Monday, January 31, 2011

Steak with Lemon Garlic Butter

 Steak. I love it. I crave it sometimes. But I had never ever made it. Until one day at the grocery store there was a sale on meat. And we stocked up. I opted to cook the chicken first and let the steak sit in the freezer for about a month. And then that craving for steak really started to kick in. So I found a recipe, cooked it up, and, um, hello?! Steak is easy!!! Hahaha. I am laughing at myself.

I've talked before about simple recipes with good, basic ingredients. I want to master them and this is one of them. It is also another testament to the magical combination of lemon and garlic. Melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.


2 garlic cloves
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 (1-inch thick) boneless beef top loin steaks, each about 1 pound (or whatever type of steak you have on hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil


Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. Mash together butter, lemon juice, garlic paste, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined. Stir in parsley.

Pat steaks dry and sprinkle with salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté steaks, turning once, about 8 minutes total for medium-rare (the best!). Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Top steaks with a dollop of lemon garlic butter and spread to cover the meat. Cut into strips and enjoy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Whole Grain Banana Bread

Remember when I said I'd be cooking a lot more with 100% whole wheat flour? Well, here you go.

Apparently this recipe is inspired by banana bread that is sold along the famous Road to Hana in Maui. Mmmm... doesn't that sound delicious? I opted to leave the chocolate chips and walnuts out of my version of this, hoping to find a simple, delicious, wholesome banana bread recipe and this is it! I found it on the first try! Yay!!!
This is super moist, delicious, and nutritious.



1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed over-ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot (not boiling) water
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter.

Combine flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter, honey, and sugar, and beat for two minutes. Add the eggs and lightly beat until just combined. Mix in bananas and vanilla. Do not overmix. Gradually beat in the flour mixture in thirds.

Dilute baking soda in 1/4 cup hot water, then beat into batter.

If using, stir in, by hand, the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 325 degrees for 52 minutes. (I know every oven is different and 52 minutes seems quite 'exact'. But this was the directions stated in the original recipe, and it was the perfect amount of time for me. This said, I still recommend checking at about 47 minutes for doneness, by inserting a knife to see if it comes out clean.)

Place on a wire rack to cool and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crash Hot Potatoes

 Do you ever have a hard time coming up with simple, delicious side dishes? When I spend so much time on a meal, I hardly want to put in a ton of extra effort for a side dish. 

Enter Crash Hot Potatoes. 

Ree Drummond used the phrase "Flavorful, Crispy Surface Area" to describe these and that is the perfect phrase. The skins on these babies crisp up to create a taste 1,000s times better than potato chips. The flavoring of olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs is the perfect combination to bring out the natural goodness that is potatoes.


Small potatoes (I use red potatoes)
olive oil
kosher salt (or regular salt, but kosher is best if you have it)
fresh chopped herbs (like rosemary, parsley, thyme, chives, etc.)

Add potatoes to a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are very tender.

Generously drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil to ensure potatoes don't stick. Place tender potatoes on the cooking sheet, leaving plenty of space in between. 
With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes. Rotate the masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with olive oil. 

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh chopped herbs (I used parsley). 

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Country Apple Dumplings

Whoa. These are amazing. I try not to say that a lot, but I really think these are absolutely divine. This is like a gourmet pastry and a down-good home-baked apple pie all rolled into one. A tart apple slice, wrapped in a crispy and gooey shell, then encompassed with butter-y, sugar-y goodness, complete with one surprise ingredient. This is just fabulous. And amazingly simple.


1 large apple, peeled and cored
1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 can (6 fluid ounces) Mountain Dew


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish.

Cut the apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles and roll each apple wedge into crescent roll dough, starting with the smallest end. Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish. 

Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the apple dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew over the dumplings.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Prepare to put your lips together and say "Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!" 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes

A couple weeks ago, we ran out of white flour. Since we are grocery store procrastinators in this household, this meant I had to withhold making any recipes that used white flour for about two weeks. Luckily, we did have whole wheat flour, so I used whole wheat flour for several recipes, like the lovely pancakes you see above. 

Despite finding whole wheat flour a great substitute when used as a smaller ingredient (like as thickening for a sauce, or as a batter for breaded chicken), I was excited to finally get white flour back into my kitchen. 

Fast forward to the grocery store, Baking Needs aisle. I am perusing the items and mention to Brad that we only have whole wheat flour and I need white flour. He says to me, "Wait, why do we need white flour? Let's just use whole wheat." "Well it just doesn't rise up the same as white flour and there's a different consistency to it", I reply. And then we both think about it and he says, "Well, whole wheat tastes really good. I like it." And I add, "it is a lot healthier than white flour." 

And we end up walking out of the grocery store with another package of whole wheat flour, continuing to leave our house void of the white version. 

And so the whole wheat journey begins. We'll see how this goes. (Even though I think I will most definitely be using some white flour to make Linda's delicious orange rolls sometime soon--referenced here.) 

But these pancakes, they are healthy and DELICIOUS and filling and the perfect wake-me-up breakfast. I recommend making these on a Saturday, freezing the pancakes you don't eat, then toasting up the frozen pancakes throughout the week for a fast and nutritious breakfast on a busy morning. Ahh, life's little shortcuts.

Adapted from Aarean at Just Cook Already


2 cups regular oats
2 cups buttermilk*
2 eggs, whipped
1/4 cup melted butter
1 - 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 dash cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt

*If you don't have buttermilk, then substitute with white vinegar or lemon juice and regular milk. For one cup, place one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, then add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one cup line. Let stand for five minutes, then use as much as needed.


Mix all ingredients together and scoop batter by 1/4 cup-ful onto a well-greased griddle over medium-high heat. When bubbles start to pop, flip pancake. After 30-45 seconds, remove from heat and place on a plate.

Serve with Annie's Syrup and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ground Turkey Cannelloni

This is one of those dishes where you don't have to follow the ingredient recommendation exactly. As long as you have the most important ingredients like pasta shells, ground meat, marinara sauce, broth, parmesan cheese, eggs, milk, and herbs, you're pretty good to go. Cooking with too many measuring utensils sort of stresses me out, so this is one dish that is right up my alley. The no-measuring utensil method does not work for all dishes, but it does work for this one.

I hope you enjoy. Hubby sure did last night, eating 4 of these big boys.

Adapted from AllRecipes


1 lb. ground turkey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 cup celery, minced (about 3 stalks)
1/3 cup carrot, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, parsley, thyme are all good options)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2-3 cups marinara sauce 
6-8 cannelloni/manicotti pasta shells, cooked and drained


In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink. Add wine and reduce for one minute. Stir in broth and add herbs and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and let reduce until almost dry. Discard bay leaf and set aside mixture to cool. 

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk in the flour. Whisk in milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. 

Transfer the cooled meat mixture to a large bowl and add egg yolk and cheese-parsley sauce.  

Spoon meat filling into cannelloni shells and arrange, in a single layer, in a well-buttered baking dish. 

Cover the stuffed shells with any remaining meat mixture, marinara sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until parmesan cheese is slightly golden.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweet Orange Rolls

Does anyone else receive oranges in the toe of your stocking on Christmas? Here's a great way to use up those sweet fruits. Orange rolls. My friend's mom, Linda, makes the most amazing orange rolls that are a smaller, slightly less-indulgent version. I LOVE them. And I would love to learn how to make them (Amy or Linda, if you are reading and want to send me the recipe, I would not be upset. If it is a family secret, I understand.) 

These rolls, however, are ooey-gooey, cream-cheesy delicious. Just make sure you have a glass of milk close by.

Adapted from Kelsey Nixon


3 .25 oz. packets active-dry yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs, beaten
4-6 cups flour, plus more if needed

3/4 cup sugar
zest and juice of one orange
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
4 Tablespoons orange juice
3 Tablespoons sugar
orange zest


In a large mixing bowl, combine the instant yeast and warm water. Let it activate for 5 minutes until bubbly. Stir in the honey. Using an electric mixer on low speed, add 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 teaspoons salt, and eggs. Slowly add the flour, cup by cup, until fully incorporated and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if it is too sticky.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with saran wrap, sprayed with cooking spray. Let sit in a warm place, until dough has doubled in size.

On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 15 by 11-inch rectangle. In a mixing bowl, add sugar, orange juice, and half the orange zest. Spread the softened, unsalted butter over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle orange sugar evenly over the dough.

Starting with the long side, roll up dough tightly, ending with the seam side down. Cut 18 slices, each about 1/2 inch thick. Place in 2 9x13-inch greased pans and cover with a kitchen towel or saran wrap. Let rise about 15-20 minutes in a warm place. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake in the oven until tops are golden-brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, brush tops with melted butter, and cool on a cooling rack.

For the glaze: in a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, softened butter, orange juice, orange zest, cream cheese, and sugar. Mix until well blended. When rolls are cooled, dip tops into glaze and let set on a serving plate.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Taco Dip

With college bowl season in full swing and NFL playoffs about to start, this is the perfect time for chips and dip. I made this taco dip on New Year's Day and it is de-lish. It's one of those recipes where you start to eat then, 10 minutes later, half of the dish is gone and you're not sure how it happened. 

From Karen Fishback


1 pint sour cream
1 - 1-1/2 cups guacamole (about two avocados worth)
1 packet taco seasoning
7 oz. salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
chopped olives (optional)


Layer ingredients, in order, on a deep plate, or pie pan, spreading over the entire surface each time. Serve with tortilla chips or Nacho Doritos.

Happy Snacking!