Thursday, May 31, 2012

Restaurant-Style Steak

In addition to the successful berry cheesecake I made for my husband's birthday, I also made a super successful birthday dinner! I saw a pin on Pinterest about how to make restaurant-style steaks and I immediately knew that it would be the perfect for his birthday dinner. I paired it with seasoned potato wedges and steamed lemon pepper broccoli.

This steak was seriously one of the very best steaks I've ever eaten - not to mention that it was easy to make and I made it!!  Me!  I made a restaurant-style quality steak!

~Tasty Thursday #62~


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fantastical Feature: Fine Cooking Italian

Fine Cooking Italian: 200 Recipes for Authentic Italian Food

Like I said in my previous Fantastical Feature, you'll be seeing some more NetGalley reviews here and there. This review is for Fine Cooking Italian.

Unlike the previous NetGalley cookbook, this one is strictly a cookbook. No background or history or anything it in.

My first overall impression of this cookbook is how well it is laid out. The colors in it are gorgeous and the design is very simple, but overwhelmingly pleasing to the eye. It is so easy to read and it doesn't take away from what should be the main event: the food.

I chose a few recipes out of it and plan on purchasing it very soon. I would love to have this on my shelf!

I made the Spaghetti with Summer Tomato Sauce from pg. 48. It was this brilliant recipe using fresh plum tomatoes and fresh basil, topped off with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It was the perfect dish for summer!

The next recipe I made was Capellini & Kale Soup from pg. 28. Despite me slightly overcooking my noodles, this one was fantastic too. It's only my 3rd time eating kale and I cannot get enough of it. It was perfect in this soup. I also really loved the capellini beans. It was a great mixture of textures.

Another recipe that we really enjoyed was Pizza Dough from pg. 34 and the No-Cook Tomato Sauce from pg. 35. I often don't like to try new recipes when I find one that I love, so I didn't have high hopes for the pizza dough. However, this one made a perfect thin crust and it cooked a lot more evenly than my tried-and-true. The taste was wonderful. We paired it with the tomato sauce which was incredibly easy to make and not mention can be frozen for up to 6 months.

We will definitely be making all of these recipes again and buying the cookbook, so we can make more of the recipes! Fine Cooking Italian easily gets 5 utensils from me.
Thank you to NetGalley and The Taunton Press for giving me the opportunity to review this cookbook!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No-Bake Berry Cheesecake

My husband, Nick, had his birthday this month and I always get really nervous when it comes to making his birthday meal. This year I asked him what he wanted for his cake and he was stumped. So I had found a few recipes I thought he may like and asked him what he wanted. He decided on berry cheesecake.

This recipe is a no-bake cheesecake. I wanted to do this because my cheesecakes always crack (I have yet to get a pan so I can do a water bath) and I wanted his birthday cake to be perfect. This one doesn't set like a normal cheesecake, but it was still incredibly delicious. I loved the berry topping too! You can never go wrong with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Coffee Toffee

This month, I was assigned Chocolates & Dreams blog. Rituparna has a really great blog and I highly recommend you jump on over and check it out!

As was the trend last month, I was inspired by a recent recipe (this time a success, not a fail) as to which recipe I would choose of Rituparna's. I was already eyeing the desserts because for the last two months I've done main dishes for SRC and found Coffee Toffee. My recent recipe success was a similar candy called Chocolate Honey Almond Crunch - I had just finished the last of it when I sat down to see my blog assignment! So I was wanting to make the candy immediately to satiate my craving :)

I also just want to point out these other awesome looking recipes: Chocolate Lava Muffins, Omelette, and Broccoli & Cherry Tomato Stir Fry.

Now on to this yummy coffee toffee!! Firstly, my mom went to school for cake decorating and candy making. I love to cook and bake. I would say that I'm pretty good in the kitchen, but I am not skilled in cake decorating or candy making. I've been getting out of my comfort zone lately and having some great successes under my belt helps :) This was much easier than the previously mentioned recipe and it has the BEST flavor!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

When I meal plan, I like to sit down with my recipe index and go by the recipes' names to pick what we're going to have for meals. I chose "Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps" thinking that it would be a wrap. Instead it turned out to be an identical recipe to {this one}, that is a family favorite. So I took the recipe I thought I was making and made it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peppermint Brownies

These were a great treat! I'm not a huge fan of peppermint patties, but these were rich and decadent. I brought these to our monthly meetup at the company. They were gone in no time. I think my husband may have eaten 4 - LOL

What you need:
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 bag small peppermint patties (16-20 count)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 to 6 tsp. milk
  • 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Green food coloring, if desired
In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly.

Combine with an electric mixer, the sugar, butter and chocolate mixture, and vanilla.

Add the eggs and mix until combined.

Stir in flour until smooth.

Spread half the batter into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan.
Arrange unwrapped patties over the batter and then top with the other half batter.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 18 to 21 minutes or until the center is just set. 
Let cool completely.
Combine powdered sugar, 4 tsp. milk, and peppermint extract in a small bowl until smooth. Add up to 2 tsp. more milk until you reach your desired consistency. You can also add a few drops of food coloring, if desired.

Drizzle over cooled brownies and cut into 36 squares.

If desired, you can also serve it with peppermint ice cream and whipped cream. I honestly think it was great as a standalone.

Recipe Source Unknown

{Click here to see what blog hops I participate in}

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fantastical Feature: Famous Chefs & Fabulous Recipes

Famous Chefs and Fabulous Recipes: Lessons Learned at One of the Oldest Cooking Schools in America

Recently, I joined NetGalley. Over on my personal blog, I blog book reviews - usually a couple a week. I love reading. A few of the titles I've been approved for are cookbooks. I figured my opinion would matter more here on my food blog for the cookbooks, so in the next few weeks you'll see a few of the cookbooks I'm currently cooking out of from NetGalley.

A big thank you to NetGalley and University of Akron Press for letting me get my hands on this one!

Famous Chefs and Fabulous Recipes follows the journey of Zona Spray and her Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson, Ohio. Zona was a very interesting lady - she was very frugal and didn't like to waste anything. She was friends with Julia Child and even tried to get her to come teach a little (although Child was very busy and was unable to do so). The other thing that I found incredibly fascinating is that Zona took chemistry classes because she wanted to learn about what certain ingredients and mixtures of them do. It reminded me a bit of how Alton Brown educates on Good Eats - and I love that. The chemistry behind cooking is mind-blowing to me. Zona comes off as a very inspiring and passionate woman - and those are two very important factors, in my opinion, you'd look for in a person teaching you how to cook.

As the print on the front cover says, it is one of the oldest cooking schools in America. The really neat thing about this cookbook is that while it is a cookbook, it is also a history. Many of the chefs who have come through the school talk about their journeys too. I was very excited to see Michael Symon, who you all may have heard of, talk about his time there.

Of course, I couldn't wait to try some of the recipes! We only made two, although I have plans to make two more in the immediate future.

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of one of the recipes I made. I'm not going to lie, it's because we devoured it. The recipe is called Chocolate Honey Almond Crunch and it is a bark candy type recipe. You make a layer of sugary honey and rum flavored almond goodness and then top it with chocolate and then roasted almonds. It was gone so quickly! I could not stop myself from eating it! This recipe can be found on pg. 62 and I highly highly recommend it.

The next recipe I made was the Wedding Soup featured on pg. 220. This was one was a given for me because my husband has been begging me to make him wedding soup for months now. He gave it two big thumbs up! I thought it was great too. I really love the combination of spinach with meatballs.

Overall, this gets a 4-utensil rating. It is full of recipes and full of a really great history of an iconic American cooking school.

It can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

~Tasty Thursday #61~


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Verde

I love chicken tacos, especially ones you make in the crockpot. I've never had salsa verde and was curious about it. I really loved these tacos! They were packed full of flavor!

What you need:
  • 3 to 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) salsa verde
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • tortillas
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, etc.
Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with onion, green chiles, cumin, and garlic. Pour salsa verde all over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. 
Remove chicken from crockpot and shred.

Add enough leftover juices to make moist and serve in tortillas topped with your favorite toppings.

Recipe from Real Mom Kitchen

{Click here to see what blog hops I participate in}

Monday, May 21, 2012

Green Chile Cheeseburgers

I've been meaning to try this recipe for so long, but I've been really burnt out on burgers. My husband has been wanting to use his grill for every meal, so I finally was like...let's do this one. And then on that day he was installing a cold air intake in his car, so I ended up grilling. I really liked this burger because the burger itself isn't overwhelmingly flavored any which way. I feel like a lot of the burgers I eat have too much garlic or too much something else that takes away from the flavor of the hamburger. This one was just right for seasoning - and I loved the green chile sauce! Next time I just need to remember to not put a gourmet burger on a $0.80 bun from Wally World! LOL

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fantastical Feature: Food From My Frontier

I happily showed off the day my copy of Food From My Frontier showed up - its arrival actually interrupted our dinner. I couldn't wait to look through it and start making things. It's bright and colorful and FULL of pictures from the ranch, which I absolutely love.

Some of the recipes in the cookbook are ones I have made and posted previously: French Toast with Berry Butter, Drip Beef {didn't blog}, Beef and Bean Burritos, and BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas. We made the Chicken & Noodles and even brought it to an FRG meeting, but unfortunately did not get a pictures of it. It was super good.

So now to share the other recipes I made from Food From My Frontier!!

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes - p.22
I've never been a big fan of lemon anything, but my husband loves lemon. I've been easing my way into it. My favorite combination has got to be lemon and blueberry. These were great pancakes! I used a sandwich cutter and make some of them into dinosaurs. :)

Basic Chicken Salad - p.50
This recipe I wanted to try and branch out from our normal lunch foods that the kids and I eat. I loved the almonds and the grapes in it. I was pleasantly surprised with how much flavor they had in them!

Chicken Parmesan - p.130
This is hands-down my favorite recipe that I've tried this year. It was unbelievably delicious. I ended up blogging this one. So so so good! Even if you don't like chicken parm, try it. I hated chicken parmesan until I tried Ree's recipe!

Ranch-Style Chicken - p.208
I wasn't too sure on this one. I'm not a huge fan of dijon mustard. It was good, but not my favorite.

Pan-Fried Kale - p.214
This was our first experience with kale and we loved it. It was very tasty :) It was also the perfect match for the Lemon Fettuccine that I'm in love with.

Corn Casserole with Peppers - p.222
We ate this as a side to steak one night, my husband has been begging for it ever since. It was creamy and there was a little bite to it. Very yummy!

Is it any surprise that this cookbook gets 5 utensils??
If you don't have this cookbook, go buy it immediately!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

S'mores Cookies

My husband is notorious for stealing my sweets and bringing them to work to share with the soldiers. Partially because he doesn't want to eat a ton of them {and admit that he likes sweets more than he lets on} and partially because it's pretty much only me eating a bunch of them and we don't like to waste food. He only got to take about 8 of these to work with him and I was so upset about it. I would eat 4 at a time, they were so incredibly delicious. Betcha can't eat just one!

What you need:
  • 11 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 4 to 5 regular sized Hershey's bars, broken into pieces
  • 1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Lay out your graham crackers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or two. You'll want them to be touching. I apparently don't know my shapes though. So you will see no breakage into squares.

In an electric mixer, cream together softened butter and sugars until fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients on low speed.

Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Chill for 1 hour or overnight.
Drop by the tbsp. onto graham crackers and press down slightly.

Bake for 5 minutes in a preheated 375* oven.
Remove from oven and add Hershey bar pieces.

Bake for 5 to 7 more minutes.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.

These were recreated by Making Miracles for July 2015 SRC {here

Thursday, May 17, 2012

~Tasty Thursday #60~


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I found this recipe via Pinterest - I cannot resist a breakfast cake. It's one of those things that makes me completely happy to get up in the morning and eat! This was such a good recipe - it had the buttermilk and blueberries and the ever-so-slight hint of lemon in it too.