Monday, April 4, 2011


In the interest of keeping the next few weeks this blog will be merging with my other blog. My intention is to post a foodie related post every Friday (Foodie-Friday) and this will hopefully streamline my blogging so that I keep up with it on a more regular basis. For those of you who are interested in the site and are not already on...


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Beef "stew"

Yesterday I made progress on one of my goals to make more soups/stews. It is rather chilly here in Houston and before the rest of the nation complains that they are colder and have lower numbers on their thermometer, I ask that you all remember that it is relative. Us Houstonians think that anything below 90 degrees is nice weather, especially if the humidity is low. When the warmest it gets in several days is 35 degrees and the wind chill and humidity help punch that coldness in your face then we think it is pretty gosh darn cold...

But I digress...

I had leftover scraps of top sirloin from a dish my mom made, potatoes, some odds and ends of frozen and fresh veggies, and some Shiner Bock on hand so naturally a beef stew/soup formulated. This is a method, not a recipe and can be easily tweaked to satisfy the contents of your pantry and your taste buds...

Cut beef into bit size chunks (manly bite sizes, not wimpy bite sizes) and put into crock pot. Top with some sort of dry soup mix ( I had vegetable soup mix on hand), dry beef bouillon, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add one can of beef broth, a Shiner Bock ( I guess you could use another beer, but why?), two cans of water and a bag of frozen soup veggies (I was trying to clean out the freezer and pantry...use whatever kind you like). Let cook on low setting for about 4 hours and go shop at Target. When you come back, add onion (chunks please), carrots (peeled chunks), potatoes (unpeeled chunks), and celery (you guessed it...chunks). Let that cook on low for another four hours or so. Taste and adjust seasoning, put crock pot on warm. Add frozen peas about 30 minutes before serving.

I will say that I wish I had Kitchen Bouquet on hand to add to this. It was a really great soup, but lacked the thickness of a stew. I recognize that I could have taken the time to brown the meat with flour in a separate pan, then deglazed the pan with the beer and stock to add more depth of flavor, but I didn't want to...this was so easy...and it meant I could go shopping at Target!!!

You could serve this with more veggies on the side or a nice, crisp wedge salad, but I highly recommend you have a good crusty bread to soak up the extra broth with.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Food resolutions...

I have a few foodie specific resolutions that I would like to list here this year...

First, I would like to master some really great, from scratch bread recipes. I make bread in my bread maker occassionally, but I want a hand made (my mixer can help) beautiful couple of loaves that I can be proud of. I would specifically like to find a really great (soft, chewy, and oil infused) foccaccia recipe, an amazingly simple (hole filled, chewy on the inside, crusty on the outside) baguette recipe, and a basic (but can be dressed up a hundred different ways) loaf bread recipe. I am completely intimidated by yeast, but this year is the year to correct that.

Second, I would like to make some great soups this year. I am not holding myself to a certain number per month, but I would like to try 12 soup recipes before 2012. Matt specifically asked for a soup that could be fetched by a goat (movie reference), but I think we will stick with a handful of creamy, handful of veggie filled, and a handful of stew like soups.

Third, I have a ton of restaurants "backlogged" (or as Matt said...backblogged) that need to be out there for the world to know about. So I would like to get some large posts out that include our food in NYC, Quebec, Our England trip, my favorite places for Mexican, Sandwiches, Italian ect...

Additionally, I would like to use my cookbooks more. I have some really amazing cookbooks that I have collected over the years, but find that I usually just type a recipe into google and have it do all the hard work. Instead I would like to pull out the cookbooks and let the inspiration wash over me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guido's Pizza

Last night Matt, Mac, and I cashed in on a groupon (the fastest growing company EVER) that we got a few weeks ago. It was to a pizza place not far from us called Guido's. We gave it a whirl in our never ending search for the perfect pizza...

The menu is diverse enough with a wide variety of pizzas, some sandwiches, and a few pastas. The part of the kitchen where they make the pizzas is open to the dining area which it is fun to watch them carefully peer into the pizza oven to check for doneness on the crust. One portion of the dining room has a little kid area where your kid could play on an indoor playground (which can be nice and can be annoying depending on why you are going out).

We got a Greek salad and a Guido's Special pizza. Matt was excited there was Peroni available so he indulged. The salad was more than enough for us to share and had a really tart balsamic dressing on it. The salad ingredients were all fresh and crisp so I would rate this salad highly. The pizza was good, it had real ingredients and a lot of italian seasoning mixed in with either the cheese or sauce. I liked the crust, it had that slightly sweet flavor that east coast pizzas are well known for. The middle of the pizza was a little soggy, but the last two thirds was crisp and perfectly chewy at the same time. All of that being said, I think it could have used more cheese and a stronger, bolder sauce. To me a pizza has to have a good foundation of crust (which it had for the most part), but also needs a stand out sauce and generous amounts of good quality cheese.

All in all, the pizza was good, we would gladly go with others if they suggested it, we would go if we needed a place to eat where the kids could also play, but there are other pizza places around that we like a lot more. So good, but we have other suggestions if you need it!

Additionally, we weren't sure if they were going for authenticity, but the bathrooms (not the whole restaurant) smelled really NYC/New Jersey authentic. They stank bad... not sure if it was a grease trap issue or a plumbing issue, but both of us noticed at our respective trips to use the facilities...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This recipe is not what I thought of when I think of Goulash, but it is yummy and delicious. I would say it is a cross between Goulash and Chili Mac. The base recipe is a recipe from Paula Deen, Bobby's Goulash...

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
2 large onions, chopped
3 cups water
1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 cups dried elbow macaroni
In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef and ground turkey over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

I change this up in a few ways. I add Worcestershire sauce when browning the meat, extra garlic powder, and sometimes a little Tabasco. I also brown the meat and saute the onions at the same time. You can obviously use a regular pot instead of a dutch oven and switch around your ground beef to whatever you have on hand (we usually use venison). This most recent time we made the recipe x1.5 and added one can each of dark kidney, light kidney, and pinto beans. Further advice is this...the recipe is huge! The 1.5 recipe basically would have fed 14 adults and this does not freeze well (the noodles get a little too mushy). Also I would highly recommend grating sharp white cheddar cheese on top, it adds a nice sharpness and cheesy flavor.

Enjoy this wonderful dish that is warm and filling!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Self Rising Flour and Big change to a recipe

For all of you out there getting ready to make my Snickerdoodle recipe that can be found here, I want you to stop immediately. Put down the mixer, put down the measuring spoon, put down the cinnamon sugar. Today I made a batch of the cookies (my friend Karlin is making me mushroom soup, I make her Snickerdoodles...we have a symbiotic relationship based on food) and was dismayed when mid cooking (and mid nap for Baby Girl) I discovered that I was out of AP flour. I had just used almost all of my AP flour in replacement of Bread flour which I was out of to make foccaccia (more on that later) for the same person. Lucky for me I was in possession of five other flours... The first was Tapioca flour, used more for thickening it was automatically out. The second was Pasta flour, with too grainy of a texture, it too was gone. The next three were Whole Wheat (possible, but would definitely alter the taste and probably would alter the texture), Cake flour (definite possibilities there, but would it be too light and airy), and Self-Rising flour (could work, but would it leaven the cookie dough too much). As I muddled over my conundrum, munching on a corner of the aforementioned foccaccia, I saw two stars next to the flour on the recipe. What is this I thought? I looked at the bottom of the recipe and to my delight there was a replacement for the AP Flour! I could use Self-Rising and merely omit the salt, baking powder, and cream of tartar. An approved replacement and less things to measure...Yippee!!! I mixed up my ingredients, baked my cookies, and marveled at their puffy shape as they came out of the oven 8-10 minutes later. I tried one hoping that it would taste as good as the standard gems I made even if they were a little rounder. I only have this to say...when Betty Crocker says you "could" change the recipe, what she meant was that you "should" change the recipe. I marveled at how light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet this cookie had become. The cinnamon sugar barely coated the outside of the cookie and it was like eating a puffy cloud of soft sweetness. I will make a note (along with the note that this makes about 45 cookies) in my cookbook for this to be a permanent change.

What will I do with all of this extra self rising flour you may ask? That one is easy. As Self-Rising flour has a somewhat legitimate expiration date (unlike the fake date of AP flour, salt, and other staples that could last indefinitely), you do need to use your flour within a year or so. Now the Snickerdoodles are easy and delicious, but something equally delicious and even easier to make is your very own beer bread. I got this recipe from an old college roomie who I did not get along time she made this recipe and replaced the sugar with salt...that was gross, but this is not! Pre-heat your oven to 375. Mix 3 cups Self-Rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar, a sprinkle of salt, and your favorite bottle of beer (I recommend Shiner Boch, but Shiner is my recommendation for almost everything...Guinness is good too). Butter a loaf pan and put the very sticky batter in the pan. Bake for 55 minutes, buttering the top of the loaf for the last 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Have fun with your Self-Rising flour!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


You may be thinking to yourself that this is way too late to be posting about Turkey...not so my friend. In fact, in my book, this is the perfect time to be posting about Turkey. I am the proud owner of 5 Fresh and Delicious Jennie-O Turkeys ranging in weight from 10 to 16 pounds and I didn't spend over $5.00 on each turkey.

See, I look at Black Friday differently than most girls. While they are busy trying to get into Macy's, Kohl's, or Target at an insane hour, I am trying to resist going into the grocery stores until they put the fresh turkeys on sale. The frozen turkeys they will let sit around until after Christmas (they are already frozen, why would they need to rush them out the door?), but the fresh turkeys (which the FDA or some other arbitrary regulation organization has mandated must stay above freezing temperatures) have a finite shelf life and thus need to be sold out the doors. So on Black Friday I went out and bought a lovely 16 pounder (her name was Shelly), brought her home, and got ready to roast.

I love turkey and I never seem to have enough leftovers to enjoy my extra sides and to make all of those wonderful turkey dishes that people talk about getting tired of. So I make an extra turkey for exactly that purpose.

I decided to cook Shelly on Sunday when Matt and Mac were is my method (which worked well for a neutral Turkey who was going to mainly be used in dishes). I think I have posted this before...but I am too tired to look!

Get out roasting pan, turn on over to 400 degrees. Take Shelly out of bag and rinse her off, removing gravy packet (I discarded) and leaving the neck in... While Shelly is draining from her bath, place a rough chopped onion, 4 or 5 whole carrots, and 4 or 5 whole stalks of celery in the bottom of the pan. Pat Shelly dry and place her on top of the veggies. Massage with oil and butter, sprinkle with seasonings of your choice (this time I used salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning). Throw in a beer or two. Roast in the oven for an hour, reduce heat to 325 and finish cooking until Shelly is about 160 degrees (just shy of 4 hours)...remember about carry over cooking. If Shelly was going to be used for eating alone I would have placed her breast down for that first hour, then flipped her over for the remaining part to help all the juices run into the white meat.

Shelly has since been turned into dinner with leftover sides, three turkey potpies (shredded meat, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, cream of chicken soup, and a pie crust) for the freezer, two two-person portions for the freezer, and boiled into a turkey base for soup also for the freezer.

Why the other turkeys you ask? I was at Kroger today and the turkeys kept looking at me like puppies asking me to take them I took three home...then went back for something I forgot and picked up one more...

Three (Randolph, Lorenzo, and Ling-Ling) are in the deep freeze for later use.

Dmitri is in the fridge waiting to join a comrade in the smoker a friend is firing up this weekend...can anyone say smoked turkey quesadillas?!?!?