Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chicken Pillows

Ahh... comfort food. I've had these at three, completely separate homes before. They are the real thing. What's great about them is how alternative they are, and the recipe can catered to your specific likes and dislikes.

Chicken Pillows

1 pkg of Pillsbury crescents, or 8 defrosted Rhodes rolls
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 C. cooked, diced chicken
1 C. diced or canned mushrooms
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
dash of salt and pepper

melted butter, bread crumbs, and parmesan to top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the chicken, cream cheese, mushrooms and seasonings together. Then divide the mixture amongst the dough and pull the sides of the dough up over the mixture, and pinch the edges closed. Place them equally apart on a greased pan, top with melted butter and sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

(Some serve with gravy- some don't. I don't have the gravy recipe. Cue: Lyndsey's 'post comment' with the gravy recipe.)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Orange Rolls

I do NOT like oranges. Never have, never will. But I LOVE these orange rolls! I know, I'm weird. I think the reason why is because the "orange" part of these rolls doesn't even come into play until the glaze, which I have complete control over how much "orange" I use. I think I ate at least 5, just today! Also, I am not a great bread maker. Some people just have the knack....I don't. So if I can make these rolls, all of you can too!

(recipe given to me years ago by Paula LeSueur)

First: scald 2 cups milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup shortening in a saucepan over medium heat. Set aside and let cool completely.

Second: in an electric mixer with a dough hook place 1 cup warm water, 2 tblsp sugar, and 2 tblsp yeast. Let dissolve, then add the cooled milk mixture and mix well.

Third: Add 4 beaten eggs and then 9 cups of flour, one at a time until well mixed and sides of bowl start to come clean.

Cover and place in fridge overnight. Roll out dough at least 3 hours before baking.
****I actually just make the dough in the morning, then shape the rolls a few hours later****

Fourth: roll out the dough into a large rectangle on a buttered surface! (yes butter, NOT flour... and don't be afraid to use butter all over your hands too, it helps you work with the dough.)
Spread more butter all over the rectangle then roll it up like you would for cinnamon rolls. Slice the big roll in 1/2, then each of those halves in 1/2. Then cut each of the 4 sections into 12 slices. Place in greased muffins pans and let rise for 2-3 hours. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Another option: once you have it rolled into a large rectangle, cut it horizontally in the middle, then slice it vertically into several strips (see photo above). Use these strips to tie knots with the dough. Place on greased cookie sheet and let rise/bake just as above. A fun variation in shape that the kids love!

Orange Glaze:
2 tblsp. orange juice concentrate, melted (I use a little less)
2 tblsp. softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
grated orange rind and juice from an orange to desired consistency

Mix all the above together and spread on warm rolls.
(I actually half the roll recipe and keep the glaze amounts the same. So double the glaze for a full batch of rolls if you like them well frosted!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cafe Rio anyone??

(note: some pictures and recipes are my own; others came from and

OK, I'll admit it. If an AA group for Cafe Rio lovers existed, I'd be a member. I just can't get enough of it. Thus began my search for the perfect Cafe Rio "copycat" menu items. Some of the following recipes come pretty dang close, while others are a little different but still taste great. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Cafe Rio Pork
3-5 pound pork roast (or boneless ribs)
18 ounces Coke (not diet)
1 cup brown sugar
1 (7 oz.) can chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce (discard chilies, only use sauce)
1 heaping tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. minced garlic

Place pork roast in bottom of crock pot. Mix all other ingredients together and pour over the roast. Cook on LOW for 7-9 hours, or until it shreds easily. Shred the pork meat 1 hour before the total cook time is up so it can cook in the sauce for the remaining time. Make sense?

Cafe Rio Chicken
5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. Zesty Italian dressing
1 tblsp. chili powder
1 tblsp. cumin
3 tsp. minced garlic

Place chicken in the bottom of a greased crock pot. Mix all other ingredients together and pour of chicken. (If you like lots of sauce you can double the recipe so it covers the chicken). Cook on LOW for 3-5 hours then shred with a fork. Again, shred the meat before the total cooking time is up so it can cook longer in the sauce!

Use the pork or chicken to make tacos, burritos, salads, tostadas, sure to use the tortillas you can cook in a pan for just a few minutes, NOT pre-cooked ones)

Also serve with the following recipes:

Cafe Rio Lime Rice
2 tblsp. butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 tsp. minced garlic
6 2/3 cup water
7 chicken bullion cubes
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. cumin
1 tblsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups long grain rice

Saute butter, onion, and garlic then set aside. Bring all other ingredients, except rice, to a boil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic, then add rice. Cover and simmer until rice is tender.

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
1 package Hidden Valley buttermilk ranch dressing
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups mayo
2 tomatillos, remove outer husk
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. lime juice (or more!)
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed (keep seeds if you like things spicy)

Mix all ingredients in a blender. If you want the dressing thicker, add a bit more mayo. Refrigerate a few hours before serving.

Cafe Rio Pico de Gallo
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Mix all the above ingredients and ENJOY!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas and Bean Salad

This is a spin on the traditional (Mormon) chicken enchiladas with corn and cream of chicken. This is really tasty. I'd write the recipe, but I think I'll just put the link to the Martha Stewart page where I got the recipe instead. Don't skimp on the cheese:

I have a hard time thinking of sides to go with Mexican food. Especially a vegetable side. I decided to go for a bean salad which turned out pretty tasty.

Bean Salad:

1 can garbanzo beans
1 can black beans
1 can northern beans
1 can cut green beans
1 can white corn
1/2 red onion
Fresh cilantro
Dressing (I totally winged it on the proportions, so good luck:

Red wine vinegar
Canola oil
Fresh lime juice
Dijon Mustard
Celery seed (because I had some)
Pepper (enough salt in the canned beans)

The food went over well. One of my guests told me I needed to teach his mother how to cook. a high compliment I must say.

Hot Wings Pizza

I know what you are wings and pizza? Together? Trust me, it's good! There is a little place in Rexburg, Idaho called Craigo's. They make all kinds of delicious and funky pizza's and their spicy hot wings pizza is my favorite. Since we are budget and time conscious people, here was my attempt at copying their pizza and my husband and his friend devoured it and decided it was a must have! I cheated big time while making this, so feel free to out do yourselves if you want to do everything from scratch. I didn't!

1 pre made pizza crust

1 cup Frank's hot sauce (the normal red stuff...brand is important here!)
3/4 cup sugar

mix together, heat in the microwave a minute so that the sugar dissolves, then spread on pizza crust leaving a little bit to drizzle on top of the chicken.

breaded chicken pieces (I cut up enough defrosted chicken nuggets to cover the worked perfectly!)
thinly sliced red onion
Thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
Cheese to cover pizza (we used a combo of cheddar and pepper jack because that was what we had)

Spread your sauce, add your toppings, drizzle a little bit of sauce over each chicken piece, top with cheese, and bake according to the directions on your pizza crust. Ours cooked at 400 degrees on the pizza stone for about 10 minutes. We served it with lots of celery sticks and ranch (to cool down the spice from the sauce), or anything else you think is appropriate for such a combination!

Sour Cream Chicken

This is one of my favorite meals of all time. (Don't mind the bad picture.) Growing up, I'd frequently ask for this on my birthday. If you want to know what's for dinner at our house....this meal is a regular. In fact, I had my brother over for dinner yesterday and this is what he requested. And the best part about it is that it's SO easy. You can literally whip it up in about 5 minutes and throw it in the oven. We made it last night with Lisa's buttermilk rolls--yum!

Sour Cream Chicken

4-6 servings

1 10 ¾ ounce can cream of chicken soup (If you like a lot of sauce like we do, use 2 cans)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (add more for more sauce)
1 cup sour cream

4 chicken breasts - thawed
dash paprika

Mix first 3 ingredients together and set aside. Place thawed chicken breasts in a glass baking dish. Salt and pepper lightly. (Cut breasts in half for faster cooking.) Spoon mixture evenly over chicken and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over white rice, and enjoy the delicious cheesy goodness!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shhh, Don't Tell...Chocolate Fudge Cake

The title insinuates that this cake is half homemade, and half box cake. There was an incident where two sisters each made a cake. One was from scratch, and one was a box. They had a blind taste test at a dinner party.

Which cake won?

The box cake.

The scratch couldn't compete with the moistness of the box cake. Thus, to validate the box cake, the recipe was altered slightly to add the homemade touch. Truly, the frosting is the "icing of the cake"....


1 box Devil's Food Cake
1 C water
3 eggs
1/3 corn oil
1/3 sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 salt
1 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Position rack in center of oven. Butter three 8" cake rounds (or two 9" cake rounds). Combine the cake mix, water, eggs, oil, sour cream, vanilla, and salt in a bowl of your kitchen aid, or use a hand electric mixer. Beat on low speed till well blended. Increase speed to medium (for kitchen aid users) and high for hand mixers. Mix for two minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans, and bake for 25 min for 8" pans, and 27 min for 9" pans.
Transfer pans to cooling racks to cool for 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and let cool completely.


2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, unsalted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Put the chocolate chips in a metal bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment...alternatively, use a hand mixer. Combine the sugar, milk, butter and salt in a medium sauce over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil vigorously for exactly 1 minute. Pour hot sugar mixture over the the chocolate chips and add the vanilla. Beat on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken to a spreadable consistency. 10-15 minutes.

To assemble, place one cake, flat side up on a platter. Spread 1/3 of the icing over the top of the cake. Top with second cake, flat side up. Spread 1/3 of icing over the top. Top with 3rd cake and spread remaining icing over top and sides of your tall creation. Refrigerated cake will be more set. This cake is beautiful when garnished with deep reds, such as roses or berries. Left over icing becomes a decadent fudge.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

Just tried this for dinner tonight, and it did not disappoint. I guess my CRAZY "5-kid life" lures me to these easy crock pot recipes. Is there such a thing as a crock pot junkie? Maybe. Whatever puts food on the table, right?

(I promise....the next meal I post won't come from one of "those").

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta
(adapted from

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen chicken tenders)
4 oz. can of mushrooms, drained
1 packet of Ranch dressing
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese

1 box of your favorite pasta, cooked

Place chicken breasts and mushrooms on bottom of crock pot, then sprinkle ranch dressing packet on top. Dissolve the bouillon cube in 1 cup boiling water and pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for about 2 hours. Stir in soup and cream cheese until well blended then cook for another hour. (My slow cooker cooks really fast, times may vary)

Serve over pasta and with your favorite rolls or vegetable side dish.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Red/White Pasta

This is so easy and delicious. If you like to get into the bread and butter of italian food- but not have to put a lot of work into it, then this is for you. Now, I have recipes for homemade alfredo, and homemade marinara, but I'm not going to post them, because frankly, I didn't make them. I got so lazy tonight but managed to whip out a delicious entree in a half hour.

Red/White Pasta

1 pkg of Rotini or Fusilli pasta
1 can of your favorite marinara sauce (or be awesome and make your own)
1 can of your favorite alfredo sauce (again, go ahead and be awesome if you want)
1 cup grated mozzarella
(you can add vegetables to beef it up, so to speak... like zucchini or eggplant.

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil pasta to aldente, it will continue to cook when baking. Drain, and let sit for a minute. Spread some marinara on the bottom of a casserole dish, then pour half the pasta in. This is all about technique- you can't just mix the sauces up and pour them in, it won't taste as good, I promise. Dollop large spoonful's of each of the sauces sporadically throughout the dish. Layer the rest of the pasta then repeat. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake for 20-25 minutes, till bubbling.

This is so tasty. Serve with french bread or garlic rolls.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

1 pkg spaghetti
1 jar of your favorite sauce
1 pkg ground beef
1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesean
1/8 c parsley (fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp of garlic salt
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

Start cooking your spaghetti in well salted boiling water.

In the meantime, place the ground beef in a bowl and mix in the egg, then add all the dry ingredients, and the cheese. Form large gum-ball sized balls and place them into a deep frying pan with olive oil, over medium heat. Turn the meatballs that are cooking as you form the others to put in the pan. Once the meatballs are browned on all sides, add the sauce and let them cook a little so they cook through. Spoon over the spaghetti and serve with garlic bread.

Yep. Just incase you didn't know. That's how you make spaghetti and meatballs.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup

Ok Lisa, you are an all star when it comes to posting lots of recipes. After we made this meal on New Year's Eve, I have had some recipe requests, so here is my first contribution to the food blog!

When I go to Olive Garden, I can never decide what to get and I inevitably end up ordering the delicious soup/salad/bread option. Yum! Once I tried the Zuppa Toscana soup (a spicy potato flavor), I could never go back. I have searched for a similar recipe and this one takes the cake. We often have Olive Garden flavor at home now with this recipe, though I make changes to the recipe in effort to be healthy. I added my variations in the recipe.

Makes: 6-8 servings


  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I use half and half)
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale
  1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients. (Or do it the night before)
  2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
  4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious! (I stir in the sausage, wait for the grease to rise to the top, and then skim it all off before adding in the kale)
Yum! We also make a copycat Olive Garden salad. You need:

Red Onion sliced into rings
black olives
sliced tomatoes
banana peppers
Kraft Fat Free Zesty Italian salad dressing

Toss together and enjoy!

And, if you want to add some tasty breadsticks to the meal, I have enjoyed this recipe from the fabulous Real Mom Kitchen for delicious breadsticks, though I did add more salt in the dough then the recipe called for which enhanced the flavor.

Divine Breadstick Recipe found here:
Yum. Now I am hungry!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teriyaki Pork Chops

These are nice savory twist on your basic boring pork chops. They are also low in fat...I think.

Teriyaki Pork Chops with Pineapple

Two 3/4" thick Pork Chops
Pineapple slices
Garlic salt
Salt and Pepper
Your favorite teriyaki marinade/sauce

I like to tenderize the chops a little before marinading them. They only need an hour or so. Poke them with a knife so the sauce and seep into the meat. Preheat oven to 425. Pull chops out of marinade and place them on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasonings then put in the oven for 15-20 min (depending on the thickness of the chops. Check them frequently so they don't overcook.)

Just before serving, sear the pineapple slices in a frying pan to get them nice and golden, then place on top of chops. Pour teriyaki sauce over the top. Serve with brown rice.

King Crab Legs

Probably one of the top 3 most favorite meals of mine. I love it so much. I don't know how anyone got me to try it in the first place, because I really never liked crab. Crab dip, crab slaw...whatever. It wasn't good. But when it was WARM and dipped in liquid gold, I completely fell in love.

Again, this isn't much of a recipe, considering there are two ingredients:


We got these lovely legs at Costco, and steamed them for 4-6 minutes. I'm told you can also nuke them in the microwave for 3 min wrapped in a paper towel, or even bake them. We chose steaming. Then the hardest part- out of this whole complicated meal, was clarifying the butter.

This is how I did it:

Melt a stick of butter in a pot over low heat. The butter will form a white foam on top. Once butter is completely melted, scrape the foam off the surface and discard (without disturbing the lower layer). I used a metal spatula to scrape. Then pour the butter out of the pot, decanting it so the fats and milks that are left behind stay in the pot. You should be left with clear, yellow, delicious, butter.

That's it folks. I've paid $50 at a nice restaurant for this meal, and this cost us $16, plus 88 cents for the cube of butter.

Finger lickin' good.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup (easy and kid friendly)

Now, Im no photographer like our talented Lisa, but it wouldn't be a food blog without a picture, right? At least this gives you an idea of what it looks like!

I hesitated to even post this recipe because it is SO simple. But if you are like me, quick and easy, yet tasty meals are just what you need! So here goes:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red enchilada sauce (I use mild, but if you like spicy use medium or hot)
2 large chicken breasts boiled and shredded
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 limes, freshly squeezed

Combine everything except chicken and lime juice in a crockpot. Cook on low for 3 1/2 hours then add chicken and lime juice and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings.

shredded cheese
sour cream
Frito corn chips (you can make your own tortilla strips for a more authentic taste; just cut up corn tortillas into thin strips and deep fry them; let dry on paper towel to soak up extra oil)

I usually add a side of cornbread. Hope you enjoy it's yummy simplicity!

A new take on Steak and Potatoes

One of my new years resolutions is to have more dinner parties. I like making dinner, but I like to make an event out of it rather than just eat it myself. And I love making food look pretty and sitting at a table and having conversation with people I like. So this year I am inviting people I like to eat with me twice a month. So far, so good.

We started out with some warm pita bread and dip. The dip is essentially plain Greek yogurt with grated cucumber, grated garlic (I don't mess with a press) fresh lemon juice and mint (or dill if you want). Make sure you buy the Greek pita bread -- not pocket pita.

Who doesn't like a good steak (not counting vegetarians)? This is a flank steak and the marinade is the BEST marinade I've ever tried. I actually got the recipe from my friend Scott.

Flank Steak marinade:

1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup soy sauce (preferably tamari)
1/3 cup lime juice and zest (about 2 limes)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
steak seasoning

(marinade over night, if you can, turn the steak halfway through marinade time).

I don't have a grill, so I broiled this. Each side, about 6 minutes. The trick is not overcooking it. You want it to be pretty pink in the middle.

Most people I know love mashed potatoes and gravy. I don't, but I'm pretty sure it's the gravy I don't like. I don't have a problem with potatoes, but they need a good flavor. My flavor of choice happens to be horseradish, and horseradish goes great with beef, so this worked.

I'm not going to bother with a recipe for the potatoes because I honestly don't know how much of everything I put in here. Basically I boiled the potatoes, added some butter, half and half and a teaspoon of horseradish. Salt and pepper (garlic salt if you want).

My friend Annie made this salad. The key to good salad (if you ask me) is quality ingredients and a good dressing. I prefer to make my dressing from scratch. You save a lot of money that way and it's so much better for you.


Green leaf lettuce
orange slices
blue cheese


olive oil
orange juice
white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hand Rolled Sushi

This is certainly something to boost your self esteem in the kitchen. Particularly if you DO like going out for sushi. The price is much better, and there is a huge sense of fulfillment, that doesn't involve your stomach.

This is more about what you want in your sushi roll rather than a recipe. You can choose the filling. But here's what you need before that:
1. Nori: the seaweed wrap
2. Wasabi: what is sushi without wasabi..
3. Soy sauce: we all need a little sodium
4. Rice vinegar: there are different flavors
5. Sushi mats: These are $5 or less

Then you choose your fillings. We went to Aquarius and bought some salmon, bbq eel, and a king crab leg. All the fish was nearly frozen, so it needed to be refrigerated before cutting. As for our vegetables, we had carrots, avocado and asparagus. For topping and flavoring we had a lemon. And of course- sushi rice. If you don't have sushi rice, then make some rice the day before, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight so it gets nice and sticky. Per cup of rice, you need to add 1/8c (or less) of the rice vinegar and a Tablespoon of sugar. Mix gently, fold the sugar into the rice without turning the rice into mush.

Slice your fish items thinly, and lengthly. Wash all surfaces that made contact with the fish before cutting the vegetables. (Note: a SHARP knife comes in VERY handy for all this cutting)

Wrap your mats in plastic wrap so rice doesn't get stuck in it. Place the nori shiny side down on the mat and sprinkle it with a combination of rice vinegar and water so the rice will stick. Lay a thin layer of rice down (I like to make mine a nice layer and pack it down, this helps keep the roll together and makes cutting it easier), then add your fillings. My favorites of the night were crab, cream cheese, avocado and asparagus. Another really good one I've named "The Little Eel" was the bbq eel and cream cheese. Because of the limited fillings, I cut the sheet of nori in HALF and it was a small roll. After filled, roll the end closest to you over, and tighten, Then reposition the mat to finish rolling the roll, and tighten again. Slice your roll.

This was not only quite delicious, but it was a lot of fun.

The kids at yesterday's pizza.

*Special thanks to Lyndsey for the idea, lots of the ingredients, and the sheer wisdom.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oreccheitte with Broccoli, Sausage, and Roasted Peppers:

First of all, this plate...I've had for over ten years. It used to be the server ware at Food For Thought -- a small restaurant where I worked. When I went off to college the owner gave me the old plates because she was buying new ones.

Anyway, this dish is really easy. In fact, I went home for lunch and made it in an hour AND cleaned up the kitchen. My friend Ilene made this for her family when I went to visit her in July. She even used broccoli from her garden. Impressive. I emailed her for the recipe later.

It's great if you and your kids like broccoli. And the roasted peppers you can buy in a jar at Sunflower Market on sale right now. Clearly, I didn't use oreccheitte, but only because I already had bow tie pasta and I didn't see the point in buying a whole different type of pasta for this:

Oreccheitte with Broccoli, Sausage, and Roasted Peppers:


-1 lb orecchiette

-4 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (I think five sausages come
in a typical pack and I usually use three for this dish and freeze the rest
to use when I make this again).

-9 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (3 tbsp total)

-1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2 inch squares (I just buy the bigger jar of the peppers and use half and save the other half for when I make this dish again)

-1/2 tsp ground black pepper

-2 lbs broccoli florets cut into 1-inch pieces (you could also cut up the stalk but I don't because I am a floret snob).

-1/2 cup water

-1 tbsp olive oil

2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated (1 cup; I use parmesan because that is what I typically have on hand)

1. Bring 4 qts water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tbsp. salt and the pasta to the boiling water and stir to separated the noodles. Cook until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.

2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red peppers, 1/2 tsp salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the broccoli and water, cover, and cook until the broccoli begins to turn bright green, 1-2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender, 3-5 minutes longer.

3. Add the broccoli mixture, 1 tbsp olive oil, and cheese to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Alaskan Halibut with Lemon and Herbs

This looks a lot fancier than it really is. I think I adapted this recipe from Paula Deen, hence the butter. It is quick, yummy, and costs about as much for two as it would one at a restaurant. I over-cooked my asparagus, so I left it in the bokeh of the picture..

Alaskan Halibut with Lemon and Herbs

2 Alaskan Halibut fillets (about 6 oz, I got mine at Market Street)
1 lemon
fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
Garlic salt
Season All (optional..but it really adds a nice kick)
2 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

Place fillet's on a sheet of aluminum foil and sprinkle them with salt, pepper and other seasonings. Then put a tablespooon of butter on each fillet and top with herbs. Slice the lemon and place slices on fillet, squeeze the rest of lemon juice over them.

Wrap and seal all ends of foil and put in the oven for 15-20 min, checking periodically to see if cooked through.

(It's tricky finding the harmony between your oven and the fish, sometimes I end up overcooking because my fish is slightly thinner than the last time I made this meal, or the fish just FEELS like being overcooked. It takes time to find the perfect amount of checking it is a MUST..)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Best Sunday Dinner

This meal is sort of our signature meal at our house. It is so good. It originated when I went to dinner at my friends house and she cooked this spectacular meat, I thought she was some sort of chef goddess. When I called her and asked her for the "recipe", she said "Morton's of Omaha.... at Costco."

Ever since, whenever we share this meal with others (which we usually do, because this is a big hunk of meat and we are only a wee family of three) they go on and on and on about how delicious it is. So this isn't so much as a recipe, as an idea. But I'll give recipes for my sides, cause they were good, and I totally take credit for them.

Tri-Tip with Potatoes and Rolls

One Morton's of Omaha pre marinated tri tip from Costco
(You can borrow my membership if you don't have one..)

Tri tip is yummy barbecued, as long as it's a good barbecue, and a good barbecuer.
We started cooking it in the oven, as to not mess it up with our crappy BBQ.

Preheat oven to 450.
Tri tip takes 1 hour to cook, and will continue to cook inside if left sitting after coming out of the oven. We like ours a little medium- so maybe 50 min is good for us. All preference on how you like your meat. We pour some worschester sauce on ours to keep it nice and moist and add a little bit of garlic salt.


5-6 Yukon Gold potatoes
Seasoning Salt
Garlic salt

Slice potatoes into thick slices. Put them into a large skillet and melt 1-2 T of butter. Stir to coat the potatoes. The seasonings are all preference. I like about 1-2 T of seasoning salt, and 1 T of garlic salt. The potatoes will cook on med-low heat and you will need to stir occasionally and add 1/4 c. periodically to keep them moist and keep them from sticking. Continue to stir and add the water till potatoes are nice and tender.

Buttermilk Rolls

3 cups Buttermilk (room temperature)*
3 cups flour
1 T. yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water (first let rise a few minutes)
½ cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten with a fork
2 tsp salt
5 cups flour (sometimes you need a cup more--it should not be too sticky)
½ cup oil
1 tsp baking soda

Dissolve yeast in ¼ c. warm water and let proof a few minutes. Mix the buttermilk, 3 cups flour and yeast together thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Let this stand at room temperature until double in size, about 2 hours.
Add sugar, eggs, salt, 5 cups flour, oil, and baking soda. Mix well and kneed for 7-10 minutes. Roll out what you want and place the rest in the refrigerator, covered. The next time you want some fresh baked rolls, take from the bowl what you want and again put the rest back in the refrigerator. It will keep for 7 days. (This is perfect for Sunday meals because you don’t have a lot of mess to clean up and it’s quick.)
Let rolls rise on baking sheets until double in size. Time depends on the room temperature, usually 1½ - 2 hours. Dough from the refrigerator will take longer because the dough is cold.
Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Brush with melted butter if you like.

Makes 2 dozen rolls. (I halfed it, when making for my little family..)

*I used buttermilk substitute, which is 1 T of lemon juice to each cup of milk. Worked just great.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchilada's

It was moderately difficult to get a good picture of these tasty enchilada's. I tried to take one out and have it nicely displayed on the plate, but in my carefulness I somehow ended it up flipping it upside down and it exploded on impact. But it tasted just as great at the others. This recipe can be customized to all different palate's, I am not one to have meat be the bulk of things and I don't like too much spice, so the recipe I give you will be the one I use, and you can change it accordingly. There are no mistakes with this one.

Creamy Chicken Enchilada's

2-3 boneless breasts of chicken
1 can of cream of chicken
1 1/2 cups of sour cream
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt and white pepper to taste
1 small can of chopped olives
1 small can of green chili's (I only use half)
1 1/2-2 cups of grated monterey jack cheese
4-5 tortillas (I used spinach in my attempt to "be healthier")

Boil chicken till just barely cooked through. Mix in a large bowl cream of chicken, sour cream and all seasonings till creamed together. Set one cup of this concoction aside. Preheat oven to 350.

With the remaining bulk of the cream sauce, add olives, chili's and all but 1/2 cup of the cheese. Mix evenly.

Shred the cooked chicken and stir into the mix. Using the plain sauce that was set aside, coat the bottom and sides of a square 8x8 dish with half, and leave the rest to spread on top. Fill the tortillas with the filling and place in the dish. Spread remaining sauce on top, and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Cook for 20-25 min.