Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lucky (2)7 Chili

Tonight I'm pleased to have a guest chef...Mr. John.  Today was a Chili Cook-off at work and his recipe won!  It is his own creation and I'm giving it 4.5 stars.  It has enough spice - hot but not too hot.  He is even sharing his  recipe- it has 27 ingredients (hence the name!)  If he keeps this up, I may have him do more of the cooking around here :-)

The final tally at work


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dinner and a Play

Saturday over Thanksgiving weekend, we went with some friends to see this play.  This had been on my must see list for about 3 years so I was really glad the stars aligned this year!  As I'm writing this, I'm chuckling to was so entertaining and funny.  I totally see why their shows are sold out each night - if you live around Minneapolis, I would recommend it!

After the play, we went to a restaurant downtown... it is always hard to decide where to go... there are so many places we want to try.  A co-worker had recommended this place and I'm glad she did.  We have a wonderful meal... another place I would recommend trying!

Appetizer - Cornmeal Crusted Rock Shrimp with dipping sauces

Appetizer  - Seafood Cheviche

My dinner - grilled scallops served over a potato fondue.... yum!

Banana Cream Pie for dessert - Mr. John and I shared!
If anyone has a suggestion for another place we should try, let us know!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pork Chop Stuffing Bake

Thanks Kari for sharing this recipe with me!  Five ingredients, 40 minutes and a 3.5 star meal!  It is so easy even a caveman could do it...ha

The pork chops are browned and placed in a 9x13 pan.  Prepare the stuffing as directed, add the cranberry sauce, 3/4 c of BBQ sauce, 2T of brown sugar and spoon over chops and bake for 30 minutes at 350

...oh and notice that I've switched to my "winter plates" :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The First Thanksgiving!

... Happy Belated Thanksgiving... this year we had the pleasure of going to the newlyweds house as they hosted their first Thanksgiving!  It was quite a feast!  I almost didn't know what to do with myself... I was only asked to bring Pumpkin Soup.  The soup has been a tradition for a number of years and is a Rachel Ray recipe.  So that is all I did - the kids did the rest and I was impressed...

Click here for the recipe
They used their new wedding china

Some of us watched the game while the kids cooked

After a wonderful meal, we had dessert

It was a great day, we spent time with the family including Benj's folks and stayed overnight.  I even got Mr. John to stop at Crate and Barrel on the way home.... :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Penne for your Thoughts

Sunday is suppose to be a day of rest...well, we I decided that "we" should clean out our storage room.  I got Mr. John fired up - we took everything out of our room and decided what should stay, be donated or recycled.  This pretty much took all day so when it came time for cooking dinner, I had no energy (aka didn't want to get out of my sweats and put make-up on) to get groceries....

I did some scouring and on hand I had frozen shrimp, a shallot, diced tomatoes, heavy cream and of course pasta (I must have about 15 different kinds currently on hand!)  I googled heavy cream and shrimp and found I recipe I could work with to create something for my helper to eat.

I cooked  8 oz. of penne pasta.  Next sauteed the defrosted shrimp (seasoned with S&P)  in 1 T of olive oil and 1 T of butter and set aside.  In another skillet I sauteed 2 T shallot and 1/2 clove garlic (both minced) for about 4 minutes, added 1/2 dry white wine and let cook down about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile I had taken the diced tomatoes and chopped fine in blender.  To the wine mixture I added 3/4 c of tomatoes and 3/4 c of heavy cream and let simmer for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.  The shrimp is chopped in bite size pieces and added to the sauce mixture until heated through.  I also wanted to add fresh basil but since I did not have any I used 2 frozen cubes and stirred into the sauce (these can be bought at Trader Joes).  Add sauce/shrimp to penne, toss and serve.  This turned out quite tasty and Mr. John gave it 3.5 stars.

It's Monday night and I still haven't gone grocery shopping!  Maybe tomorrow after work :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Just Dessert

Last night we went to dinner with some friends and invited them back for dessert - I didn't make a fancy one but this is my favorite - Brownie Sundaes... the good news we had leftovers tonight, the bad news we had leftovers tonight!  But what the heck... these are delicious!

John does his with caramel sauce

I do mine with hot fudge

Doesn't this look dee-lish!  Come on over we have more fixings!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Recipe" for Success

A couple weeks ago - I was in the mood to tackle a project - most of my "followers" know I love to decorate and redecorate... It always includes painting - I just find it therapeutic (and at a cost of $25 a gallon much cheaper too!) ... though with all the painting I've done in the house, a good friend of mine has said I've lost square footage in the house - maybe I have but at least I'm kinda sane :-)

Anyway, back to the project - we have a full bath in the basement.  Originally about 10 years ago, I went for the rustic look and now wanted to turn it into something softer looking with more of a spa feel.  Here are some before and after pictures - I was quite pleased.  I did this from a Saturday afternoon to the final touches on Sunday afternoon... Mr. John helps by hanging stuff - he is good at that and has the patience to make sure things are hung straight

Here are some of the final touches and where I found them:

From Kohl's

"Plant" from Target; turtle from Hobby Lobby

Greens - already had; cute diffuser (filled with rosemary mint oil) at a craft fair in Shakopee MN
Other finds:
New light fixture - Lowe's
Mirror - Lowe's
Switch plates - Lowe's
Paint - Home Depot - Behr plus primer called "Thunder Grey"
Shower curtin and rings - Bed, Bath and Beyond
Towels - Bed, Bath and Beyond
Rugs - Kohls
Pictures - Kohls
His/Hers towel holder - Hobby Lobby
Towel rack (rolled towels) - already had
White Shelves - already had
Basket on tank - already had

Come stay with us and enjoy our "spa" bathroom....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pecan Crusted Pork with Orange-Maple Glaze

Pecan Crusted Pork with Orange-Maple Glaze
I haven't made many dishes with pork and Mr. John likes "the other white meat" so when I found this recipe in my BH&G magazine, I gave it a try.  He liked it and gave it 3.5 stars!

The ingredients were few....

After the pork is seasoned, it is dipped in pure maple syrup and then pressed into the pecans (I should have chopped the pecan even smaller)

Fry in a small amount of oil - be careful that heat is low enough so the pecans don't burn - I learned the hard way!

Meanwhile juice one orange

Once the pork is done and removed from skillet, a glaze is made and served over the pork - good meal!

Pecan Crusted Pork Serves: 4 Calories: 537 Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
Recipe : BH&G Oct 2011

 -1 pork tenderloin (about 1.5 lbs)
-1/2 tsp salt -1/4 tsp pepper
-4 tbl pure maple syrup
-1 cup pecan pieces finely chopped
-2 tbl veg oil
-2 oranges (1 juiced; 1 cut in wedges)
-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Trim pork, then cut into 1/2-inch slices. Flatten slices with palm of hand; season pork with salt and pepper.
2. Place 3 tablespoons of the syrup in a shallow dish; place pecans in a second shallow dish. In a 12-inch skillet heat oil over medium heat. Coat pork in syrup, then press in pecans. Place pork in skillet in single layer; top with remaining pecans and syrup from dish. Cook 3 to 4 minutes each side, just until pork is pink in center. Remove from skillet. With a slotted spoon, remove any pecan pieces in skillet; spoon over pork.
3. Stir orange juice, the remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup, cumin, and cayenne into skillet. Cook, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour over pork. Serve with orange wedges.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

$500 Winner

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
No, not me.....This recipe won $500 in the BH&G recipe contest in the October 2011 magazine.  I had to try it, it looked intriguing, I followed the recipe exactly, it turned out like the picture, I had high hopes, I served it to Mr. John, we both took bites and yada yada yada he gave it 2 stars and I'm sure that was pretty generous!  It's interesting and we ate it but it is not a dish I would make again so I'm not adding it to my recipe file.  Now with all that said, IF you like pumpkin - a lot - you would probably love this dish so if you really want to try it, write to me and I'll send it to you.... for free!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What is Gnudi?

Answer:  Gnudi (pronounced "nu-dee") is a type of gnocchi made from ricotta cheese and a little bit of flour. The result is a dumpling that some describe as "nude" ravioli, or filling without the pasta — that is to say, light, fluffy, and creamy.

Yep - that is correct - when Mr. John and I were eating tonight, I asked him what these reminded him of and he said ravioli - so I googled it and found the above definition....  I first saw this recipe in my May 2011 Food Network.  I followed the recipe as is and you can find it at their website.

Since this is the first time I have made anything like this, here is a step-by-step... and John gave this 3.5 stars - he had seconds and he would have given it 4 stars if it had meatballs!  Meat - it's what he likes for dinner!


Be sure to defrost the squeeze the spinach very well

Add the ricotta cheese, parm cheese, 2 eggs, flour, S&P and freshly grated nutmeg

Mix well and scoop into balls

Make sure your hands are well floured and then shape and roll lightly into additional flour

Have a large pot of salted boiling water going and add about 8 at a time to cook.  Remove with a slotted spoon about 5 minutes after boiling

Meanwhile have some marinara sauce simmering that has some butter whisked in

Place dumplings into sauce and gently cover... serve and mangia!  I will definitely be making this again... maybe with meatballs :-)