Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Real Housewives and a new use for leftover mashed potatoes

First of all, I'm writing this while watching the new Real Housewives of NYC and just saw the conversation (fight) between Kelly and Bethenny and wow.. that's all I have to say.. WOW! Kelly is insane and I preface that with the statement that Bethenny isn't my favorite person on the show either.. but in this situation I feel like she handled herself pretty well in the face of Kelly's stream of consciousness rant. I don't know if I would have been able to remain as composed as she did (or as she was edited to look) in a situation like that..

Moving on, I found a new use for leftover mashed potatoes yesterday -- potato soup! Its super easy and tasted amazing. Here's the recipe (sorry on pic today, I was in a bit of a hurry when I made it and didn't have time)

Mashed Potato Soup:
2 stalks celery minced
1/4 red onion (or 1 small yellow onion) chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can evaporated milk + additional skim milk if you like a thinner soup
leftover mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons Emeril's Essence
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning (or fresh thyme finely minced)
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled bacon (for topping)
Shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)
Chopped green onion (for topping)

In a large dutch oven saute the celery and onion in 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over med. low heat. When soft add the mashed potatoes and mix well. Add the evaporated milk and spices. Whisk well to create a creamy soup. Bring to a simmer and add the rest of the butter. Serve warm topped with the bacon, cheese and onion.


Monday, March 30, 2009

A new fancy pants dinner!

The bf and I have a habit (tradition?) of going to Costco on Sunday. Yesterday was not exception and the trip proved to be both (1) amusing and (2) productive. I have to tell the amusing story before I get to the recipe. I always find it amusing to see my professors in their natural habitat. Yesterday at Costco was no exception - I saw one of my professors leaving Costco with the most random assortment of purchases ever. He bought 2 gigantic bottles of wine, a case of Sam Adams and a huge tub of animal crackers.. seriously wtf? It was awesome!

The trip was also productive because for the first time ever I was brave enough to make one of my favorite restaurant foods -- lamb chops. Anyway as the pictures illustrate, last nights dinner was fancy yet surprisingly easy! I made grilled lamb loin chops with sauteed green beans and mashed potatoes.

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops
1 package lamb loin chops (allow 2 chops per person)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 sprig fresh rosemary finely chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper

Whisk together the spices, olive oil and vinegar. Transfer to a gallon size food storage bag and add the lamb chops. Massage the bag to coat the chops. Allow to marinade 30 minutes.

Heat grill to med. high heat. Grill chops 2 min on one side and turn grilling an additional 3 minutes for med. rare; longer for a more well done chop. Allow to rest for 10 minutes under an aluminum foil tent. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Sauteed Green Beans
1/2 to 1 lb fresh green beans trimmed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
drizzle of balsamic vinegar

In a large skillet bring about 1/4 cup water to a boil. Add the green beans and salt. Steam for 1 minute. Drain and return the beans to the skillet. Add the olive oil and butter. Saute over medium heat. Add the pepper and garlic. Drizzle with vinegar. Serve immediately.

Mashed Potatoes:
See my previous post entitled "Tonight's Dinner" on 3/23/2009.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I even had the perfect party outfit!

Not only did I have fun recipies for my bar application/basketball party but I also had a great outfit to wear -- super casual but still very cute!
I love this outfit. Not only was it super cute and preppy but it was also very comfortable. Even better, all of it came from the thrift store! I'll start at the top and work my way down for the descriptions! The shirt is Ralph Lauren and was $3.99 at the thrift shop. I didn't even need to do any work on it; all I did was wash and starch it (I starch my button ups). The jeans are Citizens of Humanity and looked like brand new when I picked them up at the thrift store for $4.99; again all I did was wash them. Finally the shoes they are Coach and I got them at the thrift store as well for $3.99. Now I admit these required a lot of TLC, which most thrift store shoes do; I had to apply stain remover to the entire shoe with a tooth brush to remove most of the grime and wash them twice before they began to look like new again; however, for $3.99 it was totally worth the effort!
I decided to put all of my thrift store finds in one outfit to demonstate that you can buy expensive, good quality clothing at the thrift store for a fraction of the price you'd pay anywhere else. If I had bought all of these items at a department store I would have paid at least $400 but the entire outfit cost me around $15! So next time you're out and need an outfit that makes you the hottest hostess in town, stop in your local thrift store and see what you can find! Now on to the accessories!

I love the accessories. I'm not a huge jewlery person so I like to keep these simple usually stud earings and pearls. The earings are the focus of my accessories description because they were a steal! They are Tiffany and the bf got them for me for Valentine's Day at my favorite consignment store for $60! I have to admit they needed a little TLC, but after a good cleaning they look like brand new but for a fraction of the brand new price! The pears were a gift from my mom, but I think they may have come from an antique auction.

Bar Applications + Basketball = Bar Food Party!

As my previous post pointed out I finally finished my bar application! Since this called for a celebration and there was good basketball on last night I decided to have a very casual basketball watching party complete with some of my bar food favorites -- I have to thank Rachael Ray for the idea behind this recipe because it was inspired by the 30 Minute Meals I was watching before I started cooking! I made buffalo chicken sandwiches and baked potato skins!

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches:
1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can tomato sauce (the 12 oz size)
3 tablespoons hot sauce (any kind)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons hot chili oil
2-3 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons each of:
Emeril's essence, Sage, Garlic, Salt, Pepper
Lettuce leaves
Red onion slices
Swiss cheese slices
Hamburger Buns
Ranch Sauce (see recipe below)

In a large dutch oven add the 2 teaspoons of essence, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Add some water and the chicken breasts. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Cook over med. heat until the chicken is done. Place in freezer or fridge to cool. In the meantime in a med. size saucepan add the tomato sauce, butter, hot sauce, garlic, chili oil, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, honey, salt and pepper. Heat over med. low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings. When the chicken has cooled shred it with your hands and place it in the sauce. Mix until all of the chicken is coated. Adjust seasonings and add a little bit of the chicken broth created from cooking the chicken if there is not enough sauce. Serve on the hamburger buns topped with the cheese, onions, ranch sauce and lettuce.

P.S. you can freeze the chicken cooking liquid so that you'll have some chicken broth ready to use when you need it.

Ranch Sauce (this is used both as a topping for the sandwiches and as a dip for the potato skins)
1 medium size container sour cream
1 package ranch dressing mix
2-3 tablespoons mayo
1 handful fresh cilantro finely chopped
2 teaspoons Emeril's essence
2 teaspoons pepper

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.

Potato Skins:
4 baking potatoes rinsed well
1 package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon crumbled
1 bunch green onions chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the potatoes in half width wise and then cut the halves in half length wise so that you get potato slices that look like potato skin's you'd get at a restaurant. Place on a greased cookie sheet skin side down and bake until the potatoes are soft (about 30 min.). Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In the meantime cook the bacon. Once the potatoes have cooled remove some of the potato meat with a spoon and reserve for use later in the week. Make sure to leave enough of the potato meat so that your skins are sturdy.

Return the potato skins to the cookie sheet skin side down and drizzle with olive oil. Salt each skin and return to oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add the bacon and cheese. Cover with aluminium foil and bake until the cheese melts. Top with the chopped green onions and serve with the ranch sauce.


Friday, March 27, 2009

This Calls for a Celebration!

I finally finished my Illinois bar exam application!!! I know this may not seem like a big deal but applying to take the bar is an extremely time consuming process. You have to provide the state bar association with all kinds of information that you may or may not have -- things like all your dorm room addresses from when you were in college and the names of two undergraduate professors who will (1) remember you and (2) provide you with an academic reference.

I have to admit; however, that the IL bar application is a lot easier than the applications of several other states, especially North Carolina. Did you know that in order to receive the privilege of just taking the bar exam in NC that you have to provide a certified birth certificate? You also have to provide your fingerprints! Even better, Virginia requires you to list every parking ticket you've ever had!

It never stops amazing me exactly how many hoops we have to jump through to become attorneys. First there is the application process just to get into law school. Then there are 3 years of constant studying and twice yearly exams. Then you finally graduate just to start studying for the bar exam the next day. Then you spend 10 hours a day studying for a two day exam that will determine whether or not you will be able to use that approximately $100,000 degree. Did I also mention that preparing for the bar is also very expensive (and this doesn't include law school tuition).

And now that I am nearing the end of this journey I feel that a celebratory dinner/drink is in order (I feel like I somehow have to relate this post to food, otherwise it just seems like a rant). Look for a related post later today with tonights celebration menu!

Have a good Friday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A fun use for leftovers

So Monday night's salmon dinner provided me with plenty of leftover mashed potatoes and broccoli. Since I think that reheated mashed potatoes are absolutely gross, there was no way I was just going to heat them up. I have to thank my step dad for this recipe -- up until he came around my family just threw out any leftover mashed potatoes, but he began keeping them and making potato cakes out of them the next day. Using this basic concept I made potato cakes out of the leftover potatoes and broccoli and with the addition of some bacon, cheddar cheese, and bread crumbs I ended up with a fantastic dinner. P.S. this dish would be even better with the addition of crab or lobster meat (just use less potatoes)!

Potato Cakes:
Leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 to 1 cup leftover steamed broccoli chopped up
4-5 slices bacon cooked extra crispy and crumbled up
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking
Cook the bacon. Heat the mashed potatoes in the microwave until just warm. Add the crumbled bacon, cheese, broccoli, salt and pepper. Mix well either with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium. Add the olive oil. Put a couple of spoonfuls of the potato mixture in your hand and form a ball and make a patty. Optional: coat the patty in the bread crumbs. Carefully transfer the patty to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side. Serve with a salad.
One note of caution -- if the mashed potato mixture is too runny add some bread crumbs to the potato mixture to thicken it up. Also, be very careful when transferring the patties because they do fall apart very easily, especially when turning them in the pan.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Great for a spring dinner party!

Dinner Party Attire:
Besides loving a good bargain in the kitchen I'm also a fan of bargains in all other aspects of my life, especially clothing. I'm a huge fan of the thrift store so I've decided to incorporate some of these finds into my blog -- after all every good hostess needs the perfect outfit to make her dinner party complete! Gus also thought this was a great idea and decided to be part of the fun I love how he hides under the covers and just sticks his head out!
Why I love this outfit:
I think this outfit would be great for a spring bbq or for outdoor cocktails. And yes, part of it did come from the thrift store! I thought it would be fun for me to describe the outfit pointing out the bargains and the classics, I think I'll start with the biggest bargain, the capris.
The Dirty Details:
I love these capri pants, I think the little Martini glasses are adorableThey are J.Crew and I got them for $3 at a thrift store called Mega Thrift. The shirt is from French Connection and wasn't that expensive, but definitely was not $3. The purse was another bargain -- its Kate Spade and I got it at a used/overstock shoe store for $100! The shoes are a classic, Jack Rogers, and I love that they go with absolutely everything, not exactly a bargain but for as much as I wear them my cost per wear is next to nothing. The necklace is another find (its fake), I think it was like $4 or $5 at Claires.

This was a nice break from just posting recipes so look fo similar posts! Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tonight's Dinner

Again, the bf and I are obsessed with Costco. Everything we had for dinner tonight (grilled salmon, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli) all came from Costco and turned out awesome! Paddy is still licking the deck from a piece of the salmon that fell off the grill! I've also decided to start taking/posting pictures of all of my dishes. Let me know if you like this idea!

Grilled Salmon:
2-4 medium sized salmon fillets (the bf and I bought one huge fillet and portioned it out because it's cheaper that way)
1/4 cup Soy Vay Very Teriyaki Sauce

Marinate the salmon in the soy vay for about 20 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, heat up either a tabletop or outdoor grill. Make sure to either spray the salmon or the grill with cooking spray or olive oil prior to grilling to prevent sticking. The salmon is ready when it is opaque and flaky.

Mashed Potatoes: (serves 2-4)
2 large baking potatoes peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 small container light sour cream
1/4 cup milk (or less depending on how you like your potatoes)
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt (or more depending on your taste)
2 teaspoons pepper

In a medium size pot bring the potatoes and water to a boil. Cook until fork tender. Drain well and return potatoes to pot. Add butter, sour cream, milk, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well with a hand mixer (this makes for extremely creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes). Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a little bit more butter and cheeese and allow to melt on top from the heat of the potatoes.

Steamed Broccoli:
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring the water, salt, pepper, and olive oil to a boil. Add the broccoli and steam until just done (the broccoli should be bright green and firm).


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Costco and mussels

I have to admit, I really love Costco. It's really amazing for more expensive food items that I could never afford on a student's budget at the supermarket (and if I could I'd spend the money on shoes or something). The quality/selection of Costco meat, chicken, and fish is really amazing and a great bargain for what you get. For example, last night the bf and I were able to get 4 huge steaks (based on the thickness they will probably make 8 steaks) for $25. We were also able to get about 5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts for $19 (next time you are at the supermarket see how much 5lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast would cost you).

This brings me to the best part of this post. We were able to get 3 or 4 lbs of mussels for $12. I was super excited/kind of nervous because I knew the bf wanted to get time/cook them. I always get nervous when making seafood, especially shellfish which I find especially intimidating. I was also very intimidated because I had never made mussels before but decided that it was too good of a deal to pass up so we got them despite my reservations.

I'm glad we did because dinner turned out great and its a great example of why you shouldn't feel too intimidated to try a new dish, odds are its going to turn out great! So next time you need to cook an impressive dinner try my recipe for mussels frites!

Steamed Mussels:
2-4 lbs fresh mussels cleaned and debearded kept on ice in the fridge
3/4 bottle dry white wine
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 stick of butter
1 onion minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 stalk celery minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon mustard (yellow or Dijon)
1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Make sure to clean and debeard the mussels before you start cooking. Discard any mussels that have already opened or the shell is damaged. Place in a colander over a bowl filled with ice and return to fridge. In the largest pot you own (like a dutch oven -- see its a good investment) melt the butter (with a little bit of olive oil if you wish) over med. high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until soft and add the mustard. Stir well. Remove the mussels from the fridge and add to the pot again discarding any mussels that may have opened after cleaning. Raise the heat to high. Stir well so that the mussels are covered with the vegetable mixture. Add the wine, lemon juice/zest and the salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add half of the parsley and stir again. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining parsley and some pepper. Serve with crusty bread and potatoes (recipe below)

Baked potato chips:
2-3 large potatoes cleaned and sliced thin (make them look like potato chips)
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
1 tablespoon Emeril's essence
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil.

Preheat oven to 450. Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl and add the seasonings and olive oil. Stir with your hands to coat well. Place on a cookie sheet in one layer if possible (you may need a second cookie sheet). Bake until the chips look golden brown and crispy (about 30 min)


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Because I love carbs

So last night I really wanted pasta puttanesca and the bf wanted spaghetti with meat sauce. Having never made puttanesca sauce before I have to admit I was intimidated so I decided to combine both of our wants into a fun take on spaghetti and meatballs:

For the Meatballs:
1lb ground turkey (or beef)
1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 drizzle
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients but the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well in a large bowl. Grease a cookie sheet with the remaining olive oil (or spray with Pam, I was out of Pam so I used olive oil instead). Form meatballs out of the meat mixture (any size you like I made medium ones and this recipe makes about 12 medium size meatballs). Place on the cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes.

"Puttanesca" Sauce (I admit this is not a very authentic version but it tasted really good anyway)
1 large (16 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 large onion minced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 small can sliced black olives corsely chopped
2 handfuls fresh parsley chopped
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicer less if you want it milder)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb spaghetti noodles

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add noodles when water boils. In a large dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over med. low to med. heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until garlic is soft. Add the olives and cook for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes. Once you have emptied the tomato can fill it about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with water and add to dutch oven. Stir well and add 1 handful of the parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Allow to cook until the noodles have finished and the meatballs are ready.

To serve: Place some of the noodles in the bottom of a bowl add some parmesean cheese and top with 2 or 3 of the meatballs. Top with the sauce and additional parmesean cheese.


P.S. My cat fell off the bed this morning and it was absolutely hilarious. He may be a ninja but he's a total klutz too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My two favorites

So today I'm taking a break from posting things related to food and thought I'm share with everyone my two favorites: Paddington (Paddy) the dog and Gus the cat. I happen to think they're the two most adorable animals on the planet!

My First Award!!! Yay!!

I'm so excited that CTB at Well, Bless Your Heart . . . gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award. It has definately made my day (I've had a very stressful one so this was a very nice surprise!)

Here are the award rules: List 7 things that you love, and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you love! Be sure to tag them and let them know that they have won. You can copy the picture of the award and paste it on your sideboard letting the whole world know . . . you are Kreativ!

(1) My ninja cat Gus (seriously he's like the Chuck Norris of cats)

(2) The fact that my application for the IL bar is almost finished

(3) Trying out new recipes (that one is kind of obvious)

(4) Thrift stores (I try and find them wherever I go)

(5) The bf's (my) dog Paddington (she looks just like a teddy bear)

(6) Diet Dr. Pepper

(7) Fresh flowers around the house

And I tag:

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

20-Something Dreams

Let's talk Thompsonisms

a Southern girl in the City

Monogram Chick

A Belle and her Beau

A Southern Accent

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What happened to spring?

It's been raining since Thursday, oh well hopefully this means that the flowers will be especially pretty when spring finally arrives.

Speaking of spring, here's a recipe that reminds me of spring.. lettuce wraps with peanut sauce:

Lettuce Wraps:
1 package of chicken (find one that is less than 1lb) finely chopped
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 package mushrooms chopped
1 can water chestnuts chopped
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon hoison sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head iceberg or boston lettuce

In a wok or large skillet heat 2 tablespoons vegetable or other light colored oil over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to the wok and stir fry. Add the mushrooms, onion and celery and stir fry. Add the garlic and water chestnuts and continue to stir fry. Add the cayenne pepper and pepper. Now add the honey. Make sure to mix well. Now add the sauces and allow to cook until the sauce thickens.

Keep the lettuce in tact and tear off entire leaves. Fill the lettuce cups with the chicken mixture and serve with peanut sauce (below).

Peanut Sauce:
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
1 teasspoon sesame oil (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Add the chicken stock to a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until warm. Add the peanut butter, honey, chili oil and cayenne pepper and sesame oil. Whisk together until a smooth sauce forms. Sauce will thicken as it cools, add more chicken stock if the sauce is too thick. Serve with lettuce wraps.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back from Vegas

Since this week is Spring Break for me and most of my friends we decided to take 4 days to go to Vegas for my friend and her fiance's joint bachelor/bachelorette parties. Since obviously I didn't cook during our 4 days away I decided to post on a couple of the places we ate while in town.

First of all, its a great time to go to Vegas. Our trip was less than $300 per person for airfare and hotel and we received 2 free tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show. Secondly, if you are in Vegas and want to see a show, don't book beforehand, check out Tickets 4 Tonight (there is a booth next to Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Show Mall) and get your tickets at a discount. Great for any girl on a budget!

Now on to the food, I have to admit that the bf and I did splurge a lot on food while we were away -- we really wanted to show the bride and groom a good time! However, I do have one kind of budget friendy recommendation. Osteria del Circo at the Bellagio was amazing. It serves upscale Tuscan fair in a beautiful setting (our table overlooked the fountain show!). Some of the dishes can be pricey, but considering this restaurant is owned by the Maccioni family behind Le Cirque, Circo is a bargain for the quality of food you receive. This is also a great place to go with a group because of the range of entrees (and prices). You can get anything from pizza to pasta to fresh seafood and entree prices range from $18 to $50+ so there is something for everyone!

Check it out while you're in Vegas!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Good for a Movie Night

Is it just me or have the horror movie makers run out of ideas? Seriously, it seems to me that all of the new horror movies are geared towards 14 year olds and are combinations of old horror movies . . . Case in point, A Haunting in Connecticut, seems just like the Amityville Horror combined with Poltergeist and not in a good way. This brings me to the point of this post and this time its compliments of the BF who made me dinner last night.

"French Dip" Sandwiches:
1 package of thin sliced sirloin (it should read - good for sandwiches)
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
1 can beef broth
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 sprig rosemary
sliced swiss cheese
creamy horseradish sauce
crusty rolls
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 onion sliced

In a medium size skillet saute the onions and mushrooms in about 2 tablespoons olive oil. While this mixture cooks down, in another large skillet heat some more olive oil (about 3 tablespoons). Mix the flour with the steak seasoning. Coat the beef in this mixture. Saute in the skillet for one minute per side.

Remove the meat from the skillet and cover with foil. In the skillet where the meat was prepared add the beef broth, wine, red wine, rosemary and salt and pepper. Whisk well and allow to thicken. Add the beef back to the skillet into the sauce mixture.

Place the sandwich rolls in the oven and allow to toast. Spread the horseradish sauce on the toasted rolls. Place the Swiss cheese on the rolls. Add one piece of the meat to the sandwich roll along with the onions and mushrooms. Either top with some of the beef broth mixture or serve it on the side and dunk the sandwich in it.

Baked Potato Chips:
2 large baking potatoes well washed
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425. Thinly slice the potatoes so they look like potato chips. Place in a bowl and add the seasonings and oil. Mix well so that the potatoes are evenly covered with the oil/seasoning mixture. Place on a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake until crispy.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A very grown up meal

I admit it, I'm a slacker most days when it comes to dinner, as my posts illustrate I'm a huge fan of dinner that comes in one pot and is ready in 30 minutes. I blame it on a hectic class schedule combined with the fact that next year hopefully I won't have time to more than a 30 minute dinner (fingers crossed y'all, the legal job market sucks this year because a lot of law firms are actually laying off associates which means they are not hiring newbies like me)..

But I digress, because I am fully confident that I will be employed by the time I get my bar exam results, which brings me to the purpose of this post... In celebration of a rare snow day here in NC I made a proper grown up dinner that would be perfect for a celebration.. I BAKED A WHOLE CHICKEN...

Here's a secret, you can buy an entire chicken for under $5 because whole chickens are way cheaper than buying, for example, boneless skinless chicken breasts. So next time you want to have a party, save some money, be brave, and impress your guests by presenting an entire bird. I served mine with roasted vegetables and broccoli casserole. Here's the recipe:

Baked Chicken:
1 - 4.5 to 5.5 lb chicken (or larger depending on how many people you want to feed)
1 lemon sliced in half then quartered
1 handful fresh thyme (not chopped)
6 cloves garlic
2 onions quartered
2 sweet potatoes sliced in half and quartered
2 regular potatoes sliced in half and quartered
2 stalks celery corsely chopped
2 carrots corsely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
2 tablespoons pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 or 375. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, 3 cloves of the garlic, and one of the onions in the bottom of a large dutch oven (told you this is the most important piece of cookware you can own). Drizzle with olive oil and season with lemon pepper, salt and pepper.

Now on to the chicken. Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken (its really gross I know, but this is a big girl meal so be brave). Rinse the chicken, especially the interior cavity really well. Pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff the interior cavity with half of the thyme, the lemon, the butter and the rest of the onion and garlic. Drizzle the exterior of the chicken with olive oil. Season well with lemon pepper seasoning, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on top of the potato mixture. Add the wine and the water to the bottom of the dutch oven. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes multiplied by how much the chicken weighs plus an additional 10 minutes (for example you would bake a 5.5 lb chicken for 2 hours because 20 x 5.5 = 110 + 10 = 120 minutes).

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes or so before slicing.

Broccoli Casserole:
3 cups frozen broccoli
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 onion finely minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayo
2 eggs
2 cups chedder cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the broccoli according to package directions. In a bowl mix the soup, onion, 1/2 of the cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. Fold in the broccoli.

Place in a greased casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 or 375 for 45 minutes or until the casserole has set and the cheese is melted and bubbly and golden brown on the edges.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

A new take on chicken soup

I was a little under the weather on Friday so I decided to make myself feel better by making some chicken noodle soup. I had jsut watched 30 Minute Meals and Rachael Ray had made an Asian style noodle bowl, so I decided to try and make the same thing. To my surprise it worked out pretty well. Here's my recipe for Asian style sizzling chicken noodle soup.

1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 carrots finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 stalks celery finely chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Emeril's Essence
1 tablespoon sage
1 bunch Asian style noodles (the ones that can be deep fried)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon butter
Vegetable oil

In a large dutch oven add the soy, teriyaki, fish, and oyster sauces. Mix well. Add the chicken breasts. Coat in the sauce. Add water to the pot (fill it about 3/4 of the way full). Add the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, essence, sage and thyme and butter. Cook over med. low heat until the chicken is cooked.

Remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool. As the chicken cools bring two skillets up to heat. In one skillet place the olive oil and butter. In the other skillet bring about 1 -2 inches of vegetable oil to med. heat.

In the skillet with the olive oil and butter add the garlic, onions and carrots. Cook until soft and add the contents to the dutch oven. In the other skillet fry the noodles in batches until they float to the top of the oil (or according to package directions). Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.

Break up the cooked chicken with your hands and add back to the dutch oven. Bring the soup mixture back up to a boil and taste for seasoning.

Place some of the deep fried noodles in the bottom of a soup bowl and add the chicken mixture.