My Family’s Top 5 Go-to Dinners

I’m really bad at meal planning. I hate having to think about what’s for dinner. I’d rather be playing with my kids and trying to tell my son he doesn’t have to hide in the same spot every single time.

If I’m lucky, I remember and ask my husband what he’d like to eat a couple of days before we go to the market. If I’m really lucky, he tells me exactly what he wants. Most weeks, though, I ask him about 20 minutes before we head out the door and we stand around in the produce section wondering what to make. Our son gets impatient and becomes overly theatrical about it. Our daughter is happy standing in the back and making noises while bouncing on her feet.

Fortunately, we do have some family favorites that are relatively quick and easy. We keep most of the ingredients stocked, so it’s easy to say we’ll eat this or that. Unfortunately, for me, at least, it feels repetitive, but it does solve the problem.

“What’s for dinner?”

I’m suddenly sorry I asked my mom almost daily.

  1. Pasta. This is seriously our number one go-to, unless we had it last week. It’s easy and my husband happens to absolutely love the sauce, which is also incredibly easy to make. The best part is the pasta can be cooked ahead and frozen with a bit of olive oil drizzled and mixed in. The sauce can also be cooked ahead of time and frozen. My recipe makes enough sauce for at least 2 pounds of pasta, so, the next time we decided to have it, I don’t even have to cook it if I was smart and froze it into two sections. Head over here for my sauce recipe, which also works really well for the pizza my husband likes making.
  2. Pizza. My husband already devoted a post to this. He grew up in New York City, so pizza is near and dear to his heart. I couldn’t care less, but he’s very particular. He’s spent several weekends perfecting his dough recipe and trying out different sauces, only to go to my pasta sauce and proclaim it perfect. For pizza, the sauce ingredients can just go in the blender with more sugar than salt. I hate having to stretch out the dough, but his recipe makes 2, so we just pop one in the freezer, though it usually only stays in for a day or two. I did mention he loves pizza, right? Oh, and the dough is best when left in the fridge at least over night. For his recipe, pop over hereBake and then.....PIZZA!
  3. Spanish-style beef. A few years ago, I was flipping through some recipes my mom had saved, but never made. I came across one for Spanish-style beef and rice by Rachael Ray. My husband liked it, so I added it to my recipe book. And then I experimented a bit. I’ve used beef, chicken, and a mix of beef and sausage. It really is quick to make and so easy that I usually hold my daughter almost the whole time. It’s great with rice, but we also enjoy it with tortillas. For my version and one way we enjoy it, go hereIMG_0895
  4. Lemon chicken. This is something my mom started making when I was a kid. My parents planted a lemon tree one year and it’s been extremely bountiful. We’ve had so many lemons that my dad is in the habit of asking just about everyone if they want any lemons. One or two? Nope. Try a whole bag full of them. I’m not sure where my mom got the recipe, but I got mine for lemon chicken from her. For all I know, she made it up just to use up the lemons. It’s really simple. Slice a chicken breast in half so it’s neither too thick nor too thin (pound if too thick) and salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a pan with some oil and cook chicken. Remove chicken and add 3-4 tablespoons of butter and the juice of 2 lemons. Add chicken back to the pan and coat in the sauce. As far as I know, it goes with just about everything.
  5. Chicken and tortillas. This is something my mom made for us a lot when we were growing up. It’s fast and easy. And, okay, I prefer this one way more than my husband because it’s really fast and easy. Even if we don’t have tortillas, we can still put it with rice or Asian noodles. I like to slice the chicken on the thin side so I don’t have to marinate it as long and it cooks faster. A half hour before dinner time? Yup, this will be done on time! See why I prefer it? For the recipe for the marinade and the chicken and tortillas recipe, head on over here.

Hmm. Maybe I do know what’s for dinner next week.

What are some of your go-to dinner recipes? If you have the recipe link, feel free to leave it in the comments!

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Milkshake in a Jar

My husband looked at me like I was crazy. I prefer to think I was being creative. As a mom of two toddlers, every day is an exercise in creativity.

My 4 year old has a strange problem with sounds. Alarms scare him. He refuses to flush the toilet because the sound scares him, but is fine under certain circumstances. He locks himself in his room when we use the blender.

The blender. That magical piece of kitchen equipment that gives us milkshakes.

We live in Southern California. It’s hot most of the year. Ice cream is kind of a way of life for my family. I grew up with big tubs of ice cream and milkshakes. My kids enjoy ice cream now, especially this past summer when we seemed to go from one heat wave to another.

Milkshakes are kind of another story. My husband and I love them. My daughter thinks they’re intriguing. Then again, she’s only 16 months so everything is new to her. My son enjoys one particular milkshake. From a restaurant. Because he screams every time we use the blender.

My husband kept giving me strange looks whenever I wondered if I could make a milkshake in a jar. Really, it sounded reasonable to me. I make single serve cakes in mugs and bowls. I shake up whipped cream and butter in jars. I’m sure I could make a milkshake in a jar.

And that would be fabulous, wouldn’t it? A nice cold chocolate milkshake (for the chocoholic I proudly am) on a hot not always summer day without any noise. My son wouldn’t go screaming and I would get my milkshake.

Perhaps I should get him used to noise. But that also sounds cruel to me. I don’t like spiders and will run from anyone who has one. I’ll struggle if someone makes me get used to one. A blender isn’t a necessity for us. We don’t have to use one for anything. Actually, outside of milkshakes, we almost never use one. By the time he’s old enough to cook for himself or live with others, he’ll be old enough to decide what noise he wants in his life. He’s been exposed. Good enough.

Back to the milkshake. I got some ice cream and put some in a jar. Then I added the milk and screwed the lid on. And I shook it, getting a nice workout for my arms. And I let my son shake it. And I let my daughter try to shake it.

And, voila, milkshake in a jar! No noise, no need to clean a blender. No need for a blender. I got my milkshake and didn’t send my son running screaming for his room.

All you need is a jar, something to scoop out the ice cream, the ice cream, and milk. No need for a blender and a cup. So, less clean up, too.

This works best with softened ice cream. If it’s not, you’ll get lumps, or one big lump. So leave the ice cream out for a few minutes, but get to it before it melts. Add as much as you’d like into the jar and do the same with the milk.

I grew up with thin milkshakes. My mom wanted us to have more milk, so they were milkier. Actually, we were so used to them that the thick milkshakes we got when we went out were just too thick and we needed a spoon. We didn’t actually ask for them very often, but, every summer that blender was blending away.

Ice cream and milk in a jar for a nice cold milkshake

Now that your jar is full, make sure you screw the lid on tight, and shake. Check periodically for the texture you want, but you can always put the lid back on and shake some more.

It’s just like any other milkshake. But no noise and less clean up. With two toddlers, I’ll take that any day.

See, I’m not crazy. I’m just a mom of particular kids who embraces their little idiosyncrasies and just let’s them be kids.

Because what kid wouldn’t love to shake a jar and get a sweet treat?

Milkshake in a jar

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

Chicken Scampi

This post was originally published on April 27th for National Shrimp Scampi Day without pictures. 

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

I don’t eat seafood. But we like chicken, lemon, butter, and pasta. So we don’t do shrimp scampi, but chicken scampi instead!

We were watching The Pioneer Woman one day and she was making shrimp scampi with pasta. Now, my husband is a big fan of lemon butter sauce, but knows I absolutely will not touch seafood. Instead, loving husband that he is, he asked if I could make it with chicken.

Of course I could make it with chicken! And it was so easy that, whenever my parents give us lemons from their tree or if we have a couple lying around, you can be sure I’m making this.

Now, we don’t strictly follow The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. For one, neither of us likes onions. But it’s still delicious and doesn’t take long to whip up, a half hour from start to finish for me!

How We Make Chicken Scampi

To start, I prep. Since pasta water takes just about forever to come to a boil, I usually try to start this first. Then I mince a few garlic cloves, not too much because my husband isn’t a big fan. Then I cut 2 chicken breasts, sometimes more if my husband really wants a lot of it, into 1 inch cubes and put a sprinkle of salt and pepper on them. Finally, I squeeze the juice out of 2 lemons. Or my husband really squeezes the life out of them. What can I say, he really likes lemon!

Now that everything is prepped, take out a big skillet or a pan with sides if you have a lot of chicken or pasta (yes to both for us!). Heat olive oil and butter until the butter is melted.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try chicken instead.

Toss in the garlic and cook until it starts to brown.

Don't enjoy seafood, but want to try scampi? Use chicken instead.

Add the chicken and cook it through.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try chicken instead.

The Pioneer Woman uses wine, but we don’t drink and have small children. My daughter started eating this at 9-10 months. Instead, we use chicken broth, or water if  we don’t have any on hand. So now that the chicken is cooked, I add the broth and lemon juice and turn the heat down low.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

During this time, the pasta water is usually ready and the pasta should be just about done. The Pioneer Woman uses Angel hair pasta, but we have a thing for rotini and sometimes spaghetti, but those spirals really enchant us.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

The sauce is finished by now, so I add about a cup of the pasta water to help thicken it. Finally, I add the pasta and toss it in the sauce. From here you can garnish with cheese and fresh herbs, but we leave it plain.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

I’m putting our version here, but you can get The Pioneer Woman’s recipe at the link above. Happy cooking!

Recipe

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lb pasta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mince garlic, cube chicken breasts, and juice lemons. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken.
  2. Bring pasta water to a boil.
  3. While boiling pasta water, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet until butter melts. Toss in garlic and cook until the garlic starts to brown.
  4. Add the chicken and cook through.
  5. Pour in lemon juice and broth. Stir and turn heat to low.
  6. When the pasta is ready, take a cup of the water and add it to the sauce.
  7. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss.

Whether you enjoy seafood or not, enjoy some scampi today!

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

Have overripe bananas? Make this simple banana bread and enjoy, perhaps with a bit of Nutella spread on top.

Banana Bread

Have overripe bananas? Make this simple banana bread and enjoy, perhaps with a bit of Nutella spread on top.

Growing up, we always had bananas on hand. I loved watching them ripen and then eagerly peel one open once it reached that beautiful yellow color with no green in sight. But, in college, the dining hall usually had bananas that weren’t quite ripe. Sometimes they were just green. But I had to have my daily banana, and came to adore not quite ripe bananas. Years later, I still prefer somewhat green bananas. Once they become too yellow, I toss them in the freezer to make banana bread later on.

Often, later on doesn’t happen and I end up with a freezer full of bananas. My husband has asked more than once why there are so many bananas in the freezer. Why? Because his wife is a nutcase and believes she will get around to making banana bread even though she hates it.

Yes. I have, for years, kept bananas in the freezer to make banana bread that I did not like. In my defense, I do what my mom did: toss overripe bananas in the freezer to make banana bread because I want to be just like my mom. My error is that I don’t eat it and my husband doesn’t take it to work like my dad would (he liked to use it to butter up his colleagues whenever he needed a favor).

Well, in all honesty, I didn’t like banana bread. When I was a kid. That dislike carried over year to year. But, recently, I decided to make it so I could take pictures to include in my old banana bread post. My daughter loves bananas and desperately tried to eat it as soon as it came out of the oven. My son hates bananas, but desperately wanted me to slice it. I am indifferent to banana bread, but really, really wanted to avoid unnecessary whining, so I sliced it up and started feeding a slice to my daughter while my son smelled it and went “ew.”

And I decided I might as well give it another try, too. After all, it has probably been at least 20 years since I last had it. Two pregnancies might have affected my taste buds and maybe now I’ll like it.

It’s quite heavy on the banana. But the bread is dense, but not too dense, and sweet, but not too sweet. It was moist and soft. I won’t say I was an immediate fan, but, with a light spread of Nutella on top, it became my breakfast for a week, especially since my daughter decided she was done with banana bread.

Note to self: try swirling in some Nutella next time. Then I can just grab a slice and go.

So, how do you make this simple bread?

Step one, if you have bananas in the freezer, take them out and defrost them. They’ll be easier to mash that way. You’ll need about 1 cup.

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Then, in a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you plan on adding nuts (I never do), take a tablespoon of the flour and mix it in with the nuts. That way they won’t sink to the bottom.

mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt

In a larger bowl, mix together the sugar and oil.

mix the oil and sugar together

Now add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each eggy addition. Then add the milk.

add the eggs one at a time and then the milk

Now the flour mixture and mashed bananas get to take turns being added into the big bowl. I usually do a quarter from each at a time. Sometimes a third. Finally, add the nuts if you so choose to add them. Again, I don’t. I’m not a big nut fan.

 

 

 

Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. If you’re afraid it might not come out, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and put it in. It’ll prevent the bread from sticking to the bottom of the pan and it should easily slide out.

pour the mixture into a well-greased loaf pan

We’re not done yet. Keep it in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Now, if you really love bananas, you’ll have to be patient. Let the bread cool completely before slicing, unless you enjoy crumbly messes. Regardless, enjoy!

slice when completely cooled and enjoy!

Oh, and my mom notes that if the top gets too brown while baking, just put a piece of foil on top.

Recipe

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time. Add milk.
  4. Add flour mixture and bananas alternately.
  5. Add nuts.
  6. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn out onto cooking rack and cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy! From one person who previously did not enjoy banana bread, this one is worth a try.

Want a NY Style Pizza...but you don't live in NY? Try this recipe!

Close to NY Style Pizza!

Want a NY Style Pizza...but you don't live in NY? Try this recipe!

Hello All!

So I made an attempt to make NY style pizza at home. There is a small story to go with this recipe. I attempted this recipe three consecutive times. It is is NO WAY perfected. However, the third time did produce a very good tasting product. I love NY style pizza. I miss it. There are only a few places in LA that offer NY style pizza that is very similar to NY pizza. I think the sauce is very close. Kat has perfected it for general consumption with a variety of pastas, but we are trying to tweak it for the pizza. My first attempt, I actually had a hole in the pizza. The second attempt the pizza sauce had anchovies and the dough did not rise. The third attempt was the best…but only close. However, if you try this recipe you may like it.

Who knows? [The shaddow knows!]

Ok. Back to pizza making.

Below you will find the recipe. Enjoy!

Part 1

1. Get a small bowl and add 2/3 cup of filtered water. Then warm it up in the microwave. It only needs to be slightly warm….NOT HOT!

2. Add a packet of Fleischmann’s pizza crust yeast. Then add a teaspoon of sugar. Mix well. When the yeast are activated you will see bubbles!

3. To a mixing bowl add:

(a) 2 cups of flour (plus a additional 1 and 1/2 cup of flower later!) [Total 3 and 1/2 cups needed]

(b) 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt

(c) 1/2 tablespoon of sugar

(d) 1 large egg

(e) 2 tablespoons of olive oil

(f) 1/3 cup of water

(g) then add the pizza crust yeast/sugar/water mixture

4a. If you don’t have  a mixer or kitchen aid, mix the contents in the bowl with your hands and mix well (put some flour on your hands!!) until it begins to form a sticky playdoh consistency mass. Add 1 and 1/2 more cup of flour as you mix to help the dough to take the shape of a ball. Then put some flour on a board or clean surface and transfer the dough to for additonal kneading. Once you have a ball that is somewhat flexible you are done. Place the dough on a plate that was wiped with some olive oil. Cover the dough with paper towels for about 20min at room temperature.

4b. If you have a mixer, or kitchen aid, mix the contents at setting 1 for 2 minutes. Then add the remaining 1 and 1/2 cup of flower and then allow to mix at setting 2 for 8 minutes. Put some flour on your hands and remove the dough from the mixer. Place the dough on a plate that was wiped with some olive oil. Cover the dough with paper towels for about 20min at room temperature.

5. After 20 minutes, remove the paper towel and cover the dough with saran wrap and transfer to a refrigerator for at least 2 hours. At this point you can either continue or allow continue the next day. Your dough will rise!

Part 2

6. Take the dough out of the fridge and allow it come to temperature for 5 minutes. Roll the dough. If you are making a 16 inch pizza, you will need 12 ounces of dough. At this point you can cut the dough with a knife and take what you need. [I will provide another receipe for garlic knots that you can use the remaining dough for!!]

7. Roll the dough with a rolling pin or expand with your hands to make the dough look as you like. Make sure to leave an area for the crust! Be careful not to make too thin as this will result in a hole in your pizza! [I did this the first time!]

Close to NY Style dough

8. Set your oven to 500 degrees! You can also use 550 degrees.

9. You can make your sauce and you don’t have to cook it. Please see this recipe for our sauce. You don’t have to cook it! The sauce should be somewhat sweet. So lay off adding to much salt. You can add sugar to make it the slightest bit sweet but NOT too sweet!!

Part 3

10. Then you can add 1 ladle of sauce. You don’t have to add that much sauce. You can also eyeball it and just cover enough of the surface of the dough.

Dough covered with some loving pizza sauce!

11. Afterwards, you will need to shred some whole milk mozzarella. I use the Galbani shredding mozzarella and I shred it myself. You will also want to use whole milk mozzarella. Then place the cheese to your liking over the sauce.

Addition of some lovely shredding mozzarella!

12. Then add any additional toppings to your liking. We enjoy pepperoni. For that purpose we use Margharite Pepperoni.

Adding some excellent Margherita pepperoni!

13. Place your pizza into an cookie sheet or pizza sheet and place into your oven for 5 to 6 minutes at 500 or 550. Then carefully open the oven and rotate the pizzand and place it directly on the rack (and make sure to have something to collect stuff just below the pizza!). Close the oven and allow to cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes at 500 or 550.

 

14. Carefully take out the pizza and place it into the cookie sheet or pizza sheet.

Bake and then.....PIZZA!

Let it cool very briefly. Then get your pizza cutter and go to town! Then take a piece and watch for the “cheese pull!” If you have “cheese pull” I think this will be very satifying!  We hope you will enjoy this recipe!!! It needs some adjustments so an additional post will follow in the near future with any adjustments and modifications!

That’s it. Thank you for reading. Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel!

Live long and prosper!

-The Husband

 

 

 

 

Simple and easy summery tart using Graham crackers, thick yogurt, and fresh berries.

Berry Yogurt Tart

Simple and easy summery tart using Graham crackers, thick yogurt, and fresh berries.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had to go in every week for a progesterone shot. Most days were fairly routine: get my son into the car, drive over, get shot. But, on Wednesdays, it was: get my son into the car, drive over, walk through a farmer’s market, get shot, walk out back through the farmer’s market.

In all honesty, during that time I was so tired and not weathering pregnancy very well that we hardly ever stopped to browse. Besides, my son had more fun running over those non-slip strips with their little yellow bumps that always had him giggling. He referred to our weekly visits as “going to ding ding, bump bump” with the ding ding being the elevator and the bump bump the strips.

But as I came to the end of my pregnancy, my mom was staying with us and, just to get out, we went to the farmer’s market one day. We browsed the stalls, smelled some bread, bought some berries, and discovered delicious French style yogurt from Bonjour, a local yogurt company that can only be found at local farmer’s markets in Southern California. It was rich and creamy, thick and delicious. The flavors were spot on and it’s naturally sweetened (and lactose free).

About a year passed before we returned. Not because it wasn’t delicious, but because I was busy caring for a baby and a toddler. It took me a while to figure out how to get out the door with two kids and how to keep them with me until we returned home. But my mom and I were delighted to see Bonjour was still in business.

It was the height of strawberry season. Not only did I buy some amazing yogurt, but I also got a small mountain of strawberries and blackberries. I had wanted raspberries, too, but no one had any so I settled for raspberry yogurt from Bonjour.

I remembered an episode of The Pioneer Woman where she made a berry yogurt parfait. I had yogurt. I had berries. I was inspired! And my berry yogurt tarts were born, though I’m very sad that strawberry season is now over.

Yogurt and I have a love-hate relationship. It’s always delicious, but, sometimes, I just can’t stand the sight and smell of yogurt. But I always return to it. See? Love-hate. Being pregnant and extremely picky last year, I passed on trying the yogurt, but, for some reason, I was craving it this past Spring. Being unsure of how I would like it, I decided to pair the yogurt and berries together and, since I had some plain Graham crackers no one was touching, I thought it would be nice to make a nice crust with it.

I’m not sure who had more fun crushing the crackers: me or my toddler. But they got crushed and I added some sugar and melted butter to make the crust. My son has tried to help me distribute it across the ramekins and has tried to help me press the crust in, but my daughter always wants up, so it’s easier to let him pout while I do it myself. Sorry, kid.

graham cracker crust

Inspired by the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, I mixed the berries with some sugar and vanilla extract and let it sit for a few minutes. Though it wasn’t always easy since it turns out my daughter is a strawberry fiend. Since it was strawberry season I, of course, used strawberries as well as blackberries, and added raspberries another time. You can also use blueberries and any mixture of berries you enjoy. I just happen to think blueberries are disgusting. Shh! Don’t tell my kids!

berries

While the berries marinated, I pressed the crust into the ramekins and spread the remainder out between about a half dozen baby food jars (I can’t seem to bring myself to throw any of them out).

Next came the yogurt. After fighting the lid, and winning, I let my son try to take a spoonful out. But that stuff is thick! He quickly gave up and let mommy spread it out over the crust. This required a spoon and butter knife.

yogurt on graham cracker crust

Let’s pause a moment to talk about yogurt. The Pioneer Woman used Greek yogurt and mixed in some honey and vanilla. I, however, think Greek yogurt is stinky, so will not go anywhere near it. Bonjour’s French style yogurt was perfect as it is also thick, but not at all stinky. I have a particular fondness for their raspberry yogurt. Yoplait recently came out with a French style yogurt called Oui, which would probably work great as it is also thick, but I happen to already love Bonjour, so will stick with them. If you’re ever in SoCal, check out the farmer’s markets and give them a try!

Bonjour French style yogurt - raspberry flavor

Finally, it was time for the berries, including whatever strawberries were leftover after I was forced to feed some to my daughter to keep her from trying to throw herself out of my arms (even though she wouldn’t let me put her down). Yes, she can be a little drama queen. I scattered the berries across the yogurt, trying hard to use as little of the syrup as possible. Between the syrupy berries, sweet yogurt, and sugared crust, I did not need more sugar!

berry yogurt tart with strawberries and blackberries

Berry yogurt tart in baby food jars

Delicious! Even though my daughter ate all of my strawberries. The first time I made it, I pressed the crust a little too well and was stuck slamming my spoon into it in attempts to break it up. So, if you make this, a light pat on the crust will ensure it breaks up easily and you don’t have something like a brick to cut into.

Recipe

  • Crust
    • 1 package Graham crackers, crushed
    • 1/3 cup sugar or brown sugar
    • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • Berries
    • approximately 2 cups of berries (strawberries cut into chunks, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • dash of vanilla extract
  • thick yogurt, vanilla or any flavor that complements berries
  1. Make the crust. Combine the ingredients and mix. Lightly press into dish(es).
  2. Mix berries with sugar and vanilla extract and set aside for 5 or so minutes.
  3. Cover the crust with the yogurt.
  4. Spoon berries over the yogurt, discarding as much of the syrup as possible.
  5. Store in refrigerator or be like me and eat half of it in one day.

Cooking Bone-In NY Strip

 

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I enjoy having steak! So I thought this week I’d share a nice recipe with you! There is a small story that goes along with this recipe.

Many years ago, I was running at night. While completing my run, with two friends, I noticed Gordon Ramsay was also running that evening. At first I was not sure, so I walked over to introduce myself, and to see if it was him. It was! I shook his hand and said it was a pleasure and sheer luck to meet him. And then I was on my merry way home. This is a true story. My friends were in disbelief, but I was happy to have taken the risk to see if my eyes were correct. Shortly after this experience, I began to learn and experiment how to make steak from Gordon Ramsey’s recipes – specifically how to make steak! It is one of my favorite things to eat – especially if it’s Gordon Ramsay’s filet minon.

OK. Take out your steak and let it sit at RT for 20-30min.

Picture1

Season your steak with salt and pepper to taste.

Picture2

Then place your pan onto the stove and add 1tbsp of olive oil and let it get hot! When you see a bit of smoke rise from your pan put in your steak for about 2minutes on each side.

Picture3

Turn the steaks on the side and cook the sides for about 1min.

Picture4

Put in your butter and lemon juice (from one lemon) and baste the steaks with a spoon.

Picture5

Place your steaks into a pan and complete the cooking process in the oven at 400F for 7-8min.

Picture6

Take out the oven and allow to rest for 3-5min.

Picture7

Enjoy!

Thank you! Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Live long and prosper! Happy 4th July and happy eating!

-The Husband

My version of Gordon Ramsay’s steak (with white rice)

  • New York Strip (or what ever cut you like)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • one lemon (use all the jice from one lemon)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salted butter
  • McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
  1. Take your your steak and allow to be at room temperature for about 30min. Turn oven on to 400Fat 10 minuntes remaining.
  2. Season your steak with salt, pepper to taste (may then sprinkle a little McCormick Montreal at this time. (Don’t make it too salty!)
  3. Place 1tbsp of olive oil into pan and allow to heat until you see some smoke from the pan. (**Olive oil has a higher temperature for heating and won’t burn don’t use regular oil!!)
  4. Aftet you see the smoke, place your steak into the pan for about 2min.
  5. Turn over and sear for 2minutes.
  6. Add your two small square of butter and lemon juice. Then baste the combination over the steak with a spoon.
  7. Take out your steak and complete the cooking in the oven for 8min.
  8. Remove the steak from the oven and allow to rest for 3-5min.

Can serve with:

  • mashed potatos
  • rice
  • vegetables

 

A variation of Rachael Ray's Spanish style beef and rice

Rachael Ray’s Spanish Style Beef and Rice

A variation of Rachael Ray's Spanish style beef and rice

My mom has a habit of collecting recipes, and then never trying them out because she has so many. But her habit is my gain.

There are times when my husband turns to me and says, “Let’s try something new this week.” On one hand, I love it because it means I can try a new recipe. On the other hand, I hate it because sometimes I don’t have anything in mind.

Cue my mom’s binder of recipes. I’ll flip through it whenever I can, looking for inspiration or something new. This is one of those. It was tucked in the back of a pocket, forgotten, just waiting for me to find it.

Rachael Ray’s Spanish Style Beef and Rice was a huge hit with my husband, and was duly added to our list of recipes that we love.

But, over the years (it was about 3.5 years ago that we started making this), I’ve made changes based on what we like and don’t like. Like we hate onions, but love what Worcestershire sauce does to the taste. We like the rice, but I’ve only made it twice since we enjoy plain rice more. And we’re big bell pepper fans. So you can find the original at the link above. What I give you here is how I make it and our favorite way of eating it.

 

First, prep. Dice the bell peppers, mince the garlic, and open the can of tomato sauce. If you’re good with a knife and peeling garlic, this can take just a few minutes.

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Now heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the ground beef or turkey and sausage meat sans casing (or just a package of the sausage meat if you can find it) and add salt and pepper. The original recipe says ground sirloin, but we like to mix it up. I’ve made it with just ground beef, ground beef and sausage, and ground turkey and sausage. It tastes great any way!

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Add the bell peppers, garlic, and a liberal amount of Worcestershire sauce (if you like it as much as we do) and stir. Cook about 5 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

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Now add the tomato sauce and ground cumin. Stir. Let the sauce come to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

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Mmm. It’s so quick to make, only about a half hour. And I often make this one while holding my 1 year old. Just have to keep her turned away from the stove.

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Want to know our favorite way of eating this? All you really need is some tortillas. Probably any kind you like, but we only use the flour tortillas.

Quarter 2, or more or less, tortillas and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Spread out the meat and top with cheese if you’d like (we enjoy cheddar here, but, sadly, didn’t have any this time around).

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Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes, until the cheese (if you added any) is melted and the edges of the tortillas are lightly browned and crisp.

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Enjoy!

My Version of Rachael Ray’s Spanish Style Beef (without the rice)

  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 1 lb sausage
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Brown beef/turkey and sausage. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in bell peppers, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook 5 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
  4. Add can of tomato sauce and ground cumin. Stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes.

One way to serve:

  • Spanish style beef
  • tortillas
  • cheese, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with foil and lightly grease.
  3. Quarter tortillas and arrange on baking sheet.
  4. Spread the beef over the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese if you’d like.
  5. Bake 7-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas are lightly browned and crisp.

Enjoy!

National Shrimp Scampi Day

April 29th is National Shrimp Scampi Day. But I don’t eat seafood. But we like chicken, lemon, butter, and pasta. So we don’t do shrimp scampi, but chicken scampi instead!

We were watching The Pioneer Woman one day and she was making shrimp scampi with pasta. Now, my husband is a big fan of lemon butter sauce, but knows I absolutely will not touch seafood. Instead, loving husband that he is, he asked if I could make it with chicken.

Of course I could make it with chicken! And it was so easy that, whenever my parents give us lemons from their tree or if we have a couple lying around, you can be sure I’m making this.

Now, we don’t strictly follow The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. For one, neither of us likes onions. But it’s still delicious and doesn’t take long to whip up, a half hour from start to finish for me!

How We Make Chicken Scampi

To start, I prep. I mince a few garlic cloves, not too much because my husband isn’t a big fan. Then I cut 2 chicken breasts, sometimes more if my husband really wants a lot of it, into 1 inch cubes and put a sprinkle of salt and pepper on it. Then I get the pasta water boiling. Finally, I squeeze the juice out of 2 lemons. Or my husband really squeezes the life out of them. What can I say, he really likes lemon!

Now that everything is prepped, take out a big skillet or a pan with sides if you have a lot of chicken or pasta (yes to both for us!). Heat olive oil and butter until the butter is melted.

Toss in the garlic and cook until it starts to brown. Add the chicken and cook it through.

The Pioneer Woman uses wine, but we don’t drink and have small children. My daughter started eating this at 9-10 months. Instead, we use chicken broth. So now that the chicken is cooked, I add the broth and lemon juice and turn the heat down low.

During this time, the pasta water is usually ready and the pasta should be just about done. The Pioneer Woman uses Angel hair pasta, but we have a thing for rotini and sometimes spaghetti, but those spirals really enchant us.

The sauce is finished by now, so I add about a cup of the pasta water to help thicken it. Finally, I add the pasta and toss it in the sauce. From here you can garnish with cheese and fresh herbs, but we leave it plain.

I’m putting our version here, but you can get The Pioneer Woman’s recipe at the link above. Happy cooking!

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lb pasta,
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mince garlic, cube chicken breasts, and juice lemons. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken.
  2. Bring pasta water to a boil.
  3. While boiling pasta water, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet until butter melts. Toss in garlic and cook until the garlic starts to brown.
  4. Add the chicken and cook through.
  5. Pour in lemon juice and broth. Stir and turn heat to low.
  6. When the pasta is ready, take a cup of the water and add it to the sauce.
  7. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss.

Whether you enjoy seafood or not, enjoy some scampi today!

 

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Aeggercrakers

In 2007 I studied abroad in Denmark. I learned a little about the country, culture, and people before going. But the food scared me. I knew there were a lot of fish dishes, but I don’t eat fish! Good thing I wasn’t going for the food.

But what was I going to eat? My anxiety led me to scour the Internet for Danish recipes. This wasn’t actually easy, and some of it was entirely in Danish.

There was a site full of recipes that I eventually found, but now can’t for the life of me remember. I spent the summer before leaving testing out a few recipes. One of my favorites was for these aeggercrakers.

So delicious. So easy to make.

Start with preheating the oven to 450 and dust a baking sheet with flour. How much depends on how much flour you want on the bottom of your crackers. But you do need a layer.

Mix all of the ingredients together. Eggs, salt, flour, and baking powder. The sugar is for later.

Now knead the dough until it is firm, just a few minutes should do it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before rolling it as this as you can possibly get it. These are, after all, crackers. Cut the dough into diamond shapes, or, really, any shape you want. Big, small, medium. And put them on the baking sheet.

Here comes the fun part. Load them up with sugar. Seriously, cover the whole surface, edge to edge. This is the only sweetness the crackers will have. If you like sweet, load it on. If you want them to be plainer, just sprinkle it on. Without the sugar, though, they are kind of dry and plain. After they are as full of sugar as you would like, take a fork and stab them all. Stab, stab, stab. I like stabbing each one 3 times for 3 lines in the middle. Just don’t get too carried away!

And bake for 5 minutes. Yup, they’re fast! Be careful not to burn them. You want them to be white and pale with a little bit of brown around the edges.

Finally, enjoy!

Oh, how I miss Denmark…

Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare an ungreased, floured baking sheet.
  2. Mix ingredients, excepting the sugar.
  3. Knead on a floured board until firm.
  4. Let sit 10 minutes.
  5. Roll thin, as thin as you can get it.
  6. Cut into diamond shapes.
  7. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and prick with a fork.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes.