Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kitchen Fail!

I couldn't figure out what was wrong with this recipe it seemed so promising but the flavor wasn't there. Don't get me wrong, it was perfectly fine to eat but it just didn't pop. Then I looked over the list again and realized I forgot to put in the brown sugar. Whomp whomp. Being that we're on this whole clean eating kick and significantly reducing our sugar and unhealthy processed food consumption, Mr. Lawyer wouldn't let me add the sugar in at the end. So we just added some Dinosaur BBQ sauce to fix it up a bit....not that much more healthy right? I have a feeling that if done correctly this would be a good recipe...if you choose to leave the brown sugar out it's merely "meh".
So this whole healthy eating kick makes for boring blogging. We've been eating a lot of meals we know are healthy (like the veggie soup) and repeats (tonight: leftover pork with a side of roasted chickpeas!). Snooze. On the plus side I'm not craving a ton of sugar which means no baking and consuming an entire batch of cookies....but again boring blogging, my apologies. I'm hoping to experiment with some healthy carbs and more veggie dishes once I get organized. Actually I just want to eat refried beans and roasted chickpeas all week but that's also boring.
Bourbon BBQ Crock Pot Pulled Pork
2 lb. pork shoulder
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 large onion, sliced
1. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Brown the pork on all sides and place in slow cooker. Add onions.
2. Mix the dark brown sugar, bourbon, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and ketchup. Pour over the pork and onion mixture.
3. Set the slow cooker to low and cook the pork mixture for 8 hours. At the end of 8 hours, remove the pork let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
4. Using an immersion blender, blend the onions and the sauce to a smooth mixture.
5. Shred the pork and mix some of the sauce with the shredded pork. Serve with extra sauce if requested.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dill Bread!

There is nothing like fresh homemade bread. I am partial to a warm slice of homemade bread, slathered with butter, and drizzled with honey. Yum. I went looking for this recipe because there is a lot of leftover dill from the dill steaks. This particular recipe called for cottage cheese but the comments said you could sub sour cream which was perfect because I had some leftover from my birthday/football play off party that I needed to use up. The bread texture is soft, the crust is gorgeous, and the flavor is delicate. I would have preferred a more pronounced dill flavor. I just found another recipe that used 1/4 cup fresh dill! I might go with that next time.
Look at beautiful golden brown!
Dill Bread
(Adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon minced onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 1 tablespoon dried dill or dill seeds
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cottage cheese (I subbed sour cream)
1 large egg
1. Combine yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about five minutes.
2. Combine cottage cheese, sugar, onion, butter, dill, salt, soda, egg and dissolved yeast. Mix well.
3. Add flour and mix well. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place for one hour.
4. Punch down and place in a greased loaf pan. Let rise for 40 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 and bake bread for 35-40 minutes.
doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rainy Day...

Might I suggest a steak and provolone grilled cheese on sourdough?
It hit the spot!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Steak Surprise!

I was off galavanting around Pittsburgh this weekend so Mr. Lawyer surprised me with a fancy Sunday Evening Dinner: Dill Steak! The recipe is HERE. It's fun to revisit old recipes. 
My Pittsburgh Booty: sharp provolone, rustic sourdough, and stuffed olives. It's all from a heavenly store down at the Strip. The perfect late lunch after a long car trip.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baked Potato Redemption!

This summer the skinless baked potato didn't impress me much. Tonight I have obtained baked potato redemption! The skin was perfectly crisp and salty while the inside was nice and fluffy. This will be my go to recipe. I sense a baked potato bar in my future!
Perfect Baked Potatoes
(Pinterest find!)
Olive Oil
1. Scrub potatoes and pierce 4-5 times with a fork.
2. Coat in olive oil and salt.
3. Place directly on the baking rack and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh Dinosaur....

We were back in Syracuse this weekend to pick up our wedding bands so of course we had to eat at one of our favorite places: Dinosaur BBQ! There are so many yummy food places that we miss it's hard to make up our mind but we can't cram them all into one weekend so we've been rotating. Last time we went for amazing sandwiches at Blue Tusk and I have a pretty good copy cat recipe of Pastabilities Tomato Oil so we decided on good old Dinosaur. Plus there's nothing like seeing your Grandmother down a 1/4 rack of ribs and some pulled pork. Woo!
Behold the Big Ass Pork Plate. Heaven. I always go with the baked beans and spicy mac & cheese.
So we're eating this extremely healthy "calorie burning" soup for the week. A recipe courtesy of the Mother Unit: beef broth, celery, carrots, green peppers, scallions, green beans and tomatoes. It's the only thing I've every had that makes you more hungry after you have a bowl of it. 
Check out my sweet Dalek mug. It was a Christmas present from the Dork.

Chilly Day Drink

Mr. Lawyer makes the best chai tea. He brews a chai tea bag with hot water, then adds a mystical combination of milk and honey. I can't figure out the proportions at all, mine never taste as good! He even gets all fancy and serves it up with a cinnamon stick.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Dinner Challenge

I do love a good challenge. What? It's five o'clock and I have no groceries or dinner plan? I sense a breakfast for dinner meal but let's make it super classy. How about a Pepper, Onion, and Gorgonzola Frittata with a side of maple turkey bacon? Excellent.
It got no complaints.
Pepper, Onion, and Gorgonzola Frittata
3 eggs
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 bag frozen peppers and onions
Olive oil spray
1/4 cup gorgonzola (I used a cheese spread)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degress. Saute peppers and onions in a frying pan until cooked through.
2. Meanwhile mix together eggs, egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and milk. Add peppers, onion, and half of the cheese to egg mixture and pour into a greased pie pan/casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining amount of cheese on top.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Magic Leftovers!

Last night I saw an episode of Chopped where all the mystery ingredients were leftovers. It inspired me to transform the leftover buffalo chicken from my party into something amazing! I can never fit all of the chicken onto the french bread so a handful of chicken in a cheap box of macaroni and cheese equals some surprising delicious buffalo chicken mac and cheese! Easy peasy!
Boy Approved.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chili Bar!

It's my birthday weekend and football playoffs....the perfect excuse for a party! I wanted something easy, low maintenance, and preferably sports themed. I saw an idea on pinterest for a chili bar, genius! You can make a large crock pot of chili for cheap and you don't have to worry about it staying warm. A rough budget is ten bucks: the turkey was five dollars a pound and the five cans of beans/soup were a dollar each (some were on sale and cheaper). Yay! I've been tweaking my turkey chili. This version has more spice and was a big hit. I always put in a ton of beans. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients, making your own seasoning mix is essential! It's very easy and much better than the packaged taco seasoning. The toppings bar was fun! It was a great way to show off my new dishes too! We had cheddar cheese, sour cream, raw onions, green onions, jalapenos, mini cornbread muffins, and fritos.
The tea cups were the perfect size for serving the toppings.
My Turkey Chili!
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground turkey
½ cup chopped onion
1 can pork and beans
1 to 2 cans of chili beans (depending on your preferences)
1 large can undrained diced tomatoes
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder 
3-5 tablespoons sriracha or hot sauce
1. First up make your seasoning mix! In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
2. Brown onion and turkey. Add the seasoning mix to the browning turkey and simmer for a few minutes.
2. Add turkey, tomato soup, and the three cans of beans. Stir in brown sugar, additional chili powder, and sriracha. Simmer until done, a couple of hours on low.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cheese and Drinks!

I made leftover mac & cheese last night. It wasn't half bad considering I winged it and didn't measure anything. I based it loosely on my recipe for Devil's Mac & Cheese and used all of my party leftovers. I used a mix of leftover cheese (cheddar, colby, mozzarella), replaced the cream/half&half with milk, and used the improper type of noodle....the horror! Speaking of horror, it's nights like this when Mr. Lawyer comes home and announces that I'm five years old. In my defense we had leftovers to use up and I refused to go to the store for random ingredients like hot dog buns....and maybe some days I just want mac & cheese and hot dogs.
The Mother Unit played mixologist genius this weekend before passing the duty of the Mr. Lawyer. This drink was decent but really, really sweet. I think it's the dragonberry rum. One is okay but two is way too much. We solved this problem by adding a splash of sparkling wine. I'm sure seltzer would also work.
The Patriot
(from the Mother Unit)
4 ounces Cranberry Juice Cocktail
1 1/2 ounce Bacardi Dragonberry Strawberry Rum
1 tablespoon frozen strawberries, thawed
Mint sprig, garnish
**Splash of sparkling wine or seltzer recommended** 
1. In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, add all ingredients except garnish and shake well. 
2. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Dress Party!

Last night we celebrated saying YES to the wedding dress! Woo! We had the family over for an appetizer dinner and cheap bubbly. It was the perfect excuse to 1) celebrate the dress with family, 2) try some new recipes, and 3) show off my fiesta!
I had my go-to Cabot cheese platter with Grandma's pickles, wheat thins, olives and some lebanon bologna we picked up at Reading Terminal. I made some Roasted Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce, I mean you can't go wrong with shrimp.
For some more hearty appetizers I made these marvelous Ham & Cheese Sliders (recipe below), spicy Buffalo Chicken French Bread, and some gooey Caprese Dip.
Everything was pretty delicious if I might say so.
This recipe had been popping up a lot on pinterest. There were so many different versions! Some used Hawaiian sweet rolls, other used white, potato, or biscuits. I used potato because it was the only type of dinner roll my store had. There was also variations on the type of mustard (I went with dijon) and debates over the merits of mayo, miracle whip or a mix (I used mayo). One thing I do know is that these were simple and delicious. I feel that these sliders were the overlooked winner of the night. Yes everyone was raving about the buffalo chicken french bread (and it was delicious) but it had a more in your face flavor punch that demanded your attention. These sliders had an understated yumminess to them without all the fanfare of buffalo chicken. They were amazing right out of the oven and still delicious cold at the end of the night when I was cleaning up. Another keeper....although next time I might put more than one slice of ham on them.
Ham & Cheese Sliders with a Poppy-Mustard Sauce
(Pinterest find!)
24 dinner rolls
24 pieces good honey or maple ham (I used a fabulous maple ham)
24 slices swiss cheese
Enough mayo for spreading on the rolls
1.5 tablespoons poppy seeds
1.5 tablespoons dijon or yellow mustard (Dijon all the way!)
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon worschestershire sauce
1. Cut rolls in half but not all the way, leave the hinge intact! Spread desired amount of mayo on both sides of the roll.
2. Fold up one slice of ham and place on roll. Top with one folded slice of swiss. Close the rolls and place on a cookie sheet or large baking dish.
3. Mix together butter, poppy seeds, mustard, onion and worschestershire. Brush evenly over all the rolls (**I did not use all of it as some reviews mentioned that the rolls could get soggy bottoms**). Let it sit for 10 minutes. 
4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove foil and bake for 2 minutes to brown tops. Serve warm.

I Heart Buffalo Anything

It's hard to go wrong with buffalo chicken: dip, mac & cheese, pizza, egg rolls, french bread...I've had amazing luck with all of them. This recipe was no exception. The original recipe was more intricate and called for fancy ingredients like fontina and gorgonzola but I went a more simple and traditional route. It was certainly a hit and very delicious for breakfast the next day. This is good hot or cold so it's the perfect party food. Obviously it's delicious right out of the oven when it's all cheesy and gooey but it was still fabulous at the end of the night. Plus it was very simple to make. Totally a keeper.
Buffalo Chicken French Bread
(Pinterest find! Adapted from
1 loaf of french bread, cut in half
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into half-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup hot sauce, I like Franks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup blue cheese dressing or dip
1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Toss chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Once cooked through, add garlic and stir for 30 seconds, then add in buffalo wing sauce and butter. Stir to toss and coat. If the sauce is too soupy: remove chicken with a slotted spoon and let the sauce simmer for a couple minutes to thicken up. Return the chicken and toss to coat. Let the chicken and sauce sit for a bit to absorb the flavors. I left mine in the fridge over night and it was even better with time!
2. Spread the blue cheese dressing onto each cut side of french bread, use as much or as little as you want. Sprinkle half of mozzarella on the bread. Add the chicken, spooning out all of the sauce in the skillet. Cover with remaining mozzarella. Broil on high for 5-6 minutes, until cheese is melted and browned.
3. Remove and top with green onions or additional buffalo sauce/blue cheese if desired. Cut into single serving pieces.

Cheesy Caprese Dip

There were a couple different versions of caprese dip floating around on pinterest, one added cream cheese and parmesan for a more creamy version. For the sake of time and less calories I went with the basic version: mozzarella, tomato, and basil. It was very good but a little messy due to the stringy nature of the cheese. It was super easy and required little effort and had minimal ingredients. Some of the comments mentioned that it could get soupy due to the liquid releasing from the cheese and tomatoes. By the end of the night one dish had a little extra liquid but the other did not. I tried to do my best to seed the tomatoes and wrapped them in a paper towel overnight to absorb the leftover liquid (I did a lot of prep work the night before). The brand of fresh mozzarella I purchased didn't have any extra liquid in the packaging like some do, I'm sure that helped eliminate some liquid.
Caprese Dip
(Pinterest find! Adapted from
1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved and seeded
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed
Your desired amount of fresh basil, chopped (I put in a fair amount)
1. Cut grape tomatoes in half and scoop out the insides. Dry the tomatoes as much as possible with a towel. Cube the mozzarella and chop the basil.
2. Mix everything together and place in an oven safe dish.
3. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes until melted and then broil until golden.

**You can always add more or less tomatoes or basil depending on your tastes**

Friday, January 4, 2013

December Roundup!

Where did December go?! And the first week of January? A little late but here is my December Roundup of random pictures. December was the month of color!
Visiting Ms. Amanda in D.C. and hitting up the brewpub near her place. Guess which beer was my favorite?
More after the jump!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Healthy Flatbread

This recipe was a hit and it disappeared! It's a healthy pizza and could be made even more healthy if one made it with low-fat cheese/used less cheese...but I am not that person. The one stumbling block I hit was I didn't have enough bean spread or toppings to cover the entire pizza crust but I did not let that stop me! I baked the rest of the pizza crust with no toppings and when it came out I brushed it with a mixture of butter and garlic powder and sprinkled on some parmesan cheese for some quick breadsticks! Ta-da!
Here's the flatbread with extra breadstick combo
And the finished product!
Southwestern Flatbread
(Pinterest find!)
1 can pillsbury thin crust pizza
1 16-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 avocado
Lime juice and salt
1. Bake crust according to package. My can of dough baked at 400 degrees and needed to be pre-bake for 5 minutes before adding toppings.
2. Microwave black beans for 30 seconds. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and olive oil. Mash the beans and spices into a paste.
3. Spread bean paste onto pizza crust, sprinkle on cheese, and top with onions and corn.
4. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Mash the avocado with a dash of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Serve on top of pizza.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mongolian Beef

Yum yum! This one was yummy but it took a little bit of work. I had a large flank steak so I had to cook the meat in multiple batches and it made a splattery mess. The sauce is a keeper but next time I would use it with a regular stir fry that uses less oil. On the plus side my wok was marvelous and everything slide right off it, go Wicket! We served it up with some brown rice and steamed broccoli. Healthy and delicious.
Mongolian Beef
(Pinterest find! adapted from
Vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 (1-pound) flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
1. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a small saucepot over medium-low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and water, stirring to combine.
2. Stir in the brown sugar and increase the heat to medium. Bring the sauce to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.
3. Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4-inch pieces, then toss it with the cornstarch. Place the coated pieces of steak in a sieve and shake off any excess cornstarch. Allow the steak to sit 10 for minutes.
3. Place a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the beef to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes until it is seared on all sides but barely cooked in the center. Remove the steak from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer it onto a paper towel-lined plate. Pour any excess oil out of the wok.
4. Place the sauté pan back over medium heat. Add the prepared sauce to the hot pan, then add the reserved steak and cook at a boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Serve!
I had the coolest lunch at the table today in school!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1st Freezer Meal!

I don't have a picture for this recipe as I made it at my friend's house this afternoon. Jackie and I have decided to start experimenting more with freezer and/or crock pot meals. We figured that these recipes would be useful given our busy schedules and her almost two year old daughter. What's not to like about having meals ready in the freezer or things you can just throw in the crock pot and forget?! This first one came out pretty good! I loved the dijon and maple combination. We served it with some brown rice and it would be delicious with a vegetable side. There was a lot of liquid left in the crock pot that was very flavorful (we poured it on the rice) but next time I would find a way to thicken it up a bit before serving it on the rice.

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed.
2. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving.