Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Updates Coming Soon!

I am so sorry I have been away for so long! I certainly have not been away from the kitchen. I will update with a few dishes that I want to share with you all very soon. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Texas Chili

I found this recipe in the October 09 edition of Martha Stewart Living and I have been dying to make it. I decided there was no better way to welcome November and the upcoming chilly weather than with a bowl of homemade chili. I guess I should start by saying that I love chili but have never attempted to make it. This recipe was delicious and the beef was so tender.  It's a bit time consuming with all the chopping, soaking and seeding, but the results are definitely worth all of the hard work. Not to mention, we now have enough leftovers for the next few days. Christian and I both agreed that this will be made again. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

8 whole dried chilis (5 ancho and 3 guajillo , or all ancho)
3 tablespoons of safflower oil, eyeball ( I used olive oil)
3 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into cubes, 1/2 inch or smaller
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
7-8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin ( i used quite a bit)
1 1/2 dried oregano (i used quite a bit)
1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, pureed with their juice (i used crushed)
4 cups of water
water for soaking chilis
2-3 teaspoons of white vinegar
coarse salt and pepper to taste
(i served over rice but this is optional)

Toast dried chiles in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and blistered, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove stem and seeds; discard. Transfer chiles to a large measuring cup or bowl, and cover with hot water. Keep chiles submerged with a small bowl, and let soak for 30 minutes. Remove from water, and puree in a blender with 1/2 cup soaking liquid.

Heat a large heavy pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Season beef with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown beef in batches, adding more oil as needed, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.Add remaining tablespoon oil, the onions, garlic, and minced chiles to pot, and cook over medium-high heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. (If the pan gets too dark, add a little water, and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon to deglaze.) Add cumin and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  (forgot to take picture of beef)


Stir in browned beef and chile puree. Add tomato puree, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently, partially covered, until meat is very tender and juices are thick, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Check pot once an hour for excessive evaporation; if chili seems dry, add a little water.) Season chili with salt, and stir in vinegar. 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

I was determined to make this recipe for two reasons. 1) I wanted a stuffed pepper because I had not had one in forever 2) I have been lazy bones lately and decided to stick these puppies in a crockpot to experiment. Christian told me it wouldn't work. He was halfway correct. These turned out pretty mushy BUT very very tasty. Christian had 2 so they must have been somewhat sucessful!  I cooked these on low for about 7 hours. The peppers had a nice roasted flavor and the stuffing was absolutely delicious. I would maybe cut the rice/turkey amount in half next time because I had a ton of leftover stuffing that I just ended up baking and making a hash. That ended up being pretty delicious on its own but I prefer it stuffed in a pepper. With all of this said, I will definitely make these again...just in the oven.

1 cup cooked rice ( i cooked mine in 2 cups of chicken stock)
1 lb ground turkey
1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes ( i used fire roasted with chipotle peppers)
pepper to taste
1/3 cup of chicken stock

Wash and clean peppers removing seeds and ribs of peppers. Reserve pepper tops. Mix all ingredients together except for peppers and chicken stock. Pour the chicken stock into the bottom of the crockpot and place peppers in crockpot. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 2.5 hours on high.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This weekend I attended a bake swap and I decided I wanted to make something festive. It was such a fun event and I came home with tons of yummy and creative treats. My cookies weren't that creative but they sure were delicious! They were a hit at the event and I even saved a few for the apartment to munch on here and there. I have to say, I completely understand the demand for slice and bake cookies. By the end of my preperation I had a flour covered kitchen and a tired arm from all of the mixing with the hand mixer.

Pumpkin Cholocate Chip Cookies:
Courtesy of

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips (not semi sweet)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Shrimp and Grits

For some reason, I had a craving for shrimp and grits last week but never got around to making it. I had a friend over for dinner this Sunday night and decided this would be the perfect dish to make for a cold Sunday night. I have never made this dish before but I knew I wanted my grits to be super cheesy. So, I started from there. This recipe for shrimp and grits is incredibly fast and so delicious. I had seconds.

Shrimp and Grits:
Courtesy of

6 cups water

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk (do not use fat-free)
1 box quick-cooking grits
1 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated sharp white cheddar cheese
5 bacon slices, chopped
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 1/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes, divided
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 tablespoon hot sauce

Bring water and milk to boil in large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until grits are thick, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Mix in cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, sauté bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels. Add mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and 1 1/2 cups tomatoes to drippings in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender and sauce is thick, about 12 minutes. Add shrimp, hot sauce, and 3/4 cup tomatoes to skillet. Sauté until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 4 minutes.
Spoon hot grits into bowls; top with shrimp and sauce.

And for dessert, my friend brought these lovely crepes that were absolutely amazing!

Sage Sausage Balls with Balsamic Apricot Dip

I havent updated in a while so I thought it was time to post a few things that I have made over the past few weeks and by the fast few weeks I mean last weekend and yesterday. I haven't been cooking much lately but  I have planned a few yummy meals for this week so hopefully I will get back in the swing of things. I have made these sausage balls several times now. They are perfect to bring to an office party and a great addition to your tailgate spread. I made these for the Alabama/Ole Miss game the other weekend (roll tide!!). I always get lots of compliments when I make them...especially for the sauce. The sauce is definitely the superstar in this recipe. It's also a perfect compliement for chicken strips!

Courtesy of

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/4 pounds regular sausage
3 tablespoons dried sage
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, eyeball it
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
1 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls

Preheat a small pot over medium heat and the oven to 425 degrees F.

Add oil and onion to pot. Saute the onion for 1 minute.

In a mixing bowl, combine sausage and sage.

Next, add balsamic vinegar to onion and reduce by half, 1 minute. Remove vinegar from heat and combine with apricot  preserves and spicy mustard. Stir until mustard is fully incorporated. Dip will be glossy and brown in color.

Add 2 tablespoonfuls of apricot dip to bulk sausage and mix. Form meat into bite size nuggets, coat in bread crumbs then place on nonstick cookie sheet. Recipe will make 20 to 24 pieces. Bake about 20 minutes, until evenly browned, turning occasionally. Serve with toothpicks for dipping.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Smoky Shrimp with Spinach Pasta

I am on a pasta kick this week! Actually, I shouldn't have put an exclamation mark behind that last sentence because I am supposed to be working on making healthy dishes and not indulging on pasta  every night. Anyway, I found this recipe a while ago while browsing through foodgawker. Today I had a craving for seafood and I immediately remembered this recipe.  It orginally called for smoked paprika and turkish pepper. I only had paprika in my pantry and have no idea what turkish pepper is. Google was surprisingly no help. If you know what it is, please comment below! s. I used cayene pepper instead. I added a little smoked chipotle tabasco sauce to try to add a smoky flavor to the mix. Next time, I will definitely use the smoked paprika as it wasn't as smoky as I expected. This meal was still yummy nontheless!

Smoky  Shrimp with Spinach Pasta
Courtesy of The Purple Kitchen


12 oz shrimp, cleaned and shells removed
10-12 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle tabasco sauce (optional) 
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2lb spinach spaghetti

Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions on the package.
Mince garlic and stir with salt. Heat pan (preferably cast iron skillet)  and add olive oil. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add paprika, cayenne pepper, and chiptole tabasco sauce and stir until well mixed.

 Add shrimp and saute for about 3-4 minutes until no longer grey. Drain pasta and add to pan with shrimp. Stir and mix well. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mediterranean Pasta with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

I spotted this recipe in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living and since I had almost all the ingredients I decided to make it for dinner tonight. This dish was full of flavor and very easy to make. It was definitely a "set it and forget it" kind of meal and I was able to relax and prepare for Sunday night television while the tomatoes roasted away! Sunday nights are always a night of comfort food for me for two's the night when I have the most time on my hands to cook and it takes away some of the sadness of knowing the weekend is coming to an end.

8 ounces of fettuccini pasta
10-12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup of olive oil, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

Place tomato halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick cooking spray.

Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic and seasonings in a small bowl.  Spoon mixture over tomatoes.

Roast tomatoes  in preheated 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until soft.

Prepare pasta as directed on the package and drain well.

Place 1/2 of the roasted tomatoes and remaning 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Mash the tomatoes well until they form a coarse sauce.

Add pasta and remaining tomatoes and mix well. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baked Chicken Spaghetti


My mom's friend used to make this all of the time and when I am home over the holidays I always beg her to make a batch for me. Yesterday I had a craving for chicken spaghetti and I simply couldn't wait for someone else to make it for me. Now, this is not an ideal dish for someone without a family (such as myself). I didn't realize the recipe would make so much! I ended up freezing a lot of it and giving some to my brother. This is such a yummy twist on traditional spaghetti and best of's easy and delicious!


1 chicken, cooked and deboned or 4 to 5 chicken breast
  1 onion
  2 tbsp. butter
  1 can cream of mushroom soup
  1 can cream of chicken soup
  1 can cream of celery soup
  2-3 cups Chicken Broth
  1 bell pepper
  1 pkg spaghetti
  1 lb. Velveeta, diced
  1 can Rotel


 Dice onion and bell pepper; saute in butter. Cook spaghetti
in chicken broth. In large bowl, mix cream of
chicken, mushroom, celery, chicken, Velveeta, pepper and
onion mixture. Add 1 can drained Rotel; mix well. Add
cooked spaghetti and 1/2 cup chicken broth and mix well.
Pour into large baking dish. Top with a few slices of velveeta cheese if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Williams Sonoma Technique Class #1

A few weeks ago when as I browsed through Williams Sonoma, I discovered a list of technique classes they offer each month for free. Yes, FREE! I signed up for 10 classes and my first one was today, Crepes and Croques. I had so much fun and it was such a learning experience. Our instructor, Allison, was a joy and so helpful. The crepes were delicious. She filled them with thinly sliced pears and strawberry jam. I am more of a savory crepe person but I enjoyed these. I can't tell you how delicious the croques were. I have been thinking about them all day. If I had a griddle (which I plan to purchase this week) I would have already made a batch.  They were just fantastic! I plan to make the croques next Saturday for brunch. I may even invite a few friends over and showcase my new french skills! Once I make them I will post pictures and the recipe. For now, consider this post encouragement to visit or call your local Williams Sonoma and sign up for a few classes!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

I found this recipe on a blog that is full of great ideas. Mine did not turn out quite the way I would have liked, but they were tasty nonetheless.  I think I used too much cream cheese which is why they did not brown  on the top as they should have. Since I will be making these again in the future, I hope to master it on my next try!

6 jalapenos, sliced in half, ribs and seeds removed (I use a papertowel to get the
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.Cut a thin strip off the back of each jalapeno half so they will sit flat on the baking sheet. Mix the last 5 ingredients together until well combined.Spoon mixture to fill each jalapeno half. Bake for 15 minutes, until jalapenos are just tender and the cheese filling is bubbling & brown on top.

Baked Brie with Red Pepper Jelly

This is one of my favorite appetizers to make. It is fantastic! More importantly, its easy to make and is always a hit whenever I make it. This time I used red pepper jelly, but sometimes I leave it out. It is delicious either way!

Baked Brie with Red Pepper Jelly:

1 round of good brie (I use the one in the wooden box)
2 tablespoons of red pepper jelly
2 cans of crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is preheating use a sharp knife to remove the rind from the brie. Spread the red pepper jelly on top of brie and wrap the brie with crescent rolls until completely covered. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crescent rolls are brown and flaky on the outside.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomato Stuffed with Chicken Salad

I decided to save some time in the morning and make my lunch tonight. I haven't made chicken salad in forever and for some reason it has been on my mind for the last two weeks! Needless to say, I was excited to finally get around to making it and will be even more excited around lunch time tomorrow. I got this recipe a few years ago from my good friend, Susannah. It was so different and I fell in love with it immediately. I love chicken salad and I always like to look for unique ways to make it so if you have a recipe send it my way. This is one of my favorites. The white pepper is such a nice surprise! I eyeballed the measurements so just taste as you go.

Chicken Salad:
2 cups of diced cooked chicken (I use white)
1/2 cup of fat free mayonnaise  
1 medium red onion
1/2 cup sliced almonds
white pepper to taste
a few dashes of hot sauce

Stuffing the Tomato:
Slice the tomato to remove top. Cut and spoon out inside of the tomato until clean.

*The original recipe calls for celery as most traditional chicken salad recipes do. I don't like celery so I left it out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I made another batch of hummus tonight. It is crazy good and I already have big plans for it. I kind of just eyeballed it but here are the ingredients with my best estimate on the measurements:

1 16 oz can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup of reserved liquid from chickpeas
1/3 cup of tahini
4 cloves of garlic
juice from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until well blended.

Stocking Up On Healthy

Today I decided to visit the Women's Health website to see if I could find a few healthy tips and ideas that I could incorporate into my cooking. . I found a list of healthy, yummy items that I plan to stock my pantry with. From breads to spreads, this comprehensive list will be the perfect companion on grocery store trips.Hope you find this useful!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Night Dinner Part 2

Well, obviously I have not been in the kitchen this week. This "staycation" turned into a little vacation and I've been spending most of my time on the road, poolside, or at the beach. Not a bad way to pass time, huh? With that said, I still need to post pictures and update you on our little dinner party from last week.
We had such a great time! I was a little stressed at first since dinner was to be on the table at 7:30 and I didn't leave the grocery store until around 5...with a list of chores still waiting for me. Somehow, things came together wonderfully.
Roasted BBQ Chicken:

Courtsey of Christian Haines

1 Chicken cut into pieces (2 each of: Breasts, Thighs, Wings, and Drumsticks)

1 Large Yellow Onion
Olive Oil
16-18 oz. of Barbeque Sauce (Bullseye or Sweet Baby Rays)
Spice Rub Ratios (didn't really measure the spices but here is an estimated guess)
3 parts Brown Sugar
2.5 parts Kosher Salt
1 part Garlic Powder
1 Part Paprika
1/2 Part Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Poultry Seasoning

Mix the spices together until homogenous. Coat both sides of the chicken thoroughly with the rub and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add olive oil to skillet and brown the chicken until a golden brown crust forms on all sides.

Slice the onion and coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 pyrex casserole dish.

Place the chicken in the dish and add enough barbeque sauce to cover

the chicken.

Cook for 35-45 minutes, or until the breasts are done.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Julie and Julia: A Must See

Before I post about our Friday night dinner party, I must first discuss the pure awesomeness of this movie. I absolutely loved it and I think you will too. Like Julie, I started my blog as a way to unwind and do something that I actually ENJOY. When narrowing down my thoughts on what I wanted to blog about, I decided that I wanted to celebrate my creations in the kitchen. Well, maybe "re-creations" is a more appropriate term here. Either way, this movie is inspiring in so many ways. For me, it inspires me to continue to do what I love (cook) even though I sometimes have no idea what I'm doing...and to keep on blogging even though people may not be listening! Thanks to Christian, I will soon have an early edition of  Mastering the Art of French Cooking and on my "to cook" list is none other than Beef Bourginon. Bon Appetit! 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday Night Dinner

Tomorrow night we are having another couple over for dinner so I am anxiously skimming through my cookbooks tonight gathering ideas. I am in charge of appetizers and the salad so it won't be anything too complicated (I hope). I am really excited about putting my new apron  (in black) to good use! I know it's nothing special but I needed one and the price was right.  Tomorrow starts my week long vacation so on the days that I am home I plan to do a little experimenting in the kitchen. I will have all the time in the world to make my mistakes and learn from them! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tomato Pie

Tuesday night is Christian's (my boyfriend) trivia night so I am home alone until about 10pm. Needless to say, Tuesday nights are usually a quick, fuss-free dinner since we eat at different times. I usually make a sandwich or nibble on snacks around the apartment but tonight I wanted to indulge myself and forget about the day in the process. I have been wanting to make this tomato pie for quite some time now and boy was I glad I did. This was absolutely delicious!If I hadn't gone to the gym this evening I probably would have eaten at least half of the pie! That was a tough task. Apparently tomato pies are a staple in most southern families. How did I not know about this?

Tomato Pie
Courtesy of Kasie

1 pie crust (I used store bought)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
3 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard ( I eyeballed this so I am sure I used a bit more)
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (also eyeballed this)
salt and pepper to taste ( I used sea salt and fresh black pepper)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the pie crust and fit into a pie plate. As you can see from the picture, I could have done a better job at forming the crust in my pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. While the pie crust is baking in the oven, saute onion in olive oil until tender and caramelized.

Once the pie crust is done, layer your pie starting with the onions. Place the sauteed onions on the bottom. Be sure you have enough to fill the bottom. I had to saute a little more at the last minute! Next, layer the sliced tomatoes on top of the onions.

In a bowl mix together the cheese and the mustard and spread on top of the layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for another 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.


Tuna Steaks with Fresh Greens

Well, I have to admit that I did not make these but I just had to share these beauties. I came home last night to these delicious tuna steaks that my boyfriend made. I haven't mentioned that he is an excellent cook and inspires me to become one as well. I have a long ways to go before I reach his level though! These tuna steaks are covered in a peppercorn mix and he made a homemade dressing for the salad. It was a yummy light meal and the flavors blended together perfectly. I don't have the recipe for his creation but if you would like it I can get it from him. This is the perfect meal to make before summer comes to an end.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pesto Chicken Salad

Lunch is usually my most unsatisfying meal of the day. I am guaranteed to pack a turkey sandwich, a lean cuisine, or grab a sandwich from Subway if I happen to forget to pack a lunch. So as you can see, I need to make some serious changes. I am looking for ways to spice it up a little this week and make something that is delicious, affordable, and interesting. I absolutely love chicken salad but clearly the idea of having a traditional chicken salad isn't exactly "spicing it up." I started to search for different recipes and I found a pesto chicken salad. I completely understand if the picture doesn't make you want to try it.. but hopefully the recipe will. It is a bit salty so if you don't enjoy salty things just cut out the kosher salt and I think you will be fine. I tried a spoonful after I made it and it was so refreshing! I plan to stuff a pita pocket with the mixture and add a few slices of tomato for lunch today. Next time I make this I think I will leave out the mayo, substitute basil for the arugula, and use the mixture to make a hearty chicken pesto pasta.

Pesto Chicken Salad
Courtesy of

1/4 cup low-fat or fat free mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup Arugula Pesto, recipe follows
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken diced
Arugula pesto (recipe below)

For the pesto, blend the arugula and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the oil until well blended. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in Parmesan and salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest and Arugula Pesto. Stir in the diced chicken.

Arugula Pesto:
2 cups packed arugula
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Friday, July 31, 2009

Black Bean Soup with Lime Shrimp

In the past, I was not that much of a seafood person. I am not a fan of anything that taste too "fishy." However, recently I have started to add it into my diet and much to my surprise I have started to enjoy my seafood adventures. I spotted this recipe in one of my cookbooks and decided to make it for a few friends. We all loved it! Soup is such a comfort food for me...and this one hit the spot. This soup is light, full of flavor, filling, and a little spicy. This is certainly a crowd pleaser and it's pretty too!

Black Bean Soup with Lime Shrimp
Courtesy of Express Lane Meals

5 tbl of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
2 tbl chili powder
1 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 rsp of red pepper flakes
1/4 c fresh flat leaf parsley
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 14 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
1 14 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock
zest and juice from 2 limes
salt and pepper
hot sauce to taste
Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 tbs of the extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions and 3/4 of the garlic, the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are tender, stirring frequently.
While the onions are cooking, in a dish combine the remaining garlic, 3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, lime zest, parsley, and a pinch of salt. Add the shrimp and coat them in the mixture.
Add the black beans in with the onions. with a potato masher or a fork mash up half of the beans. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken stock and stir. Turn heat up to bring to a bubble.Once it bubbles turn it down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add shrimp and cook them for about 2-3 minutes on the first side. When you turn the shrimp add the lime juice and continute t cook for another 2-3 minutes until the shrimp are pink.
Once that is done, you are ready to serve! Season the black bean soup to taste with salt and pepper. Laddle the soup in a bowl and top with the shrimp.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Orzo with Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes

This dish is simply delicious! I made this for the first time last night and it was such a winner that I even brought leftovers to work today (I never bring leftovers so this is a big deal). I stumbled across this recipe the other day when I took a break from watching CNN at work and spent some quality time with the food network channel. What I originally liked about this dish was that it seemed "quick and easy" which to me, are ideal adjectives when it comes to cooking on a weeknight.

Orzo with Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes
Courtesy of

1 jar of roasted bell peppers (red and orange)
1 lb or Orzo
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 tbl kosher salt
2 tbl olive oil
2 10 oz packages of reduced- fat sausage
4 garlic cloves minced
3 plum tomatoes chopped
1 tsp of red pepper flakes (eyeball)
2 tbl of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of ricotta salata cheese crumbled for garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock and the water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. When the pasta starts to plump and rise to the top (about 8-10 minutes) then you know it's ready!
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add your sausage and cook until done. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the peppers, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes and cook until warm for about 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the sausage mixture, parsley, season with salt and pepper and toss. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Top with ricotta salata or a cheese of your liking.

First Post!

I've wanted to start a blog for a while now but I've been hesitant for many reasons. Let's get real people, telling you about my daily adventures would be far from me. So, after thinking of ideas for a blog that would be meaningful to me and useful for others I decided to start a blog about the recipes that I make. I love to cook and I love looking for recipes that excite my taste buds. I am constantly combing through cookbooks and perusing online to find new things to make. I hope you will fall in love with these recipes as much as I did.