Umami Pasta

This pasta dish is filled with delicious Umami ingredients that will make your taste buds celebrate. With fresh pasta, this pasta dish will make you feel like you are eating at a five star restaurant. It would have been even better with fresh Parmesan, but sometimes you have to use budget friendly ingredients.

RECIPE: Umami Pasta
Makes 3 Servings

Cutting Board
Cast iron pan
Kitchen Aid Mixer
Pasta Rollers

2 slices of Bacon
2 Packages of Mushrooms
2 Cups All purpose flour
2 Eggs
White Wine

1) In a cast iron pan, let the two slices of bacon begin cooking.
2) As the bacon is cooking, begin washing the mushrooms and slice them thin.
3) When the bacon is done, move it to the cutting board and add the butter to the bacon grease.

4) Pour the mushrooms into the bacon and butter. Stir and let cook.
5) In a mixer, mix together the eggs, flour, and a bit of water if needed.
6) Let the dough set for a few minutes before rolling it out.
7) Cut the pasta into spaghetti size.

8) In a pot, bring to a boil salted water and add the fresh pasta to it.
9) Stir the mushrooms and add the white wine and tarragon.
10) Chop up the bacon and add it to mushroom mixture.
11) Drain the pasta and add it to the mushrooms.
12) Serve with a touch of Parmesan cheese on top! IMG_0824


North of Mexico Burger

While most people think of south of our border as great Mexican food, I think of north of Mexico as great Tex-Mex food. This burger is a bit trickier to eat, but is definitely worth the time to figure out how to finagle the tortilla. Next time we are thinking of getting smaller tortillas or just using a cookie cutter to get the right size. The guacamole had incredible flavor and texture, and had you licking your fingers and the plate clean!

RECIPE: North of Mexico Burger
Makes 2 Servings

Cutting Board
Mortar and Pestle
Meat Grinder
Wax Paper

1/3 Onion
3 cloves Garlic
Lemon Juice
2 Slices Bacon
Black Pepper
Pepper Relish/Green Salsa

IMG_08831) While I prepared the guacamole, my husband prepared the beef patties. He ground the beef with about 2 slices of bacon and then formed patties from the mixture.
2) For the guacamole, mince about a third of an onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Place them in the mortar.
3) Skin and pit the avocado and add it to the onion and garlic.
4) Season with some cumin, paprika, cilantro, a splash of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt.
5) Use the pestle to grind together the guacamole. Taste and adjust seasoning based on preference.
6) Right before you grill the burgers, sprinkle with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.

7) Warm the tortillas either on the grill or on a hot cast iron pan.
8) Serve the burgers on top of the tortillas with a layer of pepper relish/green salsa, and then a mound of guacamole. IMG_0890

You can clearly see the layer of pepper relish/green salsa between the burger and the guacamole. I made the relish/salsa over the summer, and it complimented the guacamole amazingly. The tortilla bun still needed some work, but it was a great first try!

Blue Cheese Mash Potatoes

The focus of this recipe is on the mash potatoes! My husband loves mashed potatoes and blue cheese so I decided to see if I could combine the two into a single side for him. Now while he would have loved a dinner of just mashed potatoes, I decided to make the meat and peppers as a side to go with the potato main course!

RECIPE: Blue Cheese Mash Potatoes
Makes 1-3 Servings Depending

Cutting Board

3 Potatoes
Green Pepper
Chunk of Meat
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Paprika (not shown)
2 T Butter
Evaporated Milk
Blue Cheese

1) After washing the potatoes, cut them into cubes and add them to a pot of water on the stove.IMG_0914
2) Bring the potatoes and stir occasionally, checking to see how done they are. They will be done when a spoon easily crushes a piece or a fork can pierce it with little to no resistance.
3) Cut the pepper into slices and set to the side.
4) Cube the beef and begin browning it in a cast iron pan.
5) Add the peppers to the beef. Season with onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and a touch of paprika.
6) When the potatoes are done, drain the remaining water.
7) Add the butter and a glug or so of evaporated milk to the potatoes.
8) Using a hand smasher, smash the potatoes until silky.
9) Smash and mix about half the container of blue cheese into the potatoes. Let sit on the warm burner to incorporate the flavors while you plate the meat and peppers. IMG_0916
I like to leave the skins on because that is wear a lot of different nutrients in potatoes come into play. I honestly now prefer it to mashed potatoes made with potatoes that are peeled.

Not your usual Oreo Truffle

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Oreo Truffles. When you search the recipes, almost all of them call for mixing crumbled Oreo cookies with a block of cream cheese. Now I have plenty of other chocolate dipped delights in my recipe collection, that I wanted to do something different for the Oreo Truffles. The result is an Oreo Truffle made with an almost butter cream like frosting.

RECIPE: Not your usual Oreo Truffle
Makes Lots

Mixer with Wire Whisk Attachment
Food processor
Cooking Scoop
Wax Paper

1/2 a Stick of Butter
10 X or Powdered Sugar
Dash of Vanilla
1 Tbs Heavy Cream
Package of Oreos
Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

IMG_08721) In a mixer, soften and beat the butter. Slowly add in powdered sugar until it become a crumbly frosting.
2) Beat in the vanilla and heavy cream until an extremely thick frosting is made.
3) In a food processor, crumble the cookies until they are a fine powder.
4) Dump the cooking crumbles into the frosting and mix them together. The result should be black like the cookies but with specks of white frosting. IMG_0874
5) Use the cookie scoop to scoop of bits of the mixture to roll into balls and place on the wax paper.
6) In a pot, begin melting a bit of the wax, and then with a spoon stir in the chocolate chips until melted and smooth and shiny!
7) Using a fork, gently dip the truffles into the chocolate.
8) Place on wax paper and chill before putting into a tin and storing in the fridge. IMG_0605

Cajun Chicken and Tomatoes

With my new Penzy spices, I had to have a Cajun night to try them out. From celery flakes to Cajun spice mix to sassafras powder, it needed to be experimented with! I just couldn’t wait to see how the sassafras worked, and I have to say that I love it. It is definitely going on my list of favorite spices. This meal was delicious, and honestly was just made amazing by the addition of sassafras. Plus, it let me use up the rice that was a freebie Friday from Kroger.

RECIPE: Cajun Night
Makes 4 Servings

Cutting Boards
Cast iron pan

Avocado Oil
2 Chicken Breast
Garlic Infused Rice
Cajun Seasoning
Half an Onion
Celery Flakes
Canned Tomato Puree
Sassafras Powder (Gumbo File)

1) Begin heating some avocado oil in a cast iron pan.
2) Cube the chicken breast and begin cooking in the pan.
3) Cook rice as directed on packaging in the other pot.

3) Using a clean knife and cutting board,chop up the onion.
5) Season the cooking chicken with some of the Cajun seasoning.
4) Add the onion and celery flakes to the chicken.
5) Let cook for a bit before pouring in the tomato.

6) Stir in a bit of sassafras powder and watch how quickly it thickens everything.
7) Serve the Cajun chicken and tomato over the garlic rice. IMG_0840
The sassafras thickened the tomato sauce and also gave it a rich color. The flavor was subtle, but definitely worth it!

Buffalo Chicken Bread

We love buffalo chicken dip. Actually, I think it’s my husbands favorite meal. Instead of just scooping it onto chips or slices of bread, we decided to bake it straight into the bread! I still need to experiment with a different whole wheat dough, but conceptually it was perfect. The blue cheese in the dip made it amazing.

RECIPE: Buffalo Chicken Bread
Makes 1 Loaf

Bread Maker
Cheese Grater
Loaf Pan
Oven set to 375 Degrees

Whole Wheat Bread Dough
4 oz Cream Cheese
4 oz Cheddar Cheese
Blue Cheese
1 Can of Chicken
Hot Sauce

IMG_08671) Take your proofed whole wheat bread and gently pat it out into a square.
2) In a bowl, smear the cream cheese in the bowl.
3) Shred the cheddar cheese and add 3/4 of it into the bowl with the cream cheese, reserving a little for later.
4) Add about half a container of blue cheese to the bowl, as well as the can of chicken.
5) Dose the mixture in the bowl with hot sauce.
6) Spoon the buffalo chicken dip onto the center of the bread dough.
7) Roll the mixture and into the dough and gently fold it into the greased loaf pan.

8) Sprinkle the top of the loaf with cheddar cheese.
9) Bake in the 375 degree oven, until the loaf is fully baked and golden brown.
10) Serve the loaf while its still hot by sliding it out of the pan onto a cutting board. Use a sereted knife to slice and enjoy. IMG_0879IMG_0881

I can’t wait to make it again! It was incredibly delicious!

Eggplant Steaks

Need a good vegan meal to serve when company is coming? Or are you a vegan who is looking for something new to try? Well I have the recipe for you! Eggplant Steaks! These sear up just like the real thing and are a great excuse to get out those steak knives to dig into a vegetable heavy meal. Baked potatoes make an excellent side, just like it was a real steak dinner.

RECIPE: Eggplant Steaks
Makes 4 Steaks

Cutting Board
Cast iron pan

Favorite BBQ Sauce
The spread and Worcester sauce are for my baked potato, cause its the best way to eat them!

1) Cut the top and bottom off the eggplant.
2) Slice the eggplant into four large steaks each about 1/4-1/2 inch in thickness.
3) Get your cast iron pans really hot. Each pan can hold about two steaks, so if you want to make them all at once you will need two pans.
4) Brush the top of your eggplant in bbq sauce and drop into sauce side down into the hot pan.

5) Brush the other side and then flip once its seared.
6) When both sides are seared it should be hot throughout but not mushy. It should have a cooked but kind of chewy texture to it that reminds you of meat.
7) Serve right away with a baked potato as your side. IMG_0850
My husband quickly ate his two steaks, but just one ended up being filling enough for me!

Stuffed Up Peppers

I do love stuffed peppers! We made these so spicy that they cleared your sinuses no problem from the heat! Absolutely delicious and cleansing!

RECIPE: Stuffed Up Peppers
Makes 2 Servings

Cutting Board
Baking Dish
Oven set to 375 degrees
Cast iron pan

2 Green Peppers
Ground Beef
Hot Pepper Powder
Tomato Powder
Leftover Rice
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1) Cut the tops off of the two green peppers and remove the inner seeds.
2) Bake the hollowed out peppers in the oven for about 15 minutes.
3) While the peppers are baking and softening, begin browning the beef in the cast iron pan.

4) Add the leftover rice to the beef.
5) Flavor the beef  mixture with some tomato powder and lots of hot pepper powder.  Stir in some cilantro towards the end.
6) Fill the peppers with the beef and rice filling.

7) Slice the extra sharp cheddar cheese and lay it over the tops of the peppers.
8) Put it back in the oven to bake until fully melted.
9) For a little bit of looks, top with the pepper top before serving to your guests or in my case, my husband.
I just love how pretty the final result looks! You will definitely get all of your major food groups in this meal!

Healthy Chili Cheese Fries

I love chili cheese fries. Actually, I love garbage fries and any variation there within. The problem is that garbage fries are not exactly a healthy meal. Usually you fry the potatoes, cover it in greasy meat, extra cheese or cheese sauce, and lick your fingers after consuming way more calories then you should. I decided to make a healthier version of this meal which is “fried-free” and chock full of vegetables! There aren’t many pictures because my wonderful sous chef/husband started before I got home from work.

RECIPE: Healthy Chili Cheese Fries
Makes 2 Servings

Cutting Board
Baking Sheet
Oven set to 400 degrees
Cheese Grater

3 Potatoes
4 ounces ground beef
2 ounces beer
Tomato powder
Pepper Powder
1 Green Pepper
1 Onion
1 ounce Extra Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese

1) Wash the potatoes and then cut them into thin pieces.
2) Lay the potato out in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.
3) Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until crispy and perfect.
4) In a small pot, begin browning the beef.
5) Add a bit of beer to the pot, and season to taste with tomato powder, pepper powder, paprika, and just a bit of paprika.
6) Dice up the green pepper and onion.
7) Shred the cheddar cheese.
8) Split the fries onto two plates. Top with 2 ounces of chili, tons of onions and green peppers, and then half an ounce of cheddar cheese. IMG_0774

As you eat this dish the cheese melts into the hot chili and makes the perfect bite! The onion and green pepper make it feel so much healthier, and I really loved this way of making fries. Not only was it less labor intensive, I didn’t have to clean up any grease splatter afterwards!

Time to Make the Donuts!

Does anyone remember that old Dunkin Donuts commercial with the guy going “Time to make the donuts!” “I made the donuts.” If you don’t, go watch it on youtube and then come back and make these donuts!

These donuts are pretty amazing, and you can ask my coworkers if you don’t believe me. They did request the next batch be glazed, even though a few agreed with me that they were plenty sweet on their own. I tried big donuts or little donuts and they were both good, though I liked the smaller ones better.

RECIPE: Time to Make the Donuts!
Makes 2-3 Dozen (Depending on size)

Pastry Board
Rolling Pin
Pastry cutter
Apple Corer
Large Pot
Slotted Spoon
Cooling Rack
Paper Towels

3 oz Shortening
7 oz Sugar
0.24 oz Salt
1.5 oz Milk
1 tsp Nutmeg
0.5 oz Vanilla Etract
3 oz Whole Eggs
1.5 oz Egg Yolks
2 Lbs Flour
1.25 oz Baking Powder
1 lb Water
Vegetable Oil

IMG_07621) Begin by creaming together the shortening and sugar.
2) Mix in the salt, milk, nutmeg, vanilla, and eggs.
3) Beat in the flour, and baking powder.
4) Slowly mix in the water.
5) Transfer the dough to a well floured pastry board. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
6) Roll the dough out to about 1 cm in thickness.
7) Time to cut out the donuts! I used round biscuit cutters for the outside and an apple corer for the center. IMG_0765
8) Let them rest for about 15 minutes.
9) While the dough is resting, bring a pot of of oil and crisco (I was low on both) to 380 degrees.
10) Gently drop the donuts into the hot oil, letting them fry until golden on both sides.
11) Move the freshly fried dough to a cooling rack. I recommend putting some paper towels down under the cooling rack to make clean up easier. IMG_0769
12) Once the donuts are cooled, you can glaze them, cover them in powdered sugar, or leave them as is.


I prefer the donuts as is! They were sweet and delicious! My next batch will probably be an attempt at jelly filled donuts since those are my husbands favorite!