Monday, November 23, 2015

Portobello Mushroom Stuffing

Every year, my company puts on a Thanksgiving pot luck. The company always supplies the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and rolls and then the rest of us sign up to bring in various sides and desserts; vegetarian options are always encouraged. This year, I decided to embrace the vegetarian dish and make portobello mushroom stuffing to share.


3 portobello mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
1 package white mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled & chopped
3-4 stalks celery, diced
3-4 carrots, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 oz package stuffing
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees; grease a 9 x 13 baking dish (I cheat and use cooking spray).
  2. In a large pot, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat; add celery, onion, and carrots. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add apples, mushrooms, and seasonings; mix well.
  4. Remove from heat and add the vegetable broth and bread cubes; stir in the eggs and mix well.
  5. Pour out mixture into baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes so the top can brown.
Since this is for a work pot luck, I made this the day before and transferred the stuffing into a microwave safe container (so that it can be microwaved before serving). 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Easy and Quick Chocolate Chip Muffins

I've always enjoyed making muffins. They can be sweet or savory and are easy to share. Muffins are also portion controlled (unless you eat multiples at once). I recently came across a very easy recipe from Lily Ernst (Little Sweet Baker) that is very forgiving and are made from ingredients that I usually have on hand. These have been very popular with family and co-workers and only take 30 minutes to make (that includes baking).

Here is the recipe for Chocolate Chip Muffins:

Dry Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

'Wet' Ingredients:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
1 cup sugar
buttermilk (or regular milk)
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl (I cheat and use a Kitchen Aid mixer), mix together the 'wet' ingredients.
  3. Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the 'wet' ingredients until just mixed (Note: I have made these in a hurry and over-mixed them in my mixer - they turned out fine).
  4. Grease muffin tins (12) and fill the tins with your mixture. For larger muffins, fill all 12 so they are very full. If you like smaller muffins, you can fill the tins about 3/4 full and get around 16 muffins. If you do this, watch your bake time!
  5. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F; cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Decrease heat to 375 degrees F and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from muffin pans and allow to cool. If you aren't going to eat them right away, make sure that they are fully cooled before storing them.
These are delicious as-is, but I'd also love to add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the mix! Enjoy for breakfast, as a dessert, or just a snack!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Connecticut Beef: A New Version Of A Family Classic

Growing up, casseroles were always a staple. One of my favorites is Connecticut Beef Supper. When I eat it, I'm immediately transported back to large family dinner parties. This is one of those meals that sticks with you and can be relied on for savory satisfaction.

Here is an updated version of this classic casserole.

2 T olive oil
2 lbs stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
10-12 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Marsala wine
3 medium red potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
8 oz container sour cream
10.5 oz cream of mushroom soup
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. In a large stew pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add stew meat, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Allow meat to brown; stir often.
  2. Add mushrooms, water and wine and bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for at least 2 hours (the meat should be very tender).
  3. Pour meat mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Add the sliced potatoes in a thin layer.
  4. Mix together the sour cream and cream of mushrooms soup; spread over the potato layer.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese; cover with foil.
  6. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
  7. Remove foil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes (potatoes should be very tender when pierced with a knife).
  8. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before serving.
  9. Enjoy! Serves 8-10.
FYI: Always cut your potatoes thin and test that they are done with a fork. This will ensure that they cook all the way through and are not crunchy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

We're Back! Inspiration Is Calling Us Into The Kitchen!

Wow, time just flies by and looking back on our last few posts, I can’t believe it’s been since 2012. Yikes! Much has happened in that time for both Lydia and me. One big life event for me was moving into my own condo and having my very own kitchen again!! Spacious counters, new cookware and to top it off – a new Kitchen Aid mixer! With all the new, it’s time to get cooking again!

So what to make? I recently got hooked on the Great British Baking Show, a show that as my sister says is like a great big British hug. As the title suggests, baking is the premise and every week, participants make all sorts of baked treats. Some are favorites (like English muffins), while others I’ve never heard of (but would love to sample). Watching all of this has made me want to brave the baking world… a world that I have never really done well in before.

Cooking has always come fairly easy cause I don’t need to be exact. You can wing it with good ingredients and using various recipes to create a unique dish. A little bit of this, a dash of that, toss a bunch of ingredients together and voila: dinner! Baking though is not like that at all. Measure, measure and measure some more and maybe you’ll get something that will be edible. I have baked my fair share of yeasty hockey pucks (or what the recipe called dinner rolls). Baking has never been my forte but this winter, I’m going to test my cooking chops and take on baking!

Along with baked goods, I’m also going to stick to what I know I do well and create all sorts of savory meals. I’ll share my successes and failures and hopefully can test out all kinds of goodies.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Easy, Impressive Breakfast

It's nice to have a fancy breakfast on the weekend, but I don't always have the time or the energy to make one.  That's why make-ahead and fast recipes are best.  You can enjoy a delicious meal without jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn.

The other morning, I wanted something new for Sunday breakfast.  After getting some inspiration over at Pinterest, I decided to try German Pancakes.  They're also referred to as Dutch Babies, and there are a zillion variations on how to make them.  I opted for the King Arthur Flour recipe.  These take about a minute to prepare and bake up in about 15 minutes.  By the time you set the table and make coffee, breakfast is ready!

I served the German Pancake with a squeeze of lemon and a healthy dusting of powdered sugar.  You could be really fancy and make a stovetop fruit jam or cinnamon apples for the topping.  Cinnamon sugar, fresh fruit, maple syrup, or other berry syrups or jams would also work.

King Arthur Flour's Puff Pancake
Serves 2-4, depending on appetites

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1/2 cup (2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
small pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a juicy lemon)
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Melt the butter in an 11" straight-sided skillet, or a 12" skillet with straight or sloping sides. Make sure whatever you use is oven-proof. Or melt the butter, and pour it into a 10" square pan, or 12" round deep-dish pizza pan. Yes, the size of the pan matters. Too small, it’ll overflow. Too large, it won’t puff as high. Try to find a pan or oven-proof skillet whose square-inch cooking surface is about 100 square inches.

Whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, sugar, milk, vanilla, lemon oil, and eggs till fairly smooth. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake the pancake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until it’s very puffy and golden, with deeper brown patches. Remove it from the oven, and sprinkle with the lemon juice, then the sugar.

Cut in squares, and serve immediately, garnished with fresh berries, if desired.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gaga's Sauerbraten & Potato Dumplings

 Growing up, this was always one of my favorite meals. My grandmother would make this for holiday dinners or when the whole family got together. I loved mixing my dumplings with the meat and pouring gravy over top. Also, the leftovers were always amazing! This dish makes me think of her and all the times we had together. Please enjoy and if you make it, let me know how you like it!
4-5 lb beef (Chuck-Bottom Round)
2 cups water
2 cups vinegar
1 T salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T sugar
2 medium onions, sliced
1 lemon
2 T pickling spices
2 Bay leaves
15 gingersnaps (broken in to small pieces)

Place meat in a large bowl. Heat vinegar and water. Dissolve salt, pepper and sugar in vinegar mixture. Top meat with sliced onions and lemon. Pour vinegar mixture over meat. Add remaining ingredients (except gingersnaps) to vinegar around meat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 or 4 days, turning meat daily. Remove meat and drain well. Strain liquid and save for gravy.

Sprinkle meat with flour and brown in oil in heavy pan. Add 3/4 cup of strained liquid. Cover and cook over low heat until meat is tender, about 3-4 hours. Add more liquid as needed. When tender, remove meat and keep hot. To make gravy add more strained vinegar mixture to juice in the pan to make 3 cups liquid. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve all brown drippings. Add gingersnaps, simmer and stir gravy until gravy is thickened and smooth.

Potato Dumplings
6 medium potatoes
2 eggs
Croutons - make by cutting bread (3-4 slices) in small cubes; saute in butter

Cook potatoes in jackets. Cool and pare. Put through ricer and sprinkle with salt. Add eggs and croutons. Add flour as needed, so they hold together. Drop in boiling, salted water.

Serves 6-8

Note: You can add raisins to the gravy if you like. Use 1/2-3/4 cups of raisins. Also, Bisquick dumplings can also be substituted for the potato dumplings, just keep them small when you make them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Whole Hog

This is not my slow cooker--mine is much less fancy!
I've been using my slow cooker a lot more than normal lately.  I don't know why I don't use this handy-dandy appliance more, but right now, I am in full-on slow cooker mode.  I've also been lusting after pork shoulder these days.  I'm not sure why, but that's ok.  Pork should is good.  Slow cookers are easy.  Combine the two and you get good, easy dinners that feed a crowd.

I'm making BBQ Pulled Pork as we speak (it's cooking away while I'm at work).  Earlier this year, I made Pernil--a recipe I found from Skinny Taste (by the way: If you are looking for recipes that are healthy, easy, crowd-pleasing and downright good, head over to Skinny Taste.  I love this website and visit it often.  There are so many good things to try!).

Two weekends ago, I also made Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions.  The recipe came from Eating Well--I found it online and you can get it here.  Take a look at how it turned out.

It was sweet, tender, flavorful and fun to eat.  I served it with toasted Kaiser rolls, coleslaw, and chips.  It lasted three+ meals, and I fully intend to make it again.  The mister and I loved it, and I would really like to make this for my family (I know they'll like it!).

Sorry for the low-quality iPhone photo!!
I can't tell you how much I love using my stupid slow cooker.  I get the best food from that little thing.  Do you have a slow cooker?  If so, what's your favorite recipe?  Share, share!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Green is the New Yum

For Christmas, my husband did a super nice thing and bought me a subscription to Cooking Light.  I love this magazine!  I'm always on the lookout for good recipes that are healthy and that will not be detrimental to my current weight loss plan.  Cooking Light never fails.  The January/February edition featured so many yummy sounding recipes that I created an online recipe file to keep everything handy (I hate dealing with clipped out recipes--they're so messy!).

As we all know, Super Bowl Sunday was this past weekend.  In our family, football is something other people watch.  I don't think I have ever sat through a Super Bowl in my life, but since easy, crowd pleasing football friendly recipes were everywhere, I thought I'd get into the spirit and whip up some chili for me and the hubs.  I turned to the January/February edition of Cooking Light and found Green Chile Chili.  Wow!  This is a winner.

Not only is it easy, but it's really, really tasty.  Plus--thanks to the Cooking Light folks--it does not have a ton of calories or fat.  My Weight Watchers plan and my taste buds send major thanks to CL

Click over to Cooking Light's website for the recipe.  I'll show you the creation of the meal in progress.

First, I got my ingredients ready to go.

I browned some ground beef in my trusty Le Creuset, then I added chopped onions, chili powder and paprika, followed by garlic.  (The kitchen smelled so good at this point...and the yumminess just intensified as I cooked along!).

In went a bottle of dark beer that I let bubble and reduce down until there was almost no liquid left.

Then I added salsa verde and chopped green peppers (the green of my green chile chili), crushed tomatoes and kidney beans. Everything mingled together for a few hours, then I served it with shredded cheddar and tortilla chips.

OMG--this was so yummy and so better believe I am making this one again!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hello? Anybody Out There?

Good grief!  My sister and I officially suck as bloggers!  To our defense, it can be tough to find the time to cook, work, play, have a life, and blog.  This year is flying by and we've been lax.  Forgive us, but also cut us some slack.

I have a few posts lined up (in my head at least) and I'll have to prod Greta to get a-cooking.  Really, we're both awesome in the kitchen, even if time is not on our sides.

Check back here tomorrow...I'm going to share a kick-ass Chili recipe I tried out over the weekend from Cooking Light.  Plus I have some other tricks up my sleeve (I hope!).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Very Cool (and Nerdy - in a good way) Gift

At work this year we drew names for Secret Santa's and my friend traded with a coworker so that she could be my Secret Santa. She had found a perfect gift for me that appeals to both my sci-fi nerd side and my foodie side - the ultimate book! It is The Star Wars Party Book: Recipes and Ideas for Galactic Occasions!

This book is really fun because it fully embraces the Star Wars Universe and covers everything from food to decorations to scavenger hunts to making pajamas. It has lots of good ideas if you have a kid that is into A Galaxy Far, Far Away or if you love to embrace your inner child.

I think my favorite in the book is a recipe for Clone Trooper Cakes - they look so cool and my son absolutely loves them too! I will have to try and make these sometime soon. They are cupcakes that have clone trooper faces on them - I am a little weary of the actual decorating, as I am not the most patient person when it comes to baking.

Another great idea is the Death Star Pinata. Who would not love to take a whack at the Death Star and have goodies come out. The fun thing with that is you could fill it with all sorts of things from candy to toys to erasers or anything small with a Star Wars theme to it. On the cover they show it being hit by a lightsaber - very cool!

Anyway, this book was the perfect gift for me - thank you Jaime and Aidan thanks you too. When I make the cupcakes, I will take some in to work too!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Hot Dish!

Friday night I took on my first meal in 2011. I decided that I would make somehting Italian and somewhat spicey. The night before, Lydia and I had been at the meat counter in Central Market and I saw that they had loose Hot Italian Sausage and I thought about how and what I might add together to come up with a meal.

Spicey Pork Sauge and Orecchiette
1 1/2 pounds Hot Italian Sausage (removed from the casing)
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion diced
cooking spray
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
12 white mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 box orecchiette
parmesan cheese to top
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, spray bottom of pot with cooking oil and add, garlic, onion and pork; season with salt & pepper to taste. Heat until fully cooked.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer and add tomatoes, wine, capers and mushroom. Allow to simmer for several hours; stir often.
  3. Cook orecchitte according to instructions. When cooked, pour in to a large pasta serving bowl. Add sauce on top; top with parmsan cheese.

This dish was delicious, but I fear that I was the only one that really fully enjoyed it - I love the heat and the rest of my family does not (so much). Everyone had seconds, but I still have my doubts. If I make this in the future, I would use 1/2 spicey pork and 1/2 plain pork to balance out the heat.

Overall, I was happy with the dinner and I served it with a nice loaf of french bread and a spinach salad. Everyone was grateful for the chocolate ice cream that we had for dessert - I thought that the ice cream might help with the heat too!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ending the Week Right...

Since this has, apparently, been Nigella Week here on Deliciousness of Yum, I thought I'd wrap things up with a quote and a quick drink idea from Ms. Lawson...

Here's the quote...

"I eat healthily. It`s just that I eat enough for five healthy people."

And now for the drink.  I heard Nigella talking about "Dirty Prosecco" on her NPR story, and thought it sounded easy and yummy for the holidays.

All you need to do is add some Campari to the bottom of a champagne glass, then top it with some Prosecco.  Viola!  Instant party drink!

Since Campari is insanely expensive here in WA state, I opted for a pomegranate-flavored alcohol that was on the shelf next to Campari, at a fraction of the price.  The Prosecco was dirt cheap (I got it from Trader Joe's) and delicious.  The drink was yummy and pretty--it would be perfect for Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Name Sounds Silly, but the Food is Good!

Right before Christmas, I heard Nigella Lawson on NPR, talking about some of her favorite quick dishes for the holidays.  In her NPR piece, she mentioned her latest favorite, Peanut Butter Hummus--a recipe that also appears in her newest book, Nigella Kitchen.

I am not the biggest fan of tahini--the sesame paste that usually gives hummus it's flavor--so using peanut butter in place of tahini (essentially sesame butter) sounded perfect.  After hearing the interview, I pulled the recipe off the internet and whipped this up for appetizers for my Christmas dinner.

Peanut Butter Hummus was a hit!  It had a nice texture, smooth flavor, and was a snap to make.  My mom had some a few days later on a sandwich, and she said it was delicious.

The recipe, below, makes a boat-load of hummus.  If you don't want tons of the stuff, you may want to half the recipe.

2 x 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 garlic clove, peeled
3-5 tablespoons regular olive oil
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons lemon juice, or more as needed
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoons table salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 - 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons peanuts, finely chopped, to serve (optional)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, to serve (optional)
breadsticks, mini pitas, crackers, tortilla chips, to serve (optional)
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put the garlic clove, chickpeas, 3 tablespoons oil, peanut butter, lemon juice, salt, and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a knobbly puree.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the Greek yogurt and process again; if the hummus is still very thick, add another 1–2 tablespoons yogurt and the same of oil. (This will often depend on the chickpeas, as different sorts make the hummus thicker or not.)
  • Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if you feel it needs it.
  • On serving, mix the chopped peanuts with the paprika and sprinkle on top if you wish, and put an array of bits and pieces to eat with or dip in, as you see fit.
Makes enough for a party of 10
Note: The hummus can be made 1–2 days ahead. Transfer to non-metallic container, cover, and refrigerate until needed. Should be consumed within 2 days of making 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Perfect (and Beautiful!) Banana Muffins

I love bananas and eat them almost daily.  However, when it comes to banana flavored stuff, I'd prefer to pass.  I don't know what my problem is, but I do not like banana bread, banana muffins, etc.  My sister is even worse--she doesn't like bananas in any way, shape, or form.

Because I am a big banana eater, I often end up with leftover bananas that turn soft and brown on my counter.  I hate to throw them out because my husband LOVES banana bread, muffins, etc.  I had four well-aged 'naners on my counter the other day and decided to try out a recipe I found in Nigella Kitchen (see Monday's Cookbook Corner for a book review).  The result?  Muffins that were easy and fast to make that looked amazingly beautiful.  My husband loved them, as did my parents.

Make these when you want something homemade that doesn't take a lot of time (if you like bananas, that is!)


3 very ripe or over ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups.
  • Place bananas in the bowl of a freestanding mixer; turn on to mash up the bananas.
  • With the mixer still going, add the oil followed by the eggs and sugar.  Combine well.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, and baking soda). Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, beating gently.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups (note: the muffin cups will be filled up, almost to the top).
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until muffins are dark, rounded, and peaking (as Nigella says) "proudly."  Let cool in the muffin tin  for a few minutes before taking the muffins out of tin and cooling on a wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins.

  • These really are some of the easiest, prettiest muffins I've made in awhile
  • My husband has requested the addition of walnuts and/or chocolate chips the next time I make these--I think both sound right!
  • Since my husband and I are on Weight Watchers, I ran this through their recipe builder.  One muffin is about 6 case you care!