Posts Tagged With: Recipe

Chimichurri Sauce – An Explosion of Flavor!

Have you ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse? It is really quite the experience. Everyone pays a flat fee which entitles you to unlimited visits to a magnificent salad bar. I’m not talking about your standard salad bar either. Let’s just say I would go just to eat the salad bar. As you eat the sides, gauchos walk around with freshly grilled skewers of meat ready to serve you at your delight. The meat runs the gamut of chicken to pork to bacon-wrapped filet mignon. In order to indicate your desire for meat, you flip a card to green by your plate. When you’re ready for a break, you flip it over to red until you want more. It’s a carnivore’s dream of overindulgence and gluttony. I think my brother would really like it.

Now that you’re drooling over the idea of bacon-wrapped filet mignons being wafted through the air on a skewer, let’s go back to that salad bar. It’s where you’ll find your condiments. You won’t find barbecue sauce or steak sauce, but you will find chimichurri sauce. I liken it to pesto in concept and consistency; however, it is best eaten over chicken, beef, or fish. I think it would also be good on steamed veggies. All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocer. No need to go hunting for a special pepper or oil. It doesn’t look that appetizing, but sometimes our stomachs see better than our eyes. All of the ingredients intermingle to form a robust topping that you’ll surely love. I assure you, it’s smack your momma good!

Chimichurri Sauce (recipe taken from Bon Appetit magazine)
1 cup packed fresh parsley
½ cup olive oil
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¾ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt

Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Serve over chicken, beef, or fish. Easy enough?

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Another Feather in My Cap – Baby Food Chef!

It’s hard to believe that Jeremiah is eating solids already. Yesterday we started him off with bananas.He loved spitting the food onto his fingers and then licking it off! I can’t wait to try out other new foods to see what his favorites are. I made the banana purée myself. It’s way cheaper to make your own food. Plus, it’s fresh. I’m all about raising a baby with sophisticated taste buds:-)

My sister-in-law gave me a Baby Bullet as a shower gift. Using it was
such a breeze. It works really quickly and is the perfect size for puréeing  to make several baby meals. Also, you can use it to make your own rice cereal, which I didn’t realize until I started flipping through the book. If you don’t have a Baby Bullet, then use a food processor to purée your fruits and veggies. I’m not sure if a food processor will mill grains. Anyone ever tried it? Foods like banana, baked sweet potato, and avocado are easy to just mash up with a fork.

Below you will find the proportions of food to water as given in the Baby Bullet book. You can always add more or less water in order to achieve desired consistency, but I think these guidelines are helpful to have in the beginning. Remember that baby shouldn’t eat what you don’t eat, so remove all those bad spots and tough skin.

Banana Puree = 1 banana + 1/4 cup of water
Avocado Puree = 1 peeled, pitted avocado + 1/4 cup of water
Sweet Potato Puree = 1 peeled, cooked sweet potato + 1 cup of water
Zucchini Puree = 1 cooked zucchini + 1/4 cup of water
Squash Puree = 1 cooked squash + 1/4 cup of water
Pear Puree = 1 peeled, cored, and cooked pear + 1/4 cup of water
Apple Puree = 1 peeled, cored, and cooked apple + 1/4 cup of water
Green Pea Puree = 1 cup steamed peas + 1/4 cup of water
Rice/Oatmeal Cereal = 1/2 cup milled grain + 4 cups of water (bring to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes)

Categories: Cooking, Parenting | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Herbed Bulgur Lentil Salad – An Experiment with Mint

Since I’m trying to get back in shape since having Jeremiah, I’ve been on the lookout for easy, healthy, and FILLING recipes. I think it’s pretty easy to find healthy recipes, but they often leave me wanting more when I’m finished eating. The fiber and protein of this dish pack a filling punch. This recipe caught my eye because it uses lentils, one of my favorite beans, and bulgur, one of my favorite grains. I figured the smoky taste of lentils in combination with the nutty taste of bulgur was bound to be good. Plus, I’m a huge fan of herbs. I cannot stand bland food! While I’m not crazy about mint, I actually liked it in this recipe. I think the lemon and dill toned down the mint flavor. If you’re hesitate about the mint, then try it without and let me know what you think. Below you will find how I prepared it. You can find the original recipe at SparkPeople, the website I use to track my food and fitness (it’s free, check it out!).

1 c. dry, green lentils yellow
1 c. dry bulgur
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried mint
3 tsp. dried dill
black pepper, to taste
4 tsp. dried parsley
1/3 c. red onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced

Wash lentils and remove any debris. Place in a medium-sized saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl.

While the lentils are cooking, place the bulgur in a small pot and cover with two cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes.

Add everything to the lentils and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate.

Herbed Bulgur & Lentil Salad

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – An Easter Tradition

I’ve already mentioned how important food was to my family growing up. I associate food with memories from my childhood, especially the holidays. When I got married I decided that I wanted to make food a part of our holiday family traditions. What better way to celebrate Easter than with carrot cake! I find it difficult to eat carrot cake out at restaurants because most include raisins, which I despise. I love making carrot cake at home because it’s raisin-free, but if you like them, then add about 1/2 cup to the recipe below. Besides omitting the raisins and substituting a few lower calorie ingredients, this is the exact same recipe from The Bon Appétit Cookbook (2006). Watch out because this recipe is smack your momma good!

2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 c. finely grated carrots (about 1 pound)
1/2 c. chopped pecans

4 c. powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with margarine. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Grease wax paper. (*Note: I tried omitting the wax paper one year with disastrous results. I could barely get the cake out and had to do reconstructive surgery with the icing. It still tasted great, but it was not a pretty sight. Take the extra few minutes and use the wax paper. You’ll thank me when you’re trying to get the sticky carrot cake out!)

Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Slowly add to the sugar oil mixture until just combined. Stir in carrots and pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks, remove wax paper, and cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy using an electric mixer.

Place each layer of cake on a plate or cake stand. Frost the first layer before stacking the next. Once all layers are frosted, frost the sides. Run water over an offset spatula and shake off the excess water. Use the wet offset spatula to apply pressure to the sides and smooth the frosting. Add decorative swirls or additional nuts as a garnish. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m big on taste and not appearance so I didn’t do anything fancy to the outside. The taste more than makes up for the lack of adornment! Refrigerate and enjoy.

Triple-Layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What are some of your Easter traditions?

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like Oreos?

I had the fortunate experience of being raised by an excellent cook. My mom was known for her kitchen as friends and family clamored for an invite. I’m not even exaggerating. There was a pastor who praised my mom’s cooking from the pulpit. I will never forget the saying, “Yummy, yummy in my tummy. We love mummy.” He was one fried chicken loving Brit.

When my mom married my dad, she only knew how to cook Italian food so my Granny took her under her wing and taught her everything she knew about Southern cooking. It’s for that reason that my Italian mother can make some mean fried chicken. Basically, I grew up on fried food and pasta. My Mom was a creature of habit in the kitchen. Why mess with a good thing? The only new recipes that were made in our house were handed over from family and friends after trying them first at their homes.

In this way my Mom has stifled my kitchen creativity (sorry, Mom). I love to get recipes from family and friends that I have sampled. Otherwise, I’m reluctant to branch out in the kitchen if a new recipe doesn’t sound like a bona fide winner, which I like to refer to as “smack your momma good”. *Make a mental note of that phrase. It will reappear and when it does, you’ll want to make those recipes yourself.

While I am branching out more these days by cooking new cuisines, such as Indian, and using new foods, like bok choy, you will see a lot of recipes on here from my family and friends. I like to pay tribute where tribute is due, but I will denote any changes that I’ve made. With that in mind, let’s get to my first recipe from my sister.

A little back story before I get to the recipe. I know what you’re thinking, if this is the back story, what the heck were the last four paragraphs? An intro, my friend. Ever heard the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” Well, that saying is definitely true for my husband. Jeremy has a huge sweet tooth. He likes to have dessert every night. With a new baby around, I don’t exactly have the time to bake up goodies from scratch, but I can make the time for a no bake dessert. Pudding-based desserts are perfect for summer as they are best served cold. Below you will find the recipe for a No Bake Oreo Dessert. Yum!

All you need are these five ingredients: milk, instant vanilla pudding mix (substitute chocolate if you like), margarine, Oreos, and Cool Whip.

First, prepare the vanilla pudding according to the package directions.

Second, melt about 2 tablespoons of margarine in a 9 x 13 pan. Use more if you plan to use more cookies to form a thicker crust.

Third, use a food processor to grind a third of the Oreos into fine crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan with the margarine to form a crust.

Next grind another third of the Oreos into bits. Mix the bits into the pudding. Pour the Oreo pudding mixture over the crust and smooth it out. Top with Cool Whip.

Grind the remaining third of Oreos into chunks. Sprinkle them on top of the Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to devour.

I like to use the food processor to play with the texture of the Oreos. It adds a little crunch, which I enjoy. I’m not much on making food look pretty, but the color of the vanilla pudding with the cookies mixed in bothered me a little. It turned an unappetizing tannish color. I think the only way to remedy this is to sprinkle the cookies on top of the pudding instead of mixing them in or to make the pudding from scratch as the store-bought pudding mix has a slight yellow tint to it. Since I’m trying to save time, I think I’ll opt for sprinkling next go round.

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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