Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beer Beef Stew

This hearty dish is perfect for a cold winter day, especially a cold Wisconsin winter day... I love using one of my favorite things in the world (beer of course), while cooking.  The best part is that the recipe only calls for one bottle, leaving the other five for you to consume during the process.

1 Tbsp of each, olive oil and butter
2 pounds stew meat (I used sirloin, since it was on sale)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bottle of beer (I used a brown ale such as Newcastle)
3 cups of beef stock
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1  Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tea paprika
1 bay leaf
a sprig of fresh chopped rosemary
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 & 1/2 tea sugar
4 whole carrots, peeled and sliced
4 whole new potatoes, quartered
additional water if necessary to thin depending on your preference

Heat oil and butter in a large pot and brown meat, do this is two batches if necessary. Remove meat and set aside. 

In the same pot add diced onion and cook for about 3 minutes until slightly softened, then add the minced garlic and continue to heat for one more minute.  Pour beer (don't forget to take a sip), beef stock and remaining seasoning ingredients, save the carrots and potatoes until later.  Put the meat back to the pot, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. 

Take a taste test and add additional seasoning if you feel necessary.

Now it's time to add the carrots and potatoes, cover and simmer for an additional hour or until veggies are ready.

Note- The liquid will thicken over time and if it becomes too thick add some water as needed for your taste/consistency  preferences, just keep your eye on it, also remember to discard the bay leaf. 
Serve with sliced french bread and get comfy...(mmm the bread soaks up that yummy gravy)

This is one of those dishes that tastes great the second day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats!

You read it right! CAKE BATTER RICE KRISPIES! Yeah, they rock.

3 Tbsp. butter
1 (10oz) bag of mini marshmallows
1/3 cup dry yellow cake mix (I added an extra heaping spoonful)
6 cups rice krispy cereal

Melt butter in a large pot over low heat and add the marshmallows, I always add a few extra for extra gooeyness...  keep stirring until they begin to melt, slowly mix in the dry cake batter until all combined.  Stir in the cereal so it is completely coated with sticky goodness and throw in some dashes of sprinkles for added color.   Press into desired baking dish and shake on more sprinkles.

Monday, October 24, 2011

African Chicken Peaunut Stew

Looking for something different for dinner?  Here's a unique comfort dish packed with deliciousness.

2 - 3 lbs chicken thighs, legs, or quarters
3 Tbsp. veggie oil
1 large sliced yellow onion
4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
6 - 8 garlic cloves
2 - 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized cubes
1 (15oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 tea. cayenne pepper, or to taste
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
optional: serving rice

Salt and pepper the chicken and heat vegetable oil in a large pot to brown the chicken.  Set chicken aside once all pieces are browned.  Saute the onions for 3 minutes being sure to scrape up any brown bits from the pan (that's where all the flavor is!)  Add the ginger and garlic, continue to saute for another 2 minutes and then stir in the sweet potatoes.

Add the chicken back to the pot along with the stock, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne pepper  (remember to use more salt and pepper to taste)  Cover and simmer for about 90 minutes stirring every once in a while. 

Remove the chicken and allow to cool enough to be able to remove the meat from the bone.  Discard skin and return chicken pieces back into the pot.  Stir together and add salt/pepper to satisfy your tastes and serve with white rice if you prefer (I actually liked it better without!)
Top with chopped cilantro and enjoy.

recipe from

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homemade Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

Seriously good stuff....make it now, use it daily, give as a gift or use as a decorative piece.   
Very easy and inexpensive to make, I used fresh rosemary out of my garden and re-used a few empty bottles I had around the house...that's cheap.

What you need:
olive oil
fresh rosemary sprigs

Rinse rosemary sprigs and make sure they are completely dry before using, you know since oil and water don't mix, warm the olive oil in a pan, be sure not to heat too high.  Place rosemary sprigs in your bottles and then use the funnel to transfer in the warm oil.  Cap it off and you're done. 

Enjoy in your everyday cooking, drizzle on potatoes prior to roasting or bring to a party with a fancy loaf of bread and dip's a hit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chicken Curry

I like my curry hot! Although, you can prepare this recipe according to your taste preferences.  Penzy's offers the best hot (and mild) curry powder.  Seriously, check it out.

1/2 stick of butter
2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs curry powder
2 tea salt
1 tea ground cumin
dash (or more) of cayenne
3 - 4 lbs cut up fryer chicken
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup ground cashews
3/4 cup plain yogurt (whole milk)
prepared jasmine of basmati rice

Brown the chicken in a large frying pan and set aside.  Heat butter in and cook onions, garlic, and ginger for about five minutes.  Add the curry powder, salt, cumin, cayenne and cook while stirring for two minutes.   Coat browned chicken pieces and cook for five minutes, add cilantro and full can of tomatoes, including juice.

Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to continue gentle simmer, while stirring occasionally for about 1 hour.  Just prior to serving add ground cashews and yogurt.  Simmer until thickened for about 5 minutes, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and enjoy with jasmine or basmati rice and then ENJOY!

recipe from

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Smokey Clams with Sweet Corn and Sungold Tomatoes

Sweet corn and sungold tomatoes may look like the B-list ingredients but I feel as though they shine the brightest in this dish.  Indulge in this dish of clams rested upon fresh, homegrown veggies with a hint of smokey bacon, finished off with a splash of oak aged bourbon, which provides a warm depth to this one pot wonder. 

1/2 lb thick-cut butchers bacon, cut into chunks
6 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut from the cob
1/2 lb sungold tomatoes, cut in half
15 little neck clams (please scrub the shells clean)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs paprika
3 Tbs bourbon
fresh basil leaves
thick sliced bread

In a large pot cook bacon chunks until browned, stir in paprika and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add corn and season with salt, cook for about 2 minutes and then stir in the tomatoes.  Cover and cook for 2 more minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and bourbon.  Add the clams (mouth facing up) and cook on medium heat covered for about 8 minutes, or until clams open up.  Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.

While you are waiting for the clams to open up toast some thick slices with butter (trust me you want to dip this bread in the delicious juice)  TIME TO ENJOY!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Tenderloin is a very easy cut of pork to prepare in many many ways, this is one which is stuffed with deliciousness, tied, and grilled to perfection. 

2 pork tenderloins (or cut filling in 1/2, but if you're going through the trouble, make 2!)
4 teaspoons brown sugar
olive oil
salt and pepper

For Stuffing
about 3oz. baby portobellos
1/2 can artichoke hearts (about 3 oz)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tea lemon juice with 1 tea zest
salt and pepper

Prepare the stuffing first, simply pulse all ingredients in food processor until coarsely chopped.

Cut tenderloins in half horizontally making sure not to cut all the way through, leave about 1/2 inch (so halves remain attached)  Open the loins, cover with press and seal (because it's awesome), and pound to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Trim any extra edges to make into a rectangle.  Salt-n-peppa both sides of the loin.

Spread 1/2 of the stuffing on one half of tenderloin and tightly roll up.  Tie up evenly as necessary to keep loin together.

Coat the outside with a little olive oil and rub with brown sugar, and sprinkle with salt-n-peppa.  (man, this makes me want to break into a little 'none of your business')

Place the loins on hot charcoal grill, cover, and let cook for about 25 minutes (until center is about 140°F) , rotating half way through.

Once done, rest under tented foil for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Slice and devour.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rosemary Bread

A warm peasant style french bread with a kick of rosemary.  So easy. So yummy.

1 packet dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
2 tsp. fresh Rosemary coarsely chopped (plus more for topping)
Olive Oil
melted butter and sea salt

Dissolve yeast packet in the warm water and add sugar.
Mix in flour, salt and rosemary, stir until blended.  No need to knead. (that was fun to say)
Cover with moist paper towel and let rise for 1 hour.

Place the sticky dough, in 2 rounds, on a cookie sheet lightly coated in oil and sprinkled with flour. 

Let these rise for another hour.

After the last dough nap, brush each round with melted butter and sprinkle with rosemary and ground sea salt. 

Bake at 425° for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 375° and bake for 15 more minutes.

Let loaf slightly cool before slicing into bite size pieces and serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping or use to make a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Protein bars -Vegan style

Full of protein and fiber...but, no animal by-products (do bees count?) 

If you haven't tried Arbonnes products yet, I suggest you give them a try.  The protein powders are not only vegan, but one of the best tasting I've had.  I use, and love, many products from Arbonne.  One thing that got me interested in tryin Arbonne was their mission and ingredient policy, read the policy below and I bet you'll be hooked too.

You don't have to stick to just shakes with protein powders, try this easy recipe below for a delicious bar. 
(To make gluten free be sure to purchase certified gluten-free rolled oats)

1 tea. olive oil
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 scoops Arbonne Essentials protein powder - vanilla
1 scoop Arbonne fiber boost
1/3 cup craisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
1 cup oats

Heat peanut butter, honey and olive oil over low heat until well mixed.
Stir in remaining ingredients and smooth into baking dish. Store in refrigerator.

BBQ Shrimp and Chicken Pizza

It's in the Za, so yeah...another pizza

I'm guessing everyone who goes to the grocery store gets suckered into those rotisserie chickens by the checkouts every once in a while...well yeah, thats what happend to me yesterday.  If you've put two and two together you may know where I'm going with this, yupp leftover chicken put to good use!

fresh shrimp (peeled and devained)
olive oil
naan bread
barbecue sauce
1/2 small red onion- sliced thin
shredded pizza cheese
2 tea. fresh thyme

Drizzle cleaned shrimp with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and 1/2 of the fresh thyme.  Cook the shrimp in skillet on medium heat until slightly pink, don't over cook since it will continue to cook in the oven.

Shred or chop up some of that leftover rottisserie chicken (I sprinkle with BBQ seasoning and heated in a frying pan)

Spread ample layer of your favorite BBQ sauce on naan bread, then sprinkle with pizza cheese

Top with chicken, shrimp, onions and fresh thyme. Sprinkle on a little bit more cheese.

Bake at 350° for about 12-15 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

So, if you haven't noticed I LOVE BALSAMIC VINEGAR.  Here is my homemade creamy dressing recipe, mmmmm. 

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 clove of garlic minced
about 3 oz. plain greek yogurt
a few large leaves of fresh basil
1 tea. fresh oregano
1 tea. chopped green onion
1 tea. lemon juice
salt and cracked pepper to taste

Chop your basil and oregano.
put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and whip it up.

Toss on greens and add your favorite toppings. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grilled Caprese Pizza

Since it's grillin' season, everything gets grilled, including PIZZA!
This recipe is simple, delicious and light.

olive oil
1 garlic glove
naan bread or flat pitas
fresh mozzarella ball
sun dried tomatoes or fresh tomato slices
fresh basil leaves
balsamic vinegar
pinch of sugar

First things first, get that grill going....

Second, reduce the balsamic.
Bring a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sugar to a light boil in a small saucepan. 
Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  This will reduce and thicken the balsamic by about half.
Set aside to cool.

While the coals are heating up cut the garlic clove in half and rub the clove all over the surface of the naan.  This will give your pizza a subtle garlic flavor from the garlic oils rubbed in.  Lightly brush a light layer of olive oil on next.

Time to assemble!

Place sliced mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves evenly around the naan.  Drizzle with the balsamic reduction until your pizza is beautiful.

It's grillin' time.

Grill over hot coals until it's cooked to your desire.

A few tips:
  • I drizzle with extra balsamic when it's done, because it's yummy
  • Remember, all of the toppings have a high water content, so try to blot dry the mozz and tomatoes before placing so you don't have a 'leaky pizza'  (although it will still taste delicious)
  • Rotate and move around on the grill to ensure even cooking
  • My number one tip when making anything, use good quality fresh ingredients! yeah, I yelled that.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spicy Mussels

I've been on a mussels kick lately so this time I wanted to make them myself.  I was planning on putting this on the grill but the wind ruined my master, I prepared in a cast iron skillet instead, but any large pot or skillet will work.

Remember to get fresh mussels and not to suffocate the little guys, that means do not leave them in a plastic bag for hours on end in your fridge.  Toss any that have open shells, it means they were gasping for air and most likely died (murderer).  Enzymes quickly break down after the mussel dies making it taste icky.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 fresh cloves of garlic-minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
1lb fresh mussels

Heat oil on medium and cook garlic and pepper flakes for about one minute.

Add tomatoes, wine and bay leaves and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the mussels and cook covered for 8 minutes.

                                                   I sure do love me some bivalves.

                                                                    Recipe from: everyday with rachel ray magazine

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

I'm going to go ahead and say once you eat this sammich you will make it again and again, trust me.  This one is easily one of my most requested meals to make.

Prepare yourself for how incredibly simple this recipe is....

3 - 4 lb chuck roast
1lb jar pepperoncini peppers and juice
Squishy buns
Provolone cheese slices

Trim roast of excess fat and place into a crock pot.
Salt and pepper the beef.
Remove stems and seeds from peppers and toss into the pot, pour pepper juice in as well.  You could add a little beef stock/broth or even water if needed....about 1/4 cup.

Set on low for 8 hours.

Lightly shred the beef and let cook for another 20 minutes. I like to skim the fat and add more peppers, if you want it a bit more spicy.

Place beef on a delicious squishy bun and cover with a slice of provolone.
Broil just enough to melt the cheese and toast the bun up.

Sometimes when I'm feeling sassy I'll dip it in au jus.

Yes, I realize that's not provolone...did you really think I don't know my cheese! I made mine with some gouda I had left, really any cheese works but, provolone ties it all together the best.
 You can thank me for this one later... =)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Portobello and Asparagus with Pasta Shells in Boursin Sauce

Well, it's that time of year again, the Farmers Market on the square is up and running. Fresh, locally grown produce all summer long! Did you know the Dane County Farmers Market is the largest producer-only market in the United States?  Pretty spectacular if you ask me.  Well, this trip I decided portobello mushrooms and fresh snapped asparagus would be a good base for dinner...after some searching I found this quick and delicious dish.

The boursin cheese adds a rich creamy flavor, if you have never had boursin before you are in for a treat! The soft French creamy goodness is available in a variety of flavors to choose from and you should be able to find it in any local grocery store with a good cheese section. 

To learn more visit here


1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil
1 lb portobello mushrooms caps cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup chicken stock
1 5.5oz package of boursin cheese (any flavor, I used shallot and chive)
corn starch/flour
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
3/4 lb medium pasta shells

Start a large pot of boiling water, don't forget to salt it!

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. 
Cook the mushrooms and season with salt and fresh pepper until tender, about 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock and Boursin cheese to the pan, bring to a light simmer and continue to stir occasionally.  The sauce will be very thin, so add a little bit of corn starch or flour to thicken to your liking, I used a little of both, about one teaspoon and let it simmer on low while the pasta was cooking.

Cook the pasta until almost done, roughly 7 minutes.  Add the asparagus to the pot and continue to cook until the pasta is done, about another 4 minutes

Drain and toss with mushrooms and sauce.

 I also made some fresh garlic bread, slice up fresh french loaf and butter each side, sprinkle with garlic salt and a dash of garlic powder and broil both sides until golden brown.

Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese and voila! An awesome dinner in less than 20 minutes!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Egg Salad Sandwiches

This is a great classic recipe for egg salad sandwiches!  Everything can be adjusted to your taste preferences, add a little more of this or take out a little of that...this is a fool-proof recipe sure to please.

10 hard-boiled eggs (I prefer farm fresh)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup miracle whip
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 stalk of celery finely chopped
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
bread (I prefer regular old white)
Hard boil those eggs...

Dice em' up and toss into a bowl


Stir in remaining ingredients...(I like to let it cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes prior to serving to allow the flavors to meld)

Slap some of that yumminess onto your bread and enjoy!