Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Use Less Dishes

Since I don't have a dishwasher, I've figured out some ways to use less dishes.  Less dishes = happier me. 

Serve food in the thing you cooked it in.  The pot is already dirty, so why bust out a clean serving dish?  However, be aware that anything you leave in a hot pot continues to cook.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cream and a couple of eggs, use just the 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure all the ingredients (so, 4 scoops flour, 2 scoops sugar and 1 scoop cream)  and crack the eggs into the measuring cup as well since they can't be added straight to the mix anyway.  Measure dry ingredients first, then the liquids so the dry don't stick to the cup when it's wet. 

Prep ingredients.  This step requires some planning.  If you have your weekly menu planned out you can chop all the veggies you need for that week at the same time, saving dishes and time during the week!  If you're really ahead of the game you can get some cooking out of the way as well.

Reuse disposable cups.  Every time that I work at Starbucks, I bring home a Venti ice water and use it through out the night so I don't have to dirty another cup.  When I'm finished with the cup I often use it to house sloppy leftovers that are headed for the trash (see 'no garbage disposal post').  So next time you're getting coffee or fast food, ask for a water glass and reuse!

I'm always open for more suggestions on how to save on dishes!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

3 Ingredient, 10 Minute Dinner

Three ingredients, ten minutes, one delicious meal!  Here's the line up:
1.  Tortellini
2.  Pre-cooked Chicken (the secret weapon)
3.  Jarred Pasta Sauce

Bring a pot of water to boil.  When that's ready, cook tortellini.  Meanwhile heat up chicken and sauce in a medium sauce pan.  When pasta is done, drain and return to pot and add heated sauce mixture.  That's all folks!

Fun Fact:  My salad also has three ingredients.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feta Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Burger Sliders

Feta Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Burger Sliders
makes about 12 sliders

2 Tablspoons Olive Oil
1 Pound Ground Turkey
1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/4 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Jarred In Olive Oil, Chopped
1/2 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves, Chopped
Salt and Pepper
Slider Rolls

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Place turkey, feta, tomatoes, spinach and salt and pepper to taste in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix until just combined.  Form 1/4 cup little patties and cook 3-4 minutes per side in the skillet.  Serve in a slider roll with spinach and mayo.

I accidently made my sliders a little bit to small, so they turned out like meatballs (which isn't the worst thing in the world!)  These savory little gems were juicy and succulent, and you can feel good about them since the recipe calls for turkey instead of beef!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breakfast Week: Cinnamon Bread

Cinnamon Bread
from the

 1 Cup Milk
6 Tablespoons Butter
2 1/2 Teaspoons Active Yeast
2 Eggs (Room Temperature)
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Melt butter with milk.  Heat until very warm, but do not boil.  Allow to cool until still warm, but not hot.  Sprinkle the yeast on top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine flour and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with a paddle attachment until combined.  Pour in the milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir till combined.  Add half the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until combined.  Add the other half and mix until combined.  Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead on medium speed for 10 minutes.  If the dough is overly stick, add 1/4 cup flour and beat for an additional 5 minutes.  Heat a medal or glass bowl so it's warm.  Drizzle a little vegetable oil and toss the dough in the oil to coat.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for at least 2 hours.  Turn dough out onto a work surface and roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you are going to use and about 18-24 inches long.  Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter.  Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough.  Starting at the far end, roll the dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained.  Pinch seam to seal.  Smear loaf pan with softened butter.  Place dough, seam side down, it pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix a little egg with milk, and smear a little over the top.  Bake for 40 minutes in a middle/lower rack in the oven.  Remove from pan and allow to cool. 

This isn't a recipe that you can whip up in the morning since it takes close to 5 hours all together.  I had to wait for a day off to make this.  It's a very simple recipe, just lots of work involved!  And now I know that I can do it and yeast isn't that scary :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Breakfast Week: Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

1 Pizza Crust (Recipe Follows)
2 Cups Grated Mozzarella

4 Strips of Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
1 Shallot, Minced

4 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Chives, Minced
2 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced

Pat the pizza dough into a circle or square on a lightly floured surface.  Gently transfer the dough to a baking sheet or pizza stone.  Top the pizza dough with mozzarella, bacon, shallot, and then crack the eggs right on top.  Bake at 500 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle chives and green onions on top when the pizza is done baking. 

Bacon sizzling in a skillet scares me.  With all that grease flying everywhere someone is bound to be injured!  I use to get bacon that was specially made to cook in the microwave, till one time when I was purchasing it the cashier called it "lazy bacon" and I was self-conscious about buying "lazy bacon" ever since.  Then I found out that you can cook bacon in the oven.... genius!  However, the grease still flies everywhere... all over your oven.  So I didn't eat bacon for a while.  Then when I found this recipe, I was back in the bacon aisle.  I almost went back to "lazy bacon" (which is apparently way more expensive than regular bacon) when I turned over the package and read that you can cook any bacon in the microwave!  Success!  So that's what I did for this pizza, cheaper "lazy bacon".  I don't know what it is, bacon still better hot out of the skillet, but it's wherever your priorities lie.  I was already going above and beyond with the homemade pizza crust, which is amazing BTW!  Yeast is not as scary as you would think, I promise.  Definitely not as scary as bacon in a skillet.  

Pizza Crust
from the Pioneer Woman's Cookbook

1/2 Teaspoon Active Dry or Instant Yeast
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/6 Cup Olive Oil

Sprinkle the yeast over 3/4 cup warm (not hot) water.  Then in a mixer combine flour and salt.  With the mixer running on low speed, with a paddle attachment, drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour.  Next pour yeast/water mixture and mix till just combined.  Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball.  Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, non drafty area for 1-2 hours.  Then you're ready to make pizza!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Breakfast Week: Quiche

adapted from

1/2 Cup Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
1/2 Cup Green Pepper, Minced
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 (9-inch) Deep Dish Frozen Pie Crust
4 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1 Cup Half-and-Half
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put the pie crust on a cookie sheet.  Place bacon, green pepper, and cheese in the frozen pie crust.  In a bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, and salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture in the crust over the cheese mixture.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 35 minutes until top of quiche begins to turn brown. 

This quiche recipe was very simple.  I even cooked the bacon and chopped the pepper ahead of time so it came together very quickly.  I love this recipe because it's so versatile.  You can literally dump whatever veggies, meat, and cheese that are sitting in your fridge into the pie crust.  This would be amazing with some diced ham, chopped onion, sliced asparagus... anything!  Let your imagination (and your leftovers) be your guide!  Also, I did an experiment and found that real men DO eat quiche!  And they love it!  And they love you!  And they love you for making it for them!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Breakfast Week: Apricot Scones

Apricot Scones
makes 8 scones
from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Butter, Cold, Cut into Pieces
2 Beaten Eggs
3/4 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Dried Apricots, Chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, combine eggs, whipping cream, and apricots.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir until just moistened.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for 10 to 12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth.  Pat or lightly roll dough into an 8-inch circle cut into 8 wedges.  Place wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Brush wedges with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden.  Remove scones from baking sheet;  serve warm.

The easiest way to cut a circle into 8 equal parts is just to make an 'X' than a '+'.  Ta-da!  No 5th grade thinking involved there.  I love these little gems on a weekday early afternoon with a cup of coffee (with some of the leftover whipping cream). 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Breakfast Week: Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal
serves 9

1/2 Cup Applesauce
3/4 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 Cup Craisins
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Beat together applesauce and sugar.  Mix in eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, and oatmeal.  Beat well then stir in craisins.  Pour into a lightly greased pie pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Refrigerate overnight.  The next morning preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until firm.  Serve hot with a splash of milk.

Oatmeal is one of my favorite foods, I eat it all of the time.  I'm also addicted to craisins.  Obviously nothing can go wrong here!  But I guess if there was some catastrophic world shortage of craisins, you could substitute raisins, dried apricots, or any other dried fruit.  One more thing, if you're overly protective of your bake-ware, you can put the oatmeal in a cold oven and then turn to preheat when you bake it in the morning.  I'd hate to be responsible for a broken pie plate and oatmeal all over the bottom of your oven. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breakfast Week: Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict
serves 1

1/2 of an English Muffin
1 Slices Deli Sliced Ham
1 Whole Egg Plus 1 1/2 Egg Yokes
1 Stick of Butter
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Begin by preparing the poached eggs. (Click HERE for poaching eggs)  Meanwhile, toast English muffin and heat up the ham in a skillet over medium-low heat.  While all of that is going on, prepare the Hollandaise sauce.  Melt butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave, being sure not to burn the butter.  In a blender, beat the yokes on low, then very slowly pour in the hot butter while the blender is on.  Keep pouring until the butter is gone, then immediately add the lemon.   To plate, begin with the English muffin, then layer the ham, followed by the poached egg and top with Hollandaise sauce. 

I've never had Eggs Benedict before.  Shocking, right?  But remember, I just started eating poached eggs.  And let's be honest here, Eggs Benedict are a little bit intimidating... lots of multi-tasking going on.  However, if you're organized and not serving a huge crowd, it's not so bad.  If the eggs are done before everything else, set them on a plate with a paper towel and when you're getting close to being ready to serve, put them back in the hot water that you cooked them in for a few minutes till you're ready.  Ready to enjoy that luscious sauce, runny yoke, juicy ham.... mmmmm.... :)  One more thing, traditionally these are made with Canadian bacon rather than deli ham.  But I like things simple, especially when making breakfast. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Breakfast Week

Breakfast Week

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I've got a handful of breakfast recipes on  BD already, but it's time for breakfast explosion!  I recently went through a cream of wheat phase.  I had it almost every morning.  I loved cream of wheat when I was younger, my mom would make it for me on a cold winter morning and I'd spoon on extra brown sugar when she wasn't looking.  


Braised Short Ribs

Braised Short Ribs
serves 4

8 Whole Beef Short Ribs
Salt and Pepper To Taste
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Pound Turkey Bacon
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 Whole Carrots, Diced (Or Half A Bag Of Baby Carrots)
2 Whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
2 Cups Red or White Wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 Can Beef Or Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary

Salt and pepper the ribs, then dredge in flour.  Set aside.  In a large dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and the fat is rendered.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Do not remove grease.  Add olive oil to pan with grease and raise heat to high.  Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side.  Remove ribs and set aside, turn heat to medium.  Add carrots, onions, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Add broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of pepper.  Add ribs to liquid (they should be almost completely submerged).  Add rosemary and thyme to to liquid.  Put on the lid and place in the oven.  Cook at 350 degrees for 2 hours, then reduce the heat to 325 and cook an additional 30-45 minutes.  Ribs should be fork tender and falling off the bone.  Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. 

These ribs are not low-maintenance.  They require patience and a lot of time.  But they are so deliciously savory.  The original recipe uses pancetta instead of bacon.  I actually used turkey bacon, which I wouldn't recommend.  First of all, I burned the turkey bacon and in the final product the bacon seamed fairly rubbery.  I'd suggest regular bacon or omitting it all together... the ribs really didn't need it.  The original recipe also suggests serving the ribs on mashed potatoes, which to me mashed potatoes seem like a lot of work (I've never attempted them).  So I diced some red potatoes and drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper and dried onion soup mix and stuck them in the oven.  I realized later that I could have just thrown the potatoes in the pot with everything else and saved a dish.  Maybe next time I'll attempt the mashed potatoes because you NEED something to soak up all the succulent juices and a bun didn't really cut it.  This was my first time trying a recipe that requires a dutch oven, and overall it was a huge success!  (Although my arteries might not agree)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Wish List

My Wish List

I've outgrown the campus apartment that my husband and I share.  More specifically, I've outgrown the kitchen.  It's a nice size kitchen... if your diet only consists of cereal and mac and cheese.  Since I'm a professional chef, I need room to roam and I need these few things:

1.  Dishwasher.  A basic necessity.  Someone (thing) to wash my dishes.  A wise friend once said "Dishwashers save marriages".  So, yes, we need a dishwasher.

2.  Garbage Disposal.  There are somethings that I just don't want to throw in the trash.  I shouldn't be punished for that!

3.  Herb Garden.  Now that I think about it, I've never been fully responsible for the growth of any plant.  This one might be a challenge.  But, again, I have a need.  The need for fresh herbs. 

4.  Outdoor Grill.  I have to admit that I'm a major control freak in the kitchen.  My poor husband wants to help with dinner every once in a while, but I get nervous when he steps over the line from the living room to the kitchen.  He's not a bad cook or anything, I'm just a control freak.  So a grill would be the perfect solution to the problem.  Open fire scares me.  I can just sit back and let him do his thing. 

5.  Patio.  Obviously, we need a home for the grill. 

6.  Deep Freezer.  I love freezing stuff.  We eat a lot of frozen meals (gasp!) on days that I work late.  I also like to freeze leftovers.  And I need lots of room for ice cream.

So there it is, my wish list.  I'm now taking cash or check donations.