Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BBQ TriTip Dinner

We grilled for dinner the other night since we had family over and it was a nice evening for it.
 TriTip marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce.
 Rice pilaf with toasted pine nuts.
 Roasted asparagus.
Texas toast. 

Are you still using your grill?

Emeril Lagasse's Chicken Pot Pie with Taragon Biscuit Top

A one-pot meal that can be made ahead and has leftovers for it!

Chicken Pot Pie with Taragon Biscuit Top
by Emeril Lagasse


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons melted
  • 1 pound button mushrooms stemmed and quartered
  • 1 ½ cups small-diced onion
  • ¾ cup small-diced carrot
  • ¾ cup small-diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 recipe Tarragon Biscuits
  • For the Tarragon Biscuits:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk

  • directions
    Set a 12 inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat
    In a large bowl, combine the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon of the salt, ½ teaspoon of the pepper, and the olive oil. Place half the chicken in the pan and sear, stirring occasionally, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside in a separate bowl while you cook the remaining chicken. Place that cooked chicken in a bowl as well.
    Add the unmelted butter to the pan and, when melted, add the mushrooms and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are well caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes, then add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the stock, browned chicken, potatoes, and thyme.
    Preheat oven to 475 degrees
    Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken and potatoes are tender…about 35 minutes. Gently stir in the peas and then remove the pan from the heat. Place the biscuits on top of the chicken and gravy, with 8 biscuits around the edge of the pan and the remaining 4 biscuits in the center. Be sure the biscuits do not touch. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and flaky..14 to 15 minutes. Allow the pot pie to cool briefly before serving.
    For the Tarragon Biscuits:
    Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt into a large bowl
    Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the cold butter into the flour until the pieces of butter are pea sized. Add the tarragon and buttermilk, and with your ands or a rubber spatula, stir until the milk and flour come together to form a dough
    Sprinkle some of the extra all-purpose flour on a work surface and place the dough on top of the flour. Use your hands to press the dough into a ½ inch thick disk about 9 inches in diameter. Using a 2 inch round cutter dusted with flour, cut out 12 dough rounds. Be sure to press straight down when cutting the dough…a twisting motion will prevent the dough from rising.
    Place the biscuits on top of the pot pie and bake as directed.
    Makes 12-16 servings

    Do you have a favorite one-pot meal that can be made ahead?

    Julia Child's Mousse au Chocolat or Chocolate Mousse

     Decadent and delicious chocolate mousse. They type of dessert you make before the New Year starts and you make too many resolutions about eating healthy and getting into shape. 
    I made Julia Child's version of chocolate mousse because I know her recipes never fail and her instructions are easy to follow. Make sure you set aside at least an hour to follow all the steps in the recipe. Plus, you'll need to have enough time to let the mousse chill in the fridge so it's best to make it the night before you plan to serve it.

    Chocolate Mousse
    Mastering the Art of French Cooking
    by Julia Child, Simone Beck & Louisette Bertholle

    4 eggs, separated
    ¾ cup granulated sugar plus one tablespoon, separated
    ¼ cup orange liqueur
    6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
    4 tablespoons strong coffee
    6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
    ¼ cup finely chopped candied orange zest (recipe following)
    Pinch of salt

    1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow and falls back upon itself, forming a slowly dissolving ribbon.  Beat in the orange liqueur, then set the mixing bowl over the not-quite-simmering water.  Continue beating for three to four minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger.  Then set the mixing bowl in the basin of ice water and continue to beat for another three to four minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon.  It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.Set aside.
    2. Place another clean mixing bowl over the basin of not-quite-simmering water, creating a double-boiler.  Inside, melt chocolate with coffee, then remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time to make a smooth cream.  Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar, then beat in the orange zest.
    3. In yet another clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.  Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the rest.
    4. Turn into a serving dish, dessert cups or petits pots.  Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.

    Dark Chocolate M&Ms Cookies

    Have you seen all the flavors of M&Ms they have now? Seriously, I was at Target recently and there were too many to choose from. I picked up a bag of the Dark Chocolate flavor and kicked of Christmas cookie season.
     I used the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe but replaced the chocolate chips with M&Ms. So Yummy!
    Plenty to share with friends.
    I have a bag of the peanut butter M&Ms to try next.
    Have you tried any of the new flavors? Which one is your favorite?

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Quick Lunch for a Crowd

     On a recent visit to my grandparent's house we had one of those "it's almost lunch, we need to feed everyone but don't know what to make" moments. A quick trip to the grocery store, about 30 minutes in the kitchen and lunch was ready.
    I made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. These were made with Swiss cheese, granny smith apple slices and a little dijon mustard. To get the nice brown toasty color, I spray them with a little olive oil cooking spray before heating them on the stove. I keep batches in a warm oven until all the sandwiches are done and ready to serve.
    Grapes with grilled cheese are a perfect match.
    Quick pasta salad made with Italian dressing, chopped tomatoes, black olives, scallions and chunks of Parmesean cheese.
    Do you have a quick go-to lunch that you make to feed a large group?

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Icing

    These cookies remind me of baked donuts. They are soft and doughy with a nice spice to them. Unfortunately, I've managed to misplace the recipe but by googling pumpkin spice cookies there are so many that have the same ingredients that I'm sure you could use any of the recipes available online and they would taste just as good. The icing is a simple mixture of powdered sugar, maple syrup and just a teeny tiny little bit of water.
    One thing to keep in mind, these cookies are super moist. When I put them in the container, the next morning the cookies had absorbed or possibly dissolved all the glaze and they were a wet sticky mess. Still delicious though.

    Running Musings

    Guess what helps get rid of a stitch while you're running.....singing. A friend of mine who spent some time in the Marines explained the reason they chant during their runs is that it helps regulate breathing, therefore getting rid of the stitch. I started trying it, much to my embarrassment, but hey it works. I even sometimes chant Sound Off 123 when I feel a really sharp stitch starting to set in.

    I'm sharing this awful photo of right before I left for my 5K because the one they took of me actually running is so so so much worse. I almost cried when I saw it because not only do I look 20 lbs heavier but for for some reason I also look like a man. I'm doing my best to forget I ever saw the photo. 

    My clunky but very effective massager is key to my running recovery. I also have a foam roller but it just doesn't compare. The massager really targets the side of my shins and calves which tense of the most. Mainly due to the fact that I need new shoes which I'm hoping to buy next weekend.

     Anybody else want a scale like this for Christmas? Apparently I've made an error in calorie burn judgement with running. I convinced myself that since I was running I could eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. Wrong! Hence my awful running photo. Bye Bye ice cream. You will be missed.

    Do you have any running musings or tips?

    Hey It' OK......

    I'm linking up with Amber for "Hey, It's Ok....."

    Hey, It's OK.............

    To be avoiding the scale since Halloween candy season.

    To not like the movie The Christmas Story. I refuse to watch it. Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase is so much funnier.

    To sometimes be obsessive about checking Facebook.  I really shouldn't be allowed to have it on my phone.

    To hate soft water systems. I always feel greasy after showering. Thank goodness my house has plain old hard water.

    To reuse a Starbucks cup a couple times before throwing it out especially when now that the Christmas ones are out.

    To want a Roomba for Christmas but feel strange about the idea of having a robot clean my house. Didn't they make a movie about this and then the robots took over the world?

    To already have Christmas on the brain even though we haven't had Thanksgiving yet. Clearly it's my favorite holiday.

    I was going to run this morning's raining.

     I had prepared myself last night to get up and run in the morning. It's been a whole week since the 5K and a whole week since I've put on my running shoes. But, when I woke up's raining! And not just a little drizzle. It's been a downpour. Which I'm actually fine with since I made a library visit yesterday.
    Other than blogging, this is how I'll be spending my morning. A latte and some books to read. You can also pretend you hear football in the background.

    How are you spending today? Is it raining in your town?

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

    First things first, the 5K was awesome. I had so much fun and I can't wait to run another one. I came in 19th for my age group with a total time of 35:28. Considering there was a massive hill at the end, I'm very proud of my time and finishing strong. I'll post photos as soon as they're available.
    On to other things, pumpkin macaroni and cheese was on the menu for the weekend. I figured we needed some carbs the night before the race and this fit the bill.
    I found this recipe on We Are Not Martha. Head over to their site for the details. I made a couple swaps though. I used regular macaroni noodles, white cheddar cheese and sour cream instead of yogurt. It was delicious and will definitely be in my dinner menu rotation.

    What did you do over the weekend? Any races? Make anything delicious?

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Mexican Egg Scramble

    Breakfast on the weekends is my favorite meal. I can take my time in the kitchen and make some of my favorite foods. This morning was no exception. We had to stop at the mechanic's to drop of one of our cars and on the way home we stopped at Starbucks. The Salted Caramel Mocha Latte sounded so delicious and while it tasted good, it's so so rich. Tons of sugar, tons of caffeine- zing! I'm awake. Once we returned home, I started breakfast, well actually it would probably be considered brunch. We like to sleep in LOL

      This is my own creation of what I like to call, Mexican Egg Scramble. It consists of roasted potatoes (I buy the frozen bag from Trader Joes and heat them in a little oil on the stove), eggs, Muenster cheese (I usually use cheddar but we were out of it), black forest ham, avocado and pico de gallo. I serve it with warm flour tortillas and orange juice. It's so good and filling to the point that we don't feel hungry until dinner.
    I have a "new" camera that I'm learning to use. It's my grandpa's old one and I'm determined to start taking better photos. My nephew taught me a few of the settings. I mainly want to learn how to blur the background and figure out light settings.

    Tomorrow is my first 5K. Wish me luck.

    What have you been up to this weekend?

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    A Tribute To My Dad- a Veteran

    This is my favorite photo of my dad and me.
    Ducks make me smile because of this memory.
    I was young when it was taken.
    Too young to remember how old I was at the time,
    but old enough to remember the moment.
    He died when I was old enough to know my exact age
    and he was too young to leave us.
     He served our country as a Navy Seal with 3 tours through Vietnam.
    He instilled in me patriotism and love for my fellow man.
    He loved his family with a protective fierceness
    that I will always cherish.
    He loved God and modeled faith for me.
    He's a veteran and a hero, but most importantly My Dad.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Chocolate/Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

    So, I'm a little bummed because I had planned on entering this recipe in the LA Times Cookie Bake-off but then life got in the way and I missed the deadline. Ooops. But, I can still share it with you and I'm happy to. These are delicious and my first ever cookie recipe that I created by myself.

    I haven't figured out what to name these yet. Any ideas? For now I'm calling them.....

    Chocolate/Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies
    by Danielle (All Things Yummy)


    1/2 cup Oat Bran
    1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
    3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 cup unsalted butter softened
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
    1 cup butterscotch chips
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Preheat over 350 degress F.

    Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In a medium bowl, mix oat bran, flours, baking powder, baking soda and set aside.

    In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugars and salt until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Stir in the bran/flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the oats and chips until incorporated.

    Drop approx 1 tablespoon of dough (I use a small ice cream scoop), 1-inch apart for each cookie on lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies are lightly golden, approx 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Anne Burrell's Braised Chicken Thighs

    Happy Friday! What do you have planned for the weekend?
    Maybe you'll get a chance to try a new recipe like this one, Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Almonds. I'll be trying a couple new pie recipes for an early Thanksgiving I'm having with some family.

    The sauce is the star of this dish. To keep it honest, I added a little flour butter mixture to thicken it a little bit. I don't love chicken thighs but in this dish I enjoyed them. I was able to make it for dinner on a weeknight and it didn't take too long. I started it before my run and then fnished it up when I got back so it takes some planning to fit it in if you have evening workout plans but it's quick enough that you won't be eating at 10pm.
    I served it over orechiette. Which means little ears in Italian.... too cute.

    I hope you have a great weekend.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Pumpkin Chili

    I saw this recipe on Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body and knew I was going to love it. It's delicious and one of those great slow cooker meals that's ready for you when you get home from work. The pumpkin adds a nice creaminess to the dish that tastes so so good. I made cornbread to serve with it as well. Cornbread with a little butter and drizzled with honey, yum!
    Check her blog for the recipe.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Anne Burrell's Sweet Potato and Apple Hash

    Clearly I did something wrong. It started out well, but......

     Onions and bacon....smelling and looking delicious

     Sweet Potatoes and Rosemary ready to be
    covered and simmered.

     And now we have chunky apples and mushy sweet potatoes. Clearly I did something wrong.
    I know I cooked the sweet potatoes too long.
    There seems to be way too much liquid left as well which I don't understand since I followed the directions.

    The dish was still good but it could have been a lot better. One major change I would make, remove the bacon before the simmer process and then top the dish at the end. My bacon ended up soggy instead of crispy, yuck.  

    You can find the recipe in her new cookbook, on or below.

    Sweet Potato & Apple Hash
    by Anne Burrell


    garnet yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

    Extra-virgin olive oil

    Kosher salt

    4 to 6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into lardons

    1 large onion, cut in 1/2-inch dice

    2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice

    4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced

    1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, to taste. Toss to coat and arrange them on a baking sheet. Roast the sweet potatoes until they are soft but not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

    Coat a large saute pan with olive oil. Add the bacon and put the pan over medium heat. When the bacon has started to get crispy and brown, add the onions, season with salt and saute until the onions are very soft and aromatic. Add the apples and the scallion whites and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes, and saute until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and starting to become crispy, about 7 to 8 minutes.

    Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the scallion greens and pumpkin seeds.

    Have you ever had a recipe fail? Did you try to make it again?

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    "Hey, It's Ok....."

    I'm linking up with Amber for "Hey, It's OK Tuesday"

    "Hey, It's OK....."

    To have squealed with delight when my niece gave me all her Butterfingers from trick-or-treating. Yum!

    To watch the same movie over and over again. Somestimes just playing it for background noise.

    To be a little worried when I leave the CrockPot on when I'm not at home. What if something happens and the house burns down?

    To have 2 favorite football teams. Go Chargers! Go Bears!

    To get annoyed that my husband doesn't like sweets as much as I do for breakfast. What I am supposed to do with a dozen pancakes?

    To think Tuesday is the hardest day of the week.