Thursday, April 29, 2010

Steakhouse Shepherd's Pie

In case you haven't all noticed, i am addicted to Food Network!!! I love Rachel Ray's thirty minute meals (even though they take ME more than thirty minutes!) because they are not as time consuming as a lot of meals! The Steakhouse Shepherd's Pie Rachel Ray came up with to substitute going out for a steak dinner! It has a lot of levels of flavor and i LOVE the gravy with the meat, onions and mushrooms!! As Rachel would say.... YUM-O!!


2 lbs. Idaho potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks


1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 slices bacon or peppered bacon, chopped

2 lbs. ground sirloin

1 onion, chopped

1/2 lb. button mushrooms, quartered

black pepper

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups beef stock

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 egg yolk

3 Tbsp. sour cream

1/2 lb. blue cheese, crumbled

3 to 4 Tbsp. chives

1 tsp paprika

Place potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Season water with salt and boil until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Heads up: save a ladle of starchy cooking water just before draining. (i also added butter to my potatoes to keep from boiling over.)

Heat a skillet with high sides over medium high heat. Add olive oil, half a turn of the pan and the bacon. Crisp bacon.

Remove to a paper towel line plate.

Add sirloin to the pan and caramelize the meat, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add in the mushrooms and onions and cook until tender, 6 to 7 minutes more; then season with salt and pepper.

While the meat cooks, heat a small sauce pot over medium heat and melt butter.

Whisk the flour into the butter; cook 2 minutes.

Whisk beef stock into flour, add Worcestershire and season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Thicken 6 to 7 minutes.

Pour gravy over meat and turn on boiler.
Temper egg yolk by beating it with the starchy potato cooking water. Place drained potatoes back into pot you cooked them in to dry them out a little.

Mash the potatoes with egg yolk and sour cream.

Fold in crumbled blue cheese and chives. (i did not use the blue cheese because we don't really care for it at our house.) Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Unless the pan you used to prepare your meat mixture in is oven safe, transfer your meat mixture to an oven safe dish.

Spread potatoes across the top of the meat in an even layer. Garnish the potatoes with paprika and place under broiler to crisp and brown the potatoes, 2 to 3 minutes.

Crumble reserved bacon over top. Serve immediately right from the hot skillet or dish.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicken-Pepper Kabobs

Chicken Pepper Kabobs are the perfect summer meal if you ask me!
These were very good, we used them Fajita style.
If you use wood instead of metal skewers make sure you soak them for a few hours
before hand.

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2/3 c. bottled balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
2 medium red and yellow peppers seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large purple/red onion cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch of cherry tomatoes

Pre-heat grill. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish and pour the balsamic vinaigrette over and marinade for about 10 mins.
Drain chicken reserving marinade. Thread chicken, peppers, and onion onto skewers, leaving a 1/4 inch space between pieces.
Place on grill, after a few minutes brush on reserved marinade.
Rotate kabobs occasionally to brown evenly.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
{Adapted from BHG dinners for less}

All the veggies cut up and ready to go.

All assembled.

Working on the grill:)


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lightened-Up Special Banana Bread w/ Orange Glaze

A different twist on banana bread which is lower fat! Can't beat that! This recipe was adapted from Simple & Delicious February 2010 and it states that a "regular" piece of banana bread contains 10 grams of fat and an extra 77 calories! The bread was very moist and the glaze added an extra layer of flavor!! The recipe calls for pecans, which i used and were good but the next time i think i would try it with walnuts.


1 pkg (8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans, divided

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar until well blended.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in vanilla and bananas.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Gradually add to the creamed mixture just until moistened.

Fold in 1/2 cup pecans.

Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Orange Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange peel

In a small bowl, whisk the glaze ingredients.

Drizzle over loaves. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Medallions & Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese

I think you will all love this recipe. When I cooked this for my husband the first time he thought it was steak. He didnt believe me that it was pork.

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Medallion


Pork Tenderloin
2T olive oil
1T balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1tsp. pepper
thick-cut slices of bacon

*Cut pork into 3" slices. Place meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and flatten to 2-inch thickness, using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet.

*Whisk together olive oil and the next three ingredients.

*Rub mixture all over pork, cover and chill for 2 hours.

*Microwave bacon for 2 minutes or until bacon is partially cooked.

*Wrap sides of each pork slice with 1 slice of bacon and secure with a wooden toothpick.

*Light one side of the grill, heating to medium heat, leave other side unlit. Arrange pork over lit side, grill, with the lid closed for 5 minutes on each side. Move pork to unlit side, grill covered with lid until meat thermometer reads 160. About 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese


About 4 lbs of peeled, potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1 c milk
1/2c butter
1 1/2c mozzarella
1c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2T plain dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400. Coat 13x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until they are very tender. About 15 min. Drain, return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in mozzarella and 3/4c of the parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir in bread crumbs and remaining 1/4c of parmesan in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Bake uncovered until the topping is golden brown. About 20 minutes.
recipe from Giada De Laurentiis


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Caramel Pecan Puffs

These are inspired by the Caramel Pecan Crunch pie I had a couple weeks ago when my sisters and I went for a coffee night;)~ The puffs are a sweet little bite sized treat that would be great for entertaining. They are flaky with just the right amount of chocolate and nuts:)

You'll need:
1 sheet of puff pastry
chocolate chips
brown sugar

Roll out the puff pastry just a little, cut into squares and place in mini cupcake tins.

add chocolate chips

mix together brown sugar and 1 T. softened butter and sprinkle over chips

top with pecans
Bake for 8 to 10 mins

Enjoy them;)

Chicken Artichoke Pasta

This pasta is a combination of some of my favorite ingredients-artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, alfredo, and pasta-Yum!
Of course I get a bunch of complaints from my kids about all the extra "junk" in their pasta:)

1 box Penne pasta
3 chicken breast, cooked & diced
3 T. sun-dried tomato
1 14 oz can artichokes
1/2 fresh lemon-squeezed-juice
Alfredo sauce-in the jar or homemade
A sprinkle of garlic salt
Parmesan Cheese
Cook and drain the pasta.

Cook the chicken and add the sun-dried tomato and artichoke,
heat through.
Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the salts and pepper.
Throw in the pasta and Alfredo sauce and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.

Alfredo Sauce

1/4 c. butter
3 c. whipping cream
Parmesan cheese
Garlic salt

In a heavy bottomed pot melt butter, add the cream and cheese. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly add in desired amount of garlic salt.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Panini Wrap

These wraps are easy, quick and oh so yummy:) I made these for lunch today for my darling sister who came to help me spring/nesting clean my kitchen today;) She loves them and even better they are pretty healthy!

Have you ever used the Flat Out flatbread??
If not you gotta try it soon.
There a bunch of different flavors but the multi-grain is my favorite.

So to make the wraps you'll need the following:
Honey Mustard
Balsamic Vinegar
Black Forest Ham
Baby Spinach
Red onion

Spread wrap with mayo {I use about 1 t.}, add honey mustard and splash with Balsamic vinegar-a little goes a long way:) Layer on a slice of provolone cheese then add the ham and top with the baby spinach and red onion. Roll up and brush with olive oil and place on your Panini grill for a few mins. or until cheese is melted.

All these ingredients could be swapped out for your favorites- like Turkey, Havarti cheese, Sun- dried tomatoes and baby spinach.