Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Steak and Beer Cheese Nachos

A few weeks ago, my family went out to Saul Good's for dinner.  My brother was having a hard time choosing between a burger and nachos.  I made a deal that I would get the burger if he would get the nachos, and we could exchange half of our meal (my family does this all the time).  He got the nachos, and to say that he was like a mama bear with her bear cub was an understatement.  The nachos were out-of-this-world fantastic, and he barely shared.

Steak and Beer Cheese Nachos
 {Steak and Beer Cheese Nachos}

So what do I do?  I go home and replicate it for the hubby.  He loved it too!

Wear gloves when handling hot peppers!
 {Wear gloves when handling hot peppers!}

Searing the steak (it can be grilled or baked)
 {Searing the steak (it can be grilled or baked)}

Melting the Mexican cheese
 {Melting the Mexican cheese}

Gathering the remaining ingredients
 {Gathering the remaining ingredients}

Steak and Beer Cheese Nachos side
 {Because who doesn't love a side view of delicious nachos?}

One year ago:  Lemon Ginger Cookies

Steak and Beer Cheese Nachos
adapted from Saul Good's appetizer

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10-20 minutes (depending on how you want your steak done)
Assembly time: 10 minutes

1 pound steak
7 oz blue corn tortilla chips
1 1/2 cup Beer Cheese, heated
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely diced
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place tortilla chips on an oven-safe plate.
  3. Sear or grill your steak until desired temperature (med, well, etc) is reached then cut steak into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Sprinkle shredded cheese on chips followed by steak, beer cheese, and jalapeno.
  5. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  6. Sprinkle cilantro on top.
  7. Serve.
I have a habit of recreating meals from restaurants, like these Lima Beans in Garlic Butter Sauce and Cajun Garlic Bread

Do you recreate meals from restaurants?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Peach Raspberry Mint Julep

Originally posted on HerKentucky!

We all know what's right around the corner--the Kentucky Derby!  One race tradition is to have the famed Mint Julep!  According to The Kentucky Derby Museum, the Mint Julep has been sold at the Derby since 1938.  Mint Juleps are traditionally served in silver or pewter cups, but this recipe is too beautiful to place in anything but a Mason jar! 

{Peach Raspberry Mint Julep}

Traditional mint juleps are just simple syrup, bourbon, mint and ice, but I wanted something a little different this year.  I was speaking with a bartender, and they made some suggestions that I had to try!  For instance, using honey instead of simple syrup and adding some fruit.  At the last minute, I decided to pour some sparkling cider in this drink which gives this a light, crisp finish.  Watch out though!  Those peaches pack a bourbon punch!

{I used Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon (seriously delicious, and I am not a bourbon drinker!)}
{Peaches soaked in bourbon overnight}

{Muddle fruit and mint together to release and mingle the flavors}

Peach Raspberry Mint Julep

Serves 8

Prep time: 10 minutes
Stand time: 1 day
Assembly time: 10 minutes

2 peaches, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 cup Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon (or whichever bourbon you prefer)**
1 pint raspberries
1 package mint leaves
8 tablespoons KY Proud honey, divided (one for each drink)
1 liter sparkling cider

  1. The day before your event, mix peaches and bourbon together and allow to set overnight.
  2. Place a few peach chunks, a couple of raspberries, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 4-5 mint leaves in each glass.
  3. Take a spoon and muddle the fruit together.
  4. Add 1 oz of bourbon to each glass.
  5. Top with ice.
  6. Pour cider over ice.
  7. Stir drink with a spoon.
  8. Serve!

**Bourbon is a form of alcohol so please be responsible while consuming any beverage containing it.**

To say that this was delicious was an understatement!  I can see making this beyond just for the KY Derby, during those hot summer days, when we have fresh peaches (we used peaches that we froze from last year) and mint that we planted. 

Have you ever had a mint julep?
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Monday, April 28, 2014

Cuban Pork and Black Bean Melts with Pickled Onions

Good things happen in threes right?  Well, on Wednesday, I won tickets to the Kentucky Proud WineFest in Louisville tomorrow, and then I was offered a new job with a great company on Friday.  Then on Sunday, I partnered with to do a monthly KY Proud recipe!  After the terrible start to 2014, I think it's shaping up to be a great year!  YAY!!!

Anyway, this sandwich was simply delicious and so easy to make!  Despite the insane amount of paprika, this was not a spicy dish.  A nice, hot sandwich on a weeknight with a side salad makes for a quick dinner.

Cuban Pork and Black Bean Melts with Pickled Onions
{Cuban Pork and Black Bean Melts with Pickled Onions}

Rubbing spice mix on pork
{Rubbing spice mix on pork}

Pickling red onions
{Pickling red onions}

Adding beans to shredded meat
{Adding beans to shredded meat}

Preparing sandwichPreparing sandwich
{Preparing sandwich by spreading mustard on it then follow with pickles, meat mixture and broiling cheese}

Cuban Pork and Black Bean Melts with Pickled Onions
{Add pickled onions to the top and enjoy!}

Cuban Pork and Black Beans Melts with Pickled Onions
from Better Homes and Gardens

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours
Assembly: 10 minutes

2 pounds pork loin, cut into 5 chops
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large red onion, sliced
4 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 cup pickle slices
8 slices rye bread
8 slices Swiss cheese
  1. In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, and black pepper until well combined; rub meat with spice mixture.
  2. In a crock-pot, combine yellow onion, wine, bay leaves, and garlic.  Top with spiced meat.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Make Pickled Red Onions:  Combine red wine vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Microwave until sugar is dissolved.  Add onion and stir to coat.  For best flavor, allow to set overnight, stirring as often as possible.
  5. Transfer meat to a large bowl and shred with two forks
  6. Strain cooking liquid, discarding the solids, and saving about 1/2 cup.  
  7. Add beans to the meat and add broth back to moisten meat.
  8. Preheat broiler.
  9. Meanwhile, toast bread to a medium toast.
  10. Arrange bread slices on a large baking sheet.  Coat bread with mustard.  Then add pickles, meat mixture and one slice of cheese.
  11. Broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  12. Place sandwich on a plate and top with Pickled Red Onions.
  13. Serve.
If you like the idea of sandwiches in the crock-pot, I have also made Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches.  Because of the sandwiches' success, I am looking to make more in the future.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Maybe a meatball sandwich....

Happy Monday!

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Food for Thought

{Tulips in the morning sunshine at the Arboretum}

Negative thinking is always expensive -- dragging us down mentally, emotionally, and physically -- hence I refer to any indulgence in it as a luxury.
~Peter McWilliams

I indulged in negative thinking last week, and let me tell you, I wasn't a happy camper.  As the quote states, it dragged me down mentally, emotionally and physically.  Then that made me even worse, and it's just a downward spiral from there!
I took a mental health day and changed my attitude, perspective, view, etc.  I let go of the things that I could not change and called on patience for the events that really irritated me.  All in all, this week has been great.

How do you pull yourself out of a funky mood?  I'd love to hear!

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Belgian Waffles

Easter was the perfect time to get together with family and have a delicious meal.  Due to schedules, we had to make it easy and quick.  I came up with a waffle bar making our family Belgian waffle recipe, and it was delicious!

 {Belgian Waffles}

 {Pour batter onto hot iron.  Side note--this waffle iron is practically as old as I am!}

 {Side view of the delicious Belgian waffles!}

 {Since we had a waffle bar, I had two going to keep up with the crowd!}

 {Lovely assistant topping her waffle--thanks mom!  We had butter, syrup, almonds, coconut, chocolate, strawberries, whipped cream, apricot-applesauce, white chocolate, fruit salad, and so much more!}

 {Mom's waffle--I was too hungry to take a picture of mine, but I will admit, I wasn't as good as she was (*cough* floating in syrup, butter, chocolate, powdered sugar and whipped cream *cough*)}

One year ago:  Chicken Vindaloo

Belgian Waffles

Makes 8 waffles (depending on the size of your iron)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Assembly time: 10 minutes

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Toppings, if desired
  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Mix ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Cook according to manufacturer's directions (which should list how much batter to pour, time, etc).
These waffles are delicious and addicting!  We don't make them very often for that reason.  It was nice to indulge though.  Does your family have a delicious breakfast recipe that they make during holidays?  I'd love to hear!

Side note--I won tickets to the Kentucky Proud WineFest next week!  I am so excited!  I hardly win any drawings or contests so that was a shock to say the least!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast

You know a dish is good when your husband comes home from night class, heats up the pot roast for dinner, and you wake up because of the delicious smells making you hungry.  True story--it happened last night!

Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast
 {Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast}

Rubbing chipotle-coffee spice mix on the roast
 {Rubbing chipotle-coffee spice mix on the roast}

Very important to get a good searing on the meat
 {Very important to get a good searing on the meat!}

Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast
 {Place everything in a crock-pot}

Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast
{Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast vegetable view}

One year ago:  Lemon Ginger Cookies

Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast
from Better Homes and Gardens Skinny Slow Cooker

Serves 6

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours
Assembly time: 10 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-3 pounds beef roast
2 large parsnips, peeled and diced
1 large red onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
8 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (I forgot to get them so I didn't have any, but I would have!)
6 oz tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup beef broth
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine coffee, chili powder, and salt until combined; then rub it on the roast.
  3. Sear roast until dark brown on all sides.
  4. Meanwhile, place onions, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts in the bottom of a crock-pot.
  5. Place meat on plate on rest.
  6. Add Balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, and beef broth to pan; using a spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan to get any browned bits out.
  7. Pour sauce on top of vegetables.
  8. Place meat on top of sauce and vegetables.
  9. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  10. Serve.
Was I a bit nervous about how this would turn out?  Absolutely!  Although I am a trained chef, weird combinations still freak me out!  This chipotle-coffee mixture had me worried, but as soon as I took a bite, I was hooked.  The coffee and spice from the chili powder are subtle plus with the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and tomato paste, this dish hit it right on the head!

Have you ever tried a combination that you were wary about, and then ended up loving it?  How about a time when you didn't?  I'd love to hear about it!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Tip: Zucchini Noodles

I try to eat gluten-free, but sometimes, a girl just wants to eat pasta.  I saw the idea of making zucchini noodles on Pinterest, and it intrigued me so I had to try it!

Zucchini Noodles
 {Zucchini Noodles}

zester to make Zucchini Noodles
 {This is a type of zester which can be found at kitchen gadget stores.  If you have a mandolin, that would work too!}

Step 1: Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.

raw Zucchini Noodles
{Raw zucchini noodles}

Step 2:  Drag the zester down the length of the zucchini making long strings of "spaghetti".  If using a mandolin, set the blades to a 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch and run the zucchini along the mandolin.

boiling Zucchini Noodles
 {Boiling zucchini noodles}

Step 3:  Boil the zucchini noodles in hot water for 3-5 minutes.  This is just to get the noodles warm.

cooked Zucchini Noodles
 {Cooked zucchini noodles}

Step 4:  Drain the zucchini noodles and then plate.

Zucchini Noodles
 {I topped mine with homemade spaghetti sauce}

Step 5:  Use like you would regular pasta by adding it to a dish and making sauce or topping it with a sauce that was already made, like spaghetti sauce.

Step 6:  Enjoy!

If you are gluten-free, how else do you satisfy a craving for pasta?  I've tried quinoa pasta, and just plain gluten-free pasta.  I love the idea that this gives you another veggie!  I'd love to hear how you do gluten-free!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini

This recipe was so ridiculously delicious, that I was happy to eat it for the next three days!  It was so filling that you didn't have to eat much.  Plus, this was made in the crock-pot.  I'm finding that recipes in the crock-pot are either hit or miss; some recipes can be salvaged and made a little differently the next time.  Lately, I've been a miss-spell, but this recipe brought me out of it!

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini
 {Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini}


Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini mixing sauce together
 {Mixing sauce ingredients together}

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini ready to eat
 {Ready to eat!}

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini add garnishes
 {Add optional garnishes}

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini
 {Top view}

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini
from Better Homes and Gardens

Serves 6

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 7 hours
Assembly time: 10 minutes

1 pound chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1-15 oz can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 bulb fennel, sliced
1 sweet pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 oz tomato paste
Parmesan cheese and parsley, optional garnish
  1. Place chicken thighs in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  2. Layer beans, fennel, pepper and onion on top of chicken.
  3. Mix garlic, oregano, chili flakes, tomatoes, wine and tomato paste together until well combined.
  4. Pour tomato mixture over vegetables in the crock-pot.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is done.
  6. Stir and serve with Parmesan cheese and parsley on top. 
This recipe was originally called braised, but nothing in this recipe was braised....  Very strange so I changed it to stewed.  Still delicious no matter what you call it, but I didn't want to misrepresent the recipe.

Happy Monday!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Food for Thought

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pork and Green Chile Stew

It just seems that this week, I am short on words.  Work and my personal life have been a little crazy.  All I can say about this recipe is that everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) who came into my office when I had this for lunch said it smelled delicious, and the hubby even said it was good.  That's a winner in my book!

Pork and Green Chile Stew
 {Pork and Green Chile Stew}

Mixing ingredients into the crock-pot
 {Mixing ingredients into the crock-pot}

One of my personal pet peeves is food photography.  I believe that the food photographed should be exactly how it looks when eaten, not have done vegetables, oil covered, etc just to get a good picture.  It is difficult sometimes with the food that I feature here to look appetizing, but I don't think I do too horrible of a job.

looks like the recipe photo
{It really did look like the picture!}

Having said all that, I have NEVER had a recipe come out exactly like the picture.  I just wanted to say YIPEE!

One year ago:  Middle Eastern Garlic Chicken

Pork and Green Chile Stew
from Better Homes and Gardens Skinny Slow Cooker

Makes 6 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours
Assembly time: 10 minutes

3 cups chicken broth
15 oz can of hominy, drained
2 large (4 medium) red potatoes, diced 2 pounds, pork loin, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 oz cans green chiles
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca (baking section of your grocery store)
Cilantro and sour cream, optional garnish
  1. Place potatoes, hominy and chicken broth in a crock-pot.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil until hot.
  3. Add meat and sear until golden brown on one side.  Add meat to crock-pot.  This might need to be done in batches because the caramelization is key!
  4. Add onions and garlic to the hot pan; cook until browned on the edges.
  5. Add green chiles, cumin, chili powder, pepper and oregano, stirring to combine.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to get the good browned stuff off.
  6. Turn the heat off and add the tapioca, stirring to combine.
  7. Pour spice mixture over the meat in the crock-pot.
  8. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  9. Stir to combine the stew.
  10. Serve with cilantro and sour cream on top.
Okay so maybe not too short on words....

Have a great day!  (YAY, it's hump day!)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vegetarian Pita Sandwiches

I had a complete brain fart yesterday and forgot to post!  Sorry about that!  I made these Vegetarian Pita Sandwiches for a recent family gathering, and they were delicious!  Even the hardcore meat-eaters thought so!  (I'm working on getting them turned around!)

Vegetarian Pita Sandwiches
 {Vegetarian Pita Sandwiches}

This is part of the My Legume Love Affair challenge for April!  Woot!!!  That's my second challenge completed this month.  See the first here because it was another vegetarian dish!

{Thank you a day through my life, Lisa's Kitchen and The Well-Seasoned Cook for hosting this challenge!}

Preparing the beans for the next morning
 {Preparing the beans for the next morning}

Cooked beans that are ready to eat!

 {Cooked beans that are ready to eat!}

One year ago:  Beet Salad

Vegetarian Pita Sandwiches

Serves 8

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time 6-8 hours
Assembly time: 10 minutes

3 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 pitas
Toppings like spinach, eggs, feta, quark, cream cheese, tomatoes, etc--make these your own!
Mexican--guacamole, lettuce, jalapenos, and corn
Mediterranean--tzatziki, spinach, feta, tomatoes, parsley, olives, cucumbers
Asian--sweet Thai chili sauce, cabbage, carrots, rice noodles
American--cheddar cheese, onions, ketchup
  1. Combine all ingredients except pita and toppings in a crock-pot.
  2. Cook for 6-8 hours or until you get home.
  3. Make your pitas however you want!  The possibilities really are endless!
As with many foods I bring to family gatherings, I did not go home with anything because everyone else laid claim to my food!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Food for Thought

{Red River Gorge}

The Practice of Being Present
by Danna Faulds

Attend the breath.
Let the rhythm slow and settle.
Filling and emptying, draw the outside in, and then release.
Simplicity and ease.
Nothing to do but breathe, relax, and feel the free movement of air and life force,
watch the play of energy and sensation, allow everything to be,
without the need to change or fix or make it different.
This moment, you can listen to your soul.
This breath, you can have no goal but being.
You are already complete.
This, just this, is what it means to be whole.

I have let stress and anxiety back into my life.  It's been given an eviction notice.  Not going to a yoga class on a regular basis has really affected me, but that's no excuse.  Yoga can be done anywhere, and I have not made it a priority in my life lately.  That is changing, and I will be starting now! 

I hope that you have a glorious weekend!

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