Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Buttery Caramel Syrup

I think I have said it before, but I will say it again. I am not a food photographer. If you want fabulous pictures, this is probably not the place. But I promise it tastes good...And sorry this looks more like gravy than syrup.

But anyway, this syrup is great on pancakes or waffles as well as on ice cream. And while it has a ton of sugar, it has to be a little better than the HFCS maybe-ish crap, right?

Besides, its fast and yummy. And you can make a bunch and store it in the fridge for quite a while.

Please to not do the vinegar/lemon juice with milk sub for buttermilk. Get the real thing. Make the waffles with the leftovers. Worth it.

Buttery Caramel Syrup


1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

In a large saucepan (3 qt+), bring the buttermilk, sugars, and butter to a boil over medium heat.

Let boil 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla. Whisk. It will bubble a lot. Glad you used the big pan?

Let cool. It will thicken as it cools. 

Serve and refrigerate leftovers. If you don't eat it all with a spoon.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Creamy Tortellini with Garden Vegetables

Comforting and fresh. A great combo. Pretty easy and fast too. 

Creamy Tortellini with Garden Vegetables


2 9oz packages of cheese tortellinis 
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 cup snap peas, trimmed and halved
1 tbsp butter
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 cup milk
1 package 1/3rd fat cream cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Cook tortellinis according to package instructions. When there is 4 minutes left, add the carrots and snap peas.

Meanwhile, heat butter in skillet over medium, cook mushrooms and pepper for 5 minutes. Remove and place in large bowl.

Whisk chicken broth, oregano, garlic, flour, salt, pepper, and milk in saucepan. 

Once bubbling, add cream cheese. Stir often.

Once melted, add lemon juice and remove from heat.

Stir together veggies, pasta, sauce, and tomatoes. Place in 9x13 pan and cook for 30 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese and serve

Friday, June 22, 2012

Soft Pretzels with Jalapeño Cheddar Sauce

Cheese sauce doesn't have to be "processed cheese spread" or "cheese flavored". Its crazy easy! And these pretzels are best eaten the day they are made. But don't worry, that shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

Soft Pretzels
From Alton Brown


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • Coarse sea salt
Combine water, sugar, salt, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes until foamy (if you use instant, skip this step and just add yeast to flour)

Combine flour, butter, and water mix to a stand mixer with dough hook. Mix until combined and then let knead 5 minutes. Place in well oiled bowl and cover for 1 hour

Preheat oven to 450

Bring water and baking soda to a boil.

On oiled surface, divide dough into 8ths. Roll into 18-24in ropes. Fold and pinch into pretzel shape.

Place on slotted spoon and lower 1 pretzel onto the boiling water. Let cook 30 seconds. Remove with spoon and pat dry with a paper towel. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Repeat.

Brush with yolk mix. Sprinkle with salt and place in oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Cheese Sauce


1 jalapeño, de-veined and de-seeded, fine diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a pan on medium. Add jalapeños. Cook 3 minutes.

Add flour, cook 1 minute.

Add milk. Heat through.

Remove from heat and add cheese. Whisk until melted.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eggs Benedict California on English Muffin Toast

This english muffin bread is SO fast and easy. Its more like a quick bread or beer bread than a tedious yeast bread. Even if you don't want to make these eggs benedict, give the bread a shot...But the rest of it is so easy, why not do it all?

Oh and this blender hollandaise takes about 3 minutes and its perfect.

Eggs Benedict California on English Muffin Toast


Eggs for poaching
white vinegar
2 avocados, sliced
2 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced
english muffin toast (recipe as follows)
hollandaise (recipe as follows)

Assemble the toast. Toast, tomato slices, avocado slices.

Bring a pot of water with a splash of vinegar to simmer, not boil.

Crack an egg into a small bowl. Gently pour egg into water. Use a slotted spoon to gently prod the whites to keep them close to the yolk. After one minute, turn off the heat. Let sit 3-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to bring egg to surface so you can lightly press into the yolk to make sure its soft. You want the yolk runny but the whites set and not too underdone.

Remove with slotted spoon and pat dry with a paper towel. Place on the toast tower and cover with hollandaise.

English Muffin Toast
Adapted from OneGoodThingByJillee

Makes 2 loaves

2 3/4 cups warm water
3 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
5 1/2 cups flour

All you do is mix it all together and divide into either 1 or 2 greased loaf pans. 2 pans will make smaller loaves, closer to english muffin size. 1 will make a nice large loaf, good for toast. Let rise until it reaches the top of the pan. Bake for 35 minutes at 350, brush with melted butter, and continue baking until golden brown. About another 5-10 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting.

Blender Hollandaise Sauce
Adapted from Simplyrecipes

3 egg yolks
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
10 tbsp butter

Melt the butter on the stove top. Do not boil. 

In a blender, combine yolks, salt, lemon, and cayenne. Blend for 45 seconds on high.

Turn blender on low, add melted butter slowly. Let blend 5 seconds after butter is added.

Taste the sauce. Add more lemon, salt or cayenne to taste. Should be buttery, lemony, and slightly salty. 

Keep warm. Use within a hour.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Greek Mac and Cheese

I am in love with feta. Its salty and crumbly and so yummy. Everything about this pasta was super yummy and comforting

Greek Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Adventurescooking

1 head garlic, top sliced off, rubbed with oil, wrapped in foil, roasted at 400 for 30 minutes, cooled
1 leek, thinly sliced and soaked 
1 onion, chopped
1 box dry pasta
11 oz feta cheese, in brine
1 cup asiago cheese, shredded
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp butter, divided
olive oil
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp greek oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper

Start on roasting the garlic right away.

Also, start cooking pasta to box instructions

Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan. Add a little olive oil. Add the leeks and cook on medium, stirring often, until caramelized. 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and put in a large bowl.

Add spinach to the pan. Cook until wilted, a minute or two. Remove from pan and add to bowl.

Add remaining tbsp butter to the pan, melt. Add flour. Cook 1 minutes. Add milk and cream. Heat well, but dont boil. Add oregano and rosemary 

Add asiago and crumbled feta. Heat until mostly melted. 

Add to the big bowl along with the sun dried tomatoes and pasta. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the bowl. Combine and add salt and pepper as needed.

Place under a low temp broiler for 10 minutes or until melty and browning. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mexican Dip

This is a twist on the 7-layer dip. I change it almost every time and its always a different number of layers. So lets just move past obscure things like numbers.

Mexican Dip


1 can fat free refried beans
1 can fat free spicy refried beans
1 avocado
4oz 1/3 fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
juice of one lime
garlic powder
1 cup salsa
1 bag shredded lettuce
3/4 cup shredded cheese (taco/mexican mix, colby, cheddar, whatever)
2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 green onions, sliced

Other topping ideas:
black olives
diced green chills
raw onion

In a 9x13, mix and spread the refried beans.

In a food processor/blender, combine the avocado, cream cheese, sour cream, and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Spread over beans.

Sprinkle garlic powder over everything.

Spread salsa

Sprinkle lettuce, then cheese, then tomatoes, the corn, then green onions

Monday, June 18, 2012

Zucchini Grinders

This tastes kind of like a meatball sub. But not meatballs. Just zucchini. And it is gooood. You *can* use shredded mozzarella on this. But please don't. Use the fresh soft stuff. Its a little more expensive, but its so much better.

Zucchini Grinders


2 medium zucchinis, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
4 italian hoagie rolls
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed

Heat butter in saucepan over medium. Add zucchini and stir to coat. Cook a few minutes until softened.

Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, and spices. Cook until bubbling

Add zucchini into sliced rolls. Top with cubed cheese. Wrap in aluminum foil and cook for 15 minutes in a 350 oven.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

So, avocado just needs to go on everything.  Its crazy good for you and tastes like heaven. Whats stopping us?

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich


8 hard boiled eggs, whites and yolks separated. Chopped
2 avocados, rough chopped
2 tbsp plain low fat greek yogurt
2 tbsp chopped scallions
1 tbsp cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Mash up the yolks and avocado. Add whites, scallions, yogurt, vinegar, and s&p. Smear on a yummy bread and ENJOY.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Santa Fe Burger

AKA the best burger ever. Oh my. So yummy.

I'll admit, I am not a big fan of Bobby Flay's attitude. He is a cocky mo fo and he bugs the crap out of me. In fact, I watch Throwdown JUST hoping he will lose.

But, the guy knows how to cook. Not only does his meatloaf knock my socks off, but this burger was the bomb. Totally worth being one of our meat meals for the week.

Burger slathered with queso, topped with roasted poblano and crumbled blue corn chips. Yeah. Told ya. Put it on a fresh baked challah roll, and you will die very very happy

Santa Fe Burger
Adapted from Bobby Flay


1 lb 80/20 burger
Montreal Seasoning
1 lg poblano pepper
1 tsp oil
4 hamburger buns or challah rolls


1tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup whole milk
8oz fresh grated monterey jack cheese
salt and pepper

Form the 4 patties and season well with the Montreal Seasoning. Cook on grill to desired doneness.

Coat pepper in oil and roast in 375 oven for about 15 minutes, until skin browns. Remove from oven, put in bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes. Peel off the skin. Remove seeds, and dice

Heat skillet to medium. Melt butter. Add flour and cook 1 minutes Add milk, turn up heat to high, and stir constantly for 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese. Keep warm

Top burger with diced pepper, a generous helping of queso, and a few crumbled corn chips. Ah-may-zing.

Friday, June 8, 2012

New and Improved "Cuban" Black Beans and Rice

Quick, easy, cheap, flavorful, and pretty much everything is staples. What more can you ask for?
I recently updated this recipe double the amount and to include tomatoes and spinach. Hence the "cuban". The cuban flavor is still there, but I am not sure if the new ingredients are traditional. So its "cuban". :) And of course the spinach and tomatoes are optional, but recommended!

Cuban Black Beans and Rice


2 cans low sodium black beans, not drained (or 3 cups of home made black beans)
1 onion
1 red bell pepper
4 tbsp fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp cumin (or more)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

3 cups cooked rice
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Put the onion, pepper, cilantro, and garlic in a food processor or blender. Pulse until well chopped

Heat a skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil

Add veggies. Cook for 4 minutes.

Add black beans, vinegar, cumin, S&P, tomatoes, and spinach.

Cook for 20 minutes (while rice cooks)

Toss rice with lime juice and cilantro. Top with beans.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tuna and White Bean Pasta Salad

Trying to figure out the no meat lunch issue. I mean, cold cut sandwiches are out. Also Husb is home a lot more during the day with his new schedule. Its a challenge.

This has some protein and can be made in advance. Also we can go get it whenever we are hungry, which makes life easier.

Tuna and White Bean Pasta Salad


2 small cans tuna
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed, (great northern, cannellini, navy, whatever its called)
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and diced
1 carrot, grated
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, deseeded, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 box tri color rotini pasta, cooked according to box
2/3rds cup plain greek yogurt
1/3rd cup fresh herbs (I used parsley, basil, and a little thyme)
juice of 1/2 lemon or whole lime
1 tbsp dried dill
1 tbsp lemon pepper
salt to taste

Mix together yogurt, herbs, seasonings, and citrus juice.

Mix the tuna, veggies, and pasta. Add yogurt mix.

Chill and enjoy

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa is a fun little grain. I think its a seed actually. Whatever. Treat it just like rice. I cook it JUST like I do rice. In my rice cooker actually! With a 1:1.5 quinoa to water/broth ratio. Fluffy and perfect each time.

Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers


6 bell peppers, sliced lengthwise and deseeded and deribbed(is that a word?).
2 cups (cooked) quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked)
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp cilanto (optional, but recommended)
1/4 cup of chicken broth (water works in a pinch)

Heat a large pot of well salted water to a high boil. Put the peppers in for about 4 minutes. Remove peppers and place in icy water to cool.

Mix all other ingredients (about half the cheese) together and stuff the peppers. Cover with foil and cook at 400 for about 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining cheese and cook another 5 minutes

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pizza Stuffed Portobellos

So here it goes. We are doing more meatless meals! We are seriously cutting back on meats, so that means more creativity on my part. Luckily, you guys will get the best of both worlds since we aren't cutting it out completely!

Mushrooms have a heartiness that we are still craving. So stuffing them seemed like a great way to go! This is a great way to go low carb. Or, you can be like us and serve it with a salad and a loaf of crusty peasant bread. :-D

Pizza Stuffed Portobellos


4 portobello mushroom caps, de-stemed and gills scraped out
1 8oz can of tomato sauce (recommend Roasted Garlic)
1/2 tsp each of dried basil, oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper
2 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed (small)
1/2 each green and red bell pepper, chopped
1 shallot, fine chopped
3 fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced (optional)

Mix the seasonings into the sauce. Place 2 spoonfuls in each mushroom.

Add cheese, peppers, shallot, and top with basil.

Place on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for around 10 minutes.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pasta with Bell Peppers, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan

This dish is a favorite. Both hearty and light, comforting and fresh. Takes less than 30 minutes to whip up.

If you really want to stretch this dish out and have a LOT of leftovers, simply double the pasta and add a bit more olive oil.

Pasta with Bell Peppers, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan


1 box whole wheat penne pasta
4-5 bell peppers, assorted colors, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb sweet italian sausage (we used turkey sausage last time and it was good!)
1 container of the good parmesan cheese, shredded. A romano and asiago blend is yummy too.

Make pasta per box direction.

Meanwhile, heat saucepan with oil over medium/medium high heat. Crumble sausage (remove casing if applicable) and brown.

Once brown, add bell peppers. Stir and cover. Cook until soft. 10 minutes or so. Stirring often.

Drain pasta and put back in stock pot. Add sausage and peppers (pan juice and all) to pasta.

Stir. Add cheese and stir.

If it seems dry at all, add a tbsp of good olive oil (I usually do this when its leftovers)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chicken with Garlic and Tomatoes

I don't know why, but when I think of a tomato based sauce, chicken isn't usually a part of that. But when I came across this Pioneer Woman recipe I was intrigued. It was comforting and filling. And pretty easy!

Chicken with Garlic and Tomatoes
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman



  • 8 chicken thighs (I suggest boneless/skinless.)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp each dried basil, parsley, oregano
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 box of pasta of your choice. I used spiral
Preheat oven to 400

Heat dutch oven over medium. Add oil and butter. Salt and pepper chicken. 

Add chicken. Brown each side well. Remove chicken.

Add wine, scraping bottom to remove brown bits. Cook for a couple minutes

Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to boil. Add herbs, garlic, and chicken. Cover and put in preheated oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and let sit. Cook pasta per box directions.