My friend Joel would cry and run away if I served him this dish. Why? Because it contains both tomatoes and cheese, his arch nemeses of food. But if you're reading this, odds are you are not Joel and not scared of tomatoes and cheese. First, good for you. Second, please read on.
30 December 2012
29 December 2012
Everyone loves pizza. And with good reason. This flat piece of bread can be tailored into everyone's favorite dish...just pick your favorite meats, veggies and cheese and voila, a delicious customized dish. If you're at all like me, you've probably also enjoyed the glories of pizza for breakfast. Typically, these were leftover cold slices with congealed cheese (ahh, the college glory days). However, as a full-fledged adults with a pup to look after, the hubs and I have taken our breakfast pizza up a notch, turning it into a healthy and filling start to the day (rather than a leftover afterthought).
17 December 2012
Eggnog is one of the quintessential holiday beverages that you love to drink. Unless your my hubs. He is not a nogger, much to my nog-loving disappointment. We hadn't even purchased any the past two holiday seasons. So this year I was not letting eggnog pass me by once again. We bought a carton and I have been drinking small glasses of this thick, creamy beverage and pondering just how I could trick the hubs into loving egg nog enough to welcome it into our home annually. And my way to his inner nog-lover was through one of our favorite breakfasts...waffles.
16 December 2012
When it comes to cookies, the hubs and I each have certain things that we go for. I love any cookie with nuts, good texture or almond extract. The hubs loves anything with chocolate. Therefore, every year I add chocolate to one of my favorites to make a his & her set of Christmas cookies. Last year it was chocolate stuffed Russian teacakes. This year, it was chocolate glazed butter horn cookies.
13 December 2012
My all-time favorite way to eat chicken is grilled with Frank's RedHot sauce and fresh basil. I've been eating it this way for so long, I don't even remember where I came up with the idea to pair these two disparate items. But for some reason, they are insanely good together. Everyone I've ever fed this combo to has been delightfully happy with the flavor. And justly so, because what's not to love? Zesty RedHot, fresh basil and tender chicken breast...all wonderful. So good, I wanted to put it on everything I ate. So I figured out a more spreadable solution by transforming the duo into a pesto. Mayo and mustard never knew what hit them.
10 December 2012
There are times when you just need a good Italian meal. We're not talking about simple spaghetti here. I mean some serious Italian indulgence. Piles of tender pasta and far too much marinara than is typically correct, capped with melted mozzarella just barely toasted to bubbly perfection. Oh, the humanity. I find an interesting juxtaposition between this dish and the weather - as the temperature decreases, my need for this dinner increases. Drastically. And specifically. So give spaghetti a rest and try this healthy, hearty pasta bake.
09 December 2012
We are typically seasonal produce eaters. Whatever fresh fruits and veggies that are the most beautiful and bountiful are added to our cart. And as an added perk, these items are usually on sale (frugal pride). So imagine my surprise when gorgeous, fresh raspberries popped up in December. Not really berry season, so double shock when they were on sale at summer prices. Naturally, I had to buy a few containers. Who could resist that lovely magenta? And here is how they were all eaten.
04 December 2012
Have you ever been torn between two things? It can be tricky, particularly when they are polar opposites. Knowing that there are two great choices, how can you pick which is best? Do you go for soft but gooey...or tender yet flaky? No, I am not talking about ______ (insert opposite sex here). I am talking about cinnamon rolls and scones. I love both for completely different reasons. Cinnamon rolls are yeasty swirls of frosted spices while scones are tender warm pastry insides with a lightly crispy outside. Dense and savory versus light and decadent. There are days when I simply cannot choose. So I decided to embrace indecision and combine the two into one glorious super-solution. Don't you love that about baking?
02 December 2012
In our home, the day after Thanksgiving is dedicated to unpacking Christmas decor and sprucing up the house. All the turkeys are tucked away for another year, replaced by penguins, snowmen and candy cane stripes. But once the house is ready, I get ready for my favorite weekend in December: Cookie Wekend. Two straight days of dough-making, followed by a week of cookie baking (last year we made 36 dozen for
ourselves friends and family). It is a weekend spent covered in flour and a perpetual smile. To say I love Christmas cookies is an understatement.
29 November 2012
Canned tomatoes are a pantry necessity. Soups, stews, pasta and veggie bowls would never be the same without them. They can turn a plain old chicken breast from dull to delectable. Add them to macaroni and cheese and you have an entirely different take on the dinner classic. Have you noticed a theme here? Though a staple of every foodie's pantry, lunch and dinner repertoire, these handy little cans almost never make it to the breakfast table. This is why I love Eggs in Purgatory - it allows the tomatoes to make a early morning appearance. Well, that in addition to how incredibly quick and easy this breakfast comes together. Low maintenance mornings are necessary every once in a while
27 November 2012
Have you every thought that Take 5 bars need more ingredients? Because I did. Why stop at five when you can have six? Pretzels, peanuts, peanut butter, caramel and chocolate just isn't quite enough. So I added marshmallow. And the hubby rejoiced! Right before gaining 5 pounds.....
26 November 2012
There is one thing I look forward to every Thanksgiving even more than the turkey. More than the pie, stuffing or even Grandma's infamous sweet potatoes. The dish that causes me to quiver with anticipation in early October. The reason that I cook a 10 pound turkey for only four. That reason is leftover Turkey Gumbo. After all the sweets, the breads, the potatoes and the dense solid foods associated with the holiday, there is nothing like a hearty, thick soup to fill in those little empty spaces in your appetite. Especially when it helps to get rid of your leftovers.
25 November 2012
My mom's favorite use of leftover cranberry sauce was always in a cold sandwich the next day. Cranberries, cream cheese and turkey makes a fabulous little sandwich. But the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees since Thanksgiving, and a cold sandwich just isn't appetizing when there's a chance of snow. So mom, forgive me, but I've modified your original. Don't worry, I know you'll still love it, because it has your favorite cheese of all time - brie.
After the Thanksgiving feasting has ended, it's not the people who are stuffed. Your refrigerator is also shamefully over-filled with remnants of turkey, gravy, potatoes and rolls. But my favorite of all Thanksgiving meal leftovers is the cranberries. This fabulous spread is not only delicious on turkey and rolls, but is wonderful in spread on just about anything. Bagels, sandwiches and pancakes all come alive with the addition of this tart and fruity topping.
24 November 2012
There are so very many things I am thankful for this year. First is the turkey of our little family, our fabulous pup Zoe. A quick romp in the big dog park (no wimpy small dog park, thank you very much) and a bowl of kibble filled with bird bits after dinner make for her perfect puppy holiday. Thank you, Second Chance Rescue, for helping us adopt this little snaggle-tooth bundle of joy!
21 November 2012
Have you ever had a roasted mushroom? If the answer to that question is no, stop reading right now and go eat a dozen or so. I say dozen for it you attempt to stop after only one or two, you will find that it is a human impossibility. This is the amazingness that is a roasted mushroom. Warm, meaty, bafflingly juicy and oh so flavorful, these feble words cannot do them justice. So what I lack in vocabulary, I make up in stuffing. Man, can I stuff. Hence, stuffed & roasted mushrooms.
18 November 2012
Nothing says holidays like cranberries. I feel they are the market equivalent to the first snow flakes, a tiny and beautiful reminder that the seasons are changing and good things are on the horizon. I love winter, and ipso facto, love cranberries. I buy their dried counterparts by the industrial-sized bag and chow down on a small handful every night after dinner. I like to think they contribute to my zippy attitude and bolster the redness of my hair. Long live red heads!
14 November 2012
I am an absolute fiend for Frank's RedHot Sauce. Spicy, bright and tangy, I sprinkle this on chicken about once a week. No need for fancy the Barbecue or Smokey flavors, please pass the classic RedHot. This delicious condiment is the essential ingredient to one of America's classic favorites - buffalo sauce. (*pause for mouth wipe*) Toss that name in front of anything and it sounds about 20 times more delicious. Buffalo chicken, buffalo pizza, buffalo cauliflower...I want to eat them all. But one of my absolute favorites ways to serve this sauce is a la spaghetti squash.
11 November 2012
Simple recipes are sometimes the best. No muss, no fuss, just delicious bare bones that leave you remembering the goodness of food without extra frills. With all of the stacked bars, stuffed this and monster that out there in the cookie world nowadays, it seems that bigger is better. I humbly challenge this opinion with the delicious ease of my all-time favorite cookie - Scotch shortbread.
10 November 2012
Several months ago, I pinned a fabulous looking recipe for Chai Spice Glazed Doughnut Muffins on my breakfast board. I love chai and the hubs love doughnuts, so I figured this muffin would be a hit. From there, I promptly forgot about the recipe. But when looking for a way to use the remaining 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin in my refrigerator one Saturday morning, this recipe jumped out at me. Pumpkin is so wonderful with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, so why not add cardamom, ginger and pepper to the mix, too?
04 November 2012
I can never get enough kitchen gadgets. I rarely tenderize meat or ball a melon, but that doesn't mean there are not tools for these purposes in our kitchen drawers. But our newest gadget has been getting quite a bit of use - the pasta roller. We are churning out noodles faster than you could say Northern Italy. After coming a tasty-looking recipe for butternut squash ravioli a few weeks ago, we invited a good friend over for dinner to wow with our new pasta skills. Now our gentleman guest enjoyed the pasta, but stated that he was a bit underwhelmed by the filling. He said that it was ok, but was certain that I could've made up something better. Challenge accepted!
28 October 2012
The name to this recipe is quite a mouthful. But be thankful that it's a short as it is. This recipe was quite the quandary to name. With all the good stuff going into this dish, you don't want to leave anybody out. But at the same time, to just call this a lasagna would be deceptive to all individuals reading this blog. A compromise had to be made between the architectural and flavor aspects of this dish. Just note that the original name was Broken Turkey & Goat Cheese Lasagna Stacks with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
Phew. My pinky has a cramp just from typing that.
24 October 2012
On an idyllic Indian summer day, the last place you want to spend your time is indoors. So when I walked out of work this afternoon into the beautiful 75 degree bliss of a gorgeous October evening, I knew just what to do. Rollerblade. So seventh grade, but so fun. Our new favorite post-work activity is to strap up, grab the pups and blade around the neighborhood. It's the least we can do for our little dog after a day in the crate. Plus, these gorgeous evenings aren't going to be around much longer....
So when days like this come around, I like to pull a kitchen quickie out of the recipe repertoire. And one of my absolute, hands down, all-time favorites is this fabulous blackened salmon salad. Five ingredients, one pre-made spice mix and some lemon juice is all it takes. This recipe is so fast, you can take an extra lap or two around the neighborhood.
22 October 2012
Chili is one of my all time favorite bowl-meals. Sure, you can serve it up with a side if you really want, but no need. Vegetables, protein, fiber and carbs are all just a few ladles away.
This is a recipe that the hubs has been waiting months for me to make. As wonderful as chili is, it is simply not appetizing in the summer heat. But the weather has turned, the seasons have changed and the beans have come out to play.
17 October 2012
I have been loving apples hardcore this fall. Our third fall away from the Pacific Northwest, I think that we're attempting to overcompensate for our year-long apple withdrawals. I mean, what's up with not being apple to pick an apple off a tree whenever you feel like a snack? You actually have to pay for them here...bummer. But none of that right now....it's apple season. Huzzah! Time to pick up your fork and get to work. And I highly recommend starting with this lovely, simple weeknight dinner.
14 October 2012
There is nothing quite like the crisp, airy crunch of phyllo dough. Light, crispy....all around lovely. It is always a phenom, be it wrapped around melty brie, shaped into cups or layered in baklava. But my absolute favorite way to use it is in spanakopita. This Greek recipe creates delicious savory pockets that you pick up and eat like a hand pie, and is traditionally filled with spinach and feta. They make delightful little triangles and are very easy to eat. In the words of the hubs, it's the finger football of the dinner table. Who says you can't play with your food?
10 October 2012
I am proud to be the newest groupie in the barley fan club. I've had it in dishes here and there, but I've only begun cooking with it myself this fall. And let me tell you, it's my new favorite carb. It's a like a pumped up grain of rice with a chewy, pasta-like texture. Nutty in flavor, this grain is used in everything from your breakfast cereal to your favorite beer. Anything that versatile is always welcome in my kitchen. Especially when slathered in pesto....yum.
09 October 2012
My hubs is a grilling machine. Give him a cut of meat, and he can grill it to perfection. He has the keenest internal grill sensor that I've ever seen. Lucky me.
One of our favorite ways to eat salmon is the traditional Northwest preparation style of the cedar plank. Deliciously smokey and flavorful, you get a wonderful dish with the texture and flavor of the fish, but infused with a lovely light cedar flavor. Yum. But in our landlocked continental position, it can be tricky to get fresh salmon that is good enough caliber for this preparation. Therefore, we turned to a similarly textured and flavor fish that is amazing here - Steelhead Trout.
06 October 2012
This recipe is a blatant attempt to replicate one I had at Toro Bravo in Portland, Oregon. This fabulous tapas restaurant is the funnest dining experience I can ever remember. (Yes, funnest...there is simply no better word.) A troupe of reunited college ladies flounced into this restaurant and began to order small dishes right and left to share. None of us knew what to expect with this one, but we were all blown away. I mean, manchego cheese vinaigrette?! Holy cow. Never have I had a cheese vinaigrette before. Gorgeous to look at and even better to eat, I knew I would have to recreate this at home for the hubs.
03 October 2012
On an unexpectedly chilly day in early fall, our refrigerator was unprepared to satisfy my craving for a cozy, warm dinner. Thankfully, I have a shamefully overstocked pantry that was ripe for the plucking. We always have canned beans, onions and rice in plentiful supply. After a bit of digging, chopping and stirring, out came this Turkey Kielbasa & White Bean Rice Bowl. Totally hit the cozy spot. While the hubs and I both thought the dish was very tasty, we weren't sure it was good enough to be considered blog-able. It was only after we ran out of leftovers two days later that the realization hit us...we loved this dish! Though gone from our refrigerator, we were haunted my food memories for weeks. Any recipe that is that unforgettable is one that must not only be kept, but also shared. Truly, a case of leftovers at their finest.
01 October 2012
29 September 2012
Fall is finally here. Welcome back, crock pot. Hello, dutch oven. And of course, a big and hearty hug for one of the absolute favorite friends of fall, pumpkin. For the next three months, we will be consuming as many pumpkin infused items as possible. Breads, raviolis, lattes and cookies have all been a part of the pumpkin love. But perhaps my favorite pumpkin creation so far this year is these Pumpkin Bottom Muffins. (The more delicious, kid-friendly version of apple bottom jeans).
24 September 2012
I'm still trying to get over my recent recipe of Hot & Skinny Spinach Dip. So far, no luck. If you've given it a try and find yourself in the same predicament, I empathize completely. So in lieu of the classic chip, baguette or sliced vegetable, allow yourself to consider this delicious, creamy and healthy burger option that will blow you away. Spread over a salmon burger and you will find an entirely new and delicious way to enjoy a cheesy dip.
18 September 2012
There is something so satisfying about stuffing a chip loaded with hot, gooey dip into your mouth. One of my absolute favorites has always been spinach dip....except for one thing. The mayonnaise. I have never been a big fan. I can understand most foods spoiling, but the thought of a condiment making you sick if it's left out for a few hours creeps my tummy out. If you concur with me, I am here to tell you that you can live a perfectly happy life sans-mayo by simply switching to Greek yogurt. What a wonderful, high protein, reduced fat alternative!
16 September 2012
12 September 2012
Fig season is finally here! Though it seemed to come later than usual, much to my multi-month annoyance. Oh, sweet and tender fruit of summer and fall. From their light honey sweetness to the slight seedy crunch back to the tender skin...they are all goodness from the inside out (or outside in and back again). To celebrate their deliciousness, I bring you one of my all time favorites in these delightful little phyllo cups. Food for the fingers as well as the mouth!
10 September 2012
Last but certainly not least is recipe #3 in the Smoked Almond Basil Pesto trilogy....and perhaps my favorite. But don't take my breakfast-biased opinion. Make them all and see for yourself! To start the week off right, I bring to you a new version of one of weekend staples....Baked Hash Browns & Eggs with Pesto.
09 September 2012
For recipe #2 in the three part series of Smoked Almond Basil Pesto, I present to you this quick, easy and delicious dinner of Smoked Pesto & Shrimp Pasta. This is a perfect meal to make after a long day at the office. Thanks to the pre-made pesto, this dish only takes a grand total 12 minutes from start to finish. Your prep time can therefore be spent relaxing with a glass of dry white wine...gotta love that.
08 September 2012
When I originally blogged Smoked Almond Basil Pesto, I intended on that being the end of it. Share a fantastic pesto and presto, move right along. However, the first dish we used it in was so good, I knew I had to share. So was the second....and the third. So here I bring you recipe #1 in a three part series - Smoked Pesto Salmon Pizza.
06 September 2012
The first time I'd tried pesto, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Whoever first thought of creaming basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan is a genius. Well done you...your life was well spent. Though traditional pesto is phenomenal, it is also incredibly versatile. This is one of the things I love the most about pesto - its playfulness. You can dress it up or down in any way you like. Swap the nuts, sub another type of cheese, play with your greens. Just process the heck out of it and smear onto your favorite carb, protein or fruit. You will be happy.
04 September 2012
Let's face it....sometimes your pack-ahead lunch can get a little boring. Cold cuts are fine and dandy, sandwiches satisfying and salads refreshing. But if you're carrying in, certain foods are always out. Grilled cheese, tuna melts, veggie fritters and paninis are all those delicious foods that you love mid-day, but just do not reheat well at work. When you're limited to a refrigerator and microwave, these hot foods are not your best friends. At times, this may lead you to feeling a bit lackluster about lunch. If you've ever been there, please let me present you with this fantastic mid-day meal.
01 September 2012
Baked french toast is one of the best breakfast dishes of all time. It is a perfect combo of french toast and bread pudding, soaked overnight and baked off into golden, puffy perfection. It's great for a fast and amazing breakfast, but it does require enough aforethought to prep the night before. This foodie experiment was instigated by an overabundance of bagels. A few days old and slightly dry, slightly stale bagels are the perfect consistency for baked french toast. Rather than leaving them whole and soaking overnight, here you dice them up for a speedy 10-minute version of the classic overnight soak. Procrastinators, celebrate!
28 August 2012
Some foods are known for their pairings. Chocolate & mint, peanut butter & jelly, bread and butter, salmon & pinot noir, bagels & cream cheese are a few renowned favorites. But one fantastic pairing that you would never conjure up is bacon and plums. I never would've thought it myself....I mean, what? So imagine my surprise when munching away on my turkey bacon the other morning and I, in true foodie form, took a second bite before finishing my first. This is how bacon and plum ended up in my mouth at the same time, and also how I ended up finishing my breakfast that morning. And the morning after. No big deal.
Since that fateful breakfast, I've been thinking of how to put these two items together in a really hot ticket dish. So I turned to one of my favorite blank canvases and decided to throw them together on a pizza. Brought to you now, with foodie fervor.
27 August 2012
Snickerdoodles are my all time favorite cookie. They turn me into a bonafide cookie monster, stuffing myself until I turn blue. To this day, every time I make these cookies, I remember Saturday morning baking sessions with my Papa, rolling them around in the lovely cinnamon-y sugar. To this day, I always add an extra pinch of cinnamon to....just about everything.
A while ago, I was inspired to try some caramel filled snickerdoodles by a recipe I found on Pinterest. And let me tell you, they did not disappoint! Best when hot out of the oven, but still delicious when cool, it's an extra treat inside the best cookie of all time. After the extreme success of this variation, I began to ponder other stuffing ideas for this fantastically fillable cookie. Why not add chocolate, dried fruit, marshmallow, pretzels or even some herbs? And since I couldn't think of a single reason not to, I spend my Sunday snickerdoodling away.
26 August 2012
I'm not gonna lie. I think this is the best dish I have ever made. Seriously. How's that for an opener?
The first time I made this dish was after a previous night's failed attempt at caramelized onions. Determined to get it right, I tried again the following night with exceptional results. Having achieved maximum caramelization, I then had to think of a way to use them. A quick peek in the fridge and trip to the pantry provided the inspiration for this Caramelized Onion & Spinach Quinoa. And as soon as the hubs and I took our first bites, we just looked at each other. It was so good, I almost felt it was a fluke. So I had to make it again, just to check, this time with unpaid food testers and non-relatives for corroboration.
15 August 2012
I am an enormous fan of unexpected side dishes at a barbecue. Typically, you walk into a venue and it's "hey there, potato salad....hello corn on the cob...how's it going mixed fruit?" Delicious and lovely, but expected. To break the mold, I make it my goal to come up with a side that is familiar enough to appeal to the masses while still providing a new and enticing flavor. Here I present you with one of those sides, crowd pleasing yet twisted just enough to cause both a double-take and a second serving.
13 August 2012
Lunch is the sneakiest meal of the weekend. You want to start off strong with a big breakfast, either in or out. And since everyone is free on the weekends, dinner typically involves something with a group...also requiring aforethought. With a big breakfast and a friend-filled supper, somehow lunch always ends up being the meal that is just about to slide by before you realize it's 1:30 in the afternoon and there's no possible way you'll actually make it to dinner time without a bite. Sneaky, little lunch.....very sneaky.
But just because it's an afterthought doesn't mean it has to be a throw-away. Hence, the birth of this fantastically fast and flavorful dish. Just when I thought I done everything there was to do with zucchini.....
09 August 2012
You know what they say about great minds thinking alike? Even more true when you're married. This dish absolutely the best disparate yet tag-team cooking act that has come out of our kitchen. One brings the idea, the other executes. That's what marriage is all about for a couple of foodies.
Everyone knows Thai chicken pizza. And to know this dish is to love it. Creamy peanut sauce, tender chicken, fresh veggies and crunchy peanuts are all so very lovable. Just throw it all together on a crust, bind it with a bit of cheese and voila, delicious Thai flavors served up Italian style. But why stop at Italy? Why not sail away to South America and mix it up with Mexico? Hence, the Thai Chicken Nacho was born.
01 August 2012
I learned something about my husband this week - enchiladas are his all-time favorite food. It seems almost blasphemous coming from a Canadian, but it's true (his maple-loving lips said so themselves). Take any tasty, cheesy filling, wrap in in a tortilla, slather it in sauce and cover with even more cheese and I have a happy man. Naturally, I like making meals that please the whole household, so I've experimented with healthy enchiladas lately. Perhaps that's why I was so delighted when he couldn't get enough of my Black Bean & Zucchini Enchiladas. Here we get enough cheese to make him happy and plenty of veggies for me.
31 July 2012
Forget cocoa puffs. I go coo-coo for zucchini. And with very good reason. Any vegetable that can be baked with chocolate, layered with cheese, breaded with panko, grilled with garlic or mixed into lemon loaf is a winner. This fabulous veggie is filled with moisture that makes your breads tender, your pancakes pop and your grill basket grin (not the best, but I like alliteration).
Though I grew up with a garden where I could pluck a zucchini at whim, our second floor apartment is not exactly primo zucchini planting ground. Most of the year, I am limited to the wee zucchinis available at the local market. Delicious, but small. Fortunately, has been a lovely hot summer with perfect zucchini-growing conditions. Friends have zucchini bursting out of their ears and are feeling extra generous. Needless to say, when someone left a zucchini the size of my thigh on my desk, I did not turn up my nose. Rather, I took to the challenge with glee. It has brought out some very creative and delicious new recipes, such as these delicious grilled zucchini tartines with Thai peanut chicken.