Friday, September 30, 2011

Asian Beef with Mandarin Oranges

Hands-On Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 10 hours (LOW) or 5 to 6 hours (HIGH)
Yield: 6 servings


    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1⁄2-inch strips
    1 small onion, thinly sliced
    1⁄3 cup soy sauce
    1⁄4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
    1 small green bell pepper, sliced
    1 package (about 3 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    1 head bok choy, cleaned and chopped
    1 can (5 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
    2 tablespoons corn starch
    1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained and syrup reserved
    2 cups beef broth
    6 cups steamed rice


  1. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning to brown all sides. Transfer beef to 4 1⁄2-quart CROCK-POT® slow cooker as it is browned.
  2. Add onion to same skillet. Stir over medium heat until softened. Add next soy sauce, salt, ginger, green pepper, mushrooms, bok choy and water chestnuts and cook until bok choy is wilted, about 5 minutes. Spoon mixture over beef.
  3. Whisk together corn starch and reserved mandarin orange syrup in medium bowl. Stir in beef broth and pour over ingredients in CROCK-POT® slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 10 hours or on HIGH 5 to 6 hours or until beef is tender.
  4. Stir in mandarin oranges. Spoon steamed rice into shallow serving bowl and spoon beef over rice.

Almost Lasagna

This made SO MUCH. I put a ton more vegetables in than was called for-almost an entire bag of spinach, two zucchini, and a red pepper-basically what's in the Farmer's Market Lasagna that we love. There was enough that we ate (large portions) for dinner and lunch the next day, and then had enough to freeze... which we unfroze a few days later when I forgot to take anything else out. That batch was better-the sauce was able to soak into everything, and we made it with cheddar cheese because we had no mozzarella-and that was a good switch (I think we'd use cheddar next time-it makes it different!)


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked, (or other similarly shaped pasta-like small shells)
  • 1 pound Ground turkey, (or beef, chicken, sausage or tofu crumbles)
  • 1 jar Pasta Sauce, (26 ounces)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound Ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups veggies , (diced zucchini, matchstick carrots, etc.)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Brown meat and drain well, if necessary.
  2. While meat is cooking, stir together eggs, ricotta, grated Parmesan and salt and pepper.
  3. Mix cooked meat, macaroni, sauce and veggies. Add ricotta mixture and blend well.
  4. Coat a 9-by-13 baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil and spread half of macaroni mixture evenly over the bottom. Top with a cup of mozzarella and a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Add the remaining macaroni mixture and top with another cup of mozzarella and another sprinkle of Parmesan. Cover with foil.
  5. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the casserole for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until the cheese on top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spiced Chocolate Muffins

The measurements on this one are dumb-must have originally been metric or something. Recipe from my muffins cookbook.

3 1/2oz butter, softened
5oz superfine sugar (I just used regular)
4oz brown sugar
2 large eggs
5oz sour cream
5 tablespoons milk
9oz flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon allspice
7oz semisweet chocolate chips

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners. Place the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl and beat well. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, and milk until thoroughly mixed. Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa, and allspice into a separate bowl and stir into the mixture. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. Divide evenly into muffin liners, bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

**I think cayenne would be REALLY good in it-I'll try it next time! Also, the chocolate chips all sank to the bottom. Next time I'll stir in half, bake the muffins for a few minutes then sprinkle the rest on top.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ginger Stir-Fry Marinade

Super simple but our current favorite stir fry marinade :)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large bowl, blend cornstarch, garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until cornstarch is dissolved. Mix in salt and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger.

Pureed Chickpea Soup - Passato di Ceci

Recipe from Food Network (and I copied and pasted it-the chef must have written it herself, it's written in the same animated way in which she talks!) Patrick and Maya were huge fans of it, I liked it but couldn't eat a ton of it because it was kind of like flavor overload. We'll definitely make it again though! (And also-we made grilled cheese with it out of the rest of the loaf of fresh bread which was a huge win!)


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed, divided
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 5 to 6 (1/2-inch) slices country style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Coat a large pot with olive oil, add the pancetta and bring to a medium heat. When the pancetta starts to become crispy, add the onion, celery, carrots, 3 cloves of garlic, pinch of crushed red pepper and season lightly with salt. Sweat the veggies for 6 to 7 minutes or until they become very aromatic and start to soften.

Drain the water from the soaked chickpeas, rinse and add to the pot. Add the chicken stock, thyme bundle, bay leaves and 1 quart of water. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are very soft and falling apart, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn off the heat, season the water with salt and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Fill a skillet with olive oil until it is about 1/2-inch deep, and the remaining 3 garlic cloves, the rosemary leaves and a pinch of crushed red pepper and bring it to a medium heat. Remove the garlic once it is golden; it has fulfilled its garlic destiny. Add the bread cubes and cook until they start to become crispy and golden. (They will absorb a LOT of the oil. That's why they taste good!) Season with salt and remove the croutons from the oil to a bowl, reserving the rosemary oil. MMMMM!

Add the infused oil to the soup. Puree the soup in a food processor, blender, or good old fashioned food mill. Correct the consistency and seasoning, if necessary. If the soup is too thick, cook it a little more to reduce it, or thin it by adding more stock or water. Taste to be sure the seasoning is perfect.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls, top with the croutons and finish with a large drizzle of olive oil.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

California Black Bean Chili

Recipe from Kas! Sooooo good.

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 cans (15oz) black beans, drained
1 can (7oz) diced green chilies
1 can (14oz) diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
3 cups diced Zucchini
1 cup frozen onions
1 packet (1.5oz) chili seasoning mix
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed garlic

Brown turkey in a skillet and throw it all in the crock pot for 4-6 hours. (Our house smelled soooo good when we walked in after being gone all day!)

Paula Deen's Lemon Blossom Cupcakes

They were meant to share but I ate most of them. Whoops. Recipe from The Food Network.


4 large eggs
3 1/2 ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
18 1/2 ounce package yellow cake mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray miniature muffin tins (I used regular size with cupcake liners) with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel.

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they’re still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about one hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lasagna Rolls

So good. I can't wait to warm up the leftovers for dinner tonight! I found that, at least making this for the first time, that the directions made me feel unorganized and it took me a lot longer than the hour and a half the recipe suggested. Next time I'd make the innards ahead of time and when ready make the bechamel sauce and noodles at the same time. This one also goes on the list of freezable meals-as a whole dish or portioned out into servings. Recipe from the Food Network.

Bechamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)


To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Barefoot Contessa's Mac and Cheese

I liked this recipe, Patrick couldn't get past the fact that, to him, it smelled like bacon dog treats (from the intense flavor of the Gruyère-good thing we only used 8oz!) Next time I'll try a different cheese. Also next time I'll use homemade bread crumbs like suggested-I had arranged the tomatoes all pretty,a nice star shape in the middle-but you can't even see it. Recipe from Food Network.

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyère, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Slow-Cooker Brisket Sandwich

This was good. So so so good. I burned my hand pretty bad searing the brisket (the hot oil splashed me when the brisket hit the pan) but it was amazingly delicious. We used the juice it made to dip it in and next time I think steak fries would be a nice addition to dip as well. Recipe from Food Network

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 5-to-6-pound first-cut or flat-cut brisket, cut into 3 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 12-ounce bottle stout beer
4 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup dijon mustard
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
2 brioche or other rolls, split open and toasted
Coleslaw, for serving

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the brisket with salt and pepper, then brown on all sides, about 10 minutes, adding the garlic in the last 2 minutes. Transfer the meat and garlic to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker. Pour the beer into the skillet and simmer 30 seconds, scraping up the browned bits from the pan; add the beer mixture to the slow cooker.
Nestle the celery around the meat and add the brown sugar, tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, bay leaves and paprika. Stir, then cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 6 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes, then thinly slice.

Serve on brioche halves with coleslaw; drizzle with the cooking liquid.
You'll have plenty of leftover brisket: Use it in tacos, quesadillas, chili or even on a pizza.