Thursday, February 28, 2008

Smothered Steaks with Peppers and Onions

This recipe is wonderful - delicious, yet quick and easy. I will definitely be making it again. I made it for Brent's lunch, and it was a big hit.


2 cups rice
4 beef cube steaks or beef patties
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons flour
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons parsley

Make rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Brown in hot oil in pan over medium-high heat. Cook until done. Remove from pan. In pan, saute onions and peppers. Sprinkle with parsley. Meanwhile, in bowl, mix flour, soy sauce, and 1 cup water. Mix well and pour over vegetables. Cook and stir until sauce thickens. Spoon sauce over steaks. Serve with rice.

2-3 servings.

Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce

Another recipe Brent found in New Orleans. The sauce is tangy, but we both really liked it.

1/4 c. wine vinegar (may substitute apple cider vinegar)
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 tbsp. minced dried onions
1/2 tbsp. dried tarragon
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Pinch salt
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. cold butter
1/2 c. melted butter
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 filet mignon steaks
steak seasoning

Season steaks and cook on grill. In a bowl, combine first 6 ingredients in a 4 cup measure. Microwave on High for 4-5 minutes reducing liquid to 2 tablespoons. (When doubling the recipe, microwave 13 minutes reducing to 1/4 cup). In blender, beat the egg yolks until thick. Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat until mixed. Pour mixture into pan. Add one tablespoon of cold butter. Place pan over low heat to thicken egg yolks using wire whisk to beat. When egg yolks are thick, remove from the heat and whisk in the other tablespoon of butter. Beating this mixture with a whisk, pour in the melted butter slowly. Add parsley and stir. Serve warm, not hot.

Hint: If butter is added too fast, mixture may separate. If this happens, add a very small amount of vinegar at a time and beat with wire whisk. Se

Serve sauce over steaks and souffle.

2 servings.

Arnaud's Pommes Souffle

During a recent business trip to New Orleans, Brent went to dinner at Arnauds. When he got back, he really wanted to replicate the souffle and Bearnaise sauce he had. He tried these. They were really good, although he felt that they didn't "puff" enough. These are best served with the Bearnaise sauce (see above).

2 Baking potatoes
vegetable oil

Peel the potatoes and trim away the round edges to form rectangles. Cut lengthwise in slices that are uniform from end to end, 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch thick. Cut the slices into uniform widths and trim the end to round slightly. Soak the sliced potatoes in ice water for at least 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly. Pour vegetable oil, about 2-1/2 to 3 inches deep into 2 saucepans. Heat oil in one pan to 325B0, and the other to 375 . Drop slices into the 325 oil and shake back and forth on the heat for 6 to 7 minutes. Use a mitt or heavy potholder, being careful not to splash oil onto yourself. After about 5 minutes the slices should start to blister and rise to the top. Keep shaking 1 more minute. Using a skimmer, remove the slices a few at a time and drain on paper towels 1 minute or longer, until they begin to soften. For immediate service, start returning pre-fried potatoes to the second (375 ) pan. They should swell instantly. Cook until golden, then remove and drain on paper towels. Discard any that have not puffed.

* Place puffed potatoes on a paper-lined tray, sprinkle with salt and cover with a towel, continuing frying until all potato slices are cooked

2 servings


Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

This is the ugliest pie I have ever made!! The crust is terribly ugly. The pie was so delicious and wonderful, but if I had to do it again, I would have used a store-bought frozen crust. However, this pie is wonderfully decadent.

For the crust: (or you can just buy one)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water

For the filling:
6 oz. dark chocolate
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk or cream
fresh strawberries (approx. 2 pints), sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Rub in butter with fingertips (or mix with stand mixer/food processor) until mixture is crumbly and resembles wet sand. Stir in water, adding an additional tablespoon if necessary until dough starts to come together and clumps easily. Press dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out dough on a well-floured surface and press into a 9- or 10-inch tart pan. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and place a piece of aluminum foil over the pastry. Fill the foil with pie weights and bake for 12 minutes at 350°. Remove foil and weights and continue baking for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before filling.

Melt 4 oz. dark chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When melted, pour into the pastry crust and spread evenly to coat the bottom with a thin layer of chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cool and firm.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into the cooled crust. Top cream cheese layer with sliced strawberries. Melt remaining dark chocolate and drizzle over berries. Refrigerate the tart for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Penne with Oven-Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I made this when some friends came over. It turned out wonderful. Thanks, Celeste!

1/2 cup drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, with 1 Tbsp oil reserved
16 asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, sliced diagonally into 1/2” pieces
2 - 2.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp tomato paste
8 oz penne pasta
Olive oil
Shredded mozzarella/Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle chicken with a mixture of seasonings - basil, garlic spice, and parsley. Cook in the oven for 35 - 45 minutes at 375 degrees or until chicken is cooked thoroughly through. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.Add 1 Tbsp. of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil and 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a large skillet. Over high heat, stir-fry the asparagus for 3 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 cup basil, oregano, chicken broth, wine and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Put cooked pasta on a plate. Place a heaping layer of the shredded mozzarella/Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta. Next, drizzle sun-dried tomato mixture over the pasta and cheese. Place oven-roasted chicken on top.

2 servings.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Feta Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This recipe was wonderful. I am excited about making it again. It really was a great recipe. I served it with corn and the biscuits below.

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sugar and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Spoon into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar. Combine chopped tomatoes, garlic mixture, cheese, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add broth, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and thyme; bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken. (Approximately 2 tbsp per chicken breast.)

4 servings.


Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Biscuits

These biscuits turned out wonderful and they were the perfect compliment to the Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes. Since it was just the two of us, I halved the recipe below.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon banking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup cold butter milk
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 - 4 Tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, plus 2 Tablespoons of the oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 450. With a fork, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in bowl. Mix butter into dry ingredients with a fork. Blend evenly. Mix in garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and oil, and cheese. Stir in buttermilk with fork until dough just comes together. Form dough into about 10 coarse balls and pat down on greased baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

10 biscuits.

Source: Cook Smart by Pam Anderson (insert in Parade Magazine)

Rib-Eye Steak with Black Olive Vinaigrette

This recipe is wonderful. It truly tasted like something I ordered from a four star restaurant. The original recipe can be found at

Rib-eye Steak:
2 rib-eye steaks, boneless
1 tablespoon Herbe de Provence (or any steak seasoning you prefer)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Black Olive Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup black olives, pitted (I used black olive tapenade)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the Rib-eye:
I seasoned the Rib-eye with the seasonings and cooked it on the grill.

For the Black Olive Vinaigrette:
Combine the olives, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until mixed. Drizzle the oils into the blender with the machine running. Transfer the vinaigrette to a serving dish. Stir in the parsley and serve with the rib-eye.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pesto Cream Sauce over Pasta

This is the most delicious meal I have ever made! Enough said.

1 (16 ounce) package linguine or spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 pinch salt
pinch pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Romano cheese
1 cup prepared basil pesto
20 mushrooms, chopped
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent. Stir in garlic and butter, and saute until garlic is soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Dissolve flour in milk, then stir in. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cheese, and stir until melted. Stir in pesto. Add mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook 4 minutes, or until heated through. Toss with pasta until evenly coated.

I added pesto chicken to Brent's plate.
Yield: 6 Servings


Braised Balsamic Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

Season chicken breasts with ground black pepper and garlic salt. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet, and brown the seasoned chicken breasts. Pour tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken, and season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes. I usually remove the chicken and tomatoes and then add the brown sugar and cornstarch to the balsamic liquid and simmer until reduced.

4 servings.


Mexican Meatballs

DH loves Mexican food, but I get tired of tacos all the time. I decided to try something different but still with a Mexican flare. We both loved them.

1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped object
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs object
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 16-ounce jar salsa

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, preferably ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat; let cool. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, and onion mixture. Shape into 12 meatballs. Wipe out skillet, add the remaining oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Pour the salsa over the top and cook on medium for 20 minutes.

I served this with Mexican rice, and topped the meatballs with diced tomatoes.

4 servings.

Source: RealSimple cookbook

Easy Baked Ziti

This recipe is tasty but easy.

1 lb extra lean ground beef
8 oz ziti
14 oz jar spaghetti sauce
7 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1/2 onion, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. In skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic until done. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix egg, ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, and Parmesan, and Parsley. Drain beef and add spaghetti sauce. Preheat oven to 350. In casserole dish, spoon in spaghetti meat sauce. Top with 1/2 of pasta. Top with cheese mixture. Top with 1/2 of pasta. Add remaining 1 cup of cheese to top. Cover and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake and additional 5 minutes.

4 servings

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

These are delicious! Brent is a huge potato eater, so I try to mix it up with different flavorings. This attempt was highly successful.

1/4 cup butter
2 pounds potatoes (I used small red)
3 cups whipping cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fresh or 4 teaspoons dried Parsley
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Thinly slice the potatoes. In a dutch oven or large stew pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in potatoes, whipping cream, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring gently. Spoon potato mixture into greased 13 x 9 pan. Top with cheese. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

6 servings.


Gingered Pineapple Pork Chops

These are wonderful. The pork chops were so tender and the ginger and pineapple flavoring went really well together. I highly recommend these.

2 pork chops (you can use an type, as long as they are thick cut)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 can (8 oz) pineapple pieces

Preheat oven to 375. Place the pork chops in a shallow oven-proof dish. In a bowl, mix together sugar, vinegar, ginger, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup syrup from canned pineapple. Mix well and pour over chops. Cook uncovered for 30 - 35 minutes. Turn the chops once half through cooking. Top with the pineapple pieces and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

2 servings.

Source: The Quick and Easy Cookbook, by Alison Burt

Nacho Spuds

These are wonderful! I made as an appetizer when my family visited. They were so perfect, delicious, and went over well. For recipe info, see Celeste's blog:

Hawaiian Chicken Stir-fry

This is so delicious, and once again, I was able to get Brent to eat vegetables. The broccoli in this recipe tastes so sweet. I served the stir fry over brown rice that I had added a touch of low-sodium soy sauce to.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 cups fresh or frozen broccoli

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons corn starch

1 teaspoon onion powder

4 teaspoons EVOO

1 cup diced pineapple


Cook rice according to package directions. Cut chicken into bite size pieces. If the broccoli pieces are too big, you may need to cut them into smaller pieces. Heat EVOO in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned. Add broccoli and 1/2 cup water. Cook 6 minutes. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, and onion powder. Mix well, and pour over chicken. Cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in pineapple. Cook 1 minute. Serve over rice.

4 servings