Archive for September, 2007

Great Pino Noir

Tonight was the first night in a little while that we both got home from work at a decent hour and could sit down and enjoy a nice dinner together. Plus, it was one of my favorite nights of the week… Thursday!  To me, Thursday night is as good as Friday, the weekend is so close you can feel it.

We had grilled salmon with parboiled/grilled new potatoes and a salad. I picked the fixin’s up at the grocery store during lunch,  and wandered through the wine aisle of the grocery store on my way to the check out. Lots of people automatically think white wine with fish, but I think that salmon stands up to red wine pretty well.  This pinot noir that I got at the grocery store was really smooth and went really well with the horseradish in the salmon marinade.

 We have never had a bad Pinot Noir from the Willamette valley of Oregon. 

 Happy Thursday from me to you!  Hope you have a good weekend.  Eagles and Giants play on Sunday night, I am trying to think of something good for dinner to get the Philly mojo’ goin.  I can’t do justice to cheese steaks, so I will have to think of something else.


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Turkey taco bake

I like this dish because it is great football food and it is both semi-healthy and easy all at the same time.   When I had an extra few minutes earlier in the week, I browned the turkey and onions, then I mixed in the tomatoes and taco seasoning.  Once it cooled down to room temp, I put it in a ziplock freezer bag and tossed it into the freezer. This made life much easier on Saturday. I just thawed the mixture for Saturday night and put the layers together when we were ready. 

 Turkey Taco Bake

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 12oz can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 can tomatoes with jalepenos (I used mild rotel)
  •  Tortilla chips
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mix of full fat and 2%)
  • shredded lettuce
  • salsa

Brown the turkey and onions in a nonstick pan coated with a little bit of olive oil.  When the turkey is opaque, add the taco seasoning and a little bit of beer (just to distribute the seasoning and break up the turkey, this is optional).  Stir in the refried beans and the canned tomatoes. 

Spray a 9X13 glass baking dish with nonstick spray, and line the bottom of the dish with tortilla chips. Spread the turkey mixture on top of the chips, then top with 1/2 of the cheese.  Repeat this layering with the other half of the turkey mixture and the cheese.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes until the cheese is all melted.  Serve on top of  shredded lettuce with salsa and possibly sour cream.

Turkey Taco Tribute

This was my little extra “push” for Michigan to win their game so Jason could get through the day!  Corny, but it worked!

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sleepin’ in

One could make one’s own Bloody Mary from scratch, but  who feels like going to so much trouble before noon on a Saturday?  Even our dog isn’t a morning person!   I don’t feel so bad using a mix to make my Bloody Mary when I know I can make it better with the proper accoutrements.

 Last year we went to Savannah, GA and had Bloody Marys  at Huey’s on the Riverwalk that we still talk about today.  When we saw the same mix that they used in our local Harris Teeter, we set about creating the same drink here at home.  After some trial and error, here is our recipe.  The brands here are important, we cannot gaurantee what might occur if you use anything other than what is in this picture. 


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Well, to me it does at least.  I don’t use the crock pot much during the summer months, but once the weather cools down, it is a whole different ball game.  That doesn’t mean that it is cool here in NC.  It is hot and humid and just dreadful, but the sun is out and my AC is working so it is great inside the kitchen!

The start of football season gets my appetite going for cold weather food like chili and pot roast and cheese dips and.. well, there will be time for all that later.   To kick the season off in style, we made French Dip sandwiches in the slow cooker/crock pot (which one is it anyway?).  Who cares, I started dinner at 11:00am and didn’t have to do a thing until I threw the salads together.  I will stand up and cheer for that! Now, if we could just get Michigan to win a game….

“Brilliant!” French Dip Sandwiches

  • 2-3 large onions, sliced ( I used vidalia and red onions, it was what I had). 
  • 4 lb bottom round roast (it was on sale, but you can use any other kind of roast)
  • “Canadian” steak seasoning to taste
  • 1 bottle of Guinness beer  — Brilliant!
  • 2 cans or 1 large carton of beef stock
  • 1 package french onion soup mix
  • Rolls
  • Cheese (swiss or provolone is good)

seasoned roast

Coat the beef roast with the seasoning, then brown it on all sides in a hot pan coated in olive oil. Place 1/2 of the onions in the bottom of the crock pot.


When browned, place the roast in the crock pot on top of the onions.  Pour the Guinness into the pan and use that to scrape up the bits that have stuck to the pan during browning.   Add the beef stock and the soup mix to the pan and mix together.   Pour this into the crock pot and add the remaining onions.  Put the lid on and cook on LOW for at least 6 hours- DON’T PEEK!  Now go watch some football!

I normally take the roast out after it has been cooking for 6-7 hours and slice it, then put the slices back into the juice.   If you let it go longer than that, you will probably have to shred the meat, which is good too!

This is really good in a nice roll with a little prepared horseradish sauce and swiss cheese.  Use the “au jus” to dip on the side, which is why they would call it a French Dip!  Taste it first, because sometimes I add a little beef bouillon to give it an extra salty kick (but I like salt!).


Enjoy, I hope your team won on Sunday! 

I promise once work slows down I will be better about posting on time!

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 I like to watch the cooking shows on tv, but I rarely make any of the recipes that I see.  Ina Garten is one of my favorites. I guess some people might think her snobby, but she is much easier to watch than other loud, annoying hosts (you know who I mean).

  The title of the show was “Fast and Elegant Supper”. This dish looked so easy I had to try it. It was fast and elegant, and now it is in the steady rotation in our house. 

 I served it with orzo tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.  It would probably go really well with some rice, except Jason doesn’t eat rice (don’t ask). 

 Asian Grilled Salmon Copyright 2001 Barefoot Contessa Parties!

  • 1 side fresh salmon, skin on

  • 2 tbsp good dijon mustard

  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

  • 6 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic 

Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Place the salmon skin side down on a hot grill or grill pan; discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon will be slightly raw in the center, but don’t worry; it will keep cooking as it sits.Transfer the fish to a flat plate, skin side down, and spoon the reserved marinade on top. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled Extra note:  If you have never cooked salmon with the skin on,  once it is cooked, the skin right off in one big piece.  Don’t try to take off the skin before cooking, take it from me!

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Baked Ziti

 Sorry to be away for a while, things have been hectic!  This is the blog I meant to post on Monday of this week 🙂

I was catching some flack around the house lately because we hadn’t had a pasta night the past few weeks.  I know that will disappoint my Dad, who must have pasta once a week, preferrably on Wednesdays.  Sorry Dad.

Anyway, so I thought I would suprise Jason when he came home from his trip last weekend with something involving homemade tomato gravy.  Meatballs seemed like lots of work to someone in such a lazy mood, so I looked online for a basic baked ziti recipe.  A quick stop at www.allrecipes.com and I had found a few recipes containing an ingredient I had never seen in baked ziti… sour cream!

 I LOVE sour cream, and this was a chance to combine it with another ingredient I love – CHEESE!  I can hear my italian mother right now “Maria – step away from the sour cream, it doesn’t belong in baked ziti!”

Here was my doctored version of the allrecipes.com recipe:

  • olive oil to coat a heavy pot

  • 1lb ground sirloin

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced eggplant

  • 2 26oz cans crushed san marzano tomatoes

  • dried italian herb mix

  • 1/4 -1/2 cup good italian red wine (see below)

  • 3/4 cup light sour cream

  • 3/4 cup light ricotta cheese

  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1lb cooked ziti or rigatoni

Brown the ground beef, onion, garlic and eggplant in the pan with the olive oil. When beef is browned, drain the oil out of the pan. Add the tomatoes to the mixture, bring to a simmer with the italian herb mix to taste.  Cover and let cook for a long time (I let it go for about an hour). 

While the pasta is cooking,  mix the ricotta, sour cream, parmesan cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella in a large bowl.   This is the time to add the wine to your slowly simmering meat sauce.

After draining the pasta, add it to the ricotta cheese mixture with over half of the meat sauce.  Tranfer this to a buttered glass baking dish, top with the rest of the sauce and then the rest of the mozzarella cheese.   Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and you can see the liquid in the dish starting to bubble.  Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

I have to tell you, this was some kick-a@@ baked ziti.  Jason agreed, and he got his fix of italian food for a welcome back home treat, plus lunch the next day!

 All of those reviews on allrecipes.com were right. Sour cream does belong in baked ziti, at least in my world it does.

This was the wine we used in the sauce and finished with dinner.  The picture I took wasn’t very pretty, but it was good, so click the link to learn more about it.

 Talk to you soon! 

Edited to add:  This is my most popular post!  If you try this and love it or hate I would love to hear about it! (more…)

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