Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sweet Balsamic Reduction

Drizzle over just about anything!! Caprese salad, pork tenderloin, fish, appetizers, veggies, etc. Tonight we had it drizzled over salmon steaks - but I didn't get a pic b/c they were devoured so quickly. The pic below is just a tortilla chip with feta drizzled with the sauce - so super delicious!
Sweet Balsamic Reduction
2 1/2 c good Balsamic vinegar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp finely ground pepper
3 T butter

Add all ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil stirring often. Turn down to Medium heat and let it reduce by half. This will take about 20 - 30 minutes. You will notice a difference in consistency and it will start to look like a dark bubbling caramel.

Turn off the heat and add butter 1 T at a time - make sure they are well incorporated into the sauce. The butter adds a little depth and a beautiful sheen to the sauce. Let cool. I keep mine in a ketchup bottle in the fridge for up to a week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

WOW. wow wow wow. This was seriously delicious. When dinner was over and their plates were licked clean, my 3 kids (9, 7 & 4) stood on their chairs and gave me a standing ovation. Something that has never happened before - ever - and not to brag, I make some good food around this joint. My husband and I loved it too. Really loved it. Like - had to use major will power to keep myself from getting thirds - loved it...

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta adapted from chef in training
12 oz. penne
2 cups heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 c shredded fontina cheese*
2 chicken breasts – grilled and cut into bite sized pieces**
1 c bacon cooked and chopped***
1 c diced ham

Panko bread crumbs
½ c shredded fontina cheese*

Cook pasta according to its package's directions. Drain. Add either a little EVOO or butter to the pasta – so they don’t stick together.

Heat cream cheese on stove over medium low heat until melted. Stir in heavy cream. Add onion powder and garlic salt. Stir in 1 cup cheese ¼ cup at a time until incorporated and smooth.

In a big bowl, mix together chicken, bacon, ham, pasta and cheese sauce – until thoroughly combined. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.

Top with the ½ c remaining cheese and sprinkle with panko.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

*Swiss cheese is typically used in a Cordon Bleu - I opted for FONTINA. It's not as pungent as swiss (more kid friendly) and has this amazing melt-a-licious factor.
**I cheated and used 3 cans of chicken
***Another cheat - Kirkland's Real Bacon bits

Using the above cheats - this meal was ready in 30 minutes start to finish!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mexican Salad

I was making carne asada fajitas for company and wanted to serve a salad on the side but I couldn't think of a salad that would compliment mexican food. So, I came up with this - and it totally hit the spot! Yummm

Mexican Salad
Romain lettuce, cut into bite sized pieces
Grape tomatos (or whatever you have)
Red onion, diced
Black beans
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

So delicious - the best thing? I had all those ingredients already in my fridge!

Monday, July 2, 2012


These are hands down my favorite baked good ever. EVER. My mom used to make these all the time and she'd have to fight my siblings and I off to keep us from eating all the components and the batter! So delicious!!

1 c flour
1 c quick oatmeal
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 c butter, melted
6 oz chocolate chips (I prefer the milk chocolate ones)
3/4 c caramel topping
3 T flour
1/2 c walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the first 6 ingredients together and press 1/2 of the mixture into a greased 8x8 pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips & nuts. Mix caramel topping with 3T flour then pour over the top of the chocolate and nuts.
Add the remaining 1/2 of the oatmeal mixture on top of that. Crumble it - don't press it in.
Bake for 14-20 minutes until the sides are bubbly and the top is nice and golden brown.
Let cool and cut.

Fool Proof Omelet

I've always been intimidated by making an omelet. Luckily, I still get to eat them all the time because my husband has 2 specialties, omelet's and grills. BUT - I wanted to challenge myself to learn the skill...

This is the TOTAL cheaters version - that I'm sure other people have done - but I came up with it out of desperation for an omelet and my husband was no where in sight...

Fool Proof Omelet (for dummies)
3 eggs
1/4 c fresh salsa
Havarti cheese
Avocado, diced
Salt & pepper to taste

Put a small sautee pan on the stove on medium high heat. Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk them together. Salt and pepper. When your pan is hot, pour the eggs in. Just as you do when you make scrambled eggs, let the eggs cook for 30 - 60 seconds. Then use your spatula to pull the eggs to one side of the pan while you tilt the pan to allow the runny eggs to touch the hot pan. Repeat 2 or 3 times. Use your spatula to flip the circular egg over (the top side will still have runny egg on it - and we've got to get that cooked too!)

Turn off the heat and add cheese to the (now top) of the omelet. Add 1 ice cube and cover. The ice will help create steam to melt the cheese quickly. When the cheese is melted, slide the (still round) omelet on to your plate. Add salsa to one side of the egg. Use your spatula to fold the egg in half (here's where it becomes the omelet you are used to) and press down a bit - so that the melted cheese sticks together. Add avocado (on the side - so it stays nice and cool).

*As always, any toppings, any cheese, anything goes - this is just what I had on hand this morning.
**Someday I'll master the technique of making a real omelet - but for now - I'm very satisfied with this way:)

Best Ribs You'll Ever Eat

My husband and I consider ourselves RIB CONNOISSEURS. We have had ribs at every single restraunt we've ever been to (A LOT!) and have tried just about every recipe we've found in search of the perfect ribs. The last couple of years, my husband has been perfecting his recipe and while all of the ribs he has made in the past were lip smackin' good - the last 4 times we've made ribs, we struck gold. Since we were just going on methods and measurements that only exist in our heads, I wanted to make sure we made them the same way a few times before publishing the recipe.

Patrick's Perfected Ribs
2 racks pork ribs
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Schultz's Gourmet Premium Seasoning & Rub*
Your fav BBQ sauce (optional)

Using your biggest stock pot (we bought a cheapy 12 QT stock pot that we use just for ribs - or potato salad for a crowd:) Fill the stock pot 1/2 of the way with water and bring to a boil.

Cut rib racks into 3rds. When the water is boiling, put the racks in. Boil for 30 - 40 minutes (you want a full rolling boil. Patrick says as big of a boil as you can get without making a mess).

Heat up your grill.

Take the ribs out of the water and onto a large cutting board (or aluminum foil). Drizzle one side with EVOO and use your fingers to ensure the oil gets on every part of the rib. Then add seasoning - to taste. Flip them over and repeat the process.

Grill for about 15 minutes a side on low so you are just crisping them up a bit (bc they are already cooked).

Tent with aluminum foil and let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes - try not to drool.

Serve them w your fav BBQ sauce if you want. I like them with just the dry rub on them, but my kids really love them w BBQ on top!

*Sold at Costco - or find here at
If you can't find this seasoning (seriously worth ordering - we've had it on chicken, fish, ribs, EVERYTHING - it's just that good!) you can use pepper, a little garlic powder and Emeril's original BAM.

**We've been boiling then grilling our ribs for several years - you can't go wrong with that method.


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