Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Recap

  This past weekend was wonderful! I had to work on Friday and didn't get home until late, but it was nice to be able to hang out with Patrick. We watched our DVR'ed shows that we had missed over the week and just relaxed.
  Saturday, one of my good friends, Katie, came into town for dinner. Allison, Kate, and I met up with Katie at Tin Lizzy's for margaritas and dinner and we had such a blast! After dinner, we decided we still wanted to hang out so we headed back to Allison's apartment for a while. Allison's new place (only 8 months and I was just finally seeing it!!) looked great!! I was impressed with all of her decor and how clean everything was!
  On Sunday, Pat did some work while I made another loaf of bread (I made one earlier this week) and then I took Wrigley to puppy class. Thankfully, Patrick made Wrigs run around the house before we left so he was a little more worn out than usual. After class, Pat and I decided to walk up to Yoforia with Wrigley and then do the short loop around our neighborhood. We ran into a few of our neighbors and let Wrigley run around with her dachshund and two other puppies. Wrigley loved it, but was so tired that I almost had to carry him home and at 36 pounds, he is a little heavier than he used to be!! He collapsed once we got back home and fell right asleep as I made another loaf of bread (banana bread) and dinner.
  Last night, we tried another recipe from the September 2010 Real Simple. This time it was sausage and chard saute over polenta. It was pretty good, but this was the first time I have ever made polenta and I'm not sure if I just didn't know how to season it or what because it was a little bland. I think the next time, I might add more salt, butter, and some Tony's. Anybody cook polenta much and have ideas about how to integrate more flavor? Any help would be much appreciated!!

Sausage and Chard Saute with Polenta
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage
1 bunch Swiss chard
Garlic cloves (I used minced garlic)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Polenta, cooked according to package

Cook 11/2 pounds Italian sausage in olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes. Then remove and slice the sausages. Add 4 cloves sliced garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add 1 bunch of Swiss chard (cut into strips) and season with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Then add the sausage back in and serve over the polenta, cooked accordingly.

  I also made some braised brussel sprouts, but Patrick thought they were absolutely disgusting. I didn't find them that awful but they just lacked flavor. Hmm. Oh well, I guess I'll stay away from the brussel sprouts in the future as that is the first thing that Patrick has actually spit out that I've made. Ha! I hope your weekend was as pleasant as mine! I am loving this 60 degree weather in FEBRUARY!! (Should I be scared that cold weather will strike again?)

Real Simple Recipe

  As I was cleaning up my house last week, I started looking through some of my Real Simple magazines. I love browsing through them and I have found several recipes in them that I love over the last couple of years. I tried one with hot Italian sausage the other night and I was really impressed! It's from the September 2010 issue on page 245.

Shrimp with Sausage and Tomatoes
1 pound Italian sausage
2 onions
28 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
20 medium shrimp
1 cup frozen English peas
Salt and pepper, to taste
Rice, cooked according to package

Cook 1 pound Italian sausage (casings removed) and 2 sliced onions in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add 1 28-ounce can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, 20 peeled and deveined medium shrimp, and 1 cup frozen peas to sausage and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are opaque, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve over rice, cooked according to package.

It was pretty easy and really yummy! It was very spicy the first night we ate it and the second day, it wasn't as hot but still very good!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A corgi in CB2!

See page 9 in CB2's First Look 2011 catalogue!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Catching Up and a Recipe

  I've been in a blogging slump recently and the weather down here has been so amazing that I haven't been wanting to be inside at all. A couple of weekends ago, Pat and I went out to eat at Dante's Down the Hatch and what a wonderful meal!! Unfortunately, we didn't realize that you can't get chocolate fondue unless you order it at least two days in advance and only then during the week. However, we got the cheese fondue as the appetizer and then enjoyed the sampler for dinner. I can't wait to go back and try the chocolate fondue! For anyone in Atlanta, you should definitely try Dante's out for dinner!!
  Patrick is coaching a little boys basketball team and though I missed the first several games, I have been to the last two games and the boys are pretty cute. I am just sad that I missed the only game they have won this season as I would have loved to have seen Patrick and Mike accosted by the entire team. Hopefully, they will win another game that I go to!
  After the game on Saturday morning, we ran to the grocery store to grab ingredients for chicken cordon bleu and then we I decided that we needed to spruce up our mailbox and clean out the garage. We ran to Lowe's to pick up supplies and then I painted the mailbox and it looks so much better!! Patrick cleaned out the garage and I wish I had taken a before/after picture because the results are amazing! I am still impressed with it!
  Random sidenote: What, Brenda and Sonny are getting married?? Oh, Emily, I miss our dorm days freshman year watching GH!!

And now for the recipe!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken breasts (I used 6)
Swiss cheese
Sliced ham (I used Oscar Meyer square ham)
Bread crumbs
Butter, melted

Flatten chicken breasts with meat tenderizer (or in my case, a small pot) in plastic bag or underneath wax paper to about 1/2 inch thick.
Place a piece of ham then a piece of swiss cheese inside chicken and then fold over the piece of chicken and dredge in melted butter. Then place chicken in bread crumbs and cover outside of the chicken.
Place toothpick in chicken and place on jellyroll pan.
Repeat with each chicken breast.
Preheat oven onto 350 degrees and then cook chicken for 30 to 35 minutes until chicken is cooked and cheese is melted.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dinner with Erin

  Since I'm living in the world of a public accountant (husband) as is my friend, Erin, I decided to have her over for dinner. I found some awesome filets on sale for $11 at Kroger yesterday and got really excited about cooking them in the oven. I searched today online for some recipes and found one on Epicurious that sparked my interest because of the Gorgonzola butter. I called my grandmother to get her recipe for her potatoes and onions and decided I would make asparagus too. Unfortunately, I didn't get my sweet bread done tonight, but Erin, you are welcome to come over and grab some on Friday!! I have to say this was a fabulous dinner and Erin and I ended up splitting a filet because they were much bigger than I thought they were going to be. Even though I think the filet could have been a little less done, I was impressed I could cook the filet in the oven! It was the first time I've cooked a filet like this (rather than making Pat grill it) and it was pretty easy! I just covered both sides with cracked pepper and salt and popped them into a 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. I think I ended up cooking them about 3 minutes too long since they cook in the cast iron skillet after you pull them out and I was nervous about the inside being too bloody. I should have probably cooked them for about 12 minutes and then let them rest, but oh well! Still fantastic! I really enjoyed the Gorgonzola butter and will definitely make it again. 

Gorgonzola butter
  • 2 heads of garlic, top 3/4 inch cut off to expose cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place garlic on piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil. Enclose garlic in foil. Bake until garlic is very soft, about 1 hour. Cool. Squeeze garlic cloves out from papery skins into medium bowl; mash garlic with fork. Mix in butter, cheese, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer Gorgonzola butter to sheet of plastic wrap. Using plastic wrap as aid, form butter into 1 1/4-inch-diameter log, wrapping plastic tightly around butter. Chill until firm. (Can be made 2 days ahead; keep chilled.) Cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

  I baked the potatoes in the microwave and then sliced them up into pieces and added them to the onions that I had started cooking them in a little olive oil on the stove. I added a little salt and pepper and they were ready to go! (Added the Gorgonzola butter and they are even more delicious!!)
  I made us the asparagus (I like them very crispy and little, so I tend to err on the side of burn) baked at 450 degrees after putting a little olive oil and Tony Chachere's over them. Yum!!
  I also have out my red placemats for V-day and loved the fresh irises I found today at the grocery store!! I have decided I need to start buying more flowers for the dining room table. Maybe that will make me want to keep it clean for us. Erin, I'm so excited we are going to start cooking and eating more while the boys are finishing this year's busy season!! I enjoy cooking for two much more than one!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Small Bites

  Last night, I made sliders for a super bowl party that we went to. I have to say that they were pretty good. My mom told me about the recipe which was on Good Morning, America.

Mini Sliders
From the kitchen of Cristina Ferrare
Servings: 6
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 1-30 min

  • 2 packages (about 12 per package) Hawaiian dinner rolls or whole wheat hamburger buns

  • 2 pounds chuck roast (have your butcher grind it fresh)

  • Kosher salt

  • Cracked pepper

  • 6 slices sharp cheddar cheese, cut into quarters, at room temperature

  • Ketchup, squeezed right from bottle

  • Bread-and-butter pickles

  • Cooking Directions

    With a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut slider-size buns out of the dinner rolls. If the buns are too thick (they will be if you are using Hawaiian dinner rolls), just press down to flatten them before using the biscuit cutter. They will bounce back just a little, leaving you with the perfect buns.
    Shape the sliders by rolling a golf ball–size meatballs between your palms, then pressing them into 2-inch-wide patties 3/4 inch thick. You should have enough beef to make 16 to 18 miniburgers, maybe more. Sprinkle both sides of the sliders with kosher salt and pepper.
    Heat a grill pan or heavy skillet until searing hot. Brush a tablespoon of canola oil over the grill pan. Sprinkle the miniburgers with kosher salt. Place the miniburgers salt side down on the grill, and sprinkle the tops of the burgers with kosher salt. Grill for 1 1/2 minutes on each side, then flip over once more and add a slice of cheese on top of each burger. Grill for 1 minute, until the cheese has melted (if you have a large enough lid, cover the burgers, as this will help the cheese melt quicker). Transfer the burgers to a warm platter.
    Grill the buns on the same grill pan, lightly toasting the inside tops and bottoms only (about 15 to 20 seconds).
    To assemble the burger, put a squirt of ketchup and a pickle on the bottom bun, add the burger, and cover with the top bun. Serve immediately. 
      Tonight, I made another dish off of the Good Morning, America website. I made the Taco Bites and they were delicious!! I would definitely suggest making them! I couldn't find the phyllo mini shells, so I made my own with phyllo dough and mini muffin tins. I baked them at 350 degrees for 7 minutes and they turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!!
    Taco Bites
    From the kitchen of Cristina Ferrare

    Servings: 6
    Difficulty: Easy
    Cook Time: 1-30 min


  • Homemade tomato salsa (I used picante sauce)

  • Guacamole (I made my aunt's guacamole)

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil

  • 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1 package taco seasoning, set aside 2 Tbsp.

  • 1 package mini phyllo shells, approximately 15 (you can find them in the frozen section of your market)

  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded small (I like to use white cheddar, but yellow is fine too)

  • Cooking Directions

    Make the salsa, place in an airtight container and set aside in the refrigerator.
    Make the guacamole, put the pit from the avocado in the middle of guacamole, then place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
    Place the avocado pit in the guacamole when storing to keep it from turning dark.
    Heat a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl it around the pan.
    Add ground beef, breaking up the meat with a metal spatula. Brown until the beef starts to form a crust and most of the juices have evaporated.
    Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning over the beef. Add 1/4 cup of water and cook until all the water has evaporated and the meat starts to sizzle. Break up the beef as small as you can for 3 to 4 minutes using a metal spatula.
    Place a bowl underneath a mesh strainer and add the beef to strain the excess oil. Let the oil drain into the bowl. Discard the oil.
    Heat the phyllo cups according to package directions. Cool for 15 minutes before filling.
    To assemble the taco bites:
    Place 1 teaspoon of the beef on the bottom of the phyllo cup. Spread a teaspoon of guacamole and frost like you would a cupcake. Add 1 teaspoon of the shredded cheddar cheese and top with a touch of the salsa.

    Friday, February 4, 2011


    Cookbooks on my list to buy:

    The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great Southern Cooks by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

    Mastering the Art of French Cooking: The Essential Cooking Classics by Julia Child

    The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner by Jaden Hair

    I just need a little place to put all of these cookbooks down in writing so I won't forget them!!

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Back to Food

    Southwest Chicken and Corn Soup from Taste & See

    6 cups chicken stock
    2 (10.5-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
    1 (16-ounce) jar salsa
    3 cups cooked, cubed chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
    1-2 chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (I couldn't find these at the store, so I used chopped jalapenos)
    2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used 2 cans of corn)
    2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I bought cilantro, but forgot to use it-whoops)

    In a large stockpot over medium high heat, combine chicken stock, salsa, and cream of chicken soup. Bring to a boil, stirring until well combined. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Add cooked chicken, chiles in adobo, corn and black beans. Simmer until heated through for about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro just before serving.

    The addition of the jalapenos ended up being a bonus, I think, because it was really spicy! I also added a pinch of salt and pepper. I'm so glad to have found this blog!! All of the recipes I have tried from here are amazing!! (Pardon the terrible picture below.)

    Broccoli Cheese Soup


    2 lbs fresh broccoli
    4 cups chicken broth or stock
    1 cup chopped onion
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 1/2 cups milk
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
    black pepper, to taste

    In a large soup pot, saute the onions and garlic together for a few minutes. Then add the broccoli tops on medium heat in 4 cups of chicken broth and cook until tender. Whisk the flour into the milk in a separate bowl. Then turn heat to low and add milk mixture, cheese, and pepper. Allow to cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts. Watch closely and stir frequently. (Enter me freaking out running between the kitchen and living room to catch the beginning of the game--good thing we have dvr!) Last, use an immersion blender to liquefy some of the broccoli tops. Serve with a little more cheese on top!

    I made this for us the night of the National Championship and it was very easy and quick! Yum! The next time I make this soup, I probably will try not to get overexcited with my immersion blender. 
    Cutest sous chef there is!

    As of Late

      Sunday afternoon before the park, I dropped Patrick off at the airport to fly to a client in Nova Scotia. Yeah, have fun with that, babe! Wriggles and I were left all alone for two nights, but unfortunately for the both of us, I ended up having some weird flu-like virus for 24 hours. I woke up Monday morning at 4am in a cold sweat just burning up. I should have called out from work then, but delirious as I was, I called to see if they were pushing anyone back (no) and decided I could brave it out if I slept until 5:45. Nope, how wrong I was! When I woke up then, I finally took my temperature and it was a rockin' 99.7 (not terrible, but my temp is usually on the lower end of the spectrum so I felt like I was in a sauna). My lymph nodes were sore and swollen, but no white dots on the back of my throat so no strep. Ugh, my whole body was aching, so I called the hospital and called out--"unexcused" but I'm not going to go in caring for a full patient load like this.
      I had already woken Wrigs up and taken him outside by the time that I decided walking around was not on my agenda, so to his dismay, I closed him off in the kitchen and proceeded to crash until 11am. I made it as far as the couch for the rest of the day until I went to the doctor to make sure I didn't have the flu (no, thank goodness, but it sucks when they don't really have answers for you) and picked up some hot and sour soup from our local Chinese restaurant and laid back down on the couch.
      Thankfully, Tuesday I was feeling back to normal and didn't heed the doctor's advice to not go back to work until after Wednesday, but yesterday was easy and I'm glad I went in. As much as I enjoy not working for the most part, I was going to go crazy if I didn't go into work yesterday for some reason.
      The only bad thing was the timing of me being sick because I hadn't gone to the grocery store so I didn't have as much orange juice as I wanted and Patrick was in freakin' Canada until Tuesday afternoon, therefore, I was all on my own. Even when Patrick came back, he was worthless as he hadn't been able to sleep very much at all and I ordered him to go to bed at 5:45pm before Wrigs' puppy class. He said, "Call me on your way home and I'll put the pizza on," but all I got was his voicemail twice. Needless to say, I went back out in the rain to pick up some fast food for dinner while the hubs slept. He woke up at 9ish when I was going to bed and I can't even remember if he said anything that actually made sense, but probably not. Poor thing was exhausted. Neither he nor I function well without adequate hours of sleep.
      Wrigley passed his Intermediate class at Petsmart and I think we will enroll him in the Advanced class before we start him in agility. I have found a place here that started a beginner's class on February 1, but I am not sure how my schedule will be since I will be starting a new job in March!! Speaking of agility, you have to check out this article my breeder found. I absolutely think it's the most adorable thing ever!!!

      Sorry for the rambling post. I am trying to work up the motivation for a couple of soups we have tried over the last couple of weeks. I'll try to post them later!!