Saturday, January 31, 2009

Katie's Club Sammy

Tonight was yet another family dinner and this time I served a nice pot of chili along with this sandwich I just kind of threw together. Everyone raved about how good it was and that it was better than any store bought sandwich. They actually thought I bought it so I took that as a compliment. Very simple to put together and great for all of your Superbowl parties!

2 loaves of french bread
1 lb. sliced ham
1 lb. sliced turkey
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 bag of Dole shredded lettuce
3 tomatoes
1 package of swiss cheese, about 12 slices
Brown Mustard

1.) Take your loaves of french bread and slice down the center.
2.) On the bottom layers spread on some mayo and brown mustard.
3.) Layer half of the ham and half of the turkey on each bottom half.
4.) Top meat with swiss cheese and layer with your lettuce, onion, and tomato.
5.) Sprinkle the tomatoes with about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper.
6.) Take the top half of each loaf and hallow out the center that way the top of the bread can cradle the veggies.
7.) ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

I am sure a good chunk of you all are experiencing the same weather as we are here in Ohio, keep safe and stay warm! I finally got a snow day off from work which is very exciting. I know my boys sure are having fun!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oreo Dream Cupcakes

I want to take a moment to apologize for my lack of food blogging these past several days. I have been a little under the weather and haven't been cooking quite as much because I haven't had much of an appetite. Once again we had our family dinner on Saturday night and we went pretty easy, I made a big pot of sloppy joes and some macaroni and cheese out of the box, please forgive me father for I have If it makes you feel any better I did make these fabulous cupcakes which are some what of a spin off of Christy's Kitchen Creations blog. She called hers Mississippi Mud Cupcakes and everything was made from scratch, I cheated and used the box cake mix.

The measurements aren't exact since I pretty much flew by the seat of my pants but the extras I had of everything made great snacks.

1 box of milk chocolate cake mix (Make as instructed on the box)
10-12 Oreo Cookies, crushed
Lg. box Vanilla Pudding, instant
2 blocks of cream cheese (16 oz.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. powdered sugar
6-7 oreos crushed

1.) Take oreos and crush, placing about two teaspoons into each cupcake wrapper.
2.) Pour batter into each cupcake wrapper over top of the crushed oreos. Bake as directed and allow to cool.
3.) Once cupcakes are cooled, make your vanilla pudding as instructed on the box. With a pastry bag fill each cupcake with the pudding mixture after the vanilla has had time to set up.
4.) In a large bowl beat together room temperature cream cheese with vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Add crushed oreos and gently mix. Top each cupcake with icing.
I used the large box of vanilla pudding and had two little dessert bowls left over. You can either do the same as I did and just have some vanilla pudding for a snack later or you can use the smaller box. I also had quite a bit of the icing left over which my Uncle Dan and I found to be quite tasty on graham crackers. If you don't want to make extra just cut everything in half.

Chicken and Broccoli Spaghetti

I love Italian food, especially anything made with spaghetti noodles, so when my step-mom started making this dish for us years ago I definitely made sure to keep track of how it was done and make sure it was stored away upstairs for when I needed it. Now that she and my Dad are divorced it's a pretty safe bet to say it's a good thing I was paying attention. This is a simple dish that has simple ingredients. The addition of the ranch seasoning should get all kids excited because come on...what kid does not love ranch?

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 sm. bag frozen broccoli,thawed
1/2 lb. spaghetti noodles
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
Parmesan Cheese

1.)Bring water to a boil for spaghetti noodles, cook as directed on the box.
2.) In a food processor, take your broccoli which has been thawed and process into fine pieces. You do not want to cook the broccoli as it will cook in the saute pan.
3.) In a large saute pan melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and add shredded chicken, broccoli, and ranch seasoning. Cook until everything is warmed through.
4.) After spaghetti noodles are done boiling add about a couple of tablespoons of the liquid to your saute pan. Drain noodles and then add to saute pan.
5.) Toss ingredients and serve. Top each plate of spaghetti with the Parmesan cheese.The picture I have posted is missing a very important ingredient! I make this dish so often that I usually always keep a bag of frozen broccoli in the freezer, for once I did not have any. I was in the mood for this dish though so it was full steam ahead. It was good without it, but I definitely enjoy it better with it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Veggie of the Week-Broccolini

Broccolini is a green vegetable not unlike broccoli with small florets and long, thin stalks. Although often misidentified as young broccoli, it is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan, Chinese broccoli. A natural hybrid of the cabbage family Brassica oleracea, it was developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan. Broccolini's flavor is sweet, with notes of both broccoli and asparagus.

Broccolini is a registered trademark of Mann Packing Company, Inc. Its generic name is baby broccoli with product look up number 3277. Sanbon Incorporated originated a commercial program for asparation in Mexico in 1994 and first brought it to the U.S. market in 1996. Mann Packing Company introduced the new vegetable to the US market in 1998. They grow the vegetable year round in California and Arizona. Today, you can find broccolini throughout the United States and Canada.

The entire vegetable is consumable, including the occasional yellow flower. Rather delicate, common cooking methods include sautéing, steaming, boiling, and stir frying.
Nutritionally, broccolini is high in vitamin C but also contains vitamin A, calcium, folate and iron.

Chilli & Garlic Broccolini
2 bunches Broccolini
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 long red chile, seeds removed & chopped
1.)Steam or blanch broccolini for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Drain & refresh.
2.)Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add garlic & chilli. Cook for 1 -2 minutes until garlic just starts to colour (don't let get brown or it will be bitter).
3.)Add broccolini, season well with s & p, then toss to warm through.
Recipe from

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fried Rice The Murphy Way

Yes I failed at the Lo Mein and yes I am now scared to death to ever try my hand at making Chinese again, but I have been making this fried rice for years thanks to my Dad and plus I don't really consider it a true blue Chinese dish, it's more Chinese...the American way. It's a family favorite and you can add all kinds of ingredients to it and it will still be good. It also makes great leftovers for lunch the next day. Did I mention that it is also very simple to make.

2 chicken breast
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cups white rice, cooked
1 bunch green onions
3 stalks of celery
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
5 eggs, scrambled
Soy Sauce


1.) In a skillet over medium high heat, add extra virgin olive oil and begin browning chicken that has been cut up into small cubes. Sprinkle garlic powder over chicken. Once cooked through set aside in a separate bowl.
2.) In another pan begin boiling water for your rice. Use three cups of water for three cups of rice. Cook rice according to directions on the box.
3.) Start vegetables by chopping green onions into small pieces, use both the green and white portions. Cut the celery stalks in half down the middle and dice into pieces. Set veggies aside in a separate bowl.
4.) In the same pan used to brown your chicken, scramble and cook five eggs.
5.) In a stock pot or dutch oven, add your chicken, vegetables, rice, and scrambled eggs. Begin adding your soy sauce*.
6.) Cook on low heat for five minutes or so, until heated through. Careful not to allow the bottom to burn.
*I didn't measure out the soy sauce because I have found that everyone has their own preference. Some like a lot of soy sauce like myself, while others like very little. I always go easy on the soy sauce and set out the bottle to allow others to add more if they would like.

Our family loves this dish and I hope yours does to. Feel free to let me know if you add any other extra ingredients...I would love to know how they turn out in the dish!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken salad my way

I am fortunate to live only about ten minutes away from my place of employment and because of the fact Daniel works second shift I usually always run home for lunch so that I can spend a little bit of time with him. While I do have an hour for lunch I don't want to spend a lot of time preparing our lunch...I mean come on, have to get some Price is Right watching in there somewhere; so I like making quick fix items or items that I can prepare the night before. I first had chicken salad made this way a few years back, another one of those recipes that came from my Step-Mom Rhonda, even though I think she got it from one of her nieces. Since then I have added my own little touches to it and I must say, it is quite delicious and very easy to serve up when you are rushing around. This chicken salad is best made the night before, but isn't half bad when you eat it right away...I have done both!

2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded*
1/3 cup of mayo
2-3 stalks of celery
1/2 cup of red grapes
1 tbsp. brown mustard

* You can substitute the boiled chicken breasts for two cans of the Tyson shredded white meat chicken you find in a can. I have made this both ways and can't really taste a difference.

1.) Cut your grapes into half or into quarters, depending on your preference. I cut my into quarters.
2.) Take your stalks of celery and cut in half down the center. Then take the two large pieces and dice into small pieces.
3.) In a bowl add your shredded chicken, mayo, brown mustard, diced celery, and quartered grapes. Mix together.

Normally when I make this or tuna salad I toast me up two slices of white bread, slap on a piece of swiss cheese, add a small handful of fresh spinach, and then add my chicken salad mix. Of course this all goes on between the two slices of bread. I call these my quick fix sandwich melts and I could honestly live off of them. I normally serve with a piece of fresh fruit (usually more grapes) and a handful of pretzels or potato chips. Substitute the mayo for low fat mayo and use wheat bread in lieu of white bread and you have yourself a pretty healthy lunch...or dinner:).

Fruit of the week- Boysenberry

A boysenberry is a type of glossy, large, juicy berry related to the North American blackberry. In addition to being eaten fresh during the brief growing season, boysenberries are also incorporated into jams, preserves, and syrups. Their flavor is somewhat reminiscent of a raspberry, with a more tart undertone, especially when the berries are not fully ripened. They are available from grocery stores and farmers' markets, but since boysenberries are not very stable off the vine, it is important to eat them within two or three days of purchase.

The inventor of the boysenberry is believed to be Rudolph Boysen, who experimented with various berry crosses in Napa, California in the 1920s. In 1923, his cross of a blackberry, loganberry, and raspberry successfully grew and bore fruit. The boysenberry was acquired by Walter Knott, a Southern California berry farmer, who started selling the fruit commercially in 1935. Boysenberries and boysenberry preserves helped to make Knott's business famous around the state.

The distinctly tart flavor of a fresh boysenberry makes them very popular in areas where they can be obtained. When selecting boysenberries to take home, look for evenly sized and colored specimens with no areas of mushiness. Keep the berries under refrigeration in a watertight container far from apples and bananas, which emit ethylene gas, and use them within three days. If the berries are not going to be used in time, you may want to consider using them to make jam. Boysenberries can be scattered fresh on pancakes and waffles, used as a pie filling, or added as a decorative accent to cheesecakes and tarts. They can also, of course, simply be eaten plain, or as part of a fruit salad.

Information provided by:

Health Benefits-
~High in Vitamin C and fiber both of which have been shown to help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
~Contain high levels of anthocyanins (120-160 mg/ 100g) that work as antioxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body and give Boysenberries their deep, dark color.

Information provided by:

Recipe for the fruit of the week, provided by

Cinnamon-Wheat Pancakes with Hot Boysenberry Compote

2 cups frozen boysenberries
1/3 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

For Compote:
1.) Combine boysenberries and apple juice in a small saucepan; simmer for 5 minutes.
2.) In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch and add to berry mixture, gently stirring until it boils.
3.)Remove compote from heat and let it cool slightly until it thickens.
For Pancakes:
1.) Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk in a small bowl; set aside.
2.) In a larger bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and sugar.
3.) Add buttermilk mixture, egg whites and vanilla, and blend.
4.) Spray griddle with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
5.) Ladle pancake mixture onto griddle and cook until pancakes are light brown on both sides.
6.) Serve with boysenberry compote.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cabbage Roll Soup...Minus the Roll

I love cabbage and sadly it's one of those foods that a Crohn's patient shouldn't have in their diet, for dare I say it, gassy issues. Its really sad that I could care less what it does to me though because I love it so. My Mother-in-Law Sue makes the absolute best cabbage rolls and even though we took her and my Father-in-Law out on New Years...she was still kind enough to make a batch for Daniel and I, and man they were tasty. Now if you are like me then making cabbage rolls is out of the question during the week because of the amount of time and effort they take you. So what are you supposed to do when it's Wednesday and you have a hankering for a cabbage roll you ask?? You make cabbage roll soup that's what! This recipe was passed along to me from my Mamaw who showed my Step-Mom how to make it, who then showed yours truly!

2 lbs. ground sirloin, browned and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
46 oz. can V8 juice
32 oz. can beef broth
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 medium head cabbage, chopped

1.) In a large soup pan, brown ground sirloin along with chopped onion. Drain any grease.
2.) To browned meat add V8 juice, beef broth, and diced tomatoes.
3.) Add cabbage, chopped into 1 inch pieces. Stir carefully. Cabbage will wilt down so do not be afraid to fill your pot.
4.) Simmer on medium heat for 1/2 hour or until cabbage is cooked.
5.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now if your like my Mother-in-Law, you add rice to your cabbage rolls, which is missing from this soup. We never made it with rice but it is completely up to you. If you do decide to add rice I would suggest adding about a cup or so of uncooked rice. It will cook in the broth, but it may require you adding more V8 juice to compensate for the broth that the rice will absorb.

Hope you enjoy!!

Fancy Rice Krispy Treats

My Husband absolutely adores Rice Krispy treats and to be honest with you, I am fond of them as well. A couple of weeks ago during one of our Christmas shopping trips we stumbled upon a booth at Traders World that was selling cupcakes, cookies, and an assortment of other delicious looking treats. One of those treats were chocolate covered Rice Krispy treats. Now we were on a mission to shop for family and I refused to pay what they were asking so we kept on truckin'. I promised Daniel that I would attempt to make our own at home for Christmas. Well Christmas has come and gone and I never got around to making them. To make matters worse, they were selling something similar to these at Wal-Mart in little gift boxes and after the holiday season they were 75% off so of course we grabbed one. These chocolate covered Rice Krispy treats were so good I could have cried tears of happiness. Unfortunately for us there were only three in the box so it was almost a tease and I have not forgotten about those yummy treats since then. Luckily I just clipped a coupon for Rice Krispy Cereal so I figured it was about time to settle down and follow through with the promise that I made to my Husband weeks ago. This time though I was going to kick them up a notch with the help of my friend, peanut butter.
4 tablespoons butter
10 1/2 ounces mini marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
5 cups Rice Krispy cereal
1 bag chocolate chips, melted
1 bag of Reece's

1.) Melt butter in large saucepan over med-low heat, add peanut butter and vanilla, stir until combined.
2.) Stir in Rice Krispy cereal.
3.) Press into greased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle Reese's Pieces Candy on top, press into Rice Krispy treats.
4.) Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat.5.) Pour melted chocolate over Rice Krispy mixture and spread, place in refrigerator to cool.
6.) Cut into squares and enjoy!!Verdict...who needs to buy these when you can make them at home. They were very tasty and I am glad I didn't make them sooner, because I would just be that much fatter. The true verdict will come tomorrow after I have received Daniel's thoughts on the matter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Today I received my very first blog award from Melissa over at Schweet N Savory. If you haven't stopped by her blog yet I highly suggest that you do as she has some very tummy pleasing recipes over there.
I am returning the honor by passing it on to Kaitlin over at Kaitlin in the Kitchen, another outstanding blog that you shouldn't miss out on.

Pillsbury Bake-Off

In case you didn't know this about me, I love food competitions and no I am not talking about who can eat the most hot dogs in an hour. I love the ones where you create a new recipe and compete against hundreds of other hopefuls. Daniel and I have decided that when we get rich we are going to start competing in the BBQ circuit. We would also like to get a utility trailer and modify it so that we can begin entering these contests and on our down time start a BBQ catering business. We can dream can't we?? My favorite contest is the Pillsbury Bake-Off and this year will be my second attempt at hoping to score one of the coveted spots. I dreamt up Mexican Calzones a year ago for that attempt and this year I am still in the "thinking up" phase. There are four categories this year and whatever recipe I submit must have at least two ingredients off of their ingredients list. The categories are; Breakfast and Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner made easy, and last but not least, Sweet Treats. Needless to say I am going to be scouring the Internet to come up with ideas that I can play off of and turn into something original and while I won't be posting any of the recipes until after the April 20th submission deadline, rest assured I will be sharing them with you at some point in time. I can not even begin to imagine winning as I am just not lucky enough, but boy what I could do with the million dollar prize. Lets see; I would pay off our house, then I would pay off our vehicles, then I would buy our utility trailer so that we can get to smokin', I then see granite counter tops in my future along with a nice little pick me up of a vacation to Disney included! Anyway here is the link to the Pillsbury Bake-Off website in case you may be interested in entering your own original recipe, just click here!

Veggie of the Week- Tomatillo

I have decided, since I am trying to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into my diet, that I am going to do a vegetable/fruit of the week. Every Monday I will be posting a fruit or vegetable along with details on what it is, where it can be found, and of course what sort of dishes can be made with it. I think it is important as a good cook to know your fruits and vegetables.Since the majority of these items probably cannot be found in the produce aisle at my local grocery store I won't be posting my experiences with them but I promise, if I can find them, I will use them and post about them. Today's vegetable is the tomatillo.

The tomatillo is a plant of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, related to tomatoes, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos, referred to as green tomato (Spanish: tomate verde) in Mexico, are a staple in Mexican cuisine.

The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by a paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk turns brown, and the fruit can be any of a number of colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green colour and tart flavour are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Other parts of the tomatillo plant contain toxins, and should not be eaten.

Fresh ripe tomatillos will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. They will keep even longer if the husks are removed and the fruits are placed in sealed plastic bags stored in the refrigerator. They may also be frozen whole or sliced.

Information provided by: Wikipedia

Mexican Take-Out Tomatillo Salsa

12 ounces tomatillos, husked and rinsed (6 to 10)
serrano chilies (I suggest using Jalapenos if you don't like things too hot)
1/2 cup chopped
fresh cilantro
1/2 medium white onion, minced (1/2 cup)
garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons
fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons
cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon
salt, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.)Preheat the broiler. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with foil.
2.)Place the tomatillos and chiles on the foil and broil for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until dark brown spots develop on the chiles and tomatillos.
3.)Cool, then transfer to a blender, including all the juices that have run out onto the baking sheet.
4.)Add the cilantro, onion, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, salt, sugar, and 1/4 cup water. Blend to a puree.
5.)Heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the tomatillo puree and bring to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring, until the salsa has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning; adjust if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature or chilled.
6.)Make Ahead: This salsa can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen up to 2 months.

*I found this recipe off of another favorite website of mine, It looks really yummy and I plan on trying it out as soon as I can find some tomatillos. Daniel and I are both really big salsa fans and we have never had one made from tomatillos. I can't wait!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I wasn't going to post anything tonight as I just did a steak recipe the other week but this marinade for steak is just too good not to share with everyone.

I love my Husband and I love spending time with him. We are still in those blissful pre-children years where we can just up and leave without worrying about baby-sitters and packing the appropriate amount of diapers and bottles. The unfortunate part of this is that my Husband works second shift so the only time I really get to see him is on the weekends. That means no week night dinners at the table which for lack of a better A few months ago we made a deal to make Sunday nights our "date night". It's the one night where together, we plan and make our dinner and share it together at our kitchen table. I look forward to this night and if you have never done this with your spouse...I highly suggest it. The food doesn't have to be special, but we do try to make it something that we wouldn't normally cook. Now I am a big red meat fan, especially a nice piece of steak. Daniel on the other hand does not enjoy steak, doesn't matter the cut or what part of the cow it came from, he just doesn't enjoy it. While on a trip to Kroger's yesterday we noticed that they were having a heck of a sale on their meats. We were trying to figure what sort of meat we were going to have for our date dinner when another shopper casually mentioned that they were selling T-Bone steaks for just a couple of bucks. We passed on the T-Bones but Daniel did something very out of the ordinary, he picked another cut. I think it was a prime cut of something something, I don't remember. I wasn't about to talk the grown man who normally doesn't touch steak out of it as I was more than happy to go with the flow. What I was going to do was leave the preparation of said steak all up to him. I was not about to take responsibility for getting him to like it. So this morning while I was still tucked into bed, he found this marinade on my favorite site, and got to work. If I could have licked the plate that he served these up on after he grilled them...I would have, but it wouldn't have been lady like so I didn't. I highly suggest trying it as it is going to be a keeper in our house!! (In the marinade before being thrown on the grill)

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (the stuff in the bottle works just fine)
1/4 cup Worcestershire
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
3 tbsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic

1.) Allow selected meat to marinade in mixture for at least eight hours.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gravy Smothered Ribs over Rice

I love ribs...I really love them slathered in BBQ sauce and left to slow cook in the crock-pot all day long. Daniel loves ribs as well, but he won't give them another glance if they've come out of the crock-pot. He is a strange man sometimes. On our last visit to the grocery I picked up two packages of country style pork ribs that were already cleaned up and off the bone. I knew since we had just had pulled pork last weekend that cooking them with BBQ sauce was out and I also knew I would have to come up with some other way to cook them then in the crock-pot. I was also not brave enough to weather the extremely cold elements outside to grill those bad boys so that left me with my stove. This is another one of those recipes I pulled out of somewhere where the sun doesn't shine and I was quite surprised with the outcome. Hope you enjoy!!

1 1/2 lbs. country style pork ribs
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
3 tsp. onion powder ( love my onion powder)
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tbsp. flour (I didn't use a measuring spoon, I used an actual tablespoon...FYI)
3 C. chicken stock (1 1/2 for ribs and 1 1/2 for rice)
2 tbsp. teriyaki sauce (I used Kikoman teriyaki baste and glaze)
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (Use less or more to meet your preferences)
1 1/2 C. instant rice
green onions for garnish

1.) Wash and trim any additional fat off of ribs, cut into one inch pieces.
2.) In a large skillet on medium high heat add 2 tbsp. of butter, and add rib pieces.
3.) To the rib meat add black pepper, salt, onion powder, paprika, and garlic powder. Cook meat until brown and cooked thoroughly.
4.) In a sauce pan boil 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and add 2 tsp. of red pepper flakes. Add rice and cook as directed on box of rice.
5.) To the rib meat add teriyaki sauce and allow to coat all pieces of meat.
6.) Add flour to rib meat and stir, allow meat to continue to cook until you can no longer see the white of the flour. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and allow to thicken.
7.) Once sauce has thickened turn off heat and serve.
* I dish up the rice and top with rib gravy mixture. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


When I originally set out on my quest to blog I knew that I would include food, but I also figured I would include my day to day life as a proud dog owner. I am sure everyone thinks their dog is just the funniest thing around, but my three actually are. Not everyone can say that they have a Black Lab who sings and has a fetish with TY beanie babies or a Great Dane that when you take his collar off and tell him he's butt naked proceeds to prance around the living room like a giddy school girl. Purposely I decided not to blog on them as I figured most people wouldn't be interested and plus, how do you tie food in with a bunch of dogs other than the fact mine would eat just about anything I gave them? Since they are so much a part of my life I decided I would dedicate one post to them to allow everyone the opportunity to "meet" them. It's a long one, but when you have over three hundred pounds of dog to talk about, it's going to be long. I promise this is a one time deal and I will never do it again.

As I am sure most of you have already guessed, the love that Daniel and I have for our "children" is what non-animal loving individuals would probably describe as over the top. I cannot help that we talk to them like they are human beings and I most certainly cannot help that both Bandit and Toby talk back. I also cannot help that they sit on the couch while we either fight for the one recliner or sit on the hard floor or that when we have McDonald's...they have McDonald's, the boys love their chicken nuggets. I also don't find it over the top that we know their likes and dislikes. For instance, Wagner, otherwise known as Petunia because he is so picky, will not tolerate ketchup. Don't you even think about giving him the french fry with ketchup on it, he wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. And you might as well forget about giving the dog his fruits and vegetables, he will take them from you, but he spits them out quicker than you can say "don't you dare". Bandit on the other hand will eat anything that doesn't eat him back. He loves tomatoes and he even eats the core out of our apples, this dog does not have a problem with ketchup and quite strangely loves his salt and vinegar potato chips.

Did I also mention that our dogs also have middle names, even some dog people find that one strange...I don't, it helps them to know when they are in trouble or not. I knew I was toast when I heard "Katie Jo", so when I holler Bandit Leroy or Toby Scott, they know to run for their apartments. Apartment is code for cage in our house and we holler Bandit Leroy and Toby Scott a lot in our house. Bandit has been spending a lot of time in his apartment this week, you see, he has himself a hot play toy by the name of Zoe behind us. Zoe's owners have absolutely no respect for their neighbors and allow her to wonder the neighborhood as she pleases and the first place she visits is our joint. Bandit and all of his one hundred plus lab fat can still muster the strength to jump the fence so when she comes calling, he goes answering. Thank God he has been fixed...I am way to young to be a Grandmother. He of course jumps back over the fence and into his pen after he gets caught and we think he thinks that by jumping back into the dog pen that that means Mom and Dad won't know and he won't get in trouble, boy is he wrong! He gets caught every single time and every single time he is banished straight to his apartment. His apartment is where he keeps his favorite socks from his Daddy and all of his favorite beanie babies that have made it back inside the house, I am beginning to think it's not really a punishment for him anymore, more like a time to play with his things without Toby taking off with something.
Wagner George doesn't have an apartment, he gave up chewing things years ago so he got upgraded to the couch for his residency. That was not the case when we first brought him home. He enjoyed reading and watching videos while home with Lucia during the day. He is just now getting around to replacing his Dad's favorite movie, "The Goonies". He was kind enough to replace the chewed up video with a brand new DVD for Dad's Christmas this year. We don't have to use his middle name as much as we do the other boys. His middle name only gets used when he is taking up the entire couch and we are faced with the sad lab eyes from Bandit just begging for one of us to make him share. It also gets said when he comes up and casually yawns in our face sharing his rank breath. When I say rank, I mean make your eyes water RANK!! You have not smelled bad breath until you have smelled Wagner's. We fear that this may be a Great Dane thing, because sadly, Toby is developing some nasty breath of his own. This of course is a horrible thing for us, because this dog is an in your face sort of dog. We have also learned that deep down inside Wagner's, "whatever" persona, he has a mischievous side. He has learned how to open the pantry door and he will just stand there scoping out the goods. This is how Daniel almost lost an entire bag of beef jerky around Christmas.
And then there was Toby. It will be a year next month since we adopted Toby and I will be honest with you. I didn't think we would reach that milestone with him. We didn't learn until after we got him home that he had an aggressive side to him. Of course when you are adopting animals that come from rescue situations where people have beaten and abused them, this is always a chance you take. Toby's wasn't caught at the rescue because his is somewhat dormant and it only comes out in certain circumstances. We learned those circumstances the hard way. Toby by no means can be restrained during unfamiliar situations or with unfamiliar people. Take for instance the first time he met his Grandpa, my Father, we laugh at this now, but at the time my Dad's life flashed before his eyes. Shortly after he was adopted, I threw Daniel a 30th birthday party. We made the mistake of keeping Toby in his cage for introductions instead of allowing him out to meet and greet the guests on his own terms. Dad made the unfortunate mistake of going to check the new addition out and all I can say is, Toby sounded like a wounded grizzly, Dad came running, eyes as big as silver dollars, and I swear Toby's cage moved eight feet from the wall where it originally started, with him still in it. It was after a few more run ins with him and strange people while still caged that we put two and two together. When Toby is faced with a person he is unfamiliar with, he gets scared, and put him in a cage where he can't escape that person he also feels threatened. His only defense for himself in this situation is to growl and act like an idiot and hope that the person goes away. I threatened to pack his bags for him before we finally figured out this wasn't his fault, that someone obviously did something to him before he was rescued. I feel guilty now I will admit, it's not his fault that he has a few nuts and screws loose upstairs. I mean after all, I came from two nuts who screwed, and no one has threatened to take me back. A year later, Toby is best friends with his Grandpa, it took some apologizing on his part, and Grandpa casually reminds him of their first meeting every so often. It also helps that we have a house full of people every Saturday night so I think he is used to people by now. He is the biggest baby you will ever meet and just like any other baby he demands to be held. He sits in Daniel's lap and when his Uncle Matt comes to baby-sit, Uncle Matt must hold and comfort him in the recliner. The dog even enjoys perching his behind on your shoulder with his paws on your lap. We like to refer to this as his "Polly want a cracker" pose. Toby is also my snuggle buddy and kitchen helper. When I go to bed at night, Toby isn't far behind. He stays there until his Dad comes home from work and then its adios Mom and hello Dad. When I am in the kitchen, Toby is in the kitchen. He has his own rug to lay on and is a major pain in my rear to cook with. He thinks he gets to try everything, and sees no problem with laying his head on the other side of the counter and commence drooling. He's Daniel's constant companion and I tell the dog all the time to leave some space between him and Daniel when they are trucking along, because one of these days, Daniel is going to stop without warning and Toby is going to experience a little of what we suffer with when we smell his and Wagner's breath.
Sadly, at one point in time we were the proud parents of four children. We still are the parents of four children, it's just that one has gone to live permanently at her Grandma and Grandpa's house. We had to have Lucia, our gorgeous red Doberman put to sleep on 9-13-08 after we learned she had bone cancer. We keep telling the boys that Peanut went to live with Grandma and Grandpa and I know we need to stop saying that because I know when we ask them if they want to go see Grandma and Grandpa, they are probably thinking "Hell no, last time Lucia went she didn't come back". That girl had a personality on her the size of the Grand Canyon and to say she was her Dad's little Princess would be an understatement, she had been his life. Before I stole Daniel's heart, another girl had. Lucia Marie became her Daddy's little girl around Christmas eight years ago and until I came trotting along, she had him all to herself. Daniel started truck driving when he got out of the Navy and it wasn't long after that that he rescued her. Lucia was his truck driving companion and more than likely in all of her Doberman glory, kept him safe in many a truck stops. We have had our share of crying fits since her passing, you should have seen us on Christmas when we went out to see her grave. I have her collar hanging on the rear view mirror in our Equinox and I like to think that whenever her tags jingle, that's her checking in. We have now finally moved on to the should we get another Dobie phase. Do we need another mouth to feed, no. Would our Mother's kill us, heck yeah!! Do we need the love and affection from another red Doberman, sadly yes. We know when we get another, which we will eventually, that it will have to be female, and it will have to be red just like Lucia. We also decided over the weekend to name her Ariel after playing with a black and tan one at a pet store. Would you believe that today we found a red doberman puppy at the Doberman rescue we associate with? She was left to die along with her siblings when they were rescued. The very strange thing is, guess what her name is?? It's Ariel and I can't help but think maybe it's a sign that Lucia left this planet so that we could be this one's forever family as she was born right around the time Lucia first started to get sick. The question is, do we move forward with trying to adopt her, or do we act like responsible adults and say no like our Mother's would prefer that we do?? Only time will tell. But come on, how big of a coincidence can it be that she meets our requirements and her name is already Ariel?? Now that I have shared a few tidbits of information about our little doggie family I will get back to doing food!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Beef Strogonoff with Spinach

Tonight was another what's for dinner night and I truly pulled this recipe out of somewhere that we will not mention. I added the spinach to the mix because we have a bunch in the fridge that needs to be used so I figured...why not?? It actually turned out pretty good and the spinach gave the dish a nice bite. If you aren't a fan of spinach feel free to leave this ingredient out.

1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. onion powder
2-3 dashes hot sauce
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 handfuls of fresh spinach
1/2 lb spaghetti noodles or pasta of your choice

1.) In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef with onions and chopped garlic. Drain grease.
2.) Add salt, pepper, and onion powder to beef mixture.
3.) Add cream cheese, cream, and hot sauce. Stir until cream cheese has melted.
4.) Sprinkle in Parmesan cheese.
5.) Stir in fresh spinach and gently toss. Turn heat down to low and allow to cook until spinach is slightly wilted.
6.) Serve over cooked pasta.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

My goal for the past several months has been to try to get out of this cooking rut that involves making the same things over and over again. I have noticed that with age comes the ability to accept new foods and to try things that in prior years I wouldn't have enjoyed. I also feel that it is my wifely duty to provide my Husband with meals that he can take into work and be proud of and make the other boys jealous that he is married to me and they aren't. I achieved that last one last week with the Sausage and Peppers and with the Eggplant Parmesan. I believe one of the comments from the other guys was," I wish my wife cooked like this". I was giddy with excitement after my Husband informed me of this, mainly because when it comes to cooking, the thing I enjoy most is watching everyone else enjoy it. It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that all of the chopping, dicing, baking, and frying, were worth the time and effort that I put forth.

I stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks ago on It has received rave reviews and it seems like everyone was suggesting it. I decided to stumble into the unknown and give it a shot as this would have been one of those foods I wouldn't have looked twice at a few years ago. To say I enjoyed this dish would be an understatement. They weren't joking when they named it Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, because let me tell you, it is definitely creamy and it does a body good on a cold miserable day like today. It calls for simple ingredients and while it does call for some added work such as making the roux, it is actually a fairly simple dish to make. Unfortunately for Daniel this wasn't a favorite of his, but I couldn't care less because it saves that much more for me and besides, his buddies are already jealous of him, why make them suffer any worse. Now please don't let the fact that Daniel wasn't crazy about this stop you from trying it. He did eat it, he just didn't rave about it. This dish was not like the failed attempt at Chinese where after one bite he told me to pitch it. I am still having nightmares about that dish people!

Here is the soup, now I added a few things to my soup after reading several of the reviews that were posted on Before I even get started I saute a cup of chopped onions and about 1/2 cup of chopped carrots.

1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream
finely shredded mild cheddar cheese

1.) In a large pot over medium heat, saute your chopped onion and carrots in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
2.)Combine broth, water and chicken to your vegetable saute. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.
3.)In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour.
4.)In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
5.)Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Now as I stated above the original recipe does not call for the carrots or onions, but they add so much flavor to the dish that I wouldn't make this soup without them. Others have also added celery to the mix and some mushrooms would also be a nice touch. I top each bowl of the soup with a little bit of the shredded cheese and ta da, you have a wonderul hearty bowl of soup. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I do.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Garbage Pizza & Atomic Buffalo Turds

I will be honest with everyone, ever since the failed attempt at Chinese I am fearful of creating another recipe and posting it. I have been having problems coming up with a good one for the Spinach and Chicken Pasta Toss. Daniel and I even went to the mall today to get his replacement wedding band and when we stopped in the food court for a snack we discussed the different options of possible sauces for it. The sauce has me stumped. Does it even need a sauce, who knows. Either way we didn't have it for dinner tonight and trust me when I say that doesn't hurt my feelings. Our fridge is stuffed to the max with leftovers from last night so I didn't want to add to the chaos. Instead for dinner we made our garbage pizza since we had all of the leftover ingredients from last nights dinner and previous nights dinner. We have made this pizza once before using a store bought crust but tonight we made our own since neither of us were in the mood to go to the grocery. Plus after learning that my tire on the Equinox is not repairable and will need a new $140 tire, money is going to be tight and every cent counts around this house. Good news though, the jeweler is replacing Daniel's so called indestructible wedding band for free. They also informed us that even though the ring is indestructible, it is a brittle medal so dropping it on ceramic tile like Daniel did, can shatter it. Doesn't quite make sense and that information would have been useful before we purchased it three years ago, but whatever. Indestructible my tushy. Sorry, got a little sidetracked there, back to the pizza.

Here is what you will need to make our garbage pizza;

1 Pizza Crust, you can either make your own like we did tonight, or you can use a store bought.
Leftover pulled pork
BBQ Sauce
Onion, chopped
Cheeses of your choice, we had leftover mozzarella, mild cheddar, and parmesan.

1.) Take your pizza crust and pour on your BBQ sauce.
2.) Layer your pulled pork, top with your chopped onion, sprinkle with your cheeses. 3.) Top with your BBQ Rub. A thin layer is all that is needed.
Now you will notice I didn't measure anything. It is hard to do when everyone has their own preferences. You as little or as much of the ingredients as you would prefer. You will cook your pizza according to the instructions provided with your crust. For the last minute of baking we turn the broiler on and let the top get a really nice brown color to it.

Now as promised, here are the atomic buffalo turds. Daniel did these on the smoker, however you could get away with doing them in the oven.

Here is what you will need;

10 Jalapeno Peppers

1 Block of cream cheese, you will only use about half

1/3 C. Shredded Mild Cheddar

5 Pieces of bacon, cut into two pieces


1.) Begin by cutting the tops off of your peppers and with the handle of a small spoon scrape out the inside of the pepper. Most people take the easy way out and cut the pepper in half and scrape and stuff that way. Daniel found using the spoon allows you to get down into the pepper without the need to split it.

2.) In a separate bowl mix half of the block of your cream cheese along with your shredded cheddar.

3.) Stuff your cream cheese mixture into each pepper, filling to the top of the pepper.

4.) Wrap the top half of your pepper with your slice of bacon, use your toothpick to keep the bacon in place.

5.) Cook or smoke until the bacon is cooked and the pepper has softened.

I hope you enjoy these recipes, they are both really good although I wasn't brave enough to try the buffalo turds. Daniel and my Dad really enjoyed them so that was a good sign. I will try to post a few new recipes next week but I will be taking a break starting Thursday because I have to do my prep for the dreaded colonoscopy on Friday. Everyone please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that they finally figure out what is wrong with me. I have been sick since July having attacks that started every few weeks and that now without my steroids would be a daily occurance. The Doctor feels my Crohns disease is finally in remission so they are all stumped as to what is causing my problems.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Daniel's Pulled Pork

Another Saturday night dinner has come and gone and even though Daniel was in charge of the pulled pork I still had to come up with a couple of side dishes. Fortunately for me my lovely MIL once again brought some of the family favorites. One of which is her fruit salad that is just awesome. Someday I will get the recipe from her and share it with everyone if she permits. Until then you will have to get by with Daniel's pulled pork recipe. Let us begin!

Pork Shoulder Butt
Yellow Mustard
Rub of your choice (Daniel uses Mudflap Jones Seasoning)
Apple Juice
BBQ Sauce of your choice
Plastic Wrap
Aluminum Foil
Bath Towels (You'll see why :))
Digital Thermometer
Insulated Cooler
Finishing Sauce- Recipe Listed at the bottom

1.) About 12 hours before you begin smoking your meat trim any extra fat from your meat. Next you will slather your meat with the yellow mustard. Be generous! You will end this step by generously sprinkling your dry rub on all sides of the meat.2.) Wrap your meat in the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until you are ready for the smoking process.
3.) Start your smoker and get the temperature up to 225-240 degrees F. Daniel uses hickory chips in his smoker. Unwrap your meat and place into your smoker, fat side down. Once your meat has hit 100 degrees F, begin spraying it with your apple juice every hour. The sugars in the apple juice will caramelize and form the bark.
4.) Once your meat has reached 165 degrees F, you will need to double wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil. Spray the foil with some of your apple juice to help braise the meat while it is wrapped. Place your wrapped meat back into the smoker and continue cooking until the temperature has reached between 195-205 degrees F.
5.) Once your meat has reached the appropriate temperature take your meat off of the smoker, wrap it in several old bath towels and place it in an insulated cooler to allow it to rest and finish cooking for at least one hour. Daniel put our meat on at 11 o'clock last night and it came off at 12:30 this afternoon. Some meats cook quicker than others depending on the weather conditions outside. Just keep an eye on it and rely on your thermometer. 6.)With two forks begin pulling your meat. Daniel has rubber gloves that he uses when he is rubbing down the meat and he also uses them to pull the meat with his hands. Please be careful if you plan on pulling it apart with your hands because the meat is very hot. Daniel took our pork off of the smoker several hours before he pulled it and it was still steaming when he unwrapped it.7.) After you have finished pulling it you will use a finishing sauce. The recipe is listed below.

1 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Cajun Seasoning
1 Tsp. Course Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1.) On the stove warm up your apple cider vinegar, you want it warm enough to melt the sugar.
2.) Add the remaining ingredients to the warmed vinegar. Daniel stores his in a cheap clear bottle that you can find at Wal-Mart.
3.) Drizzle your finishing sauce on your pulled pork and mix well.

We usually have a selection of BBQ sauces for our guests. Some people like theirs hot like Daniel, others like it nice and mild like myself. We use regular white hamburger buns and tonight I splurged and we also had whole wheat buns, tried to be a little healthy.
For the sides I relied on one of my favorite sites, I chose to make coleslaw and cheesy potatoes. The potatoes were supposed to go in the crock pot but they just weren't cooking quick enough so I transferred them to a baking dish and stuck them in the oven for an hour at 375 degrees F. They probably could have stayed in a little longer, but someones Husband (Daniel) was starving so I had to go ahead and serve them up. I also did not use the butter in the dish because I felt it didn't need it. I did add a couple of cubes of Velveeta cheese to make it cheesier and creamier, this is part of why I did not use the butter. As far as the coleslaw goes it was really good, I omitted the poppy seeds because I didn't have any, and I have never had coleslaw with them in it. I sprinkled the top of the coleslaw with paprika for a bit of color and also because that's how my Grandma Murphy always did it. I didn't take pictures of any of these dishes because about the second they were pulled out of the refrigerator/oven the plates started flying and people began lining up. Didn't leave me much time to take pretty pictures. It helps to know that I am sure everyone reading this knows what coleslaw looks like and can pretty much imagine what the potatoes look like.

This pulled pork is by far the best I have ever eaten. It is so good, that my Dad who got back from a week long trip to Florida couldn't resist getting back into his truck after a long days worth of driving to get his pulled pork. Daniel swears by the finishing sauce as do all of his BBQ forum buddies. Do not be scared of the red pepper flakes in it as they do not add any heat to it. If you do not have a smoker, this pork is all the reason you need to buy one. Daniel bought his last Christmas for less than $100 and he uses it for everything. After he was finished with the meat today he made Atomic Buffalo Turds, the recipe will come tomorrow, but I will leave everyone guessing tonight what they could possibly be. Until then I bid you farewell!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Night Dinner

So tonight's menu consisted of garlic encrusted steak, asparagus, and mashed cauliflower. It was a busy menu and I am glad that it is over.
4 Steaks (I used)
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Onion Powder
Vegetable Oil (I prefer Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but my Husband used the last of it)

1.) Begin by chopping up your cilantro and garlic, mix together.
2.) Tenderize your steak by using a meat mallet and go to town.3.) Sprinkle your steaks with onion powder. Use as little or as much as you prefer4.)Rub the steaks with cilantro/garlic mix.5.) Allow the steak and cilantro/garlic mix to marry for one hour in the fridge.
6.) After one hour of marination, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
7.) In a skilled on the stove place a good drizzle of vegetable oil and 3 tablespoons of butter.8.) Allow each side of the steak to brown evenly, and then transfer in an oven safe pan to the oven. I left mine in for about 20 minutes.9.) After the 20 minutes take out and transfer to a plate to rest, cover the steak with aluminum foil.

:1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
6 slices of bacon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 stick of butter

1.) Begin by trimming your asparagus by snapping the bottom off of each piece.
2.) Chop your garlic up, you do not want this to be a fine chop3.) Cut bacon into small slivers, and add to a preheated pan on the stove.4.) Once the bacon has begun to brown on the edges add in your chopped garlic.5.) To the same pan add a few tabs of butter, 2-3 should be adequate.
6.) Add asparagus to the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Tossing the asparagus every few minutes.7.) Transfer the asparagus/bacon/garlic mixture to oven safe dish, leaving behind as much of the bacon grease as possible. Top with a few more tabs of butter and add to the preheated oven that your steaks are currently going to town in. Allow to cook until asparagus is tender but still has a bite to it.

Mashed Cauliflower:1 md. head of cauliflower
1/3 C. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 C. Shredded Cheese (Mild Cheddar)
Dash of pepper
1 tbsp. of garlic powder

1.) Begin by cutting cauliflower into small florets and wash thoroughly.
2.) Bring to boil a 5 qt. pan of water, about 1 inch deep and add about a 2 tsp. of salt.3.) Add cauliflower to boiling water and cook until soft.
4.) With a potato masher, mash cauliflower, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
5.) Transfer mixture to an oven safe dish and sprinkle with more cheese.
6.) Place in oven until the cheese sprinkled on top is melted.

This meal was good, wasn't knock my socks off good, but I think it was because I really wasn't in the mood for it. If you are not a cilantro fan then you will not enjoy this steak, I would suggest using another herb, or deleting that ingredient all together. The asparagus was good as usual. I have had asparagus in many different restaurants and I just do not enjoy it. For some reason I love how this one always turns out and Daniel loves it when I serve this dish. As for the cauliflower, it was good especially with all of the melted cheese. I am going to work on approving this one because I felt that it was missing something. Over all a good meal.