Date Night Steak Night


RECIPE: Date Night Steak Night
Makes 2 Servings 

Cutting Board
Potato Masher

Pepper Jack Cheese
Two Steaks
Dilly Beans

1) Begin by cutting the potatoes and dropping them into a pot of water and bring to a boil.
2) Slice the onion and pepper jack cheese, and mince the garlic.

3) Begin grilling the the steaks. After you flip them, top with the onion and cheese. The cheese will melt as the steaks finish grilling.
4) Drain and mash the potatoes, adding the garlic, milk, and butter.

5) Begin heating the dilly beans.
6) Serve it up for date night! IMG_1763

Spicy Chicken Quesadilla

We eat a lot of hot sauce in our house. So much in fact, that last year I canned up a lot of habanero hot sauce. The hot sauce works great as a sauce on meals, but its even better for an instant sauce for chicken! Since I don’t have time to marinate meat after work, I try to cook the raw ingredients in the sauce to let it absorb as much flavor as possible. The resulting spicy chicken quesadilla is always a hit.

RECIPE: Spicy Chicken Quesadilla
Makes Enough Chicken for 6 Quesadilla 

Plastic Cutting Board
Cast iron pans
Wooden Cutting Board

1 Chicken Breast
1/2 Pint Habanero Hot Sauce
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Green Sweet Salsa
Red Spicy Salsa

1) Begin by cutting the raw chicken breasts into small pieces while heating up a cast iron pan.
2) Drop the chicken into the cast iron pan and drench in hot sauce.

3) Stir the chicken as it cooks and season with a good few shakes of cilantro (If you don’t like cilantro because of genetics, parsley can be subbed in).
4) Slice the lay out the tortillas and then slice the cheddar cheese.
5) Spread a layer of chicken on the tortilla, and top with cheddar cheese before dropping into a hot cast iron pan.

6) Flip and let the other side brown and the cheese melt.
7) Slice in quarters and serve with your preferences of salsa. I like to do two salsa to really mix it up, though both are homemade. IMG_1725


Rachel Sandwich

Rueben sandwiches are tasty, but I prefer the Rachel version with turkey as the protein of the sandwich. These Rachel sandwiches were made at the request of my husband, who loves sauerkraut almost as much as I do. Though, he loves swiss cheese much more than I do. In fact, this sandwich is the only way I will eat swiss cheese!

RECIPE: Rachel Sandwich
Makes 2 Sandwiches

Cutting Board
Panini Press

Worcester Sauce
Horseradish Sauce
Whole Wheat Buns
Deli Turkey
Swiss Cheese

1) In a bowl, combine a scoop of mayo, a squirt of ketchup, several shakes of worcester sauce, and a solid squeeze of horseradish sauce.
2) Stir well, taste, and adjust ratio until the sauce is just right.
3) Slice open your buns and spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom bun.

4) Layer with desired amount of deli turkey, I usually go for 3-4 slices. Top with more sauce.
5) Add a layer of sauerkraut.
6) Slice the swiss cheese and layer it on top.
7) Put on the top bun and slide it into the panini press.

8) Press the sandwich until the bread is crispy, the swiss is just a little bit melted, and the sauerkraut just begins to warm around the edges but is still cold in the center. IMG_1707


Practice Cupcakes

I really wanted to practice pipping frosting. This chocolate cupcake recipe was designed as a way to get just a few cupcakes to play with, without having cupcakes overflowing from the kitchen. My husband joked that we would just eat cupcakes for breakfast since they were all frosted and pretty.

RECIPE: Practice Cupcakes
Makes 10 Cupcakes 

Measuring Utensils
Muffin Tin
Cupcake Liners
Oven heated to 385 Cooling Rack
Piping Bag and Tip

2.5 ounces Margarine or Butter
2 Ounces Chocolate
3.5 Ounces Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Black Walnut Extract
4 ounces Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
3.5 ounces Milk

1) In a bowl, add the margarine/butter and chocolate. Melt in the microwave to combine.
2) In a mixer, beat together the melted chocolate and margarine/butter and the sugar.
3) Add a pinch of salt, 1 egg, and about a teaspoon or so of black walnut extract.
4) Slowly mix in the flour and baking powder, and then the milk to form a batter.

Scoop the batter into a lined muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes or until done.
6) For the frosting, beat together shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla paste until fluffy. Then add milk till the consistency is right.
7) Let the cupcakes cool on a tray before putting the frosting into a bag and starting to pipe the cupcakes.


Double Chocolate Banana Pancakes

Chocolate and banana is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Who doesn’t like chocolate dipped bananas, chocolate chip banana bread, or banana cake with chocolate frosting? This breakfast recipe helps satisfy my early morning desire for chocolate and banana! It’s so easy, and simply delectable.

RECIPE: Double Chocolate Banana Pancakes
Makes 4 Servings

Measuring Utensils
Cast iron pan

1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon Melted Margarine
3/4 Cups Milk
Chocolate Chips

IMG_16691) In a bowl, combine your dry ingredients, including flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.
2) Beat in the eggs, melted margarine, and milk. If you want to be fancy, you can beat the egg whites separately to stir in, but I usually don’t cause its too early for so many steps!
3) Peal and slice a banana into coins.
4) Heat a cast iron pan and make sure it is well greased.
5) Scoop in batter and then sprinkle with banana slices and chocolate chips.
6) When the batter begins to bubble, flip the pancakes. Let cook on the other side for a bit before serving. IMG_1677

7) Top with maple syrup or whip cream. We are very much a maple syrup household. IMG_1681

Diner Onion Rings

I love a good diner meal. After all, I grew up in New Jersey which has plenty of great diners. To mimic the whole experience, we even serve up dinner in baskets. It doesn’t get much more authentic than in our kitchen! To go with this oven baked healthy diner onion rings, we made a not so healthy BBQ cheese burger.

RECIPE: Diner Onion Rings
Makes 2-3 Servings

Cutting Boards
Lined Baking Sheet
Oven set to 450

Large Onion
2 Eggs
Matza Meal
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Jalapeno Powder
Avocado Oil
For the burger:
Ground beef mixture
Arizona Gunslinger BBQ Sauce
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Whole wheat buns

IMG_16441) Begin by slicing the onion into rings and separating them out.
2) In one bowl, whisk your eggs and in another add flour.
3) In another bowl, combine matza meal, garlic powder, onion powder, jalapeno powder, and salt.
4) Oil up your lined baking sheets.
5) Dip your onion in to the flour, then egg mixture and then into the matza meal mixture before placing on the baking sheet. IMG_1648
6) Bake the onion rings in a 450 degree oven until crispy and beginning to brown. I was constantly monitoring it so I can’t say for sure how long it took. Somewhere between 10-30 minutes is my guess. IMG_1650
7) Send your husband to grill up the burgers while you are sitting in front of the oven watching the onion rings.
8) Serve up in a basket and enjoy!

Beans and Rice

Beans and Rice are the perfect budget dinner. They are two of the least expensive items at the grocery store, and often items that are leftover from other meals. This recipe kicks up the traditional budget meal into a nice thick bean stew served over lime rice. It’s easy, delicious, and cheep!

RECIPE: Beans and Rice
Makes 3-4 Servings

Cast iron pans
Spatula or spoons

Black Beans
Tomato Puree
Chili Pepper
Leftover Rice
Corn Flour

1) Use your spatula or spoon to drain the black beans and then mash them up a bit before adding to a warm cast iron pan.
2) Season the mashed beans with pureed tomato and pickled jalapenos (no juice).
3) In another pan, begin reheating the leftover rice with a bit of water, lime juice, and then drop it the lime halves to cook with them in order to impart extra flavor.

4) Season the beans with Epazote and chili powder.
5) Use a bit of corn flour to thicken the bean mixture into a nice stew consistency.
6) Remove the lime halves, and then serve the rice in a bowl before adding your beans. IMG_1608 This thick stew is definitely rustic looking, but comforting in flavor. If you ever need a simple and cheap to make meal, this one is absolutely delicious!

Shamrock Cookies

Luckily, these cookies work for just about any holiday as long as you switch up the food coloring and cookie cutters! These shortbread style holiday cookies are a crowd pleaser, and so easy to make!

RECIPE: Shamrock Cookies
Makes 3-4 Dozen Depending on Cookie Cutter Size

Measuring Utensils
Wax Paper
Rolling Pin
Cookie Cutters
Baking Sheet
Oven set to 325 degrees
Cooling Rack

1/2 Stick Butter
1 Stick Margarine
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Green Food Coloring
1/2 Cup 10x Sugar
3 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Flour
Flour and 10x Sugar Mixture for rolling

1) In a mixer, cream together the butter, margarine, salt, and food coloring.
2) Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract.
3) Beat in the flour, but don’t over beat.
4) Wrap in wax paper and stick it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

5) Use a mixture of flour and 10x sugar to roll out the dough.
6) Cut out the cookies and place on a baking sheet.
7) Bake for about 15 minutes or until done.
8) Use a spatula to transfer the baked cookies to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before storing or serving. IMG_1592

I was hoping the cookies would be as green as the dough, but they ended up being a much lighter green. Still very pretty and just as delicious!

Green Omelette

For some reason, my St. Patrick’s Day recipes got stuck in a folder and I never posted them! I know, completely unforgivable. Luckily, this green omelette is not only appropriate for St. Patty’s day, but any day of the year. In fact, despite the very obvious addition of green food coloring, this recipe is actually not very Irish at all. In fact, its a bit more French than Irish (except for the soda bread!)

RECIPE: Green Omelette
Makes 2 Servings

Cutting Boards
Cast iron pan
Sauce pan

2 Cloves Garlic
Mozzarella Cheese
Black Pepper
5 Eggs
Skim Milk
Green Food Dye
3 T Butter
2 Egg Yolks
Chili Powder

1) Begin by chopping up your asparagus and finely mincing your garlic. Add to a warm pan.
2) Season the asparagus with a touch of tarragon, black pepper, and salt.
3) In a bowl, add three whole eggs and 2 egg whites. Add the 2 yolks to a separate bowl.

4) Add the food coloring to the whole eggs and whites, and whisk it with a fork until fluffy.
5) Begin melting the butter in a sauce pan.
6) Remove the cooked asparagus from the pan and fill with the egg mixture. Cover and let cook on low.
7) Whisk the melted butter with the egg yolks, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a sprinkle of chili powder. (I should have cooked mine longer, but decided to do the sauce at the last minute).
8) Uncover the omelette, add back in the asparagus, and layer in the mozzarella.
9) Flip the omelette closed, cut in half, and serve with some of the sauce. IMG_1545IMG_1549

Beef Stew

Beef stew is very much a family recipe. Every time I make it, the smell transports me back to my childhood. I would sit in our kitchen as my mom cooked up a batch of stew. The entire house would smell of it. You would walk in the door and just know that stew was on the stove. If you don’t have a family recipe for beef stew, you can gladly borrow ours.

RECIPE: Beef Stew
Makes 4-6 Servings



The Guinness glass in the picture is filled with beer to be drunk while making the stew

Cutting Boards
Large Cast iron pot
Spatula or Spoon

2 lbs or so Beef
2 tablespoons Crisco
Dry Red Wine
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1 Onion
2 Bay Leaves
Ground Pepper
3 Carrots
4 Potatoes
Tomato Juice
1 Egg

1) Trim the beef and cut into cubes.
2) Begin browning the beef in the cast iron pan with the shortening.
3) Season with a shake of Worcester sauce and then give a heavy dosing of red wine.
4) Chop up the garlic and onion and add it to the beef, along with the bay leaves.

5) Add water and cover the pot, letting it simmer for a while.
6) Season with the salt, paprika, pepper, and cloves.
7) Add a hot water and let simmer for a while (covered).
8) Cut up the carrots and potatoes.
9) Add the carrots first, and then the potatoes a little while after.

10) Add a cup or so of tomato juice, and let it continue simmering. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
11) In a bowl, combine flour, water, and 1 egg to create a thick batter. You will want to use the fork to combine the ingredients.
12) Drop the batter by the fork full into the stew and then cover for 5-15 minutes (depending on the size of your dumplings) to let the dumplings steam and cook in the stew.
13) Give it another stir and then serve. The stew will freeze nicely, but the dumplings will not hold up to being frozen. IMG_1586

The beef in this stew ends up so tender that it falls apart in your mouth. The carrots and potatoes keep their shape in the bowl, but are perfectly cooked when you take a bite. The gravy of the stew really brings together all the flavors into a single harmonious meal.

The best part is the dumplings, which I simply can’t get enough of. They are made according to my Nana’s recipe, and my absolute favorite part of stew.

When it comes to stew, don’t try to get fancy ingredients. Stew was perfected by people on a budget, so get the meat that’s on sale and find the cheapest drinkable red wine at the store (this one was under 4 bucks). The results are better that way!