Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Years Resolution

Well I obviously fell off the blogging bandwagon some time back!  Well I am determined to get back on it with a vengeance.
As of January 1st this blog will be changing.  I'll be bringing you a new recipe, review, technique or featured ingredient 5 times a week.  I'm really excited about the new cooking goals I've set for myself and I'm even more excited to be able to share the results of those with you!
For now I'll leave you in anticipation, but be sure to stay tuned because exciting things are ahead of all of us.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

With the first day of fall on tomorrow's horizon I decided to make a fall-comfort food meal.  It's still a little warm her in Nashville, but I start craving fall foods long before our weather gets below 70.

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

3 c. chicken stock
1 4-5 lb chicken (you can sub this out for a store bought roasted chicken)
4 carrots, cut into 1/4" coins
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 c. frozen peas
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. diced Yukon gold or red skinned, potatoes
5 TBSP butter
5 TBSP flour
1 TBSP chopped thyme
salt and pepper

1 batch of your favorite biscuit dough or 1 tube store bought biscuit dough


Bring a large stock pot 3/4 full of water to a full boil.  Gently add your chicken (with innards removed).  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until done, usually about 1 hour.  Remove the chicken to a large cookie sheet and allow to cool about 1 hour.  When the chicken is cool to the touch pull all the meat off the bones, discarding any fat.

While your chicken is cooling boil your diced potatoes until fork tender, but not falling apart...usually about 15-20 minutes once the water boils.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.

If you have time, you can use the remaining chicken carcass and your poaching water to make white stock.  If you don't have time when your making the pot pie the carcass will freeze well and you can always do it another day.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Once your chicken is pulled into bite sized pieces your ready to assembly your pot pie.  In a 5 qt. pot saute the carrot, onion and celery in the butter over medium heat until onions are translucent.  Once they are tender add the garlic and thyme and cook another 2 minutes.  Add in the 5 TBSP flour and work it into the butter.  Slowly pour in the chicken stock and stir well (you don't want any flour clumps in your gravy!).  Bring this mixture to a simmer and add in the peas and potatoes, cooking until hot through.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 glass baking dish.  Top the pot pie with rounds or squares of your raw biscuit dough.  Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes (it will depend on how thick your biscuits are), until your biscuits are golden brown and the pot pie is bubbling.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before enjoying your delicious fall pot pie!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Baby Food--Lentils and Carrots

For the next few weeks I will be featuring baby food "recipes" twice a week (Tues and Sun).  I use the term recipe lightly as some features will be more method than recipe.  I usually make Sophie's food twice a week in sizable batches, sometimes freezing overflow into convenient single-serving-size containers (I use the smallest round Ziploc plastic ware for this).

Today's recipe is Lentils and Carrots.  I have found this is an incredibly low cost recipe that provides lots of protein and iron.  This will make about 3 cups of food.

4 oz dried lentils
4 peeled and chopped carrots
4 cups homemade, salt free chicken stock** or 4 cups water

This couldn't be simpler.  Put the lentils, carrots and 3 cups of the liquid into a sauce pot.  Bring to a boil and put a lid on the pot, leaving it slightly ajar.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes; until the lentils are soft.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then put it into a blender.  Puree to your desired consistency*** (this will depend on how old your child is) using as little or as much of the reserved 1 cup of liquid as needed.

**Sophie is used to eating foods that are cooked in my homemade stock that contains carrots, celery, pepper, thyme, onions, chicken bones etc...It's always best to slowly introduce new things into your child's diet, so keep this in mind when making any of my recipes calling for stocks.

***When your son or daughter has advanced to stage 3 or 4 foods you can dice the carrots and skip the pureeing.  The lentils and carrots will be very soft and will be a great transition food.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Value of a Chicken

This week was about stretching a dollar and minimizing cooking time.  Without really having a plan I decided to grill up a half dozen chicken breasts (marinated overnight in my signature lemon garlic marinade) and then figure out what to do with them later.  I don't always recommend cooking food without knowing how it's going to be used, but with chicken you just can't go wrong.
So this is how those 6 chicken breasts have panned out.
Night one: Grilled chicken salad.
Night two: Black bean and chicken burritos.
Night three: Chicken and broccoli macaroni and cheese.
I also poached 2 breasts and used them to make chicken cannelloni. 
That makes 4 meals from 2 packs of boneless, skinless chicken breast, and of course there were plenty of leftovers for lunch!

Black Bean and Chicken Burritos

1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2 grilled chicken breasts, diced
1/2 yellow onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 minced jalapeno
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 c. mild taco sauce
6 burrito sized tortilla shells
8 oz grated queso fresco

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Saute' the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic until soft.  Once translucent add in the black beans--crush some of the beans once added.  Add in the chicken, chili powder and 3/4 of the can of tomato sauce; stir to combine.
Once the filling is heated through spoon about 1/2 cup of filling into each burrito.  Roll them up and lay them side by side in a 9x13 glass baking dish.
Stir together the taco sauce and the remaining tomato sauce; spread this over the burritos.  Top the burritos with the cheese and pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes--or until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy the spicy cheesy goodness!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Honey Soy Marinated Chicken

Today I'm bringing some Asian flavors into the kitchen (and onto the grill).  I love using honey as a sweetener in savory dishes--particularly since I have access to some fabulous, locally produced, honey.
  • 2 bone in, skin on breasts**
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 4 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/2 TSP chili flake
  • 1/4 TSP garlic granules OR 1 clove of minced garlic
Stir the soy, honey, chili flake and garlic together.  I recommend using a fork for this, it makes it easier to combine the thick, sticky honey, into the soy sauce.  Put your chicken into a gallon sized zip-top bag and pour on the marinade.  I usually do this first thing in the morning to give the chicken 8 hours to soak up the flavor, but even just 1/2 hour bathing in the marinade will impart wonderful flavor into your meat.
When you're ready to cook your chicken heat your grill up to 350 degrees (low medium on most gas grills).  Shake the excess marinade off your chicken and place skin side down on the grill.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the skin has started to brown.  Flip the chicken over and cook until done through, about 10-15 more minutes depending on the size of the breast and the heat of your grill.
Allow the chicken to rest before slicing off the bone.  Serve this with jasmine rice and grilled veggies--enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

10 Minute Dinner, Roast Chicken

How much time do you really have to devote to cooking dinner most nights?  Ten minutes?  Fifteen?  If you're lucky you can devote a half hour of active time, but let's face it most nights we're just too darn busy to fuss over supper! 
Once a week I'll be publishing a 10 Minute Dinner idea.  This is 10 minutes of active time.  I don't guarantee you'll be eating in 10 minutes every time (though with some of them you may), but I do guarantee that you'll have dinner in the fridge, oven, crock pot, stove or grill after just 10 minutes.

  • 2 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, quartered with tails on
  • 2 handfuls of small potatoes (about 8-10), quartered
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • roasted garlic butter (optional)
  • lemon juice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a large glass casserole dish toss the vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, on top of the vegetables.  If you're using the roasted garlic butter rub the breasts liberally with it, if not, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and rub it in.  Drizzle approx. 1 TBSP of lemon juice over everything. 
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Bake the heat down to 350 after the first 20 minutes.  Bake approx another 25 minutes.  Cooking time will vary.  The chicken should read 160 degrees.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and then slice the breasts off the bone and serve over the veggies.  I like the ladle some of the chicken broth over my bonus sauce!
If you're so inclined you can save the bones in the freezer, when you've filled a gallon sized zip top bag it's time to make stock!
Enjoy your 10 Minute Dinner!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fabulous Cheater Fajitas

I usually recommend making your own spice blends, but sometimes those taco kits are such a great deal they're hard to pass up!  We bought a case of these at a fire sale this year and I had to find a way to use them all up without getting sick of ground meat tacos.

So, what did I do with them?  I make fajitas!  Might I add that they are fast and faaanntastic!

  • 1 soft taco kit (I have El Paso, but they are all pretty much the same)
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1 bell pepper (I prefer red or yellow)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP lime juice (lemon will work if it's what you have)
  • dash of cayenne or chili powder
  • fajita garnish ie: sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, rice, refried beans

In a jar mix your citrus juice, oil, pepper and the seasoning packet from your taco kit; shake until well combined.  Slice the chicken into strips about 3" long and about as thick as your thumb.  Put the marinade and chicken into a gallon sized zip top bag.  I recommend doing this in the morning...this is especially great after it has had 4-6 hours to marinade.  I sometimes do this the night before.
When you're ready to cook slice the bell pepper and onion into 1/4-1/2" strips.  Toss them in a little bit of oil.
I use a vegetable grate on the grill to cook both meat and veggies but you could do this inside on a grill pan, cast iron skillet or any heavy bottomed frying pan.
Over medium heat cook the veggies until yielding and slightly charred, but not overly done.  Remove your veggies and cook your chicken.  This won't take more than a few minutes because they are small pieces, so don't go anywhere.
Once everything is cooked toss it together and serve up with your favorite condiments.  Personally I think these are tasty as is and I usually just spoon it onto a plate and devour.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


My husband Zach and I eat pizza every week.  We usually eat it on a busy day like most people in America, but we make ours from scratch.  I make our dough fresh about 2 hours before we're going to make our pizza, but many supermarkets are now carrying ready made dough (I know the Nashville area Publix carry it).
During the summer we typically put our pizza on the grill because I hate heating up the house, but it can just as well be done in an oven.

·         1 lb pizza dough
·         1 recipe tomato bruschetta, 2 sliced Roma tomatoes  or 1 c. pizza sauce
·         2 tbsp olive oil
·         ¼ c. flour (for dusting your rolling surface)
·         1 ball of fresh mozzarella
·         ¼ c. freshly micro planed Parmesan
·         2 c. fresh spinach leaves (optional)

Place your pizza stone on the grill and preheat the grill to approx. 450 degrees or higher.  If you aren’t using a stone just preheat your grill.
Roll your crust to the desired thickness (keeping in mind the size of your stone), remember real pizza is not a circle.  Use enough flour so your dough doesn’t stick to the counter, but be sure to brush off any excess before you top it.  Oil the top of the dough.
Transfer the dough to the grill, putting the oiled side down.  I recommend sliding your dough onto wax or parchment paper to ease transport and flipping.  Close the grill and let the dough bake 5-8 minutes, or until your dough is golden brown underneath.  If you aren’t using a stone be sure not to move the pizza before its ready or it will stick and tear!
If the top of your pizza is flour laden brush it with a little additional olive oil.  Either on or off the grill top your pizza with the tomato bruschetta, mozzarella, and Parmesan.  Cook approx. 2 minutes; just until the cheese has melted.  If you are using spinach add it just as you remove the pizza from the grill.  It will wilt beautifully as opposed to being actually cooked.
Cut your pizza into pieces and enjoy.

**I really recommend investing in a microplaner.  They're inexpensive and available at most kitchen supply shops.  They are invaluable for zesting fruits and grating hard cheese.**

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Building the Best Burger

It's summer, it's 4th of July weekend and this means that it's burger season.  Everywhere you go there will be hot dogs and burgers on the grill.  So this begs the question, what makes the best burger?
Is the best burger thick or thin?  Dressed to the max or to the minimum?  American or cheddar?  Medium rare or well done?  Pan seared or grill? 
Too many questions--I have answers.

The Best Burger is 1/4 lb; weigh it out.  Handle the patty as little as possible.  Weight it, roll it into a ball and then smush the patty down so that is approx. 1/4" larger than your bun all the way around.  This allows for shrinkage and makes for a juicy, well done burger. 
Season your patties with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  If you add things to it you are creating meatloaf or meatball patties--not hamburgers.  If you are using anything lower than a 90-10 blend I suggest adding a tsp of butter during the last few seconds on the grill.  This gives it a rich mouth feel that you might be missing out on.
Grill your burgers.  Do yourself a favor, don't do this inside.  Go out, light up your grill and become one with your inner cave woman (or man).  You just won't get that beautifully flame kissed, seared outside in a pan.
Don't overcook them.  If you follow my advice and go with 1/4lb patties they will only need to cook 2-3 minutes per side on high heat. 
I like cheese.  I don't really think you can go wrong with any kind of cheese, but my preference is American.  Put your cheese on during the last minute.  You want melted gooey cheese, not a cold slice that will never melt once removed from the grill.
Dress your burger with the basics.  What does this mean?  A great roll; cibatta or a white sesame seed bun are great options.  I like my bun warm.  This means ketcup, yellow mustard, sliced onion, dill pickle chips, lettuce and tomato.  Don't get fancy. 
If you do decide to go fancy keep it simple.  Don't overwhelm the meat with too much stuff.  I add bacon for a salty, crunchy addition.

Well there you have it.  That's how I'd do it if I were you.  I can tell you this works because I just polished off a mouthwatering speciman of the cheeseburger variety.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hot Wings!

Here's how I recreate America's favorite bar food--sans deep fryer!  This recipe takes very few ingredients and almost no active time!  Just shake, bake, dunk and enjoy!
  • 3lbs of drummettes
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • cooking spray
  • 1 c. hot sauce (I prefer Frank's Original)
  • 4 tbsp butter

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 
Place the flour in a gallon sized ziptop bag and, 1 lb at a time, shake the wings in the flour to lightly coat.  Place the wings onto a cookie cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.  This will probably take two trays.  The wings can be close together; they will shrink as they cook.
Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  Using tongs turn the wings and drop the oven to 400 and bake for another 20 minutes.  Turn your wings one more time and set your timer for 15 more minutes.  Your wings should be golden brown with a crispy exterior. 
While your wings are baking melt the butter in a deep bowl then stir in the hot sauce.
If you like your wings spicier add 1/2 tsp of Cayenne or a few shakes of Tabasco.
When your wings come out of the oven dunk them in the sauce.  Make sure they get a good dunking and are completely covered.
Enjoy the finger licking goodness!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How-To...Blanch Broccoli

This is the first in my "How-To" series.  Once a week we will visit a new kitchen technique.  I will try to keep the techniques seasonal.  So to start us off we're going to learn how to blanch broccoli.  In this particular post I'm talking about broccoli specifically, but this technique will work on most vegetables.


I favor a double handled pan for blanching vegetables.  I usually use a 2 1/2" deep braise pan or my short soup pot.  Any pot that you can boil a few inches of water in will do for this.  I use the double handled pot because they are easier to move than their single handled counterpart. 
As far as hardware goes the rest is very basic.  You'll need a slotted spoon, chef's knife, cutting board and a strainer.


You will obviously need...drumroll please...yes! Broccoli!  I buy mine, in season, at the farmer's market.  The only other ingredient necessary for fantastic blanched broccoli is kosher salt!  Broccoli has such a wonderful sweet, green flavor that it needs no butter, no olive oil, no nothing, to enhance its flavor.

The "How-To"

Bring 2-3" of water to a boil on the stove top.  While you're waiting on this address your broccoli.  I remove all but approximately 1 1/2-2" of stem.  Some people prefer to eat only the florets, leaving almost no stem.  I find that the stem is very tastey though.  Why waste perfectly good vegetation?  Slice the broccoli into bite sized larger than 1/2" on top.
When the water comes to a boil salt the water.  I use about two tbsp of kosher salt for four cups of broccoli.  Add in your broccoli and stir.  Drop the heat to medium high and allow the broccoli to cook for 5-8 minutes.  You want the broccoli to retain its vibrant green color and be yielding to the touch without being mushy.  Al dente is the best term to describe what you're looking for. 
When your broccoli is done strain it and you're ready to enjoy!
Some people like to "shock" the broccoli by submerging it into an ice-bath, but I try to do this last minute so it's warm and ready to go.

Strawberry Vodka Slush

These daiquiri like drinks are full of fruity goodness, bright summery flavor and lack most of the calories of a premixed or bottled drink!  If you want to make these without the vodka simply add water or orange juice in its place.

Makes 2 generous portions.

  • 1 c. crushed ice
  • 2 c. frozen chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 c. cold vodka
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. simple syrup

Blend all the ingredients on high together (likely smoothie or puree on your blender).  If they are too thick add water until the mixture reaches smoothie consistency.  Be sure to taste this because every strawberry is different.  You may need to add some extra simple syrup or a little extra lemon juice to balance out the flavor.

You can garnish this with an umbrella and a brightly colored straw...enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tomato Cucumber Salad, Revisited

Ok, so I realize I haven't yet blogged about the original tomato and cucumber salad, but it's so simple I don't know if it even garners its own post.
(For those of you who have never had it...tomato+cucumber+bottled vinaigrette=tomato cucumber salad.)
Right now I have a plethora of farmer's market vegetables, so I raided the produce drawer and the fruit bowl and created, what I think, is a more interesting version.
While I usually take the time to make a vinaigrette I typically turn to bottled dressing for this just because it comes together so quickly.

  • 1 vine ripe tomato or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 3 sweet or banana peppers
  • 1 small yellow, red or white onion
  • 1/4 c. bottled or homemade vinaigrette

Cut all your vegetables into like sized 1/2 moon shapes.  When you do this seed the peppers and, if the skin is thick, peel the cucumber.  I choose to squeeze some of the seeds out of the tomato as well (it helps prevent your salad from becoming watery).  Chiffonade the basil.
Mix all the vegetables together and then pour on the dressing!  Voila--in approximately five minutes you've created a healthy, beautiful and filling side dish.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

5 Minute Pie

This weekend I made a 5 minute pie!  I had blind-baked an extra crust earlier in the week and was trying to decide what to do with it when I spotted some bananas that were about to cross into banana bread territory.  I snagged them and made a delicious pie in less than it would have taken me to go to the grocery store.
This isn't fancy, but it hits the spot and is sure to please anyone from one to 100.

  • 1 pre-baked or graham cracker crust
  • 1 package of instant chocolate pudding, prepared to the pie specifications*
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 c. whipping cream or  1 1/2 c. prepared whipped topping

Cut the bananas into 1/4" slices, toss them with a squeeze or lemon juice or some fresh fruit preserver.  Layer the pie crust with all but a few of the sliced banana pieces.  Pour the prepared chocolate pudding mix into the crust.
Whip the cream until it is fluffy and holds a stiff peak.  Top the pie with the whipped cream and garnish with the remaining banana pieces.  If you are left with a spare moment you can garnish the pie with a few shavings of chocolate.
Refrigerate the pie until firm.  If you used the instant pudding it will take less than ten minutes for this to set!
**I use the jello instant pudding.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

I made these delicious Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops for lunch today and served it with Olive and Tomato Pasta.  That recipe will appear here tomorrow.  If the pork chops won't be served right away place them on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven.  If you place them directly onto the cookie sheet they tend to lose that wonder crunchy crust.

Serves 2--can be doubled etc...

  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. olive or canola oil (I prefer olive oil)

Pound the pork chops to about 1/2" thickness.  I do this between two layers of plastic wrap on a cutting board.  If you don't have a mallet use a heavy pot or pan instead.  In three plates prep your dredging.
Flour on one plate, beaten egg on another.  In the last plate combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.  Dip the pork chops first in the flour, then in the egg and lastly, into the bread crumb mixture.  Make sure the chops get coated well in each step.

Heat a large frying pan over high-medium or low-high, heat.  Fry the pork chops until they are golden brown on each side.  It should not take more than about 3-4 minutes per side.

Serve these with pasta, sauteed veggies or Parmesan Garlic Potatoes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Green Tea Lemonade

Today I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite summer drinks.  For this recipe I use Minute Maid frozen lemon juice instead of fresh squeezed lemon; you can find this product in most grocery store's freezer section next to the frozen juices.  This makes one gallon, which sounds like a lot, but I find it goes quickly.  Feel free to halve, quarter or even double this recipe.

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 8 green tea bags

Bring 2 cups of the water to a simmer, add the cup of sugar and stir until dissolved.  Once the sugar is dissolved take the water off the heat and steep the tea bags according to the boxes directions (typically 3-5 minutes).  Remove the tea bags, be sure to wring them out!
Pour the tea and sugar mixture into a gallon sized jug and add the sugar and the remaining 14 cups of water.  If you want to enjoy this sooner add about 10 cups of water and then add ice to 1 gallon...the tea may be a little stronger, but will dilute as the cubs melt.
Stir well and refrigerate. 
Last step?  Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

Tonight is vegetable night in our house! I love roasted vegetables of any kind, but I have become particularly fond of roasted cauliflower. This is very refreshing during the summer, but would be equally as comforting and satisfying during the winter months, perhaps with some rendered bacon or crisped prosciutto.

  • 2 c. cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4-8 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (for oven preperation)

Pre-heat your grill or oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cauliflower, lemon, salt, pepper (and olive oil if you're using it) and 1/2 the Parmesan cheese together. The ammount of cheese is dependant on how cheesy you like it...I like mine really Parmesany! If you are grilling this put your mixture into a tin foil pouch and seal it up. If you're baking this pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet.

Roast your cauliflower for about 20 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramalize. You can continue to let this carmalize if you will get a little sweeter and the edges will begin to crisp. I wouldn't roast it longer than about 35 minutes though--it started to get a little mushy after that point.

Serve this with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled over top and as always, enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sloppy Joes--The Original

Sloppy Joes is a meal that comes together quickly with a great depth of flavor. They make great leftovers (they're really better the second day I think) and freeze well too.
This is my classic Sloppy Joe recipe...look for the more upscale version next week.


  • 1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken (chicken is my personal choice)

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 1 chopped green bell pepper

  • 1 clove garlic minced

  • 1 c. tomato sauce

  • 1/2 c. ketchup

  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne

  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


Cook the ground meat until done but not overly brown. Remove the meat. Saute the vegetables until translucent; add the meat back in. Add all other ingredients and stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then back the heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you plan to simmer it for longer than this (it will only get better I assure you) add some water so your Joes don't get too thick. They should be the consistency of a thick chili.
Enjoy your Joes on traditional white hamburger rolls and remember--they're supposed to be sloppy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roasted Garlic Butter

I use this roasted garlic butter on pasta, bread, pork tenderloin, steaks, chicken, potatoes, fish, shrimp, green beans, asparagus....well come to think of it what wouldn't I put it on?!
It's a wonderfully easy recipe that keeps in the refrigerator and freezes beautifully. I typically make a double batch and freeze the leftovers.

To freeze this put a dollop into each compartment of an ice cube tray and freeze. Once the garlic 'ice cubes' are solid pop them out and put them into a zip top bag. With those puppies in the freezer you have delicious base for sauces, a topping for breads or veggies and the start of a flavorful marinade for meats.
Now for the recipe...


  • 1 head of garlic

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 stick of softened butter


Pull your butter from the fridge to soften and then preheat your oven to at least 350. I usually make this while roasting something can be done anywhere from 350-450, the temperature of your oven will determine how long the garlic takes to roast, but won't change the flavor one bit (though I wouldn't reccomend roasting this with your cake or cookies).

Shell your garlic cloves and then combine them with all of the other ingredients except the butter. Place the mixture into a tin foil pouch and close it up.
Roast at 350 for 20-30 minutes (until the garlic is soft, but not too brown) or 15-20 at 450.

Allow the garlic to cool to room tempurature and then, using a fork, mash the garlic into the butter. an active time of about ohhh about 2 minutes you've made yourself something fabulous!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

3 Minute Lemon Vinaigrette


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, if you are juicing the lemon fresh include the zest for extra punch

  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced or grated

  • 1/4 of a white onion, minced or grated

  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning (I use Tony's low sodium)

  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp if using a 'salt free' Cajun blend)

  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, close the lid tightly and shake! Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This can be used as dressing on salads, pastas, vegetables and as a marinade on meats and seafood. It is incredibly versatile and can be altered by adding fresh or dried herbs.

Spring Pasta

Spring Vegetable and Chicken Pasta
Serves 2


  • 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/2" rounds

  • 1/2 lb asparagus, snap off the end woody portion

  • 1 green onion, diced

  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced (use whatever you can get at your local market)

  • 1 bone-in, split chicken breast (or bone out if it's what you have)*

  • 1/2 lb short cut pasta, I recommend rotini

  • 1-2 tbsp. butter, olive oil or roasted garlic butter, recipe follows

  • 1/2 c. 3 minute lemon vinaigrette, recipe follows

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


Marinade your chicken (preferably overnight, but an hour will do the trick) with 1/4 c of the vinaigrette in a zip top bag. I typically marinade and grill at least 2 chicken breasts at a time so I can use the leftover chicken on sandwiches, in soup, on other pastas or just as a snack.

Boil pasta and drain. Toss the cooked pasta with the butter or olive oil. If you want you pasta dish served warm boil it while your vegetables are grilling. This pasta is delicious hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

Get your grill hot and start your chicken. If you are using the skin on spilt breasts start them skin side down, turn them after about 5-7 minutes, once the skin has begun to crisp. Cook the chicken until done through and allow to cool. Once it is cool pull or cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

While your chicken is grilling get your vegetables ready. Toss the zucchini and asparagus with the remaining vinaigrette and grill. Cook the veggies 2-3 minutes on each side, until tender crisp. Once they are done allow them to cool for 5 minutes and then cut them into bite sized pieces.

Take your pasta and toss with the Parmesan, chicken and grilled and raw vegetables. Season it to taste and serve.