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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What can your freezer do?

I read this article earlier today and since the freezer is in the kitchen... I wanted to share. The article gives lists 6 different ways your freezer can come in handy. I actually only knew one of these.

Check it out: Alternate Uses for Your Freezer

How many did you guys know of before reading the article?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto

So what do you do with a bunch of roasted red bell peppers? Make pesto of course!

There is about a zillion ways you can make pesto, and truth be told I don't follow the same exact recipe every time. It depends on what I have on hand when I make it.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto

* Makes about 2 - 2 1/2 cups
(printable recipe)

- 2 cups roasted red bell peppers
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 4-5 basil leaves
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or almonds
- salt and pepper, to taste


1. Toast your nuts on a dry sauté pan over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Nuts will turn golden in color.

2. If using jarred peppers, drain them. You can also make your own.

Friday, November 26, 2010

How to Basics: Roasted Red Bell Peppers

A couple of months back I did a How To basic on caramelized onions. I wanted to make this a regular monthly addition, but somehow August turned into November really fast. There is a link for a printable version at the end.

Three things you need to know about roasted red bell peppers:
- There are three different ways to roast them
- They will keep in olive oil up to a week in the fridge
- Do not rinse them, some char is good

What you’ll need:
- red bell peppers – you can use any color really
- a zip lock bag OR a bowl and plastic wrap
- a grill or oven


Step one - Start with clean peppers!

Step two – Choose your method:

Gas Burner Method
- Place one pepper directly over the flame of a gas burner. Use a medium flame and allow blackening all over, rotating the pepper. Each side will take about 2-3 minutes.

Just placed on the burner

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Recommendations

Thanksgiving is a mere two days away. I can’t believe it. This year we will be traveling to spend the day with his father’s side, and while I won’t be making anything this year (I offered and was graciously turned down by the lovely southern ladies in his family) I wanted to share some recipes I have posted previously that I may have made if we were in town. I’ll be bringing some bottles of wine instead for the occasion, it’s not in my nature to show up empty handed!

May I suggest?


Sweet lil Smokies – beef cocktail links wrapped in bacon and covered in brown sugar and baked. These are heaven on a plate.

Hot Crab and Artichoke dip – very cheesy! Warmed pita bread makes a great vessel for this dip.


Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots, Sage, and Pancetta – a fabulous new way to eat potatoes and a great sidekick for a turkey dinner.

Fully Loaded Green Beans – Sautéed green beans with onions, mushrooms, and bacon. Very yummy.

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes – if mashed potatoes aren’t your thing, these would be fantastic.

Cheesy Baked Leeks aka Leek Gratin – I probably would have made this to bring with us. It’s been one of my favorite things as of late, and would be a very delicious substitute for pearled onions.

Chorizo and Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing – not your normal savory stuffing, this has a definite spicy kick!

Other additions

Roasted Garlic and Cheese Biscuits – I love these. They melt in your mouth.

Shallot and Mushroom Gravy – If you want your gravy to have a little something extra, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.

Cranberry, Walnut, and White Chocolate Cookies – While pie is king on Thanksgiving, these would be perfect if you are still a little too full for a whole piece.

Got Leftovers?

Mashed Potato Pancakes with Mustard Dill Sour Cream – these are perfect for breakfast or dinner the next day.

All of these dishes have printable versions available for print if you like. While several of them are not written to serve a crowd, I promise they are easily duplicated to serve any amount of people.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Chorizo and Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing

Or for you Southern Folk – Chorizo and Jalapeno Cornbread Dressing

In a word… this is NOM. Stuffing is by far my favorite item on a Thanksgiving Day menu. Personally, I love when there is a more traditional savory stuffing and then a different one to eat as well. I actually went to one home a long time ago and they had THREE stuffing dishes. It was heaven, let me tell you.

This stuffing is a bit spicy, so I probably wouldn’t stuff the bird with it if that is your thing. But the good thing about it is that it’s delicious and I believe would make an awesome side dish anytime of the year.

Chorizo and Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing

*Serves 8-10
(printable recipe)

- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons of butter, divided
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ cup sliced jarred jalapenos, rinsed and diced*
- 1 lb raw chorizo*
- 5 cups cornbread, dried and crumbled**
- 4 cups chicken broth
- pepper, to taste

* As I mentioned above this is a spicy dish. If you don’t like very spicy things you can reduce the jalapenos to 1 tablespoon and the chorizo to ¾ a pound.
** You can use fresh cornbread or the bag variety. If using fresh, crumble and dry out in the oven on a low heat.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dinner time in the kitchen

I officially have a new sous chef...

His name is Gravy. He’s a 3 month old puppy and is uber cute.

Did I mention we already have 3 other pets? Two cats and another puppy.

I feed them each day and they love me for that. The dogs gather by my feet and the cats perch on the ledge above the stove, waiting as patiently as they possible can. It's the same routine every day, twice a day.

Spooky was our first pet. We found her four years ago as a tiny kitten on Halloween night. Hence, the name Spooky. She was covered in dirt and axle grease. We fed her tuna, gave her a bath, and a home.

Annoyed that dinner is taking so long

OJ was our next cat and another stray in the area. We’ve only had him since January and I like to say that he adopted us. He purrs louder than Brent snores.

He doesn't take his eye of his dinner bowl

Rosco is my baby. Brent surprised me with him as a Valentine’s Day present this year. He was a BIG surprise. He will be a year old in December and he was only 3 pounds when Brent brought him home.

The happiest puppy I've ever met

Gravy… the most recent addition. Brent's friend had him, but circumstances changed and they needed to find another home for him. At first I was really against it, but he's a good fit to our barn home.

See why I couldn't say no?

I've told Brent no more pets, not even a hermit crab.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blogger Spotlight: Fancy Fast Food

Last month I started a Blogger Spotlight as a way to showcase blogs that I follow, find, and enjoy. This month I want to share with you one blog that I find truly unique and many of you may have already heard of it.
Yeah, it’s bad for you – but see how good it can look!

The concept is pretty simple; they take items ordered from a fast food establishment and create a meal that looks gourmet magazine worthy with no additional ingredients. They've been featured on the Rachael Ray Show and Nightline.

Check it out!

Especially the “Hawaiian Thanksgiving”.

The link: Fancy Fast Food

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Potato Pancakes

I love taking leftovers and giving them a makeover for their second appearance at the dinner table. Potato pancakes are one of my favorite ways to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

Potato Pancakes with Mustard-Dill Sauce

*Serves 4

- 2-3 cups day old mashed potatoes
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Vegetable or canola oil for pan frying
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon dried dill (double if using fresh)

Potato Pancake Directions:

1. Mix the tablespoon of flour into your mashed potatoes to help stiffen them a bit. If yours are really mushy, you may need to add a little more flour.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Any McRib fans out there?

I confess I’m not a fan of them… they kinda weird me out to me honest. However Brent loves them and will order two at a time when they are available. And every time he does, I comment about how I “don’t understand the fascination” with them. It annoys him that I always say this.

McDonalds McRib Sandwich
Photo from

Don’t get me wrong! I enjoy a little fast food on occasion, it’s just that Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch is more my style. But that is a post for another day…

Back to the point!

If you are a McRib fanatic, you’ll be happy to learn that the McRib is back starting today (Nov. 2) for the next six weeks – at EVERY Mickey D’s!

If you aren't a McRIb fan, do you have one fast food kryptonite?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Italian Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are an easy comfort food that I happen to enjoy a great deal. I think they make a great dish for the coming (or already here for you readers up North) months. I actually do several types of stuffed peppers and this one is my take on my mother’s Italian style.

Italian Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

* Makes 4 peppers – serves 2 or 4 depending

- 4 large bell peppers, any color
- ½ cup diced onion
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cups white rice, already cooked
- 2 ½ cups your favorite red pasta sauce, I like to use a chunky vegetable one
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Salt and pepper


1. Start by cutting tops off bell peppers and clean out inside seeds and ribbing. Clean with cold water and pat dry. Remove stem from the cut off tops and chop the tops up to add to the stuffing. (Please tell this made sense!)

2. Brown your ground beef in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add garlic, onions, and peppers when beef is almost thoroughly browned. Remove from pain when no longer pink, and drain away excess grease. Allow to cool.
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