Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sauteed Shrimp with Arugula and Tomatoes

Again, looking for clever ways to fancy up my necessary protein intake... especially considering the necessity of the Thanksgiving detox. This one was super easy, quick, and satisfying but still light. I added 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for some heat and topped the dish off with some fresh, chopped chives. The recipe didn't really specify, but according to my standards, this was 2 generous entree portions. This would be a great after work/weeknight meal. I would definitely make again.

Sauteed Shrimp with Arugula and Tomatoes via Noble Pig:


Until recently, I had always thought that TURDUCKEN was a myth! For those of you unaware of the mysterious turducken, it is a delicacy: a boneless turkey, stuffed with a bonless duck, stuffed with a boneless chicken, each layer seperated by a stuffing flavor of your choice! Just the pure insanity of this concept was enough for me to have to try. Fortunately, I was able to experience the legend of turducken this Thanksgiving at the Williams house. I was thoroughly impressed, everything I had hoped for and more! If you too would like to experience turducken, you can order one here: http://www.hebertsmeats.com/ They are a bit pricey, but worth the fun, and the small size will easily feed 6-8 people. Christmas would be an excellent occasion to test one out!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Porcini-Crusted Filet Mignon with Fresh Herb Butter

Back in the kitchen after the Thanksgiving vacation... thankful that cooking can take your mind off of the real world for a few minutes. This turned out really well: super delicious and easy to boot. I forgot to add the garlic to the herb butter and it still didn't seem to lack any taste in my opinion. I served this with steamed broccoli which I added a squirt of lemon juice and a pat of the herb butter from the filets. It was a perfect compliment. Bon appetit.

Porcini-Crusted Filet Mignon with Fresh Herb Butter via Epicurious:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue

Let me just start by saying that I am even starting to impress myself! Look at this beauty! If you are looking for a Thanksgiving contribution that is a little less traditional but will still WOW the crowd... here's your pick! Sweet potato pie is a traditional Thanksgiving type dish, but with the addition of the marshmallow meringue, this almost becomes like a sweet potato pie/candied yams hybrid. The final product is BEAUTIFUL! Not to mention the smell of toasted marshmallows coming out of the oven is almost too hard to resist. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but I would venture to say that you will probably be satisfied with your reward! So that's all for my Thanksgiving cooking this year, enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving, remember what your most thankful for.

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue via Epicurious:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

German Chocolate Pecan Pie

I'm working on Thanksgiving, so the pie preparations must begin early! This recipe actually came from an American Way magazine that Cornell found on one of his flights. Super easy! (Believe me, I actually just made four of these!) It does make a large amount of pie filling, so definitely buy the deep dish variety, and maybe even some mini crusts for any leftovers you will probably have. This will totally satisfy your sweet tooth.

via Texas Pie Kitchen & American Way Magazine

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup (plus a handful for topping) chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked pie shell

Mix first 5 ingredients together until smooth. Add coconut, chocolate chips, & pecans to combine thoroughly. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle top of pie with handful of chocolate chips for topping. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a must for the Thanksgiving season... especially for people like me who use cranberry sauce in place of gravy on their turkey! This is an excellent, kind of dressed up version of those funny shaped can varieties that most of us have becomed accustomed to. This recipe is great because it is just sweet enough, and preserves the tartness of the cranberries with the addition of the orange juice. It is also a lot cheaper to make than the recipes that require a pure maple syrup. The walnuts are totally optional. I like the added crunch. This is a great make ahead dish for Thanksgiving, one more thing you can check off your list a little early. Ends up making about 2 cups of cranberry sauce.

                                                        SPICED CRANBERRY SAUCE
adapted via Epicurious

1 12 ounce bag cranberries, washed and picked over
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients except walnuts in medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Until cranberries burst & sauce thickens). Make sure all cranberries have popped. Add walnuts and stir thoroughly. Transfer to serving bowl and chill covered. Can be made several days in advance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Steak Roulade

I have to admit I feel a little guilty including this, because I didn't actually assemble it, (and even worse I don't have the recipe), but it was too good to not include. This is a flank steak roulade that Cornell & I got at the deli of a Smith's in Vegas. (I know that doesn't really help most of you either, sorry). But just look at it! TASTY! Just imagine, flank steak rolled up with spinach, red peppers, and mozzarella. We topped it with a Montreal rub and baked it to a delectable medium rare, five stars! The butcher told us they're usually only available during the holiday seasons, so if for some funny reason you find yourself at a Smith's in Vegas during a holiday season, definitely pick some up!

Coconut Macaroons

Love coconut, and love almond extract even more, so these are superb! And super easy to make. Simplest recipe ever. If you're in the mood, chocolate chips can be a tasty addition.

Chewy Coconut Macaroons via Taste of Home:

Pumpkin Oat Bread

I had some leftover pumpkin to use up and this is what I came up with. Waste not, want not! Don't be turned off by the recipe from Weight Watchers, it was very good. I omitted the walnut halves, just because I didn't have any on hand. I'm sure they would be a lovely addition if available.

Pumpkin Oat Bread via Weight Watchers:

Oven Beer Can Chicken

I've been doing this diet recently that requires me to consume a ridiculous amount of protein, so I've been forced to scope out some new creative means of consuming protein products over, and over, and over again. Beer can chicken = winner! Normally this is done on a grill, which I don't have, and won't use... because grilling is a man's job, and I don't enjoy my evenly shaped eyebrows being in such close proximity to open flames. This however, is an oven variety, which works quite nicely, contained heat. I used a tall can of High Life for the beer, I really don't think it matters what kind. This recipe is nice too because it gives you the cooking times for various different sized chickens. Make sure you use your meat thermometer!

Oven Beer Can Chicken via e-rcps:

Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Can I just start by saying these are the best chocolate chip cookies EVER?! Some of you may be turned off by the thought of bacon in your cookie... well, more for me! I've always been a fan of the sweet & salty sensation. Courtney & I made these a few weeks ago to accompany us on our road trip to the USC vs. Oregon football game. Yes we lost. I don't want to hear it! The only reason I won't be making these again any time soon is because I literally could not stop eating these. I usually have much better self control, especially with cookies... but I just couldn't contain myself with these bad boys. ENJOY!

Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies via Noble Pig:

Broccoli Slaw

This was ANOTHER addition to Mr. Smith's birthday party... can you tell I was busy in the kitchen that day?? Broccoli salad is always good. This one is nice with the sweetness of the cranberries and the crunch of the almonds. The recipe calls for sliced almonds, I used slivered for a bigger crunch effect. I might consider adding some bacon next time. Can't go wrong with bacon, right?

Broccoli Slaw via Smitten Kitchen:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Heather & I discovered this recipe awhile back during a dinner collaboration at her house and I've been making them ever since because they are so great! They're super soft and moist. All around fantastic. I always get compliments on these ones. I prefer milk chocolate chips in this recipe. (As opposed to the semi-sweet.) Don't overbake these. They will look very soft still coming out of the oven, but they will set once they cool. Try these out!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies via George Duran:

Mac & Cheese Cupcakes

These were another addition to the Mr. Smith Mardi Gras Birthday Party this past October. SINFUL! I made these in both regular size muffin tins, and mini muffin size. Both worked well, really just a preference. Make sure you wait for them to cool before taking them out of the pan. They need to set a bit to keep their form. These are even great at room temperature. Perfect appetizers for any occasion. Fun & delicious.

Mac & Cheese Cupcakes via Epicurious:

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Who really doesn't like rice krispy treats?! These are even better! These are like the adult version rice krispy treats... all grown up with the ingenius addition of browned butter. If you haven't yet met my friend browned butter, introduce yourself today. Browned butter is a bit of a process, but it makes EVERYTHING better. These won't last long!

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats via Smitten Kitchen:

Hello Dolly Bars

I made these to take to work for a farewell soiree for one of our dietitians, Grete. These were a HUGE success, so much so that they were actually renamed "OH BABY BARS." I thought that was quite amusing. They are very rich, so I would recommend cutting them in pretty small pieces. Even one inch squares should suffice. The only thing I might do differently next time is try substituting peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch chips. 

Hello Dolly Bars via Smitten Kitchen:

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

I whipped up a batch of these, along with a ton of other things, for Mr. Smith's birthday in October this year. They didn't turn out appearance-wise like I expected (I wanted to see more prominent swirling), but they were tasty. And FAT! So fat in fact, you could use a 13x9 pan and easily still be fine. (The recipe asks for a 9x9 pan.)

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies via Smitten Kitchen:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 3

I made this coffee cake to take to work on my last morning of a long 6 day work stretch. After working 72 hours in a week, you need a little cake in your life. I baked this in the morning before work, so it was still warm for consumption, SO good! I'm pretty picky about coffee cake because I was spoiled with my Mom's secret recipe coffee cake growing up. This wasn't my Mom's coffee cake, but it was very good, and quite different. Don't let the sour cream scare you. I know that sounds weird, but it's mostly just to add moisture to the cake. It really does work well. Just a quick note on the recipe: anticipate a bit longer baking time than the recipe indicates. Mine seemed to take a bit longer to pass the clean toothpick test. I would recommend serving warm if possible.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 3 via All Recipes:

Peach Pie with Candied Pecan Topping

This is a PIE! Not sure how I came up with this hankering, but it was no mistake. Shared this with my Dad & Tammy, and they also were not disappointed. What can I say... I aim to please!

Peach Pie with Candied Pecan Topping via Better Homes & Gardens:

*note: ignore the author's comment about not liking Better Homes & Gardens. It is a GREAT cookbook, and a quintessential necessity to any cook's collection, ...in my humble opinion.

Jacked-Up Banana Bread

I only eat GREEN, crunchy bananas... so when they start getting that scary brown color, they certainly need to be consumed in another manner: banana bread! This is a crazy, simple recipe, and super delicious. Don't throw those old bananas away!

Jacked-Up Banana Bread via Smitten Kitchen:

Peach Shortbread

This is the first recipe I ever made from Smitten Kitchen... and the one that won my heart over eternally. A big thank you to my charge nurse, Heather, for introducing me to all these amazing food blogs! My life is changed! These are an awesome little treat. Crisp, salty, sweet... just splendid.

Peach Shortbread via Smitten Kitchen:

Double Chocolate Cream Pie

When nothing will do but chocolate... this is your friend. I've always been a fan of chocolate cream pie, most often from Marie Callendar's or something of the like, but I had never made it myself. I was inspired to try it out after seeing Julie & Julia. (That was such a great movie, I just love food movies.) I will admit I did cheat a bit on this one. I did not make my own crust, just bought a pre-made shortbread crust from the store. This turned out well, but I was too anxious to eat it. I wish I would have let it chill just a bit longer in the fridge. It is best COLD.

via The Best of Cooking Light

1 pie crust (I used a shortbread crust)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 large beaten egg
1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350. To prepare filling, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Stir well with whisk. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute until mixture comes to a full boil. Gradually add 1/3 cup hot milk mixture to egg, stir well. Return egg mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes, or until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add grated chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spoon mixture into pie crust. Cover surface of filling with saran wrap. Chill until set. (At least 2 hours.) Remove plastic wrap, and top with whipped cream/topping.   

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

During fall, it is a requirement to bake all things pumpkin. It's just not appropriate the rest of the year. Considering the pumpkin shortage last year in between Thanksgivings, I think I've now caught up on my seasonal pumpkin baking requirements. I dressed up this bread with some Halloween sprinkles that I had gotten at Williams Sonoma just for kicks. I took this loaf over to Heather & Ryan's as an excuse to come over and hold the baby. :)

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread via All Recipes:

Sock it to Me Cupcakes

These tasty little treats were made for my sister Amy's 20th birthday this past June by her personal request, big hit! I'd been hearing about "Sock it to Me Cake" for awhile and had to find out what all the fuss was about. They are definitely tasty. Only change I made to this one was to make them as cupcakes instead of a whole cake. (I try to convince myself that cupcakes help with my portion control.) Just bake in a muffin pan for 16-18 minutes if you also prefer this route. Same temperature.

Sock it to Me Cake via the Neely's:


Sometimes you just need to unwind! This is what Shannon and I decided on a hot summer day. Poolside Sangria, excellent. I'm actually NOT a huge red wine fan myself, but this recipe gussies up the wine just enough to make it quite delightful. Enjoy slowly, it will sneak up on you!

Sangria via Emeril Lagasse:

Down South Comfort!

This has to be one of my all time favorite meals I've ever made! Lousiana Red Beans & Rice, Collard Greens, and Cornbread muffins with cinnamon honey butter! It really doesn't get much better than that! And to accompany the meal, a Laker victory! C'mon now... that's a great day! Enjoyed this meal with my Daddy. Let me tell you, he went back for seconds! This will not disappoint! I recommend Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce for a little kicker of a condiment, I like my nose to run! Take note of the excessive use of exclamation points in this post, this meal is THAT good!

*note: I substitued small red beans for kidney beans in this recipe. (I feel like if a recipe is titled "authentic," it should at least use the right bean!)

Authentic Louisiana Red Beans & Rice via All Recipes:

Short-Cut Collard Greens via Ellie Krieger:

Cinnamon Honey Butter via Ina Garten:

The cornbread muffins were just from the good ole' Jiffy box... 99 cents folks! Cut your losses!

Orzo Salad

This was made for our 4th of July Potluck at work. How do I end up working all these holidays?! Dislike! Anyway... turned out great, light & refreshing. Great for a make ahead dish, just stir it up before serving to make sure none of the salad on top has dried out.


1 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
1 1/2 cups of corn kernels (canned or frozen will work if you don't want to shuck the cobs)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 avocado diced (I used Hass)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook according to package directions. Add the corn the last minute of cooking, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl, set aside. Pour lemon juice over avocado and coat evenly (prevents discoloration). Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, sugar, cumin, and salt. Drizzle over orzo and add avocado, tomatoes, and parsley. Mix until combined. Serve warm or cold!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Made this for a work potluck for one of the other nurse's birthdays, went over really well! Smooth, moist chocolate cake with a creamy peanut butter frosting, what could be bad about that?! The only thing I left out of the recipe was the chocolate ganache OVER the frosting, I thought that was a bit much. Still great without it. My only dilemma was at the the time I only owned two round cake pans, where as the recipe asks for three. Fret no more... Cornell got me a third round cake pan for our anniversary. I can now bake on a tri-level basis!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake via Smitten Kitchen:

The Food Files

Here is the link to my Facebook Food Files Album... with most of my previous endeavors.



I'm finally attempting to turn my inspiration into something creative and productive! Well... that, and it's raining outside, I'm home for the weekend, and I've got not a thing to do until tomorrow. I figure in the mean time I can at least chronicle my kitchen accomplishments to dote back on at a later date. Savor & enjoy!