Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

My husband, bless his heart made our dinner. I had found this recipe for Corned Beef with vegetables. He said it was very easy to prepare. I would only change the water to 1 cup and the vegetables really need an hour to cook for them to be tender.  But the beef tasted amazing at 3 hours. Literally was falling apart.


1 package Corned Beef Brisket
6 potatoes quartered
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 green cabbage, cut up 2 Tablespoons
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
½ cup hot water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Unwrap the brisket and place it fat side up inside the baking dish.
3. If it came with a spice packet, sprinkle it over the top, then sprinkle on the black peppercorns and minced garlic and rub it in.
4. Cover the dish with a lid or heavy aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 2½ hours­3½ hours.
5. Check the brisket by inserting a fork in the meat.
6. If it goes in easily, it’s ready; if it meets with resistance, bake for another 30 minutes­­­or up to an hour in some cases!
7. If the brisket is tough, it hasn't cooked long enough!
8. Once the brisket is fork ­tender, remove it from the oven and let it rest, covered loosely in foil. Add cabbage and veggies during the last ½ hour­ 45 minutes plus water
9. Slice Corned beef into good sized slices, serve veggies along side.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pickle dip

If you are a fan of pickles then this is the dip for you. Creamy and tangy. I found it on flickr. Would go great in deviled eggs as well as with vegetables.

Pickle dip

8oz cream cheese
1 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups chopped dill pickles
1/4c chopped onions 1 tsp dried dill, and salt

Add all the ingredients in the food processor, whirl it up and serve with veggies of your choice.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pizza Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

My food horizons are sure changing. I thought I was an adventurous girl but I really like to eat the same cuisine from a particular culture or dish from a particular restaurant. I guess this also applies to being a purist. I only enjoy plain grilled cheese. Though it is nice to expand my horizons and enjoy different varieties of old favorites. I love mac and cheese. Straight from the box. Whatever brand it is. Recently I tried Pizza Macaroni & Cheese Recipe. It was delicious. I liked how some parts the "pizza"portion was evident and other parts I just tasted the macaroni and cheese.
Pizza Macaroni &Cheese Recipe 

 2 packages (14 ounces each) deluxe macaroni and cheese dinner mix 
 1/2 cup sour cream 
 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, drained 
 1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce 
 1 small green pepper, chopped 
 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped 
 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend 
 2 ounces sliced pepperoni 

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente. Drain; return to pan. Stir in contents of cheese packets and sour cream. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and pizza sauce; drop by spoonfuls over macaroni. Top with peppers, cheese and pepperoni. Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 12 servings. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Creamy Pesto Dressing

Ahh Pesto how do I love thee. The countless ways pesto can be used is countless. At least to me anyway. I was so glad to stumble upon a pesto recipe incorporating it into salad dressing. It was delicious on top of a green salad with some croutons. I would also use the creamy pesto dressing on top of baked/breaded chicken.

Creamy Pesto Dressing Prep time:  Cook time:  Total time:  Serves: 1 CUP
A copycat recipe of the Old Spaghetti Factory's Creamy Pesto Dressing.

  • ⅓ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup mayonaise
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Grilled Goat Cheese, Roasted Pepper, and Greens Sandwich

I always assumed I was a grilled cheese purist. Meaning I only like cheddar cheese and white or wheat bread for my grilled cheese sandwiches. Though I have tried Nigella Lawson's Mozzarella in Carrozza and it is amazing. But again it is only mozzarella without anything else. But then I decided to give the Grilled Goat Cheese, Roasted Pepper, and Greens Sandwich a go and it was amazing. Even my meat and potatoes loving husband said the sandwich was phenomenal. So I consider that a win. I did slightly cheat as I used jarred roasted peppers and artichokes. I also threw in the garlic in the mix in addition to caressing it on top of the bread. Quite delicious. 

  • 1 red pepper, roasted (you’ll need only half of it for 1 sandwich)
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 trimmed artichoke heart, quartered if small, sliced about 1/2 inch thick if large and tossed with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped blanched greens, such as beet greens, chard, or spinach
  • 1 ounce goat cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 slices whole-grain country bread
  • 1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  1. Dice roasted red pepper small and toss with salt, pepper and a teaspoon of olive oil. Measure out 1/4 cup, tightly packed. 
  1. If including artichoke hearts in the mix, preheat oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment and spread the artichoke hearts over the pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes and turn over the pieces. Return to oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until browned and tender. Remove from heat and cut in small dice.
  1. Mash goat cheese in a bowl and add peppers, chopped greens, and diced roasted artichoke hearts if using. Mash together.
  1. If desired, rub 1 slice of bread with a cut clove of garlic, then purée garlic and stir into the goat cheese mixture. Spread goat cheese mixture over the bread. Top with the other slice of bread (rub it with garlic if desired) and press down firmly. Drizzle remaining olive oil over top slice of bread.
  1. Toast in toaster oven 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese has melted. Remove from oven, press down firmly, cut in half and serve.
  • If you are worried about cheese oozing out onto your toaster oven’s heating element (the burnt cheese smells horrible), then place on a baking sheet. Toast for 3 minutes, then flip over and toast 1 minute more. You can also make this in a panini grill.
  • Advance preparation: You can assemble this sandwich and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to a day. Toast when ready.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Creamy Italian Meatball Tomato Soup

The meatballs I made in the crockpot produced so many meatballs I was able to split into two. One I used in a spaghetti and meatballs dish. And the other I decided to make an Italian meatballs soup. The base was this creamy tomato soup. Then I added the meatballs, a small packet of cheese tortellini, tablespoon of pesto and let it simmer together. I served with parmesan cheese on top. Heavenly.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tender and Juicy Slow-Cooker Meatballs

My range, and oven were doing double duty as I prepared the meals for the week, so I had to rely on my trusty crock pot to cook the  meatballs.
 And the following recipe I found are true is true to its name. The meat balls were tasty and tender. Highly recommend the recipe when you want to wow your dinner guests. I used the meatballs in a recipe for spaghetti with meatballs. The remaining I froze to add to a different dish.

Tender and Juicy Slow-Cooker Meatballs

YIELD:Serves 4 to 6
TOTAL TIME: 7 to 11 hours
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:stand mixer, slow cooker


3 slices white bread, crusts removed, roughly torn
1/3 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed
1 large onion, minced (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
12 cloves garlic, finely minced, divided
2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus more for serving
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, minced
4 teaspoons kosher salt (18 grams)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
1 pound ground beef (at least 25% fat)
1 1/4 pounds ground pork (at least 25% fat)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 sprig fresh basil
Cooked pasta, for serving


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine bread with buttermilk, tossing to coat. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until bread is completely moist, about 10 minutes. Squeeze bread between your fingers or mash with a spoon to make sure there are no dry spots. Add half of onion, 8 cloves of minced garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, salt, pepper, egg, and half of oregano to bread/buttermilk mixture.

Set mixer bowl in stand mixer and attach paddle. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, beat bread mixture until thoroughly blended, stopping to scrape down sides as necessary. Add 1/3 each of the beef and pork and beat at medium-high speed until thoroughly blended with bread mixture.

Remove bowl from stand mixer and add remaining beef and pork. Using a clean hand, gently mix meatball mixture, teasing apart ground meat with your fingers, just until ground beef and pork and thoroughly distributed throughout; avoid mixing any more than is necessary for even distribution.

Preheat broiler and set oven rack in upper position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside 6 ounces of meatball mixture. Form remaining meatball mixture into golfball-sized balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet; you should be able to make about 16. Broil meatballs until browned on top, about 7 minutes (browning times can vary dramatically, depending on oven broiler strength). Transfer meatballs to a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining meat mixture and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add remaining onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining oregano and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with salt.

Transfer tomato sauce and basil sprig to slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 6 to 10 hours. Gently fold meatballs into mixture for last 30 minutes of cooking. Serve with pasta and Parmesan cheese

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lamb Stew

I try to find different dishes using lamb. I had been using an Indian one for a while. So I decided we needed an alternate recipe. And this  Middle Eastern Lamb StewI came upon my husband and I both enjoyed. He is not a big fan of spinach so I was happily surprised. He said the Israeli couscous was a nice balance for the rich and flavorful sauce. A winner.

Middle Eastern Lamb Stew

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 4 1/4-6 3/4 hours

Makes: 8 servings, about 1 cup each


1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, (shoulder cut) or 2 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder chops, deboned, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil, or canola oil
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15- or 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
6 ounces baby spinach



Place lamb in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Mix oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Coat the lamb with the spice paste and toss to coat well. Top with onion.
Bring tomatoes, broth and garlic to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour over the lamb and onion. Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 5 1/2 to 6 hours on low.
Skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Mash 1/2 cup chickpeas with a fork in a small bowl. Stir the mashed and whole chickpeas into the stew, along with spinach. Cover and cook on high until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the stew, omitting the spinach, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 4 months. Add spinach after the stew is reheated. | Prep ahead: Trim lamb and coat with spice mixture. Chop onions. Combine broth, tomatoes and garlic. Refrigerate in separate covered containers for up to 1 day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cheater's Risotto with Broccoli Pesto and Seared Scallops

I have made attempts at making recipes from scratch cake, muffins, bagels, sushi, whipped cream, and now I can add Risotto to my list. This recipe was very easy and so flavorful. Next on my list is to make butter from scratch.

Cheater's Risotto with Broccoli Pesto and Seared Scallops

 Prep time 
  • 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup Arbario rice
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 ¾ cup chicken stock, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 ½ cup broccoli florets
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • Pepper
  • 12 sea scallops
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat chicken stock in a pan to a simmer. Keep hot.
  1. In a large, oven-proof sauté pan, heat 1 ½ tablespoons of the butter over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sweat until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add rice, sauté another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  1. Add dry sherry, and stir constantly until the liquid has evaporated.
  1. Add 2 cups chicken stock and stir constantly for one minute. Cover and pop into the oven. Cook for 12 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just under aldente.
  1. While the rice is cooking, make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse steamed broccoli, garlic, parmesan and salt. With the mixer on, slowly add oil followed by chicken stock. Once the mixture is combined, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  1. Once the rice comes out of the oven, return the pan to a medium heat. Add in remaining chicken stock and stir constantly until most of the liquid has been absorbed, but the risotto is still very creamy. Add in pesto and butter. Stir until combined.
For the scallops:
  1. Pat scallops dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.
  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over a medium-high heat until very hot. Add butter and oil. Add scallops and sear until golden brown and crusty on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Do not try to turn them until they release from the pan.
NOTESAdapted from Bon Appetit

Monday, February 09, 2015

Marble Cake

My mom like a lot of parent's worked outside of the house. She had long hours. Despite that she loved to cook and bake. And she had a handful of great desserts she would make on occasion. For this reason marble cake will always hold a special place in my heart.  I love the combination of vanilla and chocolate. I love that the cake is so easy to prepare as well as being moist and flavorful. I would recommend you adding it to your library of recipes to keep.

7 oz (200g) plain flour/all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
7 oz (200g) fine or powdered sugar (confectioners sugar or icing sugar)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons fresh milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 sticks (220g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease the pan with some butter.
Mix the flour and the baking powder together and sieve. Add in salt and mix well. Set aside.
Use an electronic beater to mix butter and sugar until well combined or pale yellow in color. Add in the first egg. Beat well after each addition of egg until creamy. Scrape down the sides and add in vanilla essence and fold in the flour into the mixture and mix well. Finally, add in the milk.
Divide the batter into two portions. Stir the cocoa powder into one portion and mix well. Transfer the plain batter into the greased baking pan. Shake it lightly to distribute evenly. Pour the cocoa batter in the middle of baking pan, and lightly swirl the cocoa batter with a butter knife. I usually do the “S” shape with the butter knife a couple of times. Do not overmix.
Bake until golden brown and cooked, about 40 minutes. Insert a cake tester in the middle of the cake to test doneness. Remove it from the oven and let cool on the wire rack for another 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.

Friday, February 06, 2015

The north east is having a brutal winter. This means lots of stews and soups for meals. I found a recipe for a lamb stew on Foodista and decided to give it a try. I love lamb for stews as I find the flavor of lamb richer. The stew is basically meat and vegetables in a tomato/chicken stock base broth. So quite healthy and I'm sure you can omit the meat and it still would be flavorful.

Bing's Lamb Stew


1 kilogram lamb leg cut into portions (I used ready cut lamb knuckles)4 large carrots3 large onions2 cups of mushrooms cut into chunks1 cup plain flour1 tablespoon butter1 teaspoon minced ginger1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic2 cups red wine3 cups water2 mutton or chicken stock cubes1 teaspoon ground turmeric1 teaspoon ground cumin1 stick of cinnamon1 tablespoon oyster sauce1 tablespoon dark soy sauce1 tablespoon basalmic vinegar1 tablespoon sugar1 sprig of rosemary2 bay leavesof black pepper


Preheat an oven to 150°C.
Lightly peel 3 to 4 large carrots and cut into large chunks.
Peel and cut 3 large onions into large chunks.
Wash 1 kg of lamb leg pieces. I used lamb knuckles and this shot was for 1.5kg as I was cooking for a dinner party.
Add 1/2 cup of plain flour to the lamb and mix evenly until all lamb pieces are well coated with flour and dry.
Here’s what the lamb should look like after mixing with the flour.
Heat a deep Dutch oven or oven proof pot. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot.
Brown the meat in 2 to 3 batches. About 2 minutes each side.Do not add all the meat at once. If the pot is overcrowded, the meat won’t brown.
Set aside the browned meat and repeat with batch two and three (if necessary).
In the same pot, add the carrots and onions. Stir fry for a few minutes till onions begin to get slight toasted.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.
Stir fry for a minute and then add the lamb back to the pot. Juicesand all.
Add 2 glasses of red wine. Using a spatula, scrap the sides of a pan to release the meat juices.
Add 2 to 3 cups of water. Ensure that all ingredients in the pot are just nicely submerged in the liquids.
Add the mutton/chicken stock cubes. Add one first and the other one when we taste. Every brand of stock cubes is different and it’s always easier to go with a lighter hand in the beginning. I used mutton stock here and like to crumble the stock cubes into the liquids instead of throwing the entire piece in.
Add 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric.
Add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
Add 1 stick of cinnamon stick.
Add 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Add a couple of sprigs of rosemary.
Add a couple of bay leaves.
Mix everything together and bring the stew to a soft rolling boil. Place the lid on the pot and place the pot in a 150°C oven for 1.5 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and give the stew a good stir.
Add the mushrooms. Stir well to combine.
Place the lid back on and return the pot to the oven for another 1/2 hour.
After that 1/2 hour, remove the lid and let the stew simmeruncovered for another 15mins.
The lamb should be very tender by now. Strain the lamb, carrots and onions into a serving dish.
This is the time to taste the sauce. If it’s too salty, add some balsamic vinegar and sugar to balance it. If it’s too flat, crumble 1/2 or 1 more stock cube into the sauce. If you prefer a darker sauce, add more dark soy sauce.
Season the sauce with black pepper.
Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour a little at a time.
Whisk well to combine. This will thicken the sauce. Add just enough flour to obtain a silky creamy sauce.Don’t sweat the lumps. I get those all the time. We’ll be draining the sauce in the next step.
Strain the sauce into the dish of meat.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

There is a salad bar near my office that makes a tasty kale dish. It is steamed kale topped with roasted pumpkin seeds, tamari and sesame oil. I tried to emulate this at home with decent success. I paired it with roasted salmon marinated in paprika, salt and pepper. I enjoyed it for dinner and lunch.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Trader Joe's Review: Porcini Mushroom and Parmesan Ravioli

I love Trader Joe's they always are a great place for me to find new types of pasta and anything really. I purchased Porcini Mushroom and Parmesan Ravioli followed the instructions. Literally took five minutes to steam the pasta. My husband and I enjoyed it with Italian sausage and sautéed zucchini.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Quick Mexican Inspired Pizza

For dinner one night I took a look at what I had in the fridge and cupboard to make dinner. I had tortillas, queso and chorizo. Well I decided in a Mexican inspired pizza. I heated the tortillas in a pan, added the queso and then added the chorizo on top. Dinner literally took ten minutes and it was tasty. I advise to get creative with meals when one hasn't had a chance to get to the supermarket.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Scape Pesto

I was shockingly able to find Scape's and was wondering what to do with them when it hit me pesto. The garlicky taste of the Scape's is a perfect fit. I put them in a food processor with some extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and only a couple of cloves and I hit puree. It was a wonderful flavor. I add pesto in everything. Stews, soups, marinara sauce, tomato and mozzarella salad.