Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ratatouille Scramble

So I had to find a creative way to use up my leftover ratatouille veggies. Waste not, want not! ...and I want a lot, so I figure I better not waste! I had several leftover veggies after I stacked up my ratatouille. I marinated all these leftover veggies in a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, & thyme overnight in the fridge. Sauteed them up in the morning with a little scramble and good to go! This was extremely flavorful. A great morning pick me up with a little side of OJ.

Ratatouille Scramble via the flick of my wrist:

 Large handful of your marinated leftover ratatouille veggies (Zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow squash, & eggplant marinated in lemon juice, olive juice, dash of salt & pepper, and pinch of rosemary & thyme)
1 scrambled egg
dash of buttermilk
pinch of delicious creamy cheese
cilantro sprigs

Scramble egg and buttermilk, set aside. Saute veggies in small, greased frying pan until desired doneness. Pour egg mixture over veggies. Just before egg mixture is cooked through, sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and fold scramble in half to cover and melt cheese. Plate scramble and top with cilantro!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ratatouille's Ratatouille

Can I just start this one off by telling you that Ratatouille is probably my second most favorite Disney movie EVER?! ...right behind Cinderella! If you haven't seen it, you must. SO CUTE! As much as ratatouille's origins are that of a peasant dish... how can you resist this?! It is so beautiful and delicious. I used this as a perfect side for my Dad's braised beef short rib birthday dinner extraordanaire. There were NO leftovers! I omitted the goat cheese topping, only because I had goat cheese in the polenta that was served with this meal. If I had made this stand alone, I definitely would have included the goat cheese. Stay tuned for a creative and tasty idea for what to do with your leftover ratatouille veggies...

P.S. Mom: Thanks for the shiny, new Corningware! You knew I would put it to good use!

Ratatouille's Ratatouille via Smitten Kitchen:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Braised Beef Short Ribs over Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta

Stop your salivating now... I KNOW. Delish! I made this as a main course for my Dad's birthday dinnner and everyone (myself included) was super impressed. This meal will definitely impress the best man in your life. :-) This is super hearty, satisfying, fulfilling, delicious, melt-off-the-bone-good! It is super simple also, so try this out ASAP! I promise you will not be disappointed! I didn't even change the recipe on this one too much. I did add about 3 chopped celery stalks with the rest of the vegetables and a good heaping tablespoon of minced garlic. I used Chianti for the red wine. Send me some feedback, this is a KILLER!

Braised Beef Short Ribs via the Pioneer Woman:

Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta via the Pioneer Woman:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Best Birthday Cake

Today was my Daddy's big 5-4 so you know I had to do it up. I made sure I had the day off of work and have been making preparations since last night. On the menu: Braised beef short ribs over creamy goat cheese polenta, ratatouille, & the best birthday cake EVER! (Recipes to follow.) Sometimes you just have to keep it simple, and that is just the way my Dad likes it. So yellow cake with chocolate frosting it is, can't go wrong with that. And I am happy to report that my layered cake skills are much improved with this cake attempt. It only took how many?! So Happy Birthday Daddy! Hope you enjoyed your dinner... now if only I could get you to read my blog. :-)

Best Birthday Cake via Smitten Kitchen:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes & Arugula

This is what life is all about: simple pleasures: simplicity, deliciousness, wholeness. You'd never think something so quick and simple could be so delightful and satisfying. I had the best intentions when I decided to attempt this recipe, most of all because Deb at the Smitten Kitchen has steered me in the right direction since the birth of this blog... but of course things never can go as planned. Example/question: Stater Brothers, why do you not carry orecchiette?! A basic pasta, simple enough you would think. Would it be too much to ask for even more, whole wheat orecchiette?! Probably. That's ok, compromise it is. So I made my best attempt by substituting mini whole wheat shells. It was the closest pasta size comparison I could find to the elusive orecchiete (which p.s. come to think of it I have only ever found at Olive Garden.) I also decided that my dinner needed some green uptake, so I added the whole bag of baby arugula opposed to the measly two cups that Deb suggested. One more substitution: grape tomatoes for cherry tomatoes, I find them a bit sweeter & less round. I hate round. :) Either way, delicious, quick, weeknight meal. Moscato pairing = perfection!

Orrecchiete with Cherry Tomatoes & Arugula via Smitten Kitchen:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thai Honey Peanut Chicken

Another recipe that immediately sparked my interest just from title... I've been Thai obsessed as of late. Nothing could be bad about the perfect melody of sweet/salty/spicy. I'm usually a little intimidated to try to make Thai at home, usually because of the addition of unfamiliar ingredients in most recipes (i.e. fish sauce), but this recipe sounded delicious and didn't have any weird accompaniments so I knew I had to try it. Winner, winner, Thai chicken dinner... delectable. I served this chicken over Thai jasmine rice topped with chopped scallions and a side of steamed green beans. Saveur!

Thai Honey Peanut Chicken via Tasty Kitchen:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Icebox Cake

I've been wanting to make this cake since the very first day that I discovered the Smitten Kitchen, but I just got around to it yesterday! I don't know what I was waiting for. Nothing could possibly go wrong with the simplicity of this recipe combined with the concept of a giant Oreo cake. The only thing is you do need to plan ahead a little because it has to sit in the fridge overnight to soften up the wafers. Definitely try this out if you are an Oreo lover, it is SO easy!

Icebox Cake via Smitten Kitchen:

Cake Pops

Yesterday was my sister Abbey's baby shower for my soon to be first nephew, Connor. I thought it would be nice to make these cake pops as little party favors for the guests on their way out. The idea was definitely cute, but it was a much more difficult task than I had originally anticipated. Once you get the hang of it they get a little easier, but the first couple were a rough go around! I used a devil's food cake mix with cream cheese frosting and white chocolate candy melts with baby boy blue sprinkles. Can't wait to meet you Connor!

Cake Pops via Little Miss Momma:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Boudros Famous Guacamole

This is a replica of the most amazing guacamole that I found on my New Year's trip to San Antonio a few weeks ago. If you go to San Antonio, you MUST go to this restaurant... Boudros = probably one of my top 3 LIFE dining experiences. (And I eat A LOT.) At the restaurant they make this guac for you tableside. The waitress had mentioned to us that they had they recipe for it on their website. You know I had to check that out, voila! Perfect appetizer for my Jets to beat the Pats yesterday! Roll on to the Steelers!

Boudro's Famous Guacamole via

Juice of 1/4 of an orange
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 avocado seeded and scooped out of skin
2 Tbs roasted and charred Roma tomatoes diced
                                              1 ea Serrano pepper roasted seeded and diced
                                                          1 Tbs medium dice red onions
                                                               1 tsp chopped cilantro
                                                coarse ground salt to taste (sea salt is better)

Squeeze juices into bowl. Add avocado and coarsely chop. Add onions, roasted tomato, serrano and cilantro fold into avocado mixture. Add salt (more is better). Result should be crudely chopped not mashed. That’s it.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Red Bean Chili

This is a quick take on a classic favorite. This recipe is deliciously simple, fairly quick, and still packed with flavor. Perfect main dish for football! Load it up with all your favorite chili toppings. We did shredded mexican cheeses, sour cream, and chopped scallions.

Red Bean Chili via Smitten Kitchen:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Zucchini Cupcakes

I LOVE zucchini, so delicious, so versatile, just great! It's been a minute since I made any cupcakes, almost a month I think, so we were cupcake overdue. I also love that this recipe added almond extract, another one of my sentimental childhood favorites. Almost anything with almond extract I love. Don't be turned off by the idea of a vegetable in your cupcake. The zucchini itself is very subtle. If you like spice type cakes, you will like this. The caramel frosting is also a nice complement. If you're not keen on the caramel, I think a cream cheese frosting would also work well. Have you cake and veggies & eat them too!

Zucchini Cupcakes via Taste of Home:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sticky Peanut Butter & Jelly Wings

This recipe caught my eye immediately and the Noble Pig still has yet to disappoint me. So what more perfect occasion for wings than yesterday... the BCS National Championship game. GO AUBURN! So literally... Winner, winner, chicken dinner! This was actually the first time I've made wings, interesting. I actually used drumettes, which seem to be much less labor intensive than actual wings. Depending on your palate, mine prefers spicy, you will need to add much more hot sauce than the recipe calls for. I really used about ten times as much, nearly 4 tablespoons. Peanut butter + wings + hot sauce = Excellent!

Sticky Peanut Butter & Jelly Wings via Noble Pig:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Potato Chip Cookies

In my neverending sweet & salty quest, this recipe naturally sparked my fancy. Fulfilled my fancy? ...not so much. Not that it wasn't a delicious cookie, it really was, especially if you love pecan sandies. This cookie just didn't live up to all my sweet & salty hopes. In fact the potato chips actually almost became unnoticeable once they were baked into this crispy, buttery package. Not to mention that I'm really not a crispy cookie fan, this was also a bit of a disappointment. Either way, the cookie was well received at work. You will definitely like these if you are a pecan sandie fan. (Plus there is the added benefit of chip snacking while baking.) On to the next!

Potato Chip Cookies via Noble Pig:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coconut Chicken Chili

This recipe instantly intrigued me... all the great flavors I love, but in a different presentation. Chili I thought? The ingredients sounded very thai-ish, which I LOVE... but the cannellini part was throwing me for a loop! Either way I knew I had to throw this in my recipe to do pile. Today I finally got around to it. I will say it is an interesting combination. The flavors do work well together with a few minor tweaks: I wanted the broth a little sweeter to bring out more of the coconut flavor so I added a bit of brown sugar, maybe a tablespoon. I also found that it needed a bit more salt, and a little shredded coconut garnish never hurt anyone. Serve over hot jasmine rice. (Trader Joe's has an awesome pop-in-the-microwave type that is more than suitable.)

Coconut Chicken Chili via Noble Pig:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Old School Pea Salad

Sometimes you just get those funny cravings that have to be fulfilled: enter PEA SALAD! I've had pea salad on my mind for weeks. I finally decided to give in today. Pea salad is like one of those quirky, old school-type dishes that you might find at a church potluck next to the shredded, carrot-filled jell-o ring. Nonetheless, there is no denying the almighty pea salad. EAT YOUR PEAS!

Old School Pea Salad adapted (& slimmed down) via Natalie's Killer Cuisine:

1 lb. fresh of frozen peas
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 cup cubed cheddar
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/3 cup fat free mayo
1/3 cup fat free sour cream
Pinch cayenne
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients & enjoy. (About 10 side serving portions.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mac & Cheese Soup

Let's start off by saying this picture does not do this soup justice. I really need to work on my photographing skills. I found this recipe in the Food Network magazine that I was reading on the way back from New Years in San Antonio this weekend. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was tasty so I'm passing it on. It sounded like a good idea at first, cold weather, Which Wich sandwiches to accompany, and the hints of a cold coming on... this soup succeeded in all aspects besides the helping with the cold part. I'm currently laying lifeless on the couch as I type this. Sick two times in the last two weeks... and the soup didn't help! As you can tell from the picture I left out the baguette & tomato topping, but only because we already had sandwiches to go with. I'm sure it would be a great pairing either way.

Mac & Cheese Soup via Food Network: