Friday, October 28, 2016

Pork Roast with Pears and Shallots

I saw a recipe for pork chops with pears the other day and knew I had to try it - but I had just had pork chops the week before! So I decided to revise the recipe with similar flavors for a pork roast.  I thought this dish was delicious and warming and pretty filling. Joey thought the savory twist to pears was a bit strange but we still both had seconds. The pork was just perfect, juicy and flavorful and the pears were a fun twist on the usual apples. I also didn't add cinnamon or anything so it was all the natural savory flavors.

This was so quick and easy! I recommend it for your family!

1 2 1/2lb center cut pork loin roast
1 T vegetable oil
3 shallots, quartered
1 C apple cider or juice
3 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
3 T chopped sage
3 pears (quartered but not until right before you add them)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. In a dutch oven or pot with higher sides, heat vegetable oil.  Salt & Pepper pork roast all over.
3. Brown pork roast on all sides 2-3 minutes each
4. Add cider, garlic, sage and shallots. Nest the shallots around the pork in the liquid and put some of the flavors on top of the roast
5. Insert an oven-safe thermometer into the pork roast if you have one
6. Roast the pork for 20 minutes
7. Quarter and core the pears and add nested around the pork. Flip over the roast or baste with the juices.
8. Roast another 20 minutes or until the pork reaches 145 degrees internally. Let the pork rest 5 minutes before slicing thinly
9. Serve pork with juices and pears

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chicken Tortilla Stew

The other day I had plans for dinner but needed to have something available for my family. I decided to make a chicken tortilla soup and some poached chicken - two birds...

The resulting soup from this recipe is more of a stew as much of the broth disappeared. This is flavorful but not spicy. I recommend this super quick dish for your family!

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 14oz can chopped fire roasted tomatoes
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
4 Cups chicken broth
salt & pepper
1 t chipotle chili powder
1 t ancho chili powder
1/2 t cumin
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 T vegetable oil
juice 1/2 lemon or 2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

For serving - Tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, more limes

1. Heat oil in a large pot and add onion, cook until softened.
2. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more
3. add everything else except chicken, lemon and cilantro
4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer
5. Add chicken and simmer 20 minutes
6. Remove chicken, cut or shred 2 chicken pieces
7. With the other chicken pieces cut and reserve for another use (aka for your toddler! They weren't spicy at all)
8. Add chicken, lemon juice and cilantro back in. Simmer 5 minutes
9. Serve

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Plum Galette

Yesterday I wanted pie and I also wanted to use some plums that were waiting around looking sad. Having no real recipe, I searched for apricot galette thinking the plums were apricot. I found some basic ideas and made up a recipe.  The results were delicious! This was quick and easy and you could whip it up in time for unexpected guests who think you were in the kitchen all day!

4 plums, sliced
1 T cornstarch
1T sugar (could add more depending on sweetness of plums)
1T lemon juice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t almond extract (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (Mine didn't thaw all the way and the results were a bit doughy which actually I liked better)
Raw Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. Stir all ingredients through almond extract together in a bowl and let sit 15 minutes
3. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet or rimmed cookie sheet. Place the puff pastry on the middle of the tray and pinch the seams together
4. Pile the filling in the center of the dough and then fold up the sides to keep the juices inside, pinching the edges. Pour the excess juices from the bowl over the fruit stack.
5. Brush egg over the top of the galette. If desired, sprinkle with raw sugar.
6. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and a little bit bubbly
7. Let sit a few minutes before cutting

Friday, August 19, 2016

Spice Muffins with Applesauce

School started this week and I was hungry for fall. I looked for Spice Muffin recipes and found this one from epicurious. They were really delicious! I only made a few slight modifications and failed to take any pictures at all. These aren't healthy but they sure are a delicious treat!

For muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking spice (we didn't have allspice)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used only 6oz and it was fine)
For topping:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking spice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
1. Mix together applesauce, butter and eggs in a large bowl. Add spices.
2. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
3. Fold flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
4. Spoon batter into greased or lined muffin tins
5. Mix together the topping and sprinkle over the tops of the muffins
6. Bake 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Let cool briefly before serving.
Makes 12 muffins

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Smoked Salmon Potato Salad

I've been on a real potato salad kick this summer! Last weekend, I attended a salad baby shower and decided to make a smoked salmon potato salad because 1. It was the single opportunity I've had in years where there would be fish eaters there and 2. I recently had a similar salad at the restaurant Lemonade and was interested in recreating it.  I think mine was better!  I adapted the recipe from Serious Eats and basically tried to recreate all the great things of bagels & lox but with potato salad.  I think I did a pretty good job and so did the guests! I got multiple requests for the recipe!!

I didn't take any pictures though :(

Smoked Salmon Potato Salad


2+lbs new or fingerling potatoes, cut into large chunks (the recipe calls for 2lbs but I'm sure I used more because that was a lot of potato salad)
16oz sour cream
juice of one lemon
2 3.5oz packages of lox-style smoked salmon, sliced into strips
1 bunch of dill, removed from stems
1 bunch of tarragon, chopped
salt & pepper
1 red onion, chopped
1-2 T white or apple cider vinegar
capers, optional

1. Put the potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil. Boil 10 min or until tender. Drain and place potatoes in a bowl. Immediately douse them in the vinegar.
2. Mix sour cream, lemon juice, herbs and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
3. When potatoes are cooled slightly or room temperature, toss them, the lox and the onions, the capers (if using) in the sour cream mixture
4. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Grilled Donuts with ice cream and blueberry sauce

We had friends over a few weeks ago so we decided to go crazy and make this recipe for grilled donuts with ice cream and blueberry sauce we saw in Food & Wine earlier this summer as a very special treat.

The hardest part about this recipe is that you need to start with clean grill grates. If you are one of those people that clean the grill grates every time you cook then you are already set! We aren't that kind of people and it took my husband no less than half the day to clean our grates.

This recipe is delicious! It is most definitely rich, it is certainly not healthy but it's a really fun summertime treat!


6 day-old glazed donuts, sliced in half
2 Tbls softened butter
vanilla ice cream, for serving
2 pints blueberries (4 cups)
1/2 cup Chambord or other raspberry liquoure (1 of the tiny containers at bevmo works)
1/3 cup sugar
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the sauce:
1. Simmer 3 cups of blueberries, chambord, sugar and a pinch of salt over medium heat until blueberries begin to burst, about 15 min. Add the remaining blueberries and the lemon juice and keep warm if serving right away. Otherwise, this can be refrigerated and made ahead and then reheated slowly for serving.
2. Heat a gas grill to moderate heat. Butter donuts cut sides. Place buttered side down on the grates and grill 2-3 minutes or until lightly charred.
3. Serve donuts warm with blueberry sauce and vanilla ice cream

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Best Potato Salad

This afternoon I read an article about potato salad and then immediately wanted some. I had all the ingredients so I whipped it up! This salad is the best I've had in awhile, all because of a new trick I learned.

Serves 2 as a side


3 T mayo
3 T olive oil
1/2 T whole grain mustard
Lots of salt
2 T finely chopped red onion
6-8 finely chopped green olives (can substitute cornichons or pickles or dill pickle relish)
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped (use whatever herb you have on hand)
3-4 medium red potatoes, cubed
Vinegar (I used apple cider)


1. Boil a large pot of water. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender - about 10 minutes. Drain
2. Mix olive oil, mayo and mustard, 1 t vinegar in a small bowl with salt until combined.
3. Once you drain the potatoes sprinkle with vinegar (separate from dressing) and salt, let sit 3 minutes.
4. Toss potatoes, dressing, olives, onion and cilantro in a large bowl. Add salt to taste and serve.

Monday, March 7, 2016

One-Bowl Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Revised

This recipe was originally published on this blog in 2008. This time we made it without pecans, with regular chips and with bread flour instead of all purpose. We made huge cookies and the results were crispy on the edge chewy on the inside cookies. This replacement of flour is highly recommended!

A family friend gave me this book Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey for my wedding shower and I have been wanting to make some recipe from it but haven't had the chance until this weekend.

I chose to make one-bowl chocolate chunk pecan cookies the key being that they use only ONE BOWL and no mixer PLUS they use melted butter, so you don't have to worry about leaving it out for hours.

Get this book! If this recipe was this delicious I bet the rest of it is outstanding!

A few notes about these cookies:
1. Refrigerate the dough for an hour like it calls for, do not be tempted to bake them before refrigerating.
2. Try to let the pecans cool before adding them to the dough--but add them before refrigeration, if you add them when they are hot the dough gets extra runny
3. Make small cookies, about the size of one scoop from a regular spoon. Small cookies mean big huge chunks of deliciousness
4. One of my friends gave me some extra concentrated vanilla from Penzey's, they say to use half of what the recipe calls for but I always forget so these cookies could be awesomer because I used twice the vanilla the recipe called for. You may want to do that.

My mom has baked the same chocolate chip walnut cookie for years and she volunteered that this cookie is superior and her new go-to favorite.

2 C pecan halves (omitted)
1 C unsalted butter
3/4 C packed brown sugar
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 Large eggs
1 t salt
2 t vanilla extract (technically I used 4t see above)
2 1/4 C bread flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 baking powder
2 C semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350. Toast pecan halves 6-8 minutes until fragrant.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir with a wooden spoon until fully melted.
3. Stir in sugars until smooth. Add salt, vanilla and eggs, stir until smooth.
4. Add flour, baking soda and baking powder and stir until a soft dough forms.
5. Fold in toasted pecans and chocolate chunks. Cover and refrigerate the bowl for at least an hour (especially if you didn't find time to cool pecans). Preheat the oven again to 350 if you turned it off.
6. Scoop small regular spoon sized scoops onto cookie trays. Bake 10-12 minutes until they look slightly golden brown.
7. Cool slightly before moving to a rack. Enjoy warm, or cold, or anytime at all, but be sure to make and try these cookies!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Smoked Trout Salad with Citrus Dressing

A few weeks ago, I sent my mom a recipe from Food & Wine magazine about a salad with smoked trout, citrus and a horseradish dressing. She made it and they loved it. Then she brought me an extra piece of smoked trout.  Of course, I had none of the ingredients to make the famed salad, so I made a variation, and it was delicious.

If you've never had smoked trout before, think of smoked salmon - the flaked kind not the lox kind but smokier.  It's delicious, buy some. I made enough salad for one person.

3 oz smoked trout filet, flaked
2 blood oranges
1 avocado, diced
3 Cups spicy spinach/arugula salad mix (or arugula)
1 T brown sugar
olive oil
1/2  lemon

1. Over a small bowl to catch the juices, segment the blood oranges
2. Sprinkle salt over the avocado
3. Toss the avocado, trout, lettuce and blood orange segments in a serving bowl
4. Add the brown sugar, juice of half a lemon to the blood orange juice.  Whisk in oil until the right oil-->acid ratio begins to emulsify
5. Toss dressing with the salad and serve immediately.

This salad was beautiful but because I consumed it during a meeting at the office, I failed to take any pictures.  Nobody complained of a fish smell while eating and I was satisfied for the remainder of the day without a snack before dinner.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Peanut butter chocolate chunk banana muffins

This video from Tip Hero has been floating around Facebook for weeks. We had a few overripe bananas so I decided to give it a try.  My recipe is a bit different than the video. It was easy to throw together and they taste great!  153 calories per 1/2 C size muffin.

3 ripe bananas, roughly sliced
Scant 1C peanut butter (I used creamy skippy)
3 eggs, beaten
2 T vanilla
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 C bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. Line regular muffin tins with liners
3. Throw all ingredients in a blender except chips and blend well. I used an immersion blender and it worked fine
4. Stir in 1/4 C chocolate chips
5.pour 1/2 c batter into each muffin well. Top with remaining chips.
6. Bake 12-15 min until muffins are no longer jiggly ans toothpick comes out clean. These are best eaten cool and they will sing down a bit.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Apple, Pecan and Manchego Salad

A couple of years ago I bought some Lingonberry vinegar at IKEA. IKEA is really close to our house so we go there all the time just to browse the food area. We don't have a lick of IKEA furniture in our house though. So I got the vinegar, and then I put it on the shelf and barely used it. But whenever I do use it, it MAKES the salad.  Unfortunately, they don't seem to sell it anymore but I bet they have something like it at those specialty vinegar stores

I decided to serve a salad with my pot roast for a little crisp palate cleaner and then I made one up all because the tomatoes at the store looked terrible. Hear that the rest of the world? Tomatoes in CA still don't look amazing in the winter.

Serves 3
1 apple, pink lady or honeycrisp recommended, thinly sliced
3 T pecans, chopped
a few shavings of manchego cheese (or another hard, flavorful cheese)
2 T dried cherries
Spring Mix

5 T olive oil
3 T lingonberry vinegar
dash oregano
2 t sugar
dash salt

1. Add all dressing ingredients to a jar and shake, shake, shake
2. Divide all ingredients between 3 bowls

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

I got a pressure cooker (7-1 instant pot) for Christmas. It is amazing!  Basically, it does what a slow cooker thing but in no time at all!  Tonight I made pot roast for my parents and husband. That's right, Tonight. I did not prep in the morning, in fact I didn't even buy any ingredients until 2pm!  My dad raved about the dish. The meat was pretty great actually - maybe the cut was a bit fatty. But the potatoes and carrots were slightly overcooked, so I will give you an adjusted time so you can do it better!

Unfortunately, pot roast + carrots and potatoes is not the healthiest of meals. This recipe makes enough food for 6 normal portions, 600 calories each--but we managed to eat the whole thing with 4 people...

One 3-lb Beef Chuck Roast
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
1 picnic bottle size red wine
1 can beef broth
3 sprigs rosemary
1 onion
4-5 red potatoes
6 carrots, peeled (this is important because if you don't do it the skin will hang off and look kind of gross when you are done)

1. Rub salt, onion powder and garlic powder all over the beef chuck roast
2. Cut onion into chunks
3. Place the beef and onion in the inner pot and pour in the wine and broth. Add a little salt (if you don't everyone will be salting at the end, whoops!) and rosemary sprigs
4. Press the Meat/Stew button and add 5 minutes, the cooker will start after it warms up
5. When the meat is done, use the Quick Release method to release steam
6. Peel the carrots and add them whole or in large chunks. Roughly chop the potatoes and add them
7. Press the Manual button and cook 6 minutes
8. Use the Quick Release method to release steam (or if you want leave it on warm until you are ready to eat
9. Serve the meat, potatoes, onion and carrot on a platter immediately

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is a Peruvian beef dish with peppers, onions and french fries!  I like the one they used to serve at a Peruvian restaurant in Burbank (although I like Pollo Saltado a bit better overall) but this version was pretty good too! Sure to be a family favorite, omit the jalepeno if you aren't into spicy.

And even better, all cards were stacked against my husband going for this dish. We even had soup reserved in case. But it was actually a hit! He said it was good!!  This is 300 calories only as long as you don't have too many french fries. But then again, if you do have more - the main thing was only 300 calories...

Recipe by Skinnytaste along with the Potato Board

Putting it here cause I really want to make it again and don't want them to delete the recipe like sometimes happens!


For the Baked Fries: canola cooking spray
1 medium (5.3 oz) potato, russet or yellow, washed and dried
1/4 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt

 For the Beef:
 1/2 lb lean sirloin, cut into small, thin strips (I got the stir fry sirloin pre-cut)
kosher salt, to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
black pepper, to taste
garlic salt/garlic powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced into thick strips
2 mini yellow bell peppers or 1 large
1 large jalapeno, ribbed and seeded, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, sliced into wedges
1 1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut the potato lengthwise into 1/3-inch thick slices; cut each slice into 1/3-inch fries. Place on the baking sheet and toss with another spray of oil to evenly coat. Season with garlic powder, and salt.

 Place on a single layer onto the greased baking sheet. Bake uncovered on the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes or until tender crisp and golden. Meanwhile, season meat with salt, pepper and cumin.

Heat a large wok over high heat. When hot add the oil and the steak, cook about 2 minutes, until browned on both sides. Add the onions, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic and cook 2 minutes.

Add the tomato, soy sauce and vinegar and cook 1 more minute.

 *If your fries aren't done yet, turn the heat to low and wait and then heat one more minute on high when ready.

 Season with more salt as needed, remove from heat and finish with cilantro. Serve immediately with french fries and divide evenly between 2 plates.

 Calories: 308.5 Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 48mg Sodium: 522mg Carbohydrates: 28g Fiber: 4g Protein: 28g

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ham Bone Soup

For Christmas Eve we served a ham because it was super easy. We also served baked potatoes that didn't cook long enough. Where do you get small russet potatoes anyway?

We had a lot of leftover ham even after giving away a few pounds so we decided to utilize the ham in many ways. We made a delicious quiche and then we used the bone to make our very own ham stock and soup.  The soup is pretty low calorie, delicious and something to add to our freezer stash of soup.

By the way, if you do freeze soup, we recommend putting it in gallon and quart sized bags. Leave space for expansion and then place them on a rimmed baking tray and freeze on the tray. Once frozen, transfer to the freezer alone. They lie flat and don't use all your extra tupperware! You can heat from frozen too, it just takes a bit longer.

Ham Bone Soup

1 ham bone, meat removed
Any meat scraps (anything with skin, fat, whatever)
1 onion, diced
1 russet potato, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Cup pinto beans
1 T fresh rosemary
1 T fresh thyme
2 T olive oil
2 Cups diced leftover ham

1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven place the ham bone and ham scraps and cover with water.
2. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until fragrant. *tip - step outside and back inside to see if it smells great yet*
3. Taste the broth and confirm it tastes like something other than water
4. Remove ham bone and skim out scraps
5. In a large skillet, heat olive oil
6. Add potato, carrot, onion and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent about 3 minutes
7. Add the onion mixture, ham, spices and beans to the broth
8. Bring to a boil
9. Lower heat and simmer at least 10 minutes or until dinner is served

Mine made at least 10 servings

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Nutmeg Ice Cream

This holiday season, I wanted to make a unique ice cream flavor to go with our molten chocolate cakes. I decided on Nutmeg and then everyone stared at me skeptically. Well, it was fantastic! It had a smooth back of the mouth flavor that reminded me of Christmas and winter. It was almost warm! Great with anything or alone! It is a slightly subtle flavor so it could be hard in a sundae to detect it. 

Recipe from Savuer:

2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups half-and-half
1 whole nutmeg, cracked (use a nut cracker)
3⁄4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream


 Toast grated nutmeg in a skillet over medium heat, 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; set aside. Heat half-and-half and cracked nutmeg in a 4-qt. saucepan until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep for 10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together sugar and yolks. While whisking, slowly pour in half-and-half mixture. Return mixture to pan; cook, stirring, until mixture thickens, 8-10 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a large bowl. Whisk in toasted nutmeg and cream; cover custard and chill. Freeze custard in an ice cream maker; transfer to an airtight container. Freeze until set before serving.