Sriracha Tacos

I’m not gonna lie, I have a long list of pet peeves. Coming in at #1 is hearing people eat. Yea, yea…I get that we all have to eat, but why do some people have to do it as if they’ve never fully evolved from the caveman days? If when you’re chewing you’re lips part and I can hear your stomach churning lip smacking…you’re doing it wrong!! Let me give you a quick lesson:

1. Insert modest sized portion of food into mouth.
2. Chew food with mouth continually shut, do not let lips part.
3. Repeat.

Here are also a couple rules for eating in public:

1. Kettle cooked chips or something of equally loud crunch should never be eaten in close proximity to another person.
2. Tuna fish or something of equally pungent odor should be eaten alone, behind closed doors.
3. For yogurt, pudding, or the like, refrain from using your spoon to scrape the side of the container to get every last drop. I promise, you’ll be able to live without those extra calories!
4. If when you open the package of food it is going to sound like a rabid animal wrestling with a sheet of tin foil, refrain from opening in public.

That wasn’t so hard!

Source: Cheese Curd in Paradise

Sweet BBQ and Honey Pork Chops

I think packages of pork chops should just be sold with a big fat question mark over them, since I generally have no idea what the hell to make with them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a pork chop recipe and I swear licking my kitchen floor would have had a more pleasurable flavor than what was being served on my plate. In any case I think I’ve found a recipe that is actually worth repeating; a sweet BBQ sauce with honey and brown sugar! I really recommend getting a decent BBQ sauce, thanks to living in the South for 6 years I think most grocery store brands are absolute trash. I had a delicious sauce on hand I purchased from a BBQ place in Florida called Bono’s. I also highly suggest Sticky Finger’s or Bessinger’s. Seriously, don’t buy the grocery store crap!


Source: Taste of Home Magazine, October 2013

Salted Caramel Frosting with Dark Chocolate Ganache

It’s that time of year again, the husband’s birthday! 2 years ago is when I really started getting into making fondant cakes with my first one: the iphone cake. I’m still proudest of this cake due to the time it took to make and the level of detail, and the fact that the fondant came out perfectly on my first attempt ever!

Last year I made the steak cake. This was actually incredibly easy, but I love this one since I think the mashed potatoes (whipped cream cheese) and the fondant peas and carrots look so realistic. The steak came out a little more “cartoony” than I wanted, but overall I was still impressed and my husband loved it too!

This year I knew I wanted to do something about our Mustang, and came up with the idea of making the Mustang car key cake with a checkered racing flag. I modeled this exactly after our car key replicating the ridges on the key itself. I printed a stencil of the pony and traced it onto the rolled fondant and used a sharp steak knife to cut it out. I’ve used an exacto knife on past cakes and I found it harder to use. Since I rarely make the cake from scratch and normally use boxed, everyone judging right now can kiss mine and Betty Crocker’s ass, I always like to step up my game with making a delicious frosting. I was inspired from a cookbook my brother gave me, The Dahlia Bakery, to make a salted caramel frosting. I also melted a bar of dark chocolate to make a ganache which I poured over the cake first and let it harden before frosting.

Sante Fe Chicken Chowder

Nothing quite like a nice, long, relaxing vacation that can really make you detest the rest of the world when you return. My husband and I have just returned from an amazing Carnival Cruise (which I’ll be posting about later). I loved countless things about the trip, but one thing that was fantastic was the feeling of being cut off from everyone. I used my free time to do something I embarrassingly haven’t done in a LONG time: read a book. But, like I said I’ll be doing a vacation post later this week with all the details!

In the little hiatus I’d taken from cooking these past couple months, I had bookmarked a ton of recipes I wanted to try. I’m not sure what prompted the hiatus, or why I was more than happy to eat chips and buffalo ranch dip for dinner most nights instead of cooking a meal suitable for a human, but whatever it was I feel as though I’m emerging from this ‘funk’. This meal below was originally cooked as a crock pot meal, so if you like to use your crock pot you can follow the original recipe here. I had a craving for this meal about 45 minutes before I wanted to eat, and waiting until the next day to use the crock pot was completely out of the question. This was so good I could have eaten this all week. I cut the portion down to 2 servings, and added in the corn starch to thicken the broth a bit as it was a little watery for my taste at first. Don’t skimp out on the sour cream, this was my little addition and it blended so well with the spice of the chowder.

Banana Cream Pie

So here is something I finally got around to making from my 28 while 28 list. I really think I should just rename the list “28 Ways to Show Everyone How Bad I Am at Commitment” since I really only get 6-7 items done in a given year.

My love affair with banana cream pie started in college, as it was a frequent item on the dessert bar in the campus cafeteria. Honestly, it was more of just banana flavored whipped cream, and I don’t think a real banana ever came close to the pie, but nevertheless I love it. The problem was, and trust me this was a huge problem, the graham cracker crumbles on top looked almost identical to the toasted pieces of shaved coconut that topped the coconut cream pies. Now, to someone who rarely wore their contacts, you can see how one could easily mistake the two pies. There was no bigger let down that cutting a sliver of the whipped deliciousness, sitting down to enjoy the first epic bite, only to discover it was the crappy imposter: coconut cream pie.


Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Wow, now that I’m taking a look at this photo I realize how god awful it is.

Its such a pity when a food photo resembles the regurgitated mess you spew up after a night of heavy drinking instead of the scrumptious feast it truly is. Trust me when I tell you this is really really good. A nice twist on a typical green bean casserole, and pretty filling too. I ate just this for dinner a few nights in a row and felt very satisfied. Bookmark this and bring it out next Thanksgiving season!

Source: Southern Living Magazine, November 2012

Penne in Vodka Sauce

If you know me, you know I have a husband who used to not like pasta. Yes, there was once someone out there who said they did not like pasta. And I married him anyway. Its been over a year now since the pasta break through, and here I am able to cook a 100% pasta dish for dinner. I’m still waiting for the vegetable break through, although that one I’m not too sure will ever happen.

This is a family recipe of my husband’s and I’m so glad it was given to me to share. I think having the fresh basil and Romano cheese in the sauce makes this so mouth watering you’re definitely going to want seconds or thirds.

Apricot and Mozzarella Crisps

Hi. Remember me? Sorry about the whole taking a month and a half off thing, I promise it won’t happen again. Well, ok it probably will happen again. I wish I had a good excuse for you, like I’ve been busy traveling the world and am returning to you with scores of international cooking knowledge. But the real answer is I got really freaking lazy. Please accept this recipe as my peace offering.

I first read this ingredient list and went , “Huh?”. Prosciutto, apricot, and cheese sounded like a strange combination…but sometimes those turn out to be surprisingly delicious. These turned out to be refreshingly delectable, and the flavors blend together quite well and don’t taste as an odd match whatsoever. I guess I can’t be too shocked, being that this is a Giada recipe I had a certain trust level in it to begin with. This is a great Spring/Summer appetizer being that they are light and not too filling.

-1 loaf French bread with sesame seeds
-4-5 tablespoons apricot preserves
-1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-4-5 thin slice prosciutto
 1. Slice French bread loaf into thin crisps. Drizzle with EVOO and broil about 4-5 minutes until just slightly browned.
2. Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese. Return to the broiler and broil an additional 4-5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly. Remove and top with the preserves and a slice or two of the prosciutto. Server immediately.

Cajun Fried Rice

Now, no one died and made me the queen of blogging in their Last Will and Testament. Nor do I pretend to be an award winning food photographer (see photo below); however the endless hours I’ve spent over the past few years browsing countless blogs has led me to create my 6 Characteristics of Cringeworthy Blog Writing.

1. 5,261 photos of the same thing. When looking for a recipe, I have the attention span of a 6 week old kitten. If I have to scroll past photo after photo after photo of what appears to be the exact same photo to search for the ingredient list I’ve lost interest.

2. Giving me your hour by hour itinerary of what you did that day. If 10 paragraphs detailing every uninteresting minute detail of your day stand in the way of my eyes and the recipe I’m trying to get to, I’m moving on.

3. Being pretentious. When a phrase is written, crossed off, and followed by a rewording. Yes, I just did it; but I only did it to prove my point, jeez.

4. Making me click another link to get to the recipe. If there is more than one click involved I revert back to the attention span of 6 week old kitten. Much to the same tone if I have to sit through a :30 ad before a Youtube video I’d rather spend those :30 searching for one without an ad.

5. Blogs that try too hard. I have a distaste (no pun intended) when I get the sense that it is trying to hard to be coy or edgy with the content or writing style. Littering your posts with f-bombs doesn’t make you edgy or unique, it makes you look annoyingly desperate.

6. Highlighting every DIY project. I love a good DIY project, but I have little desire to view and read about an adults equivalent of a 1st grader’s macaroni art project. I once saw a tissue paper bouquet that looked like a box of Kleenex drank Pepto Bismol and then vomited.

-1 Andouille sausage
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 boil in a bag brown rice
-1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1. Dice sausage and saute with the diced red peppers over medium heat about 7-8 minutes to brown.
2. Cook rice according to package instructions. Add cooked rice to pan with sausage and peppers. Add 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning. Cook over medium high heat 6-7 minutes to fry.

Easy Enchilada Chicken

I absolutely love enchilada sauce so I had an idea to make a deconstructed enchilada of sorts. This is incredibly quick and easy to throw together, but isn’t lacking in flavor. This was so good I made it twice within one week. Do yourself a favor and keep a couple cans of enchilada sauce stocked in your pantry so you and whip this up whenever you want.

-2 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
-2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1 14oz can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
-1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs, the drizzle with the EVOO. Bake 25-30 minutes.

2. Heat the enchilada sauce and stir in the hot sauce. Simmer.

3. Remove chicken from oven and top with the Cheddar cheese. Broil 5-6 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly. Cover with enchilada sauce.