Foodiemarvel

2017

standard December 31, 2016 Please Comment
Print Friendly

I will get into my thoughts about 2017, but I first want to explain something about this platform. When I started this blog, I promised myself I would not demand a certain number of blogs per this or that. This was meant to be for pleasure only. As I began creating more and more blogs, I felt more pressure to produce regularly. That is against what I set out to do with it though. I would see other food blogs that were super successful churning them out left and right. I’m happy for them. That’s not why I started this though, or the end goal any longer. It’s not a business. It’s fun. It’s not under strict guidelines. It’s creativity.

So much has happened in 2016. Three big things? Our daughter started college. I quit my job. I applied for a show on Food Network and I’m in the running for it.

Our daughter is doing just fine and is thriving in college life. She is having a great time, and doing well.

I quit my job. It was time. No huge story and nothing major. Just was time. I will write more on that later.

I applied for Cooks VS Cons on Food Network, but I signed a confidentiality agreement, so I have no idea how much I’m allowed to say…. ­čÖé I am waiting on the next stage in 2-3 weeks where I think I will find out if I will be chosen or not. I wish I could say more, but I can’t. I’m really excited though. Once I can, trust me, I will say more… but then I can’t really say a ton either.

Just wanted to check in the day before the 1st day of 2017. Everything is going really well. I will do more blogs, but again, not in a certain set amount. ­čÖé Just as I see fit and feel inspired. No rhyme or reason.

I wish everyone an amazing 2017!!!

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

gallery August 21, 2016 Leave a response
Print Friendly

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine is one of our favorite dishes. It┬ágets made┬áat least once every 2 weeks and maybe even more than that when winter comes. I first saw it when a friend posted it from their social media page and it looked incredible. I always heard the name of the recipe, but never tried it. Intrigued, I watched the video (It was from Anne Burrell) and thought, “I can make this.” It is definitely a labor of love though. The recipe I use is a multi-step process, but if you love to cook and have the time, you will absolutely love it too! It is definitely based off her recipe, though I have changed it some over the years to suit my family’s taste.

Authentic Booo-yah!

I have been making this bolognese for about 3-4 years I would say. The real name is Ragu Bolognese where it really means “meat sauce,” originating from Bologna, Italy. Well, we had the opportunity to visit both Florence and Venice a couple of summers ago and I wasn’t about to let that chance go by without tasting true, authentic bolognese. Here I am (below) talking with the waiter about how I cook mine vs how they cook theirs. He was very impressed because I was pretty spot on. He said, (and I don’t do an Italian accent well, so you’ll have to improvise) “the only thing(a) you have(a) to do(a) is add(a) some chu-gah to yours!” So, I needed to add a little sugar, apparently. I was so jazzed though, because ours really did taste very similar. That was it. Solidified. My bolognese was authentic!

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

 Noodle! Choose your noodle!

You could absolutely use any type of pasta you wish. When I think of beef bolognese, I think of it as a super hearty sauce. Bolognese needs a big noodle. I like to pair it with a fettuccine or linguine. If I’m REALLY feeling crazy and wacky with hours upon hours to spend cooking, I’ll even make my own pasta and make extra wide noodles. You could always go with spaghetti, but I sometimes feel like spaghetti gets lost in this sauce. Please don’t tell me you like to pair it with some type of shell. I can’t. We can’t be friends. To me, the shells are saved for mac and cheese or chili mac night. Bolognese is special. Go on and give it the noodle it deserves.

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

I start my bolognese with fettuccine with a puree of carrots, celery, onion and garlic cloves. That, and a little olive oil in the food processor to make a pulp.

 

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

So, the color should resemble this:
Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

It did take me 2 times to get it though. Watching the video will really help if you’re unsure of how long to do something, or if you’re afraid you’ll burn it. That’s what helped me. Second, you might think you’re using way too much salt. I did too. It soaks up a ton of salt and it also will disappear when it’s met with Mr. Fettuccine. Use the salt. I guess if you’re REALLY worried, you can add as you go also. Cook this down for 10-15 minutes, scraping the bottom often. It will have a nutty smell –┬áwill smell amazing and don’t be surprised if it’s half the volume it was before.

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

The next thing I would say is make the full amount because you can freeze it. Clint and one of my sons doesn’t care for pasta all that much, so they make rice to put theirs over.

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

So… without further ado! Here it is. Drumroll please….

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

Takes: 

3-4 Hours
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrot sticks
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 1/2-2 lbs lbs ground chuck
  • 2 1/4 cups of red wine (I prefer to use a cab but you can use merlot also)
  • 10-12 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (or a mixture of oregano and basil)
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups of water plus more during cooking
  • 1-2 boxes of fettuccine noodles
  • Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

Get a big dutch oven or thick pot on medium high or just a bit higher. Rough chop your carrots, celery, onion and garlic and put them in food processor with 1 Tbsp olive oil to make a pulp.

Put other Tbsp olive oil in pot and add veggie mix. Stir and scrape about every 2-3 minutes. This will be a game of stir and wait, stir and wait, stir and wait. It will appear darker, and it will also reduce about 1/2 in size when liquid evaporates. Remove when it’s a medium brown color and it’s been cooking for about 10-15 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.

Place ground chuck in pot, scraping up any veggie leftover bits. Again, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of salt and leave it alone! Let it cook on the bottom before you stir it. Stir every 2-3 minutes, scraping up any bits.

Add veggies back to the meat mixture and add tomato paste. Stir it around and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring about halfway in between.

Add red wine a little at a time, stirring any bits at the bottom. Let simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring about halfway in between.

Add last tsp of salt, Italian seasoning, sugar, and water and let simmer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, taste it. Don’t worry if it tastes kind of salty to you. You will want it a little bit on the salty side. If you think it requires more salt, add it here. Add 1 cup of water, stir and wait 45 minutes. Again, a game of add water and let it cook out, add water and let it cook out. It takes about 2 to 3 times of adding water and cooking out for the flavors to fully develop.

Finally, cook noodles according to package directions and mix with sauce to serve. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine

 

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

gallery August 18, 2016 2 responses
Print Friendly

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

My youngest son Bodee loves, and I mean LOVES pumpkin scones from a super popular coffee chain. I was almost going to make them, but decided to make my pumpkin spice baked donuts instead. They are every bit as pumpkin(y), but even more moist and fluffy than the scones are. Most people shy away from making donuts because it involves grease, frying and a neat little gadget that plops the donut batter into the oil in a perfect donut formation. These are super easy, take less than 30 minutes, and are baked!

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

I needed some carbs. Just yesterday, my oldest went off to college. I was really thinking about her a few days before when I wrote my weekly entry about her leaving the nest. It was really rough when I was coming up with the pictures for her senior party movie a few months ago, but I think I handled the actual move-in day pretty well. Today… we carbed out. First, we went to a local favorite, Taco Republic. AMAZE – btw. Then… we donutted. A lot.

These pumpkin spice baked donuts are so good and so simple to make. My one tip is that you don’t secure these in a plastic bag or cover them for too long. They really need to breathe and they need their own space. If you cover them for too long, they will become a little soggy. Don’t let that happen. You went to all this trouble to make these gorgeous pumpkin donuts – don’t treat them this way. Just kidding. Not about covering them though. Don’t do that. If you want to give them as a gift, put them in a cardboard box, then cover each one with wax paper or tissue paper. Deliver them before 2-4 hours for maximum flavor and texture.

Spice is so nice

They are so yummy. They are pillowy. The pumpkin is J U S T enough where you can taste the pumpkin and spice, but it’s not overpowering. You can also substitute more cinnamon in if you would like. I happen to like pumpkin pie spice, but I don’t want it to be overkill. This is why I use a little nutmeg and a little cinnamon instead of straight pumpkin spice. Play with the flavors and see which combination you prefer! You could also make a sugar cinnamon glaze to pour on top instead of the cinnamon sugar. Both would be just as good on the pumpkin spice donuts.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Donuts

Takes: 

30 Minutes
Serves: 12-18

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 Cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray non-stick spray on donut pans. (If you only have one, it’s ok. Just cook one, then cook the 2nd when cooled)

Beat the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, salt, baking powder, and seasonings together until well combined. Mix in the flour until JUST combined.

Spoon in the batter into the donut pan until almost covering the middle section. (a little over 3/4 full if possible). Cook for 15-18 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Dust with cinnamon sugar mixture. (1 tsp cinnamon to 3 Tbsp sugar) ratio. Place in bowl and cover donut completely. Set on plate. Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

Game Day Spinach and Artichoke Dip

standard August 14, 2016 Please Comment
Print Friendly

Game Day Spinach and Artichoke Dip

There are a few must haves when we get ready to throw a game day party, or if someone asks me to bring something to theirs.┬áGame day spinach and artichoke dip, Game Day Buffalo Wings, or Game Day Jalape├▒o Popper Bombers┬áare in the top 3 for sure. My oldest son, Andrew would eat this right out of the bowl if we let him. Actually, he does do this. All the time. Now that I think about it. Ok, well, he gets almost straight A’s, so we have to pick our battles here.

For my artichoke dip, If I have the time, I plan ahead and make buttery garlic baguettes to go along with it. If not, the standard tortilla chips or pita chips are just as good. I remember one restaurant serving just plain french bread with it. Chips is the easy go-to though. Hands down.

Game Day Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Everyone shares the stage

It’s so creamy and every ingredient is tasted and accounted for. You don’t get an overwhelming amount of cream cheese, or spinach flavor, or artichoke flavor like with some spinach and artichoke dips at some restaurants …. you get a little bit of everything in each bite. I am so disappointed when I order spinach and artichoke dip thinking it’s going to be amazing, only to be let down when it has a heavy taste of mayonnaise and no flavors. I also don’t like it if all I taste is spinach. I want all of the players to have a part. The perfect combination.

The only advice I have for this recipe, is that once you have it all mixed together in a bowl, TASTE it. Take a chip or use a fork and just taste it. If it’s super bland, then ADD salt, garlic salt, or parmesan cheese. If it’s not creamy enough, add a little more mayo or milk. This is the time to adjust.

Game Day Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Takes: 

45 Minutes
Serves: 8-10 People

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz block of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts
  • 1 10 or 12 oz box of chopped frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1/4 cup Italian blended cheeses plus more for sprinkling on top (sold in 1 bag mixed)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (taste after mixing – add more if necessary)
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 1/4 of each: salt and garlic salt
  • 1 Tbsp of milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375.

Take spinach out of container and place in a strainer or colander. Squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as you can. It will seem like the volume has gone to nothing. It’s ok. This is normal.

Chop up your artichoke hearts into bits and pieces. Some brands of artichokes are much stronger. If you find one you know is stronger, just omit 2-3 of the hearts when combining everything.

Add cream cheese to bowl and add all other ingredients. I make sure my hands are washed if I use my hands. Mix well with a spoon or hands until everything is combined. TASTE. This is where you can adapt the flavors.

Place in baking dish or casserole dish and top with approximately 1/4 Italian cheese blend. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve your game day spinach and artichoke dip with toasted, buttered baguette, pita chips, or chips. Enjoy!

Game Day Spinach and Artichoke Dip

 

Game Day Jalape├▒o Popper Bombers

standard August 14, 2016 Please Comment
Print Friendly

Game Day Jalape├▒o Popper Bombers

A variation of just regular jalape├▒o poppers is my Game Day Jalape├▒o Popper Bombers with Smokies. I attended a football party one year where they combined sausage into the mixture and it was so good. It just sent it over the top with the creaminess of the cheese, then the heat from the pepper, the savoriness of the lil smoky, then you got the crunch of the bacon in the end. Serve these jalape├▒o poppers, or my Game Day Buffalo Wings or Game Day Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Serve all 3 and you’re guaranteed to please any game day crowd. They are always a hit and they are always gone within the first hour.

Game Day Jalapeno Popper Bombers

I know a common complaint I see is the bacon doesn’t get cooked all the way when the jalape├▒o poppers are cooked in the oven. One way to help this is to pre-bake or pre-cook your bacon just for a few minutes. If you slap them in the microwave for┬áabout 1 min 20 seconds, it helps them with the cooking process later in the oven. Don’t cook them though. If you cook them too much, you won’t be able to maneuver them around the poppers.

To remove the Pods of Hell or not to

Another thing (and this is a huge, executive decision that can be life saving) is how hot you want your jalape├▒os poppers to end up. Being from Southwest Louisiana, I do like my food a bit on the spicy side. If you prefer not to use 10 tissues to wipe your nose and sweat from your brow, you can opt to remove the seeds completely from the jalape├▒o….but even then sometimes the pepper will be hot. Just depends on the peppers you find. I would also advise wearing gloves through the whole removing of the pods of hell┬á(seeds) from the jalape├▒os process. Trust me.┬áTried telling our youngest son who is 14 this. Yep. He learned the hard way. He later was seen with an ice pack on his lips. Tried to tell ya, son. Tried to tell ya.

Game Day Jalape├▒o Popper Bombers

Takes: 45 Minutes to an Hour
Serves: 8-10 People

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Jalape├▒os
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 8-12┬áslices of bacon (depending on how much bacon you like)
  • 6-12 lil smokies (I cut them in half length wise and if a jalape├▒o is really long, I use two)
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle seasoning or 1/4 chili powder and 1/4 paprika
  • 2 Tbsp panko bread crumbs

Instructions

Place oven to 375.

Slice all jalape├▒os in half length wise. Be careful to not touch seeds too much, or wear gloves. Remove as many seeds as the heat you wish to achieve. (the less = more heat) Place them on a sprayed sheet pan, or lined with parchment paper.

Saut├ę diced onion and garlic in a medium high heat pan for 5-7 minutes. Set aside and let cool for 10 mins.

Mix your cream cheese, cheddar cheese and seasoning in a bowl. Fold in your onion and garlic.

Cook bacon in the microwave for 1 min, 20 seconds. The idea is to pre-bake them a little where they cook thoroughly while in the oven on the poppers. It is easier if you use them almost right away rather than when they have time to stiffen up.

Take each pepper and put about a tsp to 2 tsp of cheese mixture. Sprinkle a little of the panko bread crumbs on top. Take a smoky sausage half and place in the middle of the cheese. Take bacon and wrap the jalape├▒o, securing the lil smoky. You can use toothpicks if need be. You can always remove them later.

Place in oven for 20 minutes or until done. Can also be served with a pepper jelly dipping sauce, or you could try putting a dab of the pepper jelly in the jalape├▒o pepper before you put your cream cheese mixture!

Game Day Jalapeno Popper Bombers

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Game Day Buffalo Wings

standard August 14, 2016 Please Comment
Game Day Buffalo Wings
Print Friendly

Game Day Buffalo Wings

Game day buffalo wings are pretty easy to make and provide a punch of flavor for your tailgating party or during the big game. They don’t last long in my home that’s for sure. We usually have a few staples for game day. We have our Game Day Jalape├▒o Popper Bombers with Smokies, and our Game Day Spinach and Artichoke Dip that is super creamy, super dreamy and amazing to have on chips or on a buttered baguette. If you can’t pick a favorite between buffalo wings, jalape├▒o poppers or spinach and artichoke dip…then I want to know what it is you’re serving for your game days!

I personally like a dry rub on a wing, and then I like to dip it into ranch or blue cheese. Occasionally I will like a messy, gooey, stick to your fingers kind of wing. Usually when it’s a wet sauce kind of wing, I prefer one that has some heat plus sweet┬álike a honey chipotle like I made in a marinade for my Honey Chipotle Lime Shrimp. It’s the same flavor profile. It packs on the heat but also has a sweet note to it. On a very rare occasion, I like a buffalo wing if the sauce is more on the mild side.

Game Day Buffalo Wings

Do you like more vinegar or less vinegar?

My youngest son, Bodee would probably drink the buffalo sauce from the pan if I let him. He and hubs love a buffalo wing sauce. A STRONG buffalo sauce. The more vinegar the better, they say. I can tell if I won’t like it if before it reaches our table, my nose starts burning a little from the heat and vinegar combination…which is weird, because I love vinegar based things and hubs usually does not. When it comes to the wing sauce, I prefer one that’s not as vinegar(y).

Now, are you team ranch, or are you team blue cheese? That’s a tough one! I think it depends on who is providing both, but if I have an option for both, I’m going for both!

Game Day Buffalo WingsTakes: Hour to Marinade and 30 minutes to actual cooking time
Serves: 4-6 People

Ingredients:

  • 18 wings
  • Vegetable Oil for frying (about 2″ in the pot)
  • 1 Cup of Whole Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup of hot sauce (we use Louisiana Hot Sauce)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 garlic cloves minced and mashed
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp of each seasoning: black pepper, red pepper, garlic salt, paprika, and chili powder or chipotle seasoning if you have it

Instructions

Place flour and all seasoning in a plastic bag with zipper. Mix up. Take each wing and shake in bag. Place all wings when done on a dish and let refrigerate for at least an hour.

After an hour, bring oil to medium high heat (375) in a big pot. In another smaller pot, melt butter then add your minced garlic and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off.

Cook your wings in oil for approximately 10-12 minutes or until done. Each wing size varies. It may take up to 15 minutes. Take one out, cut it open to be safe.

When wings are done, take them out and place them on a paper towel or dish towel. You will take each wing and dip them in the hot sauce mixture. Coat them. Set them aside on a dish for serving. If you want that baked on hot sauce look, you can stick them in a 400 degrees oven for 10 minutes at this point. I usually save a Tbsp of the sauce to pour on top after I’ve done this. Enjoy! (see the little garlic pieces sticking to the wings in the sauce?? YUM!!! Bits of gold, my friend. Bits of gold.)

Game Day Buffalo Wings

 

 

Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla

gallery August 13, 2016 Leave a response
Print Friendly

Carnitas translates to “little meats,” but there is nothing little about this dish. This dish is easily one of my favorites. My youngest says my Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla is in his “Top 3, mommy. No doubt.” I would have to agree, son. Definitely.

In the sauna, little carnitas

So, we lived near Dallas for over 8 years. In my opinion, we had some of the best tex-mex food around. Generations and regions change recipes over time, so you’re not going to get one area that agrees 100% with how another area has adapted a dish – or if you do, it’s pretty rare. I searched high and low for many carnitas recipes over the last 10 years. The one I have adapted to is a little odd, but it delivers the most amazing flavor profile you’ll ever taste in carnitas.

Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla

 

It starts with getting those babies nice and tender. To accomplish this, you let it simmer in a liquid and seasoning concoction for about 2-3 hours. Some use lard. I do not. I have nothing against lard. I just don’t think it’s necessary to get the same flavor profile. Enter Coca-Cola and Sunkist. I told you it was a little odd….trust me on this though. It offers just the right amount of sweetness and flavor to counter the saltiness and savoriness of the dish.

Now your carnitas need some friends

The way we dress ours up is to fry flour tortillas in vegetable oil for about 35 seconds per side to get them nice and crispy. They want to huff up in places, but I keep a knife because I don’t play it’s super handy to just pop the little air pockets as they arrive. Then, I cook 2 cans of black beans with some onions chopped up, and seasoning until they are thick, but able to spread on to the tortillas.┬áI also chop up lots of yummies like lettuce, tomatoes and red onion. Grate some cheese and make my┬áJalape├▒o Ranch Salad Dressing or an avocado cream sauce┬áand you will make friends. Lots and lots of friends. You could be boring and just eat them on a soft flour tortilla and nothing else. Do you also dream in black and white? Come on,now!

Ok, let’s get started!

Carnitas on a  Crispy Tortilla:

Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla

Takes 3-4 Hours
Serves 6-8 People

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 Cup Sunkist Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Coca Cola Soda
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp of each seasoning: black pepper, red pepper, garlic salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of each: cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt

Instructions

Put all of your seasonings in a bowl.

Heat up oil in a big dutch oven or pot on medium high heat. Put chunks of pork shoulder in pot and put half of the seasoning in all over pork. Reserve half to put on the other half after you flip them. When browned on one side (approximately 4-5 minutes) flip and season with other half of seasoning. Brown that side for another 4-5 minutes.

Add sunkist, cola and water. Place lid and let simmer for 35 minutes. Taste the liquid. If it doesn’t have enough seasoning, add more here. Add another 3/4 cup of water. Replace lid and cook for another 35 minutes. You will add water as long as you have at least 1/2″ at the bottom of the pot. Sometimes it’s 3 times, sometimes it’s 4 times.

When it has been cooking at least for 2 hours, add cut up onion.

When the pork is fork tender, take 2 forks and pull pork apart in its own liquid.

This part is optional:

Fry small tortillas in vegetable oil for 45 seconds per side or until golden brown. Take out and let rest on a paper towel (with plate). Our family loves black beans cooked down to mush, so we add the black beans, then the pork, then lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese, jalape├▒o salad dressing, and hot sauce or salsa.

SO GOOD!!!

Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla

 

 

Perfect Pesto Pasta Salad

gallery August 13, 2016 Leave a response
Print Friendly

Perfect Pesto Pasta Salad can cure a cold. It can also help when you’re feeling down. Well… it seems that way, anyway. Pasta is one of those guilty pleasures I love to go to when I just need to fill up on comfort foods. Whether it’s just cooked with some butter and chives, or made with a b├ęchamel cheese sauce with chicken… I haven’t met many pasta dishes I don’t like.

Perfect Pesto Pasta Salad when the weather starts to get a little cooler

Perfect Pesto Pasta Salad

There’s a pasta salad I love at La Madeleine’s Country French Cafe. I always pick that with their tomato basil soup. More on that in another blog. My perfect pesto pasta salad recipe reminds me of theirs. I think it comes pretty darn close! I first started with another version from The Nurtured Nest. It was really close too, but I altered it just a bit to suit my taste. Play with the ingredients to suit your taste!

Perfect Pesto Pasta Salad

Takes 30 Mins
Serves 8-10 People

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Bowtie Pasta
  • 6 Tbsp Pesto
  • 3 Tbsp Caesar dressing (I love Newman’s Own)
  • 1 Tbsp Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp chopped up roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup spinach (chopped up)
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 2 Tbsp red onion finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Instructions

Cook pasta according to directions or until al dente.

For the Dressing

  1. Place pesto, caesar dressing and milk in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Chop up tomatoes, green onions, spinach, sundried tomatoes and red onion.
  2. When pasta is done, take out, toss with olive oil and let cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Combine pasta with dressing and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add chopped ingredients, pepper and garlic salt. Taste. Add more seasoning if necessary.

Enjoy with a bowl of tomato basil soup!

 

 

Simple Roasted Fall Veggies

standard August 8, 2016 Please Comment
Simple Roasted Fall Veggies
Print Friendly

When you get the first wave of cooler weather, you start wanting to dive into your fall cookbooks to find something comforting. For me, that’s simple roasted fall veggies. There really is no approved list of the right veggies to roast. I don’t discriminate when it comes to roasting veggies. The more the better. I also love to look for diversified colors when I’m looking for my veggies. It’s got to be the foodie in me. Looks matter, ok!?

To Reduction or Not To Reduction

I wanted to experiment with some different flavors this time, and remembered when I had roasted veggies one time in New Orleans where they topped it with a reduced balsamic glaze. It was definitely a different experience than with plain old veggies. It also is really not hard to make. I think people may get intimidated with big, fancy terms or ingredients sometimes. A balsamic reduction is simply pouring the balsamic vinegar into a pot, adding a few ingredients, letting it simmer for about 7-10 minutes and that’s it! Another dish you could totally make if you save the glaze is my Outback Steakhouse copycat wedge salad that I also use the glaze to drizzle on to send an ordinary wedge into outer space wedge. Trust me on this. Other dimensions.

Simple Roasted Fall Veggies (with balsamic reduction)

Simple Roasted Fall Veggies

Takes 45 Mins
Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients:

For Veggies:

  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut
  • 1 bell pepper cut in chunks (color your choice)
  • 4-5 brussels sprouts cut in half vertically
  • 1 small red onion cut into chunks
  • 4-5 mushrooms with stems off
  • Other items are optional: cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini, butternut squash, broccoli (there are so many fall veggies to choose from)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp black and red pepper
  • Couple of dashes of Italian seasoning

For Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp honey

Instructions

Heat oven to 400.

For the Balsamic Glaze:

  1. Place balsamic vinegar and honey in a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium high heat. Bring to a low simmer and stir often. Let cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. It will thicken even more once it starts cooling. I like mine a tad bit on the sweeter side, so I taste it at this point. It will be a tad bit tangy.

For the Veggies:

  1. Place all cut up veggies in a big bowl. Coat with olive oil. Stir. If it seems on the dry side, add more olive oil 1 Tbsp at a time. (I love to use my hands with this, so clean hands!)
  2. Wash hands! Take seasonings and place them all in a small bowl to mix. Take seasoning mixture and sprinkle half onto veggies. Stir. Sprinkle other half onto veggies. Stir.
  3. Place all veggies on a big roasting pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with parchment paper.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes. Take spatula and gently stir all veggies around, sometimes flipping some of the veggies. Lightly drizzle all veggies with balsamic reduction and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until nice dark brown crust forms on veggies.

Simple Roasted Fall Veggies can be saved for 4-5 days in an airtight container and served with just about any protein, beef or all by itself.

 

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust

standard August 7, 2016 Please Comment
Print Friendly

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust has to be my hubby’s favorite desserts I make. It’s either the top, or in the top 3 for sure. He also loves an eclair cream pie, so I think the cream pies win it for him.

Secret ingredient?

This banana cream pie has a special ingredient in the crust which I never really would have thought to try, but when I think about it, it’s actually pretty genius! It’s banana! You might think it’s something you could leave out, but after having it in it, I wouldn’t dare. I would also note that it is important to wait until the banana is somewhat ripe. It will definitely affect the taste of the recipe if you use a partly green banana.

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust

Takes 1 hr + 30 mins
Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients:

For banana graham cracker crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mashed up banana
  • 1/4 cup butter melted

Banana custard filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn starch plus 3 Tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract or can use a vanilla bean
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 ripe bananas

Instructions

    1. In a food processor, take graham crackers and pulse until resembles crumbs.
    2. Put crumbs in a bowl and add sugar and mashed banana. Try to get the banana incorporated throughout as much of the crust as you can. Add in melted buttered stir until all combined.
    3. Place banana graham cracker mixture into your 9 1/2″ or 10″ pie dish using fingers to gently press mixture all around and up sides. Don’t worry if it feels like it may come apart. When it is baked, and sets, it will stay together. Let sit in the refrigerator 35-45 minutes.
    4. In the meantime, in a pot on the stove, combine cornstarch, sugar and salt on medium high heat.
    5. Add whipping cream, whole milk and egg yolks. Whisk constantly for approximately 7-8 minutes or until the custard has a slight boil and thickens. You can turn it down during this process but only if you still have a slight simmer.
    6. Remove from heat & stir in butter and vanilla or vanilla bean (scraped) if using.
    7. Transfer custard to a bowl and cover with saran wrap (on the custard with fingers – not just on the bowl) to avoid lumps or skin forming and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    8. Preheat oven to 350 and take pie crust out of the refrigerator. When preheated, cook crust for 15 minutes. Let cool completely when done.
    9. Take custard out of refrigerator and put 1 cup of it onto cooled crust. Top with a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat with 2 more layers.
    10. Let pie sit in refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours for best results. If you cut it before then, it may not stay set up. Overnight is best.
    11. Top with whipped cream, chocolate, caramel sauce -whatever you like!

Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker crust

 

%d bloggers like this: