Welcome to my food blog! I am your average 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 30, 2013

Special Post - Holiday Season 2013

What is one of the best things about the holidays?  Why, the food of course!  Whether it's a big sit-down dinner, or a cocktail party, or a family-style buffet, food brings family and friends together.  A great dish I came across this year is Lil Smokie wrapped in bacon and baked with a butter/brown sugar sauce.  You can't even imagine how good these things are!  They are relatively easy to make, the only somewhat time-consuming part is wrapping each individual smokie in bacon.  People love them, guests at Christmas dinner devoured them literally in 10 minutes.  Perfect as an appetizer, great to bring to a gathering, or just to eat as a snack, I think you should make these soon!

Bacon Wrapped Lil Smokies w/Brown Sugar Glaze

  • 2 12oz packages little sausages (I use Hillshire Farms, all beef Lil Smokies)
  • 1 lb bacon, cut into thirds
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 375.  Wrap each sausage in a piece of bacon.  Place them on a rack on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile melt butter over medium-low heat and stir in one cup brown sugar.  Cook til sugar is dissolved.  Remove from oven, place in baking dish.  Top with brown sugar butter.  Sprinkle remaining cup of brown sugar over smokies.  Bake and additional 10 minutes.  Turn heat to 425 and bake 10 more minutes.


December 27, 2013

Restaurant Review 17 - Olive Garden

Oh the chain restaurants!  Some people love 'em and some people hate 'em.  For me, it depends on the restaurant.  But I will tell you, I LOVE Olive Garden!  I don't care if it's "fake" Italian food, it tastes pretty good.  Some of my favorite items include fettuccine alfredo, the portabello ravioli, the eggplant parmigiana, and of course, their salad.  *As a side note, they now sell their salad dressing in grocery stores.  I found it recently at Walmart for around $3.  A good dressing, not exactly like the restaurant version, but pretty close.*
On a recent visit to the Olive Garden, I tried one of their new dishes off their Tastes and Toasts of Italy menu, the Crispy Risotto Bites. Delish! For $5 we got 6 rice balls.  Risotto and cheese are rolled in bread crumbs, fried til crisp, and served on a bed of marinara (with more cheese on top if you choose - and we did!).  They had good flavor, were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside as promised.  Also off that menu I chose a cocktail, the Moscato Aperol Cocktail - light and refreshing, this is a must try.  
Normally I get the fettuccine or the ravioli, but for lunch today I got the eggplant parmigiana.  It was a great size portion for lunch, but I was a little surprised the price was comparable to their dinner prices.  Disappointing.  My companion got their new Italiano Burger.  I forgot to take a picture but let me tell you, I had a bite and it was one of the best burgers I've had in a long time.  Covered in prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, and marinated tomatoes, and a creamy parmesan garlic aioli...  Mmmm mmmm mmm.  Get there for lunch, you WANT to have this burger.  
They have a multitude of dessert options, my favorite being the Black Tie Mousse Cake.  But on this visit I had one of their Dolcinis, little tastes of dessert.  I went with the chocolate mousse dolcini.  It was good, the perfect size for a small sweet bite.  It satisfied my dessert craving without pushing me over the edge.  I am a little upset about how high some of their dessert prices have become, I remember when the mousse cake was only $4 and now it's over $7... Just seems a little excessive.
Olive Garden is still one of my favorite chains.  I eat their a few times a year, usually when they are running some kind of special, like the Buy One, Take One deal.  For $12.99 you got a full size meal there (mine was the asiago fettuccine alfredo - yum) complete with salad or soup and bread sticks, and then an entree to take home (I chose the Five Cheese Ziti al Forno - a new favorite!).  That promotion is over, but it was such a great deal, and I hope they bring it back soon.
To learn more about Olive Garden, and to check out their menu and current specials visit Olive Garden

Bread Sticks

Berry Sangira

Zuppa Toscana

December 20, 2013

Asian Ground Beef - Home Cooked Recipe 43

The recipe I am posting about today was once again inspired by a recipe I found on Pinterest (seriously, if you are not on Pinterest, what are you waiting for???).  I was looking for something to with ground beef as I am tired of the usual burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, meat sauce, etc.  And if you read this blog regularly you know I am a sucker for Asian flavors!  So putting both these things were very convenient, and made for a quick and tasty week night meal.

Asian Ground Beef


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I always use Kikoman's lite soy)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes - next time I might bump it up to a tablespoon, I like the spice!
  • 2 inch piece ginger, grated (it's not exactly the same, but you could also use a teaspoon of ground ginger)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated - next time I will use more, I also love garlic!
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced (I don't use a lot of the green, mostly I use the white part)

Brown ground beef on medium high in sesame oil.  Drain off fat.  Add in garlic and ginger.  Saute for 2 minutes.  Add in scallions, mix well.  In a bowl, combine soy, sugar, and pepper flakes.  Pour over beef and stir well.  Cook on medium-low for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Serve over white rice.  Enjoy!!!