, cannellini bean
and baby vegetable ragu, pesto
Third- Tiramasu

Pete had:
small pockets filled with bufala ricotta,
herbs, asparagus sauce
For desert he had a hazelnut gelato which was so yum.

Extra points for having french press coffee brought to the table with desert.

3) Postrio (Wolfgang Puck)- At the Venetian. Italian inspired, but all sorts of Eupropean fare.
We were looking to go simple this night.

I went simple:
Spaghettini Pasta, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil with meatballs

Pete had:
A special which was some sort of special beef ravioli in some sort of special sauce. I am forgetting!