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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

My favorite holiday of the year! Where adults can act like a kid again and play dress up, and kids get to run around accepting candy from strangers. Something your mom always told you never to do!

It's our first Halloween in this neighborhood so it will be interesting to see how many kids we get. In our candy bowl we have: Reese's PB cups, Skittles, Kit Kats and Big Sour Gummy lifesavers.

I've been good and only had two so far...

What's in your candy bowl? Do you have any favorites?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beef and Cheese Empanadas

Let me start by saying thank you to everyone that voted last week in the appetizer poll. It was really interesting and fun to see what everyone voted for. When I added empanadas to the poll, it was really just an afterthought. I didn’t think anyone would really vote for them. I was surprised that so many people did! I liked the idea of you guys chiming in on what you’d like me to make, and will most likely do some more polls in the future.

The empanada recipe below is not the one I was planning to make. Not even close. Don’t get me wrong, the ones I did end up making are pretty tasty and I shamelessly devoured 4 of them. Still, I was personally disappointed that my original recipe didn’t pan out.

I’ll save you the long drawn out story of all the things that went wrong… but let’s just say that Sunday morning after 3 trips to the grocery store, 4 hours in the kitchen, and failed empanadas stuck to the walls of the kitchen… I ended up sitting on my kitchen floor crying hysterically with flour, dough, cheese, and meat stuck all over me while my puppy was sitting in my lap trying to lick the tears from my cheeks, and my poor boyfriend just looked at me trying to figure out why I was having a complete nervous breakdown over empanadas.

Looking back at that scene now, it’s pretty amusing.

Monday night I came home from work armed with new ingredients, and an easier method to make what I am affectionately calling now “Fakepanadas”.

Beef and Cheese “Fakepanadas”

*Makes 30 empanadas

- 1.5 lbs ground beef
- ¾ cup beef broth
- 1.25 cups medium salsa
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon dried cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- Couple of pinches red pepper flake
- ¾ cup bean dip or refried beans
- 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 12oz cans of biscuits, 10 biscuits in each can, butter or buttermilk – not flakey layers
- Cooking spray

1. Brown the ground beef in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until fully brown and no longer pink. Drain in a colander to remove grease and return to sauté pan. Over medium low heat add to the beef: salsa, beef broth, garlic, cumin, cilantro and red pepper flake. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

15 Minute Dinner: Cajun Scallop Tacos

On nights that Brent works his late shift I like to make meals that don’t take a whole lot of time and effort (or uses a lot of dishes) so that I have time to take care of chores or homework. A lot of times I make some sort of breakfast for dinner or an easy one pot pasta dish. One of my favorite go-to meals is some form of taco. I’ve made these tacos several times and it only occurred to me this morning to share them with you. Sometimes I go really simple and just top them with lettuce and salsa if that is all I have on hand. So this is really more of an idea to share really since you can change them up however you like!

Cajun Scallop Tacos

*Serves 2 (two tacos per person)
(printable recipe)
- 16 large sea scallops
- 1 ½ - 2 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions
- 4 soft tortillas
- lettuce, shredded
- 1 haas avocado, sliced
- Small amount of oil
- 1 lime (optional)


1. Make sure your scallops are thawed and clean. Place in a small bowl and top with Cajun seasoning. I like a good amount of spicy flavor so I go with 2+ teaspoons, if you don’t like as much, go with less. Allow to sit for at least 5 or so minutes.

2. Heat pan to medium heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom. Add scallops and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Scallops will start to brown and caramelize slightly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Appetizer Poll - Come into my kitchen!

This coming weekend Brent and I are going to a family gathering and I’ve been recruited to bring an appetizer.

All week I’ve been brainstorming on which appetizer to bring when all of a sudden a little light bulb went off:

Why don’t I ask YOU!

So below are a few that I think would be a hit (even though Brent’s brother will be upset I’m not making these) and you guys will pick the winner! I’m keeping the items slightly vague so I have a little wiggle room for the final result.

So please vote! I’ll have the poll open until Friday night.

And the nominees are:

Stuffed MushroomsWill be stuffed with sausage and cheese. This is one of Brent’s favorites.

Cheese SpreadThis is one of the easiest appetizers I make and has a ton of flavor.

Mini Party MeatballsMany options here, but I promise they will be yummy.

EmpanadasBeef? Chicken? Chorizo? I haven’t made my mind up yet! If you vote and have a preference let me know in the comments.

Poll is located to the right at the top of the page.

Thanks for your help!

UPDATE 10/23: SO after looking at the poll results, stuffed mushrooms and meatballs were tied with 4 each and empanadas had 3 votes. However, after reviewing the comments I realized this didn't add up. I'm guessing people were just voting in the comment section instead of in the poll widget. Since it was tied, I added in the comment votes as well...which created another tie between mushrooms and empanadas. I gave the tie breaking vote to Brent and he voted for beef empanadas! I'll be making them tomorrow and will have the recipe up later this week.

Thanks to everyone that voted! If your favortie didn't make it, don't worry I'll be sure to make the mushrooms soon and will share the recipe then!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna

Life has been crazy busy lately. You would think this is a good thing, but all I can think about is how Thanksgiving is right around the corner and then its nonstop chaos until 2011 arrives. Three weeks ago was Brent’s birthday, two weeks ago my dad was in town, and last week we went out of town for a lovely little vacation. And now the next week or so will be trying to catch up with life and focus on checking off about 167 things off my 500+ to do list. I’m ok with that, I love checking things off my TDL.
Back to the food.

I made this dish for dinner while my dad was in town. During his stay I didn’t want anything that took too much time away from chatting over a couple of cups of coffee with him. It’s actually my version of a Giada DeLaurentiis dish that I saw her make many years ago. So many in fact that this was the first meal I ever made for Brent (which I forgot actually), but he kindly reminded me of this as he ate it.

Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna Rolls

*Serves 4

Ingredients:- 1 10oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 2 1/4 cups ricotta
- 1/5 lb prosciutto, sliced and diced
- ¼ cup parmesan
- 2 cups mozzarella, divided
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups of your favorite red marinara sauce
- 1 cup alfredo sauce
- 10 lasagna noodles ( maybe throw one or two extra in case one rips)


1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package and drain when done. Separate noodles and lay flat to cool.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lunch on the Go

Recipe: Greek-ish Chicken Flatbread Sandwiches

I try to eat healthy during the day at work. This is something I did the other week for lunch. It was easy to prep and take to work.

Suggestions – If you plan on having chicken one night grilled, throw a couple of extra breasts on the grill and make these the following night. You could even use a rotisserie chicken to make these easier if you want, but I prefer the “grill” flavor.

Greek-ish Grilled Chicken Flatbread Sandwiches
*Makes 5 sandwiches

- 2 chicken breasts, grilled and cubed
o Side note: I actually marinated the chicken in the Greek vinaigrette for about 30 minutes before grilling.
- 5 flatbreads, I used whole wheat
- 6oz plain yogurt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill
- 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
- splash of white wine vinegar
- 1 medium cucumber
- ¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1/8 cup Greek vinaigrette
- ½ cup crumbled feta


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blogger Spotlight: Food, she thought

I want to share some blogger love for just a minute.

"Food, she thought. Eating, drinking and debauching my way through Los Angeles and the universe." - Liz

Food, she thought was one of the first blogs I started to follow when I became a blogger and there is a reason why: This blog is simply fantastic.

Liz’s words will make you drool and her pictures have a unique quality that I haven’t found in many other blogs. She tells a story. I can’t say it anymore simply than that. Many times I feel like I’m there…even though we live on opposite sides of the country.

I implore you to go check her out @  You'll be very glad you did!

Also, Liz is competing in Project Food Blog and I know she would love your support to make it to Round #4!

You can read her Round #3 “Luxury Dinner Party” Challenge entry here.

Rae ^..^

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