Welcome to my food blog! I am a home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!







December 28, 2015

Simply Sides 21 - Brussel Sprouts Gratin

I have been very adventurous with food in my 30's so far.  We never had brussel sprouts growing up in my parent's house.  So I was 34 before I even tried them!  I like them a lot, and am not sure what all the fuss is about.  They're just mini cabbages.  And I like cabbage!  Gruyere cheese was on sale this week at my local Aldi, as were brussel sprouts.  So I picked up both and got to work making this AMAZING side dish.  Crunchy, creamy, and just plain delish!  You must try this! Find the original recipe HERE.


Brussel Sprout Gratin

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz brussel sprouts, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 oz grated Gruyere (use white cheddar if Gruyere is not available or too pricey)
  • a couple sprinkles of grated parmesan


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.
Toss brussel sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Stir and then cook another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in pan.  Stir in flour and cook for 3-4 minutes until flour taste is cooked out.  Stir in milk, and a bit more salt and pepper.  Let thicken for a minute.  Stir in half the Gruyere and a sprinkle of parmesan.  Pour over top of brussel spouts.  Sprinkle remaining Gruyere and parmesan over top. Bake another ten minutes until brown and bubbly.  Enjoy!

December 22, 2015

Chicken in Creamy Bacon Sauce - Pinterest Pick #11

I LOVE BACON! As does the rest of the world it seems.  Chicken and bacon together are a great combo, and you pair that with a creamy sauce... Delish!  I found THIS recipe through Pinterest.  I altered a few things.  I used boneless/skinless breasts instead of chicken thighs as we are a white meat household.  I used milk instead of cream as that's all I had on hand (sauce was still perfectly creamy, so use what you got!).  And I left out the oregano, but added smoked paprika.  This dish will definitely go in to our dinner rotation!  Find the original pin HERE.

Chicken in Creamy Bacon Sauce
Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in to cubes (or 6 thighs if you like dark meat)
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup flour (plus an additional tablespoon)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cream (or milk)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup water


Directions:
Rub chicken pieces with 1 tbs garlic and all lemon juice, set aside.
Put bacon in skillet and cook over medium til crispy.  Remove bacon pieces but leave grease in skillet.
Place flour (seasoned with salt and pepper) in a large zip top bag.  Add chicken, shake well.  Add chicken to pan and cook until golden brown, Remove from pan.  Add remaining garlic and onions and saute til translucent.

Add 1 tbs flour to 1/4 water and stir well.  Add bacon, paprika, salt and pepper to pan.  Add in chicken broth.  Stir in flour/water mixture.  Let sauce thicken slightly.  Add chicken back to pan.  Cover and cook 20 minutes.  Stir in cream (or milk). Serve with rice or buttered noodles.
Enjoy!

December 14, 2015

Corn Dog Mini-Muffins - Pinterest Pick #10

I have seen this recipe on Pinterest several times and a couple weeks ago I thought that it was time to make it!  You can find my pin for it HERE and the original recipe HERE. To make it better, next time, I need to bake it about 2-3 minutes less.  Also, I might add some shredded cheese right before I push the hot dogs in.  The only thing I changed in this recipe so far was to pre-bake my hot dogs before putting them in the muffin tin, because I like my hot dogs really well done.  You do it the way you like!

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 hot dogs, cut into 8 pieces each

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.  If you are pre-baking your hot dog pieces, now is the time to stick them in the oven!
Prepare batter by stirring together Jiffy mix, eggs, and milk.  Let rest 5 minutes. Spoon a tablespoon of batter in each mini muffin cup.  (My pan has 24 slots.)
Place a hot dog bite in the middle of each batter cup.  Bake for 10 minutes (Next time I will only bake for 8, so you could start with 8 minutes and check on them from there).  I served mine with homemade honey mustard.
Enjoy!




October 19, 2015

Simply Sides 20 - Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

I was craving spinach and artichoke dip a few weeks ago.  I've never made it, only ordered it out or had it at parties.  I ran across a recipe on Hellmann's mayo website, and tried it out.  It was pretty good, but I have some ideas of how to change it up and make it my own, and I will next time! You can find the original recipe HERE.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:
  • 10oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 8oz cream cheese (let sit at room temp at least 4 hours or microwave, stirring every 10 seconds)
  • 3/4 cup mayo (I only use Hellmann's, use what you like)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 package Knorr veg mix
  • 1 can artichokes, drained and chopped (I got mine from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350
Combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup of cheese.  Mix well then put in baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese. Bake 35 minutes.  Serve with bread cubes or tortilla chips.

Enjoy!


September 29, 2015

Lasagna Roll-Ups - Home Cooked Recipe #69

The great thing about the following, is that it's super versatile.  You can change out the filling, the cheeses, the sauce... You can really make it your own and still follow the same basic steps!

Lasagna Roll-Ups (Spinach/Artichoke/Roasted Pepper Alfredo - Vegetarian)

Ingredients
6 lasagna noodles, cooked, drained, and cooled (you can easily double this)
4 oz ricotta cheese

4 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz frozen spinach, cooked
1 roasted red bell pepper, divided
4 canned artichokes, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan
4 tbs butter
garlic powder
salt and pepper


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium.  Add salt, pepper, and a couple dashes of garlic powder.  Chop roasted red pepper into a small dice.  Add half to pan. Saute 5 minutes. Add cream, bring to a boil, reduce to low, and stir in parmesan.
Stir together ricotta, half of mozzarella, spinach, artichokes, and other half of roasted pepper.  Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder. Divide mixture into 6, and spread each section on one of the lasagna noodles.  Roll up.  
Place a couple spoonfuls of sauce into the bottom of baking dish.  Place rolls in pan.  Cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top.  Cover with foil, bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.
Enjoy!




September 15, 2015

We Made Room For Dessert 22 - Blueberry Tarts

Summer is the season of blueberries! I have always been a fan of this little round fruit, and I eat a ton of them in the summer.  On cereal, in fruit salads, plain by the handful, and also in desserts!  It's so easy to make these little tarts.


Blueberry Tarts

Ingredients:
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • water
  • refrigerated pie dough


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
Add first 4 ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium on the stove.  Add in a bit of water, I usually use about 1/4 of a cup.  Cook for 15-30 minutes until some berries burst and sauce thickens up.  Take off heat and let cool.
To make the tarts like I do, cut 4 rounds out of 1 roll of refrigerated pie dough.  If you don't have a little pie maker like I do, you can also make one big pie.  Just place whole round of pie dough in pie plate.  
Fill dough with blueberry filling, just spoon four equal parts into dough,
Bake for 30-45 minutes until crust is cooked (but not too brown!).  I serve mine with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy!


August 19, 2015

Shrimp and Cheesy Grits - Home Cooked Recipe 68

I have fully embrace southern cooking! We never ate things like collards or black eyed peas or grits when I was growing up in NY.  And now I make and enjoy them with gusto!  I have made grits several times before, but never how I have for this recipe.  And guess what?  It was super easy!  The shrimp is also fast and simple to prepare.  Try this recipe soon!

Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup quick cooking grits (I used Quaker, do NOT use instant grits)
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar (I actually used a cheddar mix from Sargent
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 8 tbs butter, divided
  • 1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • chili powder
  • cayenne
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced finely
  • fresh lemon slices

***optional: cook grits in chicken broth instead of water for more flavor - although mine were PLENTY flavorful! you can omit garlic powder from grits if you think the garlic in the shrimp is enough.  you can also use cajun spice in place of cayenne and chili powder when seasoning shrimp.***

Directions:
Preheat oven broiler.
Rinse and dry shrimp well.  Season with a dash of chili powder, dash of cayenne, and salt and pepper.  Melt 6 tbs of butter, add minced garlic and let simmer 5 minutes.  Toss seasoned shrimp with butter and put in a baking dish.  Broil for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil.  Season with salt (about a teaspoon), and a dash of garlic powder.  When boiling, whisk in grits and turn heat to medium low.  Allow grits to cook about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 tbs butter.  When butter is fully incorporated, add in cheeses and mix well.
Place a bed of grits on plate, and top with shrimp (and some butter from baking dish!).  Squeeze some lemon on if desired.  
Enjoy!





August 3, 2015

Crock*Pot Italian Beef - Pinterest Pick #9

OK, I'll admit it, I have been slacking with this blog for the last few weeks.  To be honest, I am so tired from being back at the office.  Hopefully I will be back home telecommuting again soon and will be able to bring you more recipes.  In the meantime, I did make a great dish this weekend!  It was another combo of slow cooker and Pinterest, and the results were delicious.  I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today.  Few ingredients, little prep... And super tasty!
Find the original recipe HERE and the original pin HERE.  I made a few adjustments, but nothing major.  Serve the beef on a sandwich, over noodles, over rice, with potatoes... Very versatile!

Crock*Pot Italian Beef

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 1/2 jar of pepperoncini
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 packet Italian dressing seasoning
  • salt and pepper

*** hoagie rolls, mayo, and sliced provolone if making my sandwiches

Directions:
Place beef in slow cooker.  Add salt and pepper (I eyeball these, use about a teaspoon each).  Add Italian dressing mix.  Toss beef with spices well until each cube is coated.  Pour half the jar of peppers, including juice, into slow cooker.  Dissolve bouillon cube in chicken broth and pour into slow cooker.  Stir well.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4.  Discard peppers and shred beef.  
*To make sandwiches:
Spread mayo on roll.  Place on cheese slices.  Top with beef.  Add giardiniera (a mix of carrots, cauliflower, celery, etc) or fresh pepperoncini if desired.  
Enjoy!


June 22, 2015

Beef and Broccoli - Crock*Pot Cafe 7

Yum yum yum! One of my favorite Chinese dishes is beef and broccoli.  To make the recipe even easier, I dumped all the ingredients into the slow cooker while I went to work.  Then I only had to use my little rice cooker when I got home to make some white rice to go with my meat and veggies.  Easy and delicious!

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients: 

  • 10oz frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs honey


Directions:
Mix all ingredients except broccoli in slow cooker. Put on low for 8 hours.  Place broccoli in the last 30 minutes and cook on high. Serve with white rice.  ***To make a thicker sauce, when dish is 30 minutes shy of being done, reserve 2 tablespoons liquid from dish.  Mix that liquid with 1 tbs cornstarch.  Pour back into slow cooker and cook on high for last 30 minutes.
Enjoy!



June 16, 2015

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche - Pinterest Pick #8

This week's recipe is a Pinterest pick!  It's easy, tasty, and can be used as a main dish, a side dish - or breakfast, lunch or dinner! The cheese and bacon make it delicious.  And it's fairly affordable.  Check out my pin HERE and get the original recipe HERE.

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar (I used Sharp White Cheddar)
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne
  • smoked paprika


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375
Roll out pie dough and press into pie dish.  Top dough with 2/3 the bacon, and 2/3 the cheese.  Beat together the eggs, cream, milk, and spices.  Pour custard mixture into pie.  Sprinkle top of pie with remaining cheese and bacon.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Enjoy!
***Note, I served mine with a caesar salad and it made a delicious dinner!





June 12, 2015

Simply Sides 19 - Classic Pasta Salad

Pasta salad runs rampant in the summertime!  I like all sorts of salads that involve pasta, but this one is a classic.  A light, mayo-less dressing with a few hearty ingredients and a few fresh ingredients.  It should be a go to for any BBQ!

Classic Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-16oz box rotini
  • 1 packet of italian dressing seasoning
  • 3 tbs water
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1/2 cup bottled italian dressing
  • 1 roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 handful shredded mozzarella
  • 1 diced fresh tomato
  • 1/2 lb salami, diced

***optional: sliced or diced red onion, diced cucumber, swap mozzarella for provolone, grated parmesan

Directions:
Boil pasta as package directs.  Drain and let cool.  While pasta is cooling, mix seasoning packet, oil, and water in a bowl.  Toss with pasta until well combined.  Add in all other ingredients and mix well.  Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Enjoy!

June 8, 2015

Simply Sides 18 - Pizza Dough Breadsticks

I have been so terribly busy at work!  I didn't disappear but I haven't been posting recipes like I should.  But that's because I haven't really had time to cook too many new things either!  Last week however I did make a couple of side dishes, so I will post both those recipes this week.  And hopefully come up with a new main dish this week that I can post next week.
Today's post is about bread sticks.  They're really easy because you start with store bought pizza dough.  But they're better than pre-packaged because you can season them how you like and make them your own!

Pizza Dough Breadsticks

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz fresh (store-bought) pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or a mix of melted butter and olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tbs granula
  • ted garlic
  • Salt


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425

Roll out dough until you have a rectangular shape.
Spread 1/2 of olive oil over dough in an even layer.  Shake 1/2 of the parmesan over olive oil, evenly.  Sprinkle on salt and garlic. Using a pizza cutter, slice dough into 16 bread sticks.  Twist each bread stick and place on non-stick baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush on remaining olive oil and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
Enjoy!




May 18, 2015

Pepper Steak - Crock*Pot Cafe 6

One of my favorite dishes to eat at Asian style restaurant is pepper steak.  One of my besties is always talking about his mom making it for dinner.  I have never made it at home before, but last week I thought I would give it a try. I did it in the slow cooker because right now I am all about meals that cook themselves with very little effort from me.  It was super easy and delicious!

Crock*Pot Pepper Steak
***NOTE: To make this recipe gluten free, sub cornstarch for the flour, and liquid aminos for the soy saue


Ingredients:
  • 1 to 1 1/2lbs sirloin steak, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced into large dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced into large dice
  • 1 red onion, sliced (use any kind of onion you like, I just had red on hand)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (use any kind, beef or vegetable will work too)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt and pepper


Directions:
Mix together salt and pepper with flour.  Toss steak slices in flour until well coated.  Shake off excess.  Pour chicken broth and soy sauce into slow cooker.  Add oyster sauce and stir well.  Add onions and peppers.  Top with steak and give a quick stir.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Stir before serving. I served mine with white rice that I made in my rice cooker.
Enjoy!



May 4, 2015

Oven Roast Turkey - Home Cooked Recipe 67

I have NEVER made a turkey before.  I think I have mentioned before that I just have not been comfortable working with large cuts of meat in the kitchen, and that was something I was going to start learning in order to expand my culinary horizons.  I have had some adventures with pork, and am now moving on to poultry.  Instead of going with a small 4-5lb chicken, I went right for the turkey! 
I had a little help from my fiance - oh wait, I forgot, I haven't announced that here yet.  Yes!!!  At the tender age of 34 I am finally engaged!!!  He asked me to marry him on April 15th, and of course I said yes.  We've been dating for three and a half years, and are looking to have our wedding in fall/winter of 2016. I am super excited and look forward to being his wife.  But anyway, back to the turkey. So he helped me a little, mostly by taking the guts out (ewwwwww! Not something I can do quite yet), and lifting it in and out of the oven for me.  It came out looking so beautiful!!!  It was a little drier than I had hoped.  I don't really mind dry turkey, but I know some people do.  I think next time I would cook it for 30 minutes less.  I was just extra cautious this time, and frankly I would rather eat my turkey a tad dry than to get salmonella poisoning.  I stuffed the bird with lemons, onions, and garlic, and basted it alternately with butter and olive oil for that super gorgeous brown skin.  Not bad for my first time cooking one!!!

Oven Roast Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 13.5 lb turkey (mine came from Publix, I got it in Nov when they were .59 a lb, and just kept it in the freezer)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, zested and then quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil


Directions:
Remove innards from turkey (giblets, organs, etc)
Preheat oven to 400.
Place turkey in roasting pan.  I didn't have a rack, but I will get one for next time. If you have a rack, place the turkey on that in the pan.
Mix together softened butter, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Set aside.  
Stuff lemon quarters, garlic cloves, and 3 of onion quarters into cavity.  Place last onion quarter in neck hole.  Spread a quarter of the butter between the skin and the breast of the turkey, then spread the rest all over the outside of the turkey skin.  Tie the front legs together with butcher twine.
Bake the turkey for the first hour at 400.  Lower the heat to 350.  Spread some olive oil over the top of the turkey using a basting brush.  After the two hour mark, baste the turkey with the juice from the pan.  Cover the breast with foil.  Cook an additional two hours, basting occasionally.  Let rest for 1 hour, then carve.
Enjoy!






April 28, 2015

Simply Sides 17 - Cheesy Garlic Grits Casserole

If you have never had grits before, you're missing out.  Now when I say this, I say it with the disclaimer that grits must be prepared properly.  Cooked and seasoned with care and love.  I never ate grits until I was in my 30's.  First, I grew up in NY as a child where grits aren't as common as they are in the South, and second, the idea never appealed to me.  But now that I am older and more open to culinary adventures, I have discovered all sorts of yummy delights.
This casserole is based on a recipe from Paula Deen and it is delicious!  I spice it up with extra black pepper and a dash of cayenne.  I have also toyed with the idea of adding some cripsy bacon bits to it, and next time I make it I think I'll do just that.  This is a great dish as a side, especially with something like shrimp (as in shrimp and grits).  It's also a great main dish for breakfast.  And frankly, I just like to snack on it too.

Cheesy Garlic Grits Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups regular grits (do NOT use instant)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper (extra black pepper if you like it)
  • dash of cayenne (can be omitted)
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 16 oz shredded cheddar
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick butter, sliced 


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 4 quart casserole dish.
Bring chicken broth and seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic) to a boil.  Add grits, stir well, reduce heat to medium low.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.  Add in milk, and 3/4 (12oz) of cheese.  Stir until well combined.  Add butter and eggs.  Whisk for a couple of minutes until everything is well incorporated.  Pour into greased baking dish.  Top with remaining cheddar.  Bake for 45 minutes.
Enjoy!




April 20, 2015

Steak Flautas - Home Cooked Recipe 66

My Steak Flautas
I love love love love love flautas from Tijuana Flats.  It is by far my favorite dish on their menu, and one of my fav Tex Mex dishes in general.  So I got the idea that I should recreate them at home.  They didn't turn out quite the same as the ones I get from Tijuana Flats, but they were still pretty delicious.  The great thing is you can fill them with pretty much whatever you want; chicken, beef, veggies, shrimp, cheese, etc.  So you can definitely change this recipe up to whatever fits your taste.  I had some delicious steak on hand, do I decided to fill mine with that.
Tijuana Flats Beef Flautas

Steak Flautas

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb steak, diced in to small cubes (I used petite sirloin)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 oz shredded cheese (I used a triple cheddar blend)
  • 8 flour tortillas (large soft taco size)
  • vegetable oil, for frying

***salsa, sour cream, queso, gucamole, shredded cheese, sliced black olives, diced onion, diced tomato, etc for topping and dipping

Directions:
Saute onion over medium in a tablespoon of oil (season with salt) until soft and translucent.  Push to the side of a pan, turn the pan to medium high, and when hot, cook cubed steak.  Do not cook longer than 2-3 minutes or steak will become very tough.  Place a small amount of cheese down the middle of each tortilla.  Place 1/8 of the meat and onion mixture down the middle of each tortilla.  Roll up tortilla and secure each one with a toothpick.  Heat about an inch of oil in a deep pan, to about 375.  In two batches, fry up flautas, about a minute a side until golden brown (mine got a little too brown, but the were still good).  Drain on paper towels.  Cut each in half.  Serve with dippers and toppings.
Enjoy!