Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spicy Quesadillas!

I cleaned out the fridge/freezer today so it was a leftover kind of meal. Out of some frozen corn, black beans and random cheese hunks we made some delicious quesadillas. I also ran down and purchased an avocado so we could have some guacamole with them. I downsized this recipe here. It's delicious. Plus there's enough for the boy to have for breakfast....and my fridge is clean. Win win.
Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas
(from my kitchen!)
Red Onion
Hunk of Seriously Sharp Cheddar
Hunk of Chipotle Cheddar
Olive Oil
1. Combine all the veggies. Shred the cheese.
2. Assemble quesadillas on a baking sheet and spritz top with olive oil.
3. Back at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pita Pita!

I made homemade pitas yesterday. There's been a recipe floating around on pinterest so I decided to give it a go. I'm not completely sold. Maybe I needed to roll them out a little more or my expectations were too high (we live next to the best pitas in Philly). They were good but more of a pita-english muffin cross. It was fun watching them puff up as they bake. There are some other recipes out there that tweak the ingredients that I might try out. 
Homemade Pitas
(found on Pinterest, from Under the High Chair)
1 tablespoon yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3- 3 ½ cups flour
1. Dissolve yeast in water for about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and 1 ½ cups flour and with the dough hook, beat to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. Knead 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it is too sticky.
2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six pieces for large pitas or ten for smaller. I make all sorts of sizes to suit different snacks and meals. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them ‘puff’.
3. Let rest on the floured surface 30-40 minutes until slightly puffed.
4. Preheat oven to 425F. With a large spatula, flip the rounds of dough upside down on to a baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden. Stick around for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four inch high pitas.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Super Sea Bass

I'm really loving this fishing thing the boys are doing this summer. I laze around the beach or porch all day and they return with super fresh fish.
From this on Sunday....
To my dinner plate today!!
Creole Sea Bass
(from our kitchen!)
Sea bass
Olive oil
Creole/Cajun seasoning (we used Tony's)
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Rub seasoning on fish.
2. Put fish in pan and cook about 3-4 minutes each side, depending on thickness.

Here's the catch: My Hot Fiancé, Sea Bass and Porgy Fish
The only downside to this deal is when Mr. Lawyer turns the light on and harasses me at 4:30/5 in the morning on his way out the door. But this fish is delicious so I can't complain!

Just Another Use For Sriracha

In case you were really, really craving one of the spicy leftover sausages but *someone* took them all for lunch leaving with you with a sweet one. 
Sriracha to the rescue!
Kind of a gross messy picture. Apologies.
But delicious.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Refreshing Gin Cocktail

We needed a drink to beat the heat and this one is a winner. Sadly, after visiting three stores, I could not find blood oranges and settled on valencia oranges. This made me miss my NY Wegmans. However this minor set back really only affected the color. While the vibrant red hue of the blood orange would have been amazing, the drink still tasted perfect and quenched our thirst.
Blood Orange and Gin Cocktail
(Pinterest find, from
1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice, about 2 blood oranges
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup gin
2 tablespoons Triple Sec
1/2 cup tonic water
1 lime for garnish
1. Stir first 5 ingredients together and pour over ice. Garnish with lime slices.

Holy Rack of Ribs!

Of course I would feel inspired to create meal in which all three dishes required the oven on the hottest day ever. What? It's a "hundred you're gonna die degrees"? Oh no biggie. Just let me make this cornbread, some baked beans, and these ribs that need to be bake for 2.5 hours. Sweet. But it was worth it (well, maybe not the cornbread...). The original recipe called for chipotle sauce which I find to be overpowering in large quantities. We had some Dinosaur BBQ Wango Tango in the cupboard so I used that instead. It's a fiery habanero sauce which oddly enough I don't find overpowering. It paired very well with the spicy rub (for which I used Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, also deliciously fiery). The spiciness was off set by the sweetness of the baked beans. The meat was so soft and fell right off the bone. Very easy to make as long as you have the time to leave it in the oven for a couple of hours.
Smoky Baby Back Ribs
(Adapted from Everyday Food)
**Makes a double batch of rub, I'd halve this**
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's)
3 tablespoons smoked or sweet paprika
1.5 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1.5 teaspoons ground mustard
2 racks baby back pork ribs (2.5 pounds total)
Chipotle Sauce (I used Dinosaur BBQ)
1. Depending on how the butcher has trimmed the ribs, there may be a tough, rubbery membrane on the underside. If so, score the meat between the bones and pull membrane away.
2. Combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, paprika, cayenne and mustard. Working with one rack at a time, lay a large piece of parchment-lined foil on a work surface, place rack on parchment and liberally coat both sides with rub.
3. Fold tin foil and parchment around ribs, crimping the edges together to form a packet (of the hobo variety!!)
4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place rib packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a knife can pierce meat with no resistance, 2 to 2.5 hours.
5. Remove ribs from oven. Heat broiler. Unwrap ribs, place on sheet, and brush with sauce.
6. Broil until sauce is bubbling and ribs are lightly charred, about 5 minutes, brushing with more sauce if desired.
Holy Rib Monstrosity!

C+ Cornbread

I have not had any luck making cornbread from scratch. I've tried multiple times, Mr. Lawyer tried once in Syracuse, it just never works. Too dry, too sweet, weird texture, doesn't rise, etc. I think we're just Jiffy people. It's what I grew up on and it's easy. This recipe was probably the best texture that I've gotten from a homemade cornbread but the taste was lacking. Oh well. Wish I had some birds to feed.
(From the Pioneer Women)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup shortening
2 tablespoons shortening
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Stir together.
3. Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir.
4. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined.
5. In a small bowl, melt 1/4 shortening. Slowly add melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined. In an iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Spread to even out the surface. (Batter should sizzle.)
6. Cook on stovetop for 1 minute, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Breakfast Leftovers

You know how even though you're a super clean person all of the sudden everything just explodes or you were too busy to actually notice it and then you find yourself confronted with these questions:
Why does the inside of the microwave look like an operating room?
How long has that glob of frosting been there?
Wait, how many people live here?!
13 according to this picture.
So on the first day of vacation I cleaned. A nice take everything off the counters, out of the cupboards and off the floors clean. A do the random things you've been avoiding because you were too busy with life or wanted to go to bed at 9:30 clean. Like oiling all your wooden kitchen things.
So this morning I bounced out of bed nice and early to prepare Mr. Lawyer a nice warm and filling breakfast. And by prepare I mean reheat yummy leftovers from this weekend. He was super surprised because he forgot we had them, which explains why they were still in the fridge. He normally has cereal or oatmeal for breakfast so real food was quite the treat, thanks for sending us home with leftovers Mrs. T! This casserole was delicious, extremely creamy and still wonderful after four days. Even the four day old bacon reheated nicely!
Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
(made by Mrs. T, from Southern Living)
1 pound ground hot pork sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash browns
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup all-purpose baking mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Toppings: picante sauce or green hot sauce, sour cream
Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs
1. Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until meat crumbles. Stir in hash browns, and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink and potatoes are lightly browned. Drain mixture on paper towels; spoon into a greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
2. Stir together eggs, cheese, and next 4 ingredients; pour evenly over sausage mixture, stirring well. Cover and chill 8 hours.
3. Bake, covered with nonstick foil, at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with desired toppings. Garnish, if desired.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wonky Wok

Tonight my darling wok Wicket and I had a date. We also had a minor disagreement regarding how he *IS* well seasoned and my food should not be sticking to him. Blerg. I would really hate to have to scrub him down and re-season him from scratch.
Wicket in action
Pros: this recipe was quick, simple and required minimal ingredients. I only had to pick up the meat and green beans. Lots of green beans! Slicing the meat so thin makes it seem like there is a lot more than there is, love being cheap!
Cons: no sauce (personal preference) and minimal flavor level on the green beans. The meat picked up the fish sauce and ginger/garlic nicely but it slid right off the green beans.

Overall I'd give it a B, good but nothing to rave about. If I made it again I would definitely cut the green beans in half, they were a bit unwieldy. I also seem to have my beef stir-fry method down. The beef was tender and flavorful. The key is to pull it out when it's still a little pink (about 3 minutes this time) because it will continue to cook when you throw it back in with the veggies. Sidenote: WF was out of skirt steak so the nice butcher man recommended a flat iron steak. It was delicious and only five dollars for half a pound.
Thai Steak Stir-Fry
(from Everyday Food Magazine)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound skirt steak, cut against the grain into think strips
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and sliced in half
4 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy)
1 cup fresh basil, torn
2 cups cooked rice, for serving
1. Freeze the meat for 15 minutes before slicing. It will be easier to cut thinly.
2. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook, stirring, until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer steak to a plate.
3. Add green beans, ginger, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until green beans are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Return beef to wok and add fish sauce and basil. Cook 1 more minute. Serve with rice

Monday, June 18, 2012

Refrigerator Pizza

I had some random stuff in the fridge and a can of pizza dough so I took a page out of Grandpa Norm's book and made some refrigerator pizza (or flatbread since this is a classy establishment)! He always made refrigerator soup. I found a easy recipe for caramelized onions, sautéed some mushrooms and threw on the cheese! The cheese was a real experiment. I had a handful of blue cheese leftover from the Buffalo Chicken Rolls, enough to cover two pieces. I also had a couple of nubs of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar and Chipotle which I shredded and mixed together (it was pretty even - half and half). I was worried the chipotle wouldn't go with the onion and mushrooms but you couldn't really taste it. We both preferred the cheddar pieces over the blue cheese.
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Flatbread
(From the Kitchen of Jenni!)
1 can of thin crust pizza dough
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
2 red onions, sliced
1 package mushrooms
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat 1 minute. Add butter; melt. Add onions, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 to 8 minutes without stirring. Reduce heat to medium; stir in honey and vinegar. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes or until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat and let it cool slightly.
2. While onions are caramelizing saute mushrooms in remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil.
3. Pre-bake the crust according to package directions, mine was 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Take crust out and add cheese, onions, and mushrooms. Bake at 400 for 10 more minutes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

My contribution to last nights dinner party gathering was some scrumptious Buffalo Chicken Rolls. They were incredibly easy, the egg rolls wrappers are much easier to work with than the spring rolls wrappers (and much to Mr. Lawyer's delight they don't remind him of condoms.) They all disappeared so it was a hit. This picture sucks, you can't see any of the chicken or cheese oozing out! But this was my taste taster that was made with the little bit of chicken that was leftover at the end.
Buffalo Chicken Rolls
(Pinterest! Adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner Blog)
12 egg roll wrappers
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
1/2- 2/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Small bowl of water
Nonstick cooking spray
Blue cheese dressing, for serving
1. Mix shredded chicken with hot sauce.
2. Layout the egg roll wrapper diagonally (so it looks like a diamond) and place the desired amount of chicken and blue cheese just below the middle (instructions are normally on the egg roll package). Fold up the bottom corner. Then fold in the two sides. Lightly moisten the top corner and start to roll it up.
3. Spray a wire rack and place on a cookie sheet. Add the rolls and lightly spray them as well.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

The set up.

Snickerdoodle Update

I made a full batch of the snickerdoodle cupcakes for teacher cleaning day. They came out nice and moist so I think my measuring was a bit off when I halved the first batch. I didn't have any cream cheese to make the original frosting so I found a cinnamon butter cream that worked out well and tasted delicious!
Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Beat the butter until it's light and fluffy.
2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated. Add the milk when it gets thick.
3. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix until just combined.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Seafood Dilemma

I had a little bit of leftover fish from last night but not enough from a meal so I needed a side. In the freezer I found some leftover scallop pieces from the last time I made Bacon Wrapped Scallops, not enough for a meal but the perfect amount for a side! I found this recipe and used it as a guide. I decreased the amount of butter (reviews also suggested olive oil or a combination) and tossed the sauce with pasta. Then I served it up and topped it with scallops because we only had a handful, I didn't want them to become lost in the pasta. 
The result was delicious! The pasta had a light lemon flavor and the scallops added a little sweetness to each bite. The garlic wasn't overpowering. It was quick and easy (took longer to boil the pasta!) I would love to try this recipe with the original amount of scallops! Mmmmmm...
Garlic-Lemon Scallops
(adapted from
3/4 cup butter (I used half a stick)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pounds large sea scallops
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, and cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Add scallops, and cook for several minutes on one side, then turn over, and continue cooking until firm and opaque.
2. Remove scallops to a platter, then whisk salt, pepper, and lemon juice into butter. Pour sauce over scallops to serve OR toss sauce with pasta and add scallops.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Your Defeat Tastes Delicious

Tonight we had our second round of Mr. Lawyer's striped bass. All during dinner he kept muttering things like "this is what you get for fighting so hard" and "your defeat tastes delicious." It was amazing but I might love the cajun seasoning on the grill version better (that's just because I like it spicy!). This recipe had a lighter, lemony taste and the thyme really shined through. I did have some extra thyme branches that I just threw on top while it roasted, it smelled divine!
Herb and Lemon Roasted Striped Bass
(from Cooking Light)
4 (6-ounce) striped bass fillets
1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place fish on pan. 
2. Grate lemon rind to measure 1 teaspoon; juice lemon to measure 1 tablespoon. Combine rind, juice, oil, thyme, oregano, salt, and black pepper; drizzle mixture over fish. 
3. Bake at 425° for 13-15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Snickerdoodle Lovin'

We have been busy, busy, busy and are never, never, home! I made these over a week ago and they were a hit. I'd watch the baking time as I thought they were a tiny bit on the dry side.
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
(Pinterest find! From
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sugar + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 28 muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with additions of milk, beating until combined after each addition.
4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
5. Prepare frosting: In a medium bowl, use electric mixer to blend cream cheese and butter. Add sugars, vanilla and ground cinnamon. Spread onto cooled cupcakes, or scoop into piping bag and pipe on the frosting decoratively. Place sugar-cinnamon mixture in a fine sieve and tap it lightly over the cupcakes to give them a light sprinkle.
I'm loving the swirls. They are super quick.