Monday, October 29, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Burgers

This week I am sharing the best burger I have ever made. While I love traditional grilled burgers with a little ketchup and mustard, I also like a fancy burger now and then. The best burger I ever made is Rachael Ray's Open-Face Blue Moon Burger with 'Shrooms. You can find the recipe and post by clicking here. Tom even ate this so you know it is tasty.

Open Face Blue Moon Burgers with 'Shrooms
Sorry for the blurry picture, I was obviously eager to eat.

What is your favorite non-traditional burger?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Pizza

This week I had to find the best pizza I ever made, and I cannot recommend this pizza enough. I am sharing the recipe for Caramelized Shallot and Blue Cheese Pizza. Doesn't that just sound amazing?

Well, take a look at the finished product...

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Pizza

Here is a close up of all the oniony cheesy goodness

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Pizza

It has been a long time since I made this so I think I need to make this my next carb and dairy splurge. I hope you all give it a try!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pork and Poblano Stew

I told you about my quest for weight loss and how I am cutting those evil but so delicious carbs and dairy. Some people asked what I am eating instead. Well, I have been eating a lot of stir fries and lots of beans, cruciferous veggies, eggs, and lean protein. When I saw this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens I was thrilled that it pretty much fit into my new eating habits.

recipe from Better Homes and Gardens
I made the full recipe because I can freeze some and have a quick dinner when I don't feel like cooking.

Somehow I managed to forget to take an ingredients photo...but you can just take a look at what you need in the recipe. Poblano chiles are often labeled Pasilla peppers and they are very mild. If you really want to kick this up use a jalapeno or a serrano.

First you want to chop up your pork.

Measure out your OJ.

Chop up your onions and peppers. Biz is about to vomit at this point seeing those onions I am sure.

hot pork
Season the pork with chili powder. It is easiest to just get your hand in the bowl to make sure the meat gets coated.

Look everyone it is my Microplane that was featured in my last favorites post. I used it to zest the orange that is still sitting on my cutting board. I don't really like fruit...maybe I will just juice it.

in the pan
Get your pork into a pan with some olive oil and let it brown for about 5 minutes.

Yum, gotta love pork tenderloin but now it needs to get the heck out of there.

veggies in
It is the veggies turn in the pan. Cook those for about 5 minutes as well.

broth tomatoes and cinnamon in
Add in the tomatoes, broth, and the cinnamon stick.

lid on it
Cover it up and walk away for 10 minutes. You can use that time to clean up the kitchen or just play around on instagram and text some friends. I won't say which one I did but if you follow the user 'wiliger' on instagram you may be able to figure it out.

Pork and Poblano Stew
So after 10 minutes take off the lid, add the pork and orange zest in and let that hang out for about 5 minutes. Then go fishing for the cinnamon stick, it will hide from you, I promise.

Pork and Poblano Stew
Look at that delicious and filling stew on my nice fall themed table, too bad it is 90 degrees here. But I still loved this stew and will definitely make it again. The stew tastes totally different than it smells, I loved all the complexity of flavor and texture.

I hope you all have an awesome week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Favorite Things #38 - My Microplane Grater

I could continue to go on about how much I love my new phone, but this is a food blog so this week's favorite is food related. This is my favorite kitchen gadget and I sincerely hope you have one. If you don't, treat yourself, you will not regret it.

Behold the glory of the Microplane grater/zester. This handy little tool gets used in my cooking all of the time.

Here are some of its appearances on the blog...

lime joins the crust

As you can see it can be used for grating nutmeg and ginger, zesting citrus, and for shredding hard cheeses. I even use it to grate garlic and onions for when chunks just are not acceptable.

If you'd like to pick one of these up Sur La Table has them for a good price!

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Tacos

I have made a LOT of tacos in the last 12 years of being with Tom, but I very rarely eat them with him. When this category came up as number two in the "Best Of" series I remembered my favorite variation on the taco because I actually can get sick of eating them pretty easily.

The recipe is for Vegetarian Taco Ramekins and you can find it here and take a look at the finished product...

Taco Ramekin

After perusing my blog I realized that I REALLY need to make some tacos for me that I will actually like, since I have never done that!

Is there some dish that you have cooked so many times you had to take a break from it for a while?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beef and Mushroom Ragu with Mafaldine

This recipe came from the magazine called Real Simple, and it really is simple! I am still trying to cut out the carbs and dairy, but of course I have to splurge a little now and then. I am down 9.5 lbs and I am not looking back, just continuing to work out and eat better. I ended up having some pizza this week too as we had a going away lunch for a friend who got a new job. I was bummed, so nothing like some carbs and cheese to ease the pain right?

So lets get cooking already, here is the recipe...


I looked EVERYWHERE for Pappardelle pasta. I even went to an Italian deli/market and they didn't have any. I finally saw that Trader Joes sells it, so off I find a bare shelf. The stuff must be popular.

So I settled for a pasta called Mafaldine, which means little queens. You also need some tomatoes (I grabbed a can of delicious San Marzanos at the Italian market), tomato paste, ground beef, garlic, white wine, onion, and mushrooms. Get some water boiling and lets get prepping.

The mushrooms were sliced but I gave them a rough chop.

Chop up the onion

Chop your garlic

ready to cook
Get everything near the stove so you have all your ingredients on hand and you are not scrambling.

Get the mushrooms, onions and garlic in a skillet with some olive oil and let them cook for about 7 minutes. Drop in your pasta at this point also.

there is the beef!
Once the onions are soft add in the beef and break it up with your spoon. Cook until it is no longer pink.

tomato paste in
It is getting hot and steamy around here! Add in the tomato paste and let it cook for a minute while you stir. I see a lot of recipes call for cooking the tomato paste on its own for a minute, does anyone know why? I googled and saw something about reducing the acidity but I could not find much.

wine in
Add in the wine and let this incorporate for about a minute.

tomatoes in
Add in the tomatoes and let this cook for another 4-5 minutes and you are ready to eat. You might be looking at this pan and saying wow that is a lot of sauce for one person...but here is the shocker, Tom requested this! He looked over as I was looking at the magazine and saw the picture and was like, I want that!

Beef and Mushroom Ragu with Mafaldine
Can you see why he was excited about this recipe? It was super tasty and filling and now I have some extra sauce to put in the freezer for when he wants this again. If you want to lighten it up a bit you can use ground chicken or turkey. For now I am back to ignoring my pasta drawer and focusing on my waist line.

Have a great week!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Favorite Things #37 - Samsung Galaxy S3

I love getting new phones and gadgets, even if I am often intimidated at first. I have had the Samsung Galaxy S3 for a week and thanks to the patience of a friend at work who has the same phone, and endless playing around and tweaking, I am pretty excited with it.

Samsung Galaxy S3
This is a crappy photo of it, but take a look at some pics I took with the actual phone.


Fire sky #arizona

I love it just for the camera alone, but everything else is pretty slick too. I would definitely recommend it if you are in the market for a new phone.

So now the big question for you guys...iPhone or Android???

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Soup

This is the first installment of the 'Best Thing I Ever Made' series, and I am going to stick with the same categories as the Best I Ever Ate, so this week it is soup! It was really a lot harder to choose than I would have imagined, but this is definitely the winner. This is a Moroccan Turkey stew that is filled with delicious flavors and textures. If you are experiencing chilly fall weather and own a slow cooker, you should definitely make this soon.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew

You can find the recipe and the step by step photos here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spinach and Chicken Pasta Bake

I have been trying to lose some weight and eat better, so I have been cutting a lot of carbs and dairy. (down 7lbs in 2.5 weeks but the evil sickness helped a bit with that also) I will never eliminate either from my diet completely because that is insanity and I plan on eating as much cheese as humanly possible in the Netherlands, because you just have to! So as a treat I made myself this next recipe from Southern Living and ate a small serving and froze the rest in individual servings for when I get that carb craving.

8 ounces uncooked rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 ounce) container chive & onion cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 Prepare rigatoni acoording to package directions.
2 Meanwhile, spread oil on bottom of an 11x7" baking dish; add onion in a single layer. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or just until tender. Transfer onion to a large bowl and set aside. 3 Drain thawed spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels.
4 Stir rigatoni, spinach, chicken and next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl. Spoon mixture into baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarela cheese.
5 Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until brown and bubbly.

I cut this recipe in half, definitely not husband approved with spinach and chicken involved.

Preheat your oven, get some water boiling, and lets get this carb and dairy party started! You need some pasta, onion, spinach, tomatoes, chicken, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

Chop your onion.

saute onions
Drop your pasta in the boiling water at this point. The recipe says to do this step in the oven but I did it on the stove top. Saute the onions until they are softened.

pasta in
Drain your pasta and get everything in the bowl except the mozzarella.

mixed up
Stir it up and try not to just eat it out of the bowl. Looks delicious already!

cheese on
But everything gets better with more cheese! Add your mozzarella, cover it, and pop it in the oven.

Spinach and Chicken Pasta Bake
After 30 minutes remove the cover and in about 10-15 minutes you have this glorious carb and cheese casserole. But hey, there is some spinach in there so that makes it healthy, right?

Spinach and Chicken Pasta Bake
This is perfect for a chilly fall afternoon.

This week I made a new friend and was telling him about the fact that I had a food blog, which I think some people probably find weird. The reason I started it was to kick myself in gear to start cooking instead of just reading recipes all the time. But the reason I kept doing it is the awesome people I have come across while blogging. You never know how or when you might meet someone who will change your life!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Made?

Since I have pretty much shared all of the "Best Of" foods that I ever ate, I thought I would switch it up to the Best Thing I Ever Made in certain categories. This will include links back to the recipes on the blog as I have been at this for quite a while and you all may not have been around since 2007!

If you were to ask Tom the best thing I ever made he would answer TACOS. He would eat them every week if I made them. Here is his typical taco set up, I think Biz would approve.

Tom is now ready to eat.

So starting next week I will be sharing the Best Things I Ever Made!