Monday, February 28, 2011

greek orzo salad

this is a great, easy side dish that comes together pretty fast. it's refreshing, light and pretty healthy. you can add any veggies you like. great substitutions would be zuchinni, spinach, capers, or sundried tomatoes.

1 cup dried orzo
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 olives, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup cucumber, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1-2 tablespoons evoo
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon oregano

bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  add orzo and cook according to package directions.  meanwhile add tomatoes, olives, red onion, feta, cucumber, garlic and parsley in a large bowl.  once pasta has finished cooking, add hot noodles to vegetable mixture. add evoo, lemon juice, oregano and s&p. serve immediately or at room temperature.

new google recipe search

i just read about this new feature today.  google has set up a filter that restricts search results to only show recipes. you can also narrow your results by cook time, calorie count and ingredients. since this is still pretty new, google is only indexing a select number of food websites including food network, epicurious and allrecipes. but it's still very cool. check it out at google recipe search.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

top taco - best shredded beef taco ever.

picture via
i forgot to take one myself, but this is pretty close to what they looked like.

last weekend, my roommates and i hosted "top taco".  we got together with a group of our guys friends that live together to stage the ultimate cooking showdown with a mexican fiesta. the rules were simple - each team had to cook three dishes - queso, guacamole and tacos - and each round would be judged individually.  the boys ended up with the winning queso and the girls with the winning guacamole. that meant it was up to the taco round to decide our fate. inspiration came after my visit to salt lake city last month. we had stopped by a diners, drive-ins and dives favorite - red iguana - where we sampled a little taste of heaven in their shredded beef tacos. i tried googling to find the recipe but came up with no luck. i even called red iguana and asked for the recipe where a little mexican man simply laughed on the other end. so i ended up watching the ddd segment on youtube and wrote down all the spices they used to marinate their meat and came up with my own recipe.  the meat turned out absolutely delicious - it was moist, juicy, packed with tons of mexican flavor and just a little bit spicy. in the end, we won the taco round and became the champions of top taco!

2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
4 lbs boneless chuck roast
3 bay leaves
28 oz can of tomatoes
2 cups low sodium beef stock
3 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
toppings: flour tortillas, monterrey jack cheese, sour cream

in a small bowl, combine cumin, chili powder, oregano, thyme, paprika, marjoram, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. trim fat from beef. using your hands, rub spice mix over all sides of meat and set aside. meanwhile, add can of tomatoes, bay leaves, onion, garlic, chipotles in adobo, more salt, and beef stock to slow cooker. add beef to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. add back to slow cooker and keep on warm until ready to serve.

to assemble, heat small skillet with a little evoo. take a flour tortilla and smother it with sour cream. add a good about of cheese and beef (make sure to get some of the juices that the beef was cooking in). fold in half and sear for 1 minute on each side in the skillet until tortilla is a little bit crispy. eat it up immediately before someone else does. repeat for the rest of the tacos.

feel free to use your own favorite mexican toppings - we just went with something traditional!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

steak and cheese panini

i've been wanting to write a post using only pictures to give directions for a long time. tonight's meal was the perfect way to start because it was so easy to make - only has 5 ingredients and only takes about 10 minutes. plus you can't really go wrong with a steak and cheese. so here we go...

all the ingredients lined up - grilled flank steak, provolone cheese, french bread, mayo & hot pepper spread

cut the bread in half.

liberally spread mayo and hot pepper spread on both sides of bread.

add the cheese to both sides.

top with sliced steak.

assemble the rest of the sammies.

add to panini press. cook for 5-7 minutes.

final product.

close up. is your mouth watering?

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day with chocolate sugar cookies

i made these chocolate sugar cookies with royal icing for all of my valentines this year. they came out great and i was even impressed with myself. usually for me baking comes with some sort of a minor meltdown followed by a large glass of wine. but this time things were smooth sailing. i think it's because annie's eats gave such great detailed instructions. i'm not going to post the recipe on here, just go over to annie's eats and take a look - she took pictures step by step.

happy valentine's day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

foodie fridays - valentines

there seems to be some mixed emotions about the holiday of loooooove. on one extreme, there are those that go out of their way to do all the cuddly wuddly traditional v-day stuff and then there are those that would rather get drunk and break hearts. i fall somewhere in the middle and believe that no matter what your facebook relationship status says, you should do something. and to me, something means cooking. today's foodie friday is devoted to delicious treats that we should all bake up for the loved ones in our lives.

nothing says "i wuv you" like chocolate syrup in your teeth.
molten chocolate cakes via confections of a foodie bride

this is my favorite. so simple. so cute. so sweet.
white and dark hearted brownies via smitten kitchen


hot cocoa + strawberry milkshake = pretty genius idea

sausage spinach black bean soup

i'm always looking for some kind of new healthy soup recipe that doesn't involve cream or butter. so you can imagine my excitement when i found this great weeknight meal for those cold winter nights via know whey. i altered the recipe a little bit based on what i already had in my pantry. the soup turned out really delicious and i don't think i'd change a thing. the red pepper flakes made things a little spicy so make sure to use at your own discretion.

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
8 cups chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb chicken or turkey sausage, quartered and cubed
1 lb baby fingerling potatoes, halved
1 bag of fresh spinach (6-8oz depending on brand)
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
3/4 of a small can of tomato paste
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 in cubes
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

heat evoo in a large stock pan over medium heat. add onion and cook for 5 minutes. add the garlic and sausage and cook until browned. add stock and beans. simmer for 10 minutes. next add tomatoes, red bell pepper, tomato paste, paprika, herbes de provence and red pepper flakes. add potatoes and cook 20 minutes more, then add spinach and finish cooking until potatoes are done. add s&p if needed. serve with fresh hot bread for dipping.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

national bagel day!

today is national bagel day - who knew! bagels just might be my favorite guilty pleasure. there is nothing better than an everything bagel, still hot from the bakery and smeared with cream cheese. what's your favorite kind of bagel?

in honor of this national holiday, einstein brothers is giving out free bagels. check it out here. go out and get yours soon!

winter pasta with cauliflower and brussel sprouts

i got this recipe from the blog the year in food. she takes beautiful pictures and i knew right when i saw her picture of the dish that i needed to try it out. i feel like i say this a lot, but this meal came together pretty easily - but it's true! i was a little worried that the dish would be a a little bland (the sauce = pasta water + cheese) but i was definitely mistaken. the capers really pulled through for me. it gave every bite that extra salty, briny taste that was ooo so delicious. this is a great week night meal that packs in the veggies without being boring. you could also add a can of tomatoes to this to add more flavor. serves about 4 to 6 people.

1 lb pasta
1 small or medium head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed, chopped
3/4 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons evoo
1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons capers (i added more because i love them that much)
4-6 anchovy fillets, mashed to a paste (adjust according to taste)
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (use your judgment)
s&p to taste (as this dish has a lot of salty components, taste before adding)

preheat oven to 400 degrees. bring large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

toss the cauliflower and brussels sprouts in one tablespoon evoo. lightly season with s&p and garlic powder.  spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until browned at the edges and soft in the center, about 20-30 minutes. turn once about halfway through. while the veggies are roasting, cook your pasta according to instructions on the package.

when the pasta is ready, drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. return pasta to the pot to keep it warm. add the two remaining tablespoons of evoo to the pasta, then the parsley, parmesan, capers, anchovy paste, lemon zest and chili flakes. if it’s a little dry, add some of the cooking liquid. toss gently to distribute everything. add the cauliflower and brussels sprouts and toss again, gently. season to taste with s&p. if the pasta needs to be reheated, do so over a low flame, stirring to prevent burning. garnish with grated parmesan and chopped parsley if desired.

Friday, February 04, 2011

food fridays - super bowl edition

this foodie friday is all about the super bowl and the steelers taking the win. i'm usually not a football fan, or a sports fan for that matter, but when you live with a die-hard steelers fan things start to change. my stepdad wouldn't be proud, but this sunday i'll be wearing black and gold, swinging my terrible towel, and screaming "here we go steelers" at the top of my lungs. i'll also be preparing some kind of delicious treats. below are some appetizers that will make your guests love you - no matter what team you're cheering for. enjoy!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

easy mini turkey meatloaf

my roommate returned tonight after a month-long vacation in park city, utah. i welcomed her back the only way i know how - with a fresh hot meal. meatloaf is extremely easy. you just mix everything in a bowl, form them into mini loaves and pop in the oven. they turned out flavorful, moist and just plain delicious!

1/2 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 pound ground turkey

preheat oven to 350 degrees. in a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients (except the gravy). form into 6 equal mini loaves and place on greased baking sheet. bake for 30 minutes and top with hot gravy. serve immediately and enjoy.