Zesty Turkey Meat Sauce for Spaghetti

September 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spaghetti with meat sauce is one of my favorite meals, and this version lightens up the old classic without losing much flavor.  It’s quick and easy, and you won’t even miss the beef and sausage (not too much, at least).

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup red wine

Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan with the garlic and italian seasoning over medium heat.  After about a minute, add the ground turkey.

“Brown” the turkey until it is cooked through.

Now, add all the remaining ingredients, and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Simmer over low heat for an additional 30 minutes (or more, however much time you have really!), and serve with your favorite spaghetti-like pasta!

Peach Blueberry Crisp

September 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I LOVE a good fruit crisp.  The pumpkin apple crisp I posted last fall was easy and appropriately seasonal – and this peach blueberry crisp was the same – quick and perfect for summer.  These peaches were divine – I remembered to buy them several days in advance, so when I sliced them up, they were ripe and juicy.  And I loved the way the blueberries stained the peach skins this beautiful wine color.

You’ll need:

  • 4-5 large peaches, sliced and diced
  • 2-3 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown  sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • cinnamon and brown sugar to sprinkle on top of your crisp

Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine the peaches and blueberries with the flour and sugars, and spread in a 9 x 13 pan

Spread the cake mix evenly over the fruit, and sprinkle with the extra brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pour the melted butter over top of the cake mix.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling up through the crust.

Serve warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.  Delish!!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken

September 22, 2011 at 7:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Around here, we love buffalo wings, so when I saw this recipe for buffalo chicken sandwiches, I knew I should try it.  Although not as good as our hot wing dip, it served as more of a meal and could easily become part of a weeknight dinner rotation.

You will need:

  • two bottles of Frank’s Red Hot (I used one bottle of original and one bottle of Frank’s thick because it was less spicy)
  • one package of dry ranch seasoning
  • 4 chicken breasts (frozen or thawed)
  • 1/2 stick butter

In a crockpot, combine the chicken, hot sauce, and dry ranch seasoning.

Cover and cook over high heat in a crockpot for 4 hours for thawed chicken or 8 hours for frozen chicken.  In the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, add the butter and stir.  The chicken will literally fall apart in the crockpot.

I also bought a bag of coleslaw mix and stirred in some gourmet blue cheese dressing, which I served on top of the shredded chicken on potato rolls.

So messy, but so good!!

Vanilla Bean Cookie Sandwiches

September 18, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Matt has often recounted his fond memories of his mom’s vanilla-frosted sugar cookies, eaten straight out of the fridge, and I recently channeled those memories into some simple vanilla cookie sandwiches filled with vanilla bean buttercream frosting – and they were a success.  Still not as good as mom’s, I’m sure!

You’ll need:

  • one french vanilla cake mix
  • one stick of softened butter
  • one egg
  • 1/2 stick of softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste (love this stuff)
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Heat the oven to 375.  Combine the cake mix, one stick of softened butter, and one egg until a soft dough forms.

Scoop the dough into uniform balls (this is important for the sandwiches).  I used a scoop like the one pictured below.

Bake for around 8 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown.

While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting filling for your cookie sandwiches.

Combine the remaining ingredients with an electric mixer and beat until fluffy.

Pipe the filling onto the cooled cookies.

Top with your remaining cookies and you’re done!

Garides me anitho – Zaytinya Shrimp with Dill

September 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I recently had the (bittersweet) pleasure of toasting to a friend’s move from D.C. at Zaytinya during their Mezze Ora cocktail hour, where the group smartly order garides me anitho – simply described on the menu as sautéed shrimp, dill, shallots, mustard, and lemon juice.

It.was.crazy.good.  As in, there were no more shrimp left in the dish and we were all still eagerly dipping our pita bread into the lovely, buttery sauce, without hesitation.  Without judgment.  It was that kind of good.  So I was thrilled when I discovered that the food blogger for the Washingtonian had shared the recipe here, and I knew I had to try it out – and soon.

I will say that the recipe is very close to what I had at Zaytinya that day – but I think with a few tweaks, it would have been even better – so I’m going to post the recipe below, but I’ll note my suggested modifications in parentheses.  (Also note in my photos, I quadrupled the recipe.  We don’t have cocktail hours at our house, we just eat dinner.)

You’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 6 shrimp, (preferably 21/25-count size), peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (I would use HALF this amount.  If you compare the restaurant photo above and my photos below, you’ll see mine have a ton more mustard seeds – would have been better with less.)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Minced dill to taste (to taste?  the dill is what makes the dish!  for my purposes, I used an entire small package of fresh dill.  When chopped,  it was at least two tablespoons, and it would have been better with twice this much dill.)
  • Olive oil as needed

In a sauté pan set over medium heat, sweat the shallots in a little olive oil (not the tablespoon of extra virgin).  Add the shrimp and sauté briefly until the shrimp start to turn slightly opaque.  Add the garlic to the pan and sauté another minute.  Add the mustard and cover the pan.

When the shrimp are almost done, about 2 minutes, add the lemon juice, tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, and minced dill to taste. Season with white pepper and salt.

Cook for another minute, then add the butter to the pan to create a sauce.  Swirl the pan until the sauce becomes creamy.

Garnish with more dill and serve.

All I was missing was some pita bread to dip in the leftover sauce.  Thanks Zaytinya and Recipe Sleuth!

Symphony Brownies, a.k.a Crack Brownies

September 13, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

These brownies are known by many names – symphony brownies, toffee brownies, candy bar brownies, and most recently – crack brownies.  These delicious little gems take about 30 more seconds to make than traditional boxed brownies and all that “extra effort” is well worth it!!

All you need is:

  • a family size brownie mix (enough for a 9 x 13 pan) and the ingredients to make these according to package directions
  • 3 large (5 oz) symphony bars

That’s a lot, I know, but you can manage.

Line the pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray – this will help to remove and cut the brownies later.

Mix the brownies according to package directions, and pour half of the batter into your lined pan.

Top the batter with the three candy bars.

Cover the candy bars with the remaining brownie mix and bake.  Allow to cool completely before you lift the brownies out of the pan.

Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar, if you like.  But you don’t really need it.  They’re completely delicious without it!




Cinnamon Toast Crunch Treats

September 10, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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You’ve all heard of Rice Krispies Treats – and this is a new twist on that old classic.  As I mentioned recently, Matt loves all things “cinnamon” – and these are no different.  In fact, I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get them on the blog because I make them all the time!  They’re delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 17 oz box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • 1 10 oz bag of large marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the marshmallows, butter, and cinnamon.  I usually spray the bowl with Pam, as it keeps the mixture from sticking to the bowl as much.

Cook for about 1.5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Once the butter and marshmallows are completely combined, stir in the cereal.

Dump the mixture into the pan, and using a piece of wax paper, press down into a greased (or foil lined) 9×13 pan.

And cut them into 24 squares.

Big Green Egg – Pizza Grilling 101

September 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I love pizza.  I could eat it every day.  I knew I wanted to learn how to make pizza on the Big Green Egg, and I would say that I still have some learning to do… but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had some good efforts for dinner in the mean time.

First, let me teach you an important lesson.  Big Green Egg and Pampered Chef Stoneware DON’T MIX.

Before the grill was even close to heated up, the stoneware cracked.

Which was problematic, since I already had a (strangely misshapen) pizza ready to go on the grill.

Good thing it was on parchment paper because I was able to throw it down, on top of the broken stoneware, and it still turned out delicious.

I got the Egg to about 450 and cooked this pizza for 12 minutes.

So, after this stoneware disaster, Matt picked up the official Big Green Egg pizza stone for our next endeavor.

Following the instructions on the package, we heated up the stone on the grill.

Once the Egg got to 450,  I slid in the pizza.

15 minutes later, we had this:

Dinner is served!

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