Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Turkey Burgers by JoAnna

My sister, JoAnna, made these burgers some time last summer. They looked so good, that I asked her if I could share them with you!!
Here's her post:
"I have to brag a bit. I made these awesome turkey burgers last night. I felt like Bobby Flay would be so proud of me! I made burgers as though we were making turkey meatloaf, and instead of heating up the oven, we heated up the grill--ohhhhh. We used a french loaf as the bun and instead of lettuce, I used some yummy cilantro. Yummy to my tummy!"

BTW: This is our 100th post!! Yay for us!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

menu #14

Monday: Pizza
green salad

Tuesday: Open-Face Burgers, with Cheddar & Bacon
Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday: Shredded Pork Tacos
black bean salsa
spicy cole slaw

Thursday: Lasagna
garlic bread

Friday: Chicken Chilaquiles
black beans
spanish rice

Monday, September 21, 2009

Asparagus and Shiitake Risotto

My husband requested risotto a few nights ago. I got a little nervous, just thinking about it - I watch Hell's Kitchen! But after searching a few of my favorite web sites for one that sounded delicious, I took a deep breath and began the process.
I used the Asparagus, Artichoke, and Shiitake Risotto from Smitten Kitchen
I totally bought the artichokes, expecting to use them... but, um, sorta -- well, messed them up. So, we went without! I really didn't miss any flavor in the risotto, thankfully.
I have found that with any new recipe, especially if it intimidates you, is to take your time! Read each instruction and follow it to a 'T'!

Asparagus, (minus the Artichoke) and Shiitake Risotto
Adapted from Gourmet, May 2003

Makes 4 main-course servings.

5 cups chicken broth (40 fl ounces)
1 cup water
1 pound thin to medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inches long pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 ounces (1 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring broth and water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered.

Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 18 to 20 minutes. (Save leftover broth for thinning.)

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese, remaining tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in asparagus, artichokes and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining broth. Serve immediately with remaining cheese on the side.

menu #13

Monday: Spaghetti with Vodka-Cream Sauce
Crusty Bread

Tuesday: Tilapia with Green Beans, Corn & Pesto

Wednesday: Chicken Piccata
Spaghetti with Basil Olive Oil

Thursday: Salmon with Peppers & Caper Vinaigrette

Friday: Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


A couple of weeks ago now, I bought a bag of Granny Smith apples at the grocery store. My kids love these apples. In the midst of unloading, putting away, running out to go pick up my oldest from school and then coming home to finish putting the groceries away, I lost track of the bag of apples. When I questioned my girls, they admitted to the bag of apples being in their room. I knew this was not good! I walked into their room and found the bag emptied and one solitary, single, lonely bite taken out of each apple.
Well, how does the saying go? When life hands you lemons, make lemonade? Does this also fit for apples to applesauce?
Needless to say, I ended up with a pot of applesauce.

So, after thinking about what to do with these apples, I was reminded of something in my childhood. As a young girl, our family would go camping, a lot. We would camp with lots of other families. One family, imparticular, was very creative with their cooking. they made quesadilla's on a grill over the fire. And one time, while camping, they made applesauce. I still remember the recipe, probably one of the first recipes I ever learned, besides the tossed salad recipe in 2nd grade!

1 bag of apples (whole apples will do)
1-2 T cinnamon (depending on how many apples you have, and how sweet/spicy you like it!)
1-2 T brown sugar
Juice from one lemon

Peel & slice the apples (a pain, I know! My friend has the apple peeler and slicer, and jeeze-louise is that easy!)
Put all ingredients over low heat for about 30 minutes, until apples are soft and smash-able (yes, it's a word!)
Once the apples are soft, use whatever nifty tool you have to mash them! I used my mashed potato smasher...)

Let cool a bit and enjoy! I love this warm, with vanilla ice cream. My kids will live on applesauce if i let them!
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menu #12

Tuesday: pork chops
asparagus, artichoke and shiitake mushroom risotto

Wednesday: steak
fancy pants baked potato

Thursday: chicken caesar salad

Friday: grilled quesadilla's (didn't make it last week!)
spanish rice
black beans

Saturday: chicken piccata

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bacon Caramel Toffee ?

A few weekends ago, my husband went to Chicago. He brought me back these strangely delicious/disgusting candies. At first bite, you taste just the sweet caramel and chocolate, then the saltiness from the toffee and then - it hits you! the smoky, salty, meaty flavor of bacon! I'm still not sure if I am a fan or not, but thought it was definitely blog-worthy!
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menu #11

Monday: Caprese
french bread

Tuesday: grilled flatbreads
green salad

Wednesday: eggplant parmesan

Thursday: grilled quesadilla's
black beans
spanish rice

Friday: asian tuna sandwich
homemade potato chips

Saturday: grilled zucchini with mint & red chili's
ziti tossed in olive oil and roasted garlic
crusty bread

Monday, September 7, 2009

Diane's Corn Salad

This is soooooooooo good. It required 2 posts on one day. Can you tell what I have been doing this weekend? oink oink
I got this from Pioneer Woman's new cooking community, Tasty Kitchen. My new favorite recipe website. I found this recipe here. I adapted this recipe a bit, specifically- I cut it in half since there is just 3 of us. I used about a ts of sugar instead of a tbs. And the best thing I did was took 2 fresh ears of corn and grilled them drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper. It gave the corn a delicious smokey flavor, which I would definitely suggest you do if you can. I also used about 15-20 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters that I got at the farmers market. I added avocado to my husbands (because he is allergic to onions) and kept the avocado out of mine, onions in (because I'm allergic to avocado). Overall, it was fantastic. I served it with grilled Rib eye and garlic bread.

4 cups Fresh Cooked Corn, Cooked Frozen, Or Canned Corn
2 cups Ripe Tomato, Seeded And Chopped
½ cups Minced Onion, Any Variety, Including Green Onion
½ cups Minced Green Bell Pepper, Or Any Color
4 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
Dash Of Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper To Taste
Preparation Instructions
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a tight fitting lid. Mix well, cover and chill until time to serve. Keeps up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!
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fancy pants baked potato

I got this idea from Emeril, but I did mine completely different and it turned out great. His called for cooking in a bath of chicken stock or some kind of liquid. Nah, who has time for all that business. I was off to an hair appointment, after all! Can't be late to such important things. This is what I did:
Preheat oven to 400. Wash 3 red potatoes. (I only needed 3, and I happened to have red. I'm sure any would work fine)
Slice them carefully and DO NOT slice all the way through. Melt 3 tbs butter. 1 for each potato. While butter is melting, mince 2 garlic cloves and about 1 tbs of parsley. Add the garlic and parsley to the melted butter, along with salt and pepper. Brush potatoes with the mixture, making sure to get in each nook and cranny. Yum.
Brush the tops with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for an 30 minutes covered, and 30 minutes uncovered. They came out soft inside, and crispy and delicious outside. I love that you can play with your favorite ingredients and herbs and make these however your family prefers.
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Saturday, September 5, 2009


(click above for recipes)

BooMama is a fellow blogger, I read her blogs regularly. She had a brilliant idea, being that its football season (yay yay yay). She decided to host a DipTacular party and have people post their favorite dip recipe, because honestly, like she said... we are all looking for a reason to eat some cream cheese. Don't deny it :). I was watching Bobby Flay's Throwdown yesterday and they had the most precious little old(er) man who was the king of shrimp and grits. By the way- YUM. And he said "you only live once, and once is enough if you've done it right" and I loved that. So dig in the cream cheese folks. Last time I checked there were 250 recipes! Enjoy! Hey- let us know if you tried any particular recipe that was delicious! It's hard to read through 250+ recipes and decide what to make!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It's football season, whoop whoop! I love football season... fall is in the air. I dream of cooking soups and comfort foods, loads of nachos, green chili and all kinds of Sunday afternoon grub.
One of the things I cook on a regular basis is wings. There are 8000 ways to make wings; I guess it's a matter of preference. I prefer crispy wings. I prefer a sauce that is a little on the mild side. I find I can eat more that way.

People love my wings. However, I can't take much credit in the originality department because the recipe is on the back of my favorite hot sauce! Franks Red Hot. And the original one, not the "Wing Sauce" one. I prefer to melt my own butter, thank you. Oh and I add a few dashes of Tabasco Chipotle sauce, which adds a nice smokey flavor. Yum.

I have cooked wings every way possible. I have battered them, floured them, baked them, grilled them... My favorite is to fry them with no batter or flour whatsoever. It makes them so crispy and delicious. Plus anything I can do to decrease my weekly intake of carbs during the football season makes me sing and dance. And go back for seconds.
For the wings:
3 pounds drumettes, thawed and rinsed
Vegetable oil for frying- enough to cover your skillet about 1 inch deep
Heat vegetable oil over med-high heat until ready to fry. (I never use a thermometer) My oil is ready when I drop something in and it sizzles nicely and tamely
Working in batches drop your drumettes in one at a time. You have to keep em' movin' though. Otherwise they will stick to the bottom! Fry for about 1/2 hour or until nice and golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
For the sauce:
In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (or 8 tbs) butter. O shut up, I know you want to.
Once melted, add 3/4 cup of Franks Red Hot Original sauce, and heat until combined. Then add 4 or 10 dashes of Tabasco Chipotle sauce, depending on your taste. That's whats fun, cuz you get to keep sticking your fingers in. Yum.
Dip your wings in the sauce to coat, place on a platter and serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, red pepper sticks, ranch dressing and some blue cheese if you want to.
Makes about 4 servings. unless you are pigs, like we are -and ate all of it ourselves.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

because I know you need a new Cookbook...

Do you read The Pioneer Woman Cooks blog? If you don't, you should. She is a fantastic cook. Her blog features cooking, photography, home and garden, homeschooling and a confessions page. She talks about living out in the country.. trips to the Walmarts, her beautiful family, Charlie- the basset hound, living and running a working Cattle Ranch and her beloved brother Mike. Among other things.
I read her blog daily. She is warm, kind, witty and HILARIOUS. Now she is a cookbook author!!
I am so excited, I had to share!! I already pre-ordered mine and you can do so here or here
I have personally made countless recipes from her website and they are fantastic. I mean, really, really fantastic. They are real recipes made from real butter (ha), from ingredients you can find in your local grocery store. My husband loves them, because, like hers.. he is a man who eats man food. No frilly salads for him, please. Finally, after 6 years together and 4 married.. he can now identify a caper. It's been a long time coming folks.
Every time I make a recipe of hers I am dying to share and post it here.. but never have because I think its breaking a sisterhood code or something. So now you can grab her cookbook and have all of her wonderful, delicious recipes and I can tell you for certain they are super.