Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Hot Dogs

I don't often make hot dogs at home, I tend to enjoy mine at the ballpark or at one of the newly popular gourmet hot dog places. One thing I do admit to loving that you don't usually find out in a restaurant is good old Franks and Beans. I made this for myself for my birthday a few years back and you can check it out here.

franks and beans!

I know you can just buy these thrown together in a can, but I love the baked in flavor with the brown sugar. I am finding that most of the 'best things' I ever made are things that are not necessarily fancy, but have great memories attached with them.

What is one of the things you make at home because you can't find it in restaurants?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Egg Bake Obsession

I have been recently obsessed with these simple egg bakes that I put together trying to use up some leftover refried beans. This egg bake is a great way to use up random leftovers in your fridge and have a nice warm breakfast or even dinner.

ingredients for Soyrizo Egg Bake
My standard version contains egg, refried beans, garlic powder and Soyrizo. Soyrizo is a meat free substitute for delicious chorizo, which is a spicy sausage. I have also made this with leftover chicken and some spinach. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees and grab an oven safe dish.

layer of vegetarian refried beans
Spray the dish with non-stick cooking spray and add a layer of refried beans to the bottom.

layer of soyrizo
Squeeze the Soyrizo out of its casing and spread it over the beans.

egg on with salt and garlic powder
Carefully break the egg over the top and season with salt and garlic powder. Get this in the oven for 15 minutes and you are ready to eat!

Soyrizo Egg Bake
I know this doesn't look all that great, but the flavors all go together so well. When you break the egg yolk it creates a rich and tasty sauce that covers the whole dish.

Soyrizo Egg Bake
And just a tip, put the burning hot dish inside of another bowl for easier eating!

So have you tried Soyrizo before and if so do you have any other recipes to share with me?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Best Thing I Ever Made - Using Chopsticks

So I am sticking with the same categories I used for the 'Best Thing I Ever Ate' series, so this one is sort of a stretch. I will just share an Asian recipe that I love, and you can go ahead and use chopsticks while you eat it. Believe me, you really want to make this dish!

Swimming Rama

Swimming Rama

I am linking this one twice because that peanut sauce is so amazing. Click here for Peanut dreaminess.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spinach Frittata with Salad

January is rapidly disappearing and I am sure a lot of people are still trying to maintain their New Years resolutions. I didn't really have any this year, but I am trying to stick to my low carb better eating deal that I started last fall. I started to get pretty bored with eggs until I realized I could make a fritatta and that it was actually really easy.

I found this recipe in my Everyday Food Light cookbook that my awesome sister got me.


Preheat your oven and get your casserole dishes in to heat up with the oven. Now we gather ingredients.

You need eggs, spinach, cheese, milk, egg whites, and shallot. For my salad I just used some romaine I already had with some home made balsamic vinaigrette. I cut this recipe in half because Tom despises eggs, even the thought of them makes him want to gag. Eggs are one thing that I don't think I will ever be able to persuade him to eat.

cheese in
Combine your eggs, cheese, egg whites and milk. This is when I realized my mozzarella had mold in it, so I just used cheddar instead.

Looks even better in Pyrex. I had already chopped my shallots, so I am ready to cook.

Cook your shallots for a few minutes until softened.

Stir in your spinach. This looks like a lot but it will reduce down. Please note my dirty stove, this is real life over here in the Dining Alone kitchen.

mixed in
Stir in the wilted spinach and shallots with the egg mixture.

cheese please
Pull your casseroles out and spray them with the non stick spray and then pour in the eggs. The eggs immediately start to cook because of the pre-heated casserole dish. Get it back in the oven for about 15 minutes. Mine took a bit longer because I put it all in one dish.

golden and delicious
Doesn't this look delicious, and it was so easy! Dress your greens and you are ready to eat.

Spinach Frittata and Salad
I only served up half but it was super filling. I love having eggs for dinner but this would be great for breakfast or brunch as well.

Give me some other ideas for frittatas, this is a new favorite for me!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken Sausage Stir Fry

I don't think I have shared too many of the things I make for myself repeatedly throughout the work week. I thought I would share one of my favorite go to recipes that I make often.

This is a stir fry that you can make with just about any protein, but I often find chicken or turkey sausages on sale or even marked half off at my grocery store. These are easy to freeze in individual servings as well.

2 chicken sausage links, casings removed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup stir fry veggies
1 clove garlic
2 tbs diced onion
1 tbs soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce
2 drops sesame oil


Combine the soy sauce, chili sauce and sesame oil
Cook sausage, onion and garlic together for 2 minutes on medium high
Add in the mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes
Add in the veggies, cook for 4 minutes
Add in the sauce mixture, cook 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed

Lets grab some ingredients and get frying...

Ingredients for Chicken Sausage Stir Fry
You need chicken sausage, sesame oil, chili sauce, diced onion, soy sauce, garlic, stir fry veggies, and some mushrooms.

First up combine the soy sauce, chili sauce and the sesame oil. If you like your sauce a little sweeter add in some mirin or some honey.

Chop up your garlic and your onions. My onions were pre-chopped from a previous dish.

Remove the chicken from the casings.

sausage, onion, garlic
Fry up the sausage, onion and garlic over medium high for about 2 minutes. Your kitchen will immediately smell awesome with this combo.

mushrooms in
Once the sausage is browned drop in the mushrooms. Cook those for about 5 minutes.

veggies in
Add in the veggies and give everything a stir. Keep stirring until the veggies are cooked, about 5 more minutes.

sauce in
Add in your sauce and you are almost ready to eat.

ready to eat!
Once the liquid is absorbed you can plate it up. Done in no time at all with very little prep.

Chicken Sausage Stir Fry
I probably have this at least once every two weeks and it always changes based on what protein I have around and what veggies I might need to use up. This is a great way to clean out your fridge!

What is one of your go to weeknight meals?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Street Eats Food Truck Fest

The Food Truck festival ended up being a lot of fun! I didn't take a ton of photos but here are a few...

food truck fest
There were about 50 trucks all parked on a huge field next to the AZ Dbacks Spring Training facility.

School of Rock band
They had live music as well. This is when it first opened, more people came by to watch the bands.

funnel cake!
In addition to the trucks there were also random stands set up. I knew I wasn't leaving without a funnel cake!

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian doing a demo
There was a cooking demo from the Food Network's Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. He was pretty funny.

Tom and his cheese steak
Tom got a Philly Cheesesteak and loved it, even though you couldn't tell from this photo.

cheese curds and cheese steak
I got fried cheese curds and they were delicious! The friends we went with got a grilled cheese sandwich with pulled pork and mac n' cheese ON the sandwich. There was also fry bread, lots of hot dog places, and everything you could imagine that could be made in a food truck.

Cody Ross at the food truck fest
Even the newest AZ Dback, Cody Ross, made it out for the event.

We spent about 2 hours walking around and deciding on what to eat, but in the end this was the best thing I had...

Funnel cake!
Deep fried funnel cake perfection!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Favorite Things #42 - Arizona Winters

I have lived in Arizona for a little over 16 years and I still love it just as much as I did when I first moved here. I grew up in Western PA so I saw plenty of snow, rain and dreary weather. This weekend in AZ we are supposed to have actual cold weather, like in the 20s at night. It has not been that cold that I can remember since I moved here. I am actually looking forward to it as a nice change. Hopefully it will still be bright and sunny as Tom and I are going to a Food Truck Festival at the AZ Dbacks Spring Training facility. I am super excited and will definitely report back on how it was.

For now here is my youngest dog Steve enjoying some AZ Winter sun...


Do you have fun weekend plans?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Best Thing I Ever Made - Appetizer

I am sure I have made some fancy appetizers in the past, but I really love this simple appetizer pizza. It is a Cold Vegetable Pizza from the dearly departed Cooking for 2 magazine. This was published by the folks at Taste of Home and I loved it, but as is the case with a lot of magazines it was discontinued. I really suggest you give this a try for your next football party or get together, even Tom liked it!

Cold Vegetable Pizza

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Vegetable Chili Con Carne

We are finally getting Winter like weather in AZ and this chili is perfect for a cold day. I love using my slow cooker but you could easily do this on the stove top as well. The recipe comes from the book 'Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two'. It is a pretty awesome cookbook for someone who is just cooking for one.


Let's grab some ingredients and get cooking!

This looks like a lot of stuff, but this could not be easier. You will need corn, beans, tomatoes, ground meat, jalapeno, sweet potato, green pepper, celery, onion, brown sugar, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander, allspice, and some cloves. The recipe also called for squash but I thought it was just going to make too much food so that is what I omitted.

Get all of your veggies prepped.

garlic and onions
Chop up your onion and garlic and set aside.

everybody in
Get all of the other chopped veggies in the slow cooker. Do not add the corn and beans at this point, they will go in later.

Measure out your spices and take a goofy picture of them.

Get the onions and garlic in a pan. Biz, look away from the onions!!

browning the meat
After about a minute or two, drop in your meat. I used ground turkey but you can use any ground meat you like.

everything in
Once the meat is browned, get it in the crock pot with the tomatoes, brown sugar and the spices. Let this cook for 3.5 hours on low.

reduced down
After the 3.5 hours you can add the beans and corn. I really don't think it would make a huge difference if you added the beans and corn at the beginning and let them cook the entire 7 hours.

corn and  beans in for 3 more hours
Everyone is in! Give it a stir and let this cook for another 3.5 hours.

Vegetable Chili Con Carne
Ready to eat!!

Vegetable Chili Con Carne
This was so tasty and because I did not seed my jalapeno it was spicy! This is just what I needed on a cold day. The addition of the sweet potato really changed this up from your usual chili flavor. I will definitely make it again.