Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thai Inspired Meal

Tonight’s dinner is Thai inspired. I have coconut milk braised pork tenderloin, sesame peanut noodles, and stir fry bok choy. The pork is one of my husband’s favorite things and my dad taught the basics of the dish to me, but I add some extras that he does not bother with.

Thai Inspired Pork Tenderloin

1 3-4 pound pork tenderloin
1 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of lime zest
2 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
1 sliced Thai chili pepper
1teaspoon of sesame oil
Salt and Pepper to season

Heat oven to 200-250 degrees F., while oven is heating in add oil to skillet and heat until almost smoking. In the hot skillet brown tenderloin on all sides. Place tenderloin in a dutch oven or covered casserole dish add coconut milk, lime zest, half of cilantro, and chili pepper. Cover and place in oven for 2-4 hours. Meat should be fork tender, but not so well done that it has lost its shape. Slice into ½ inch thick portions and serve with some of the cooking liquid, garnish with cilantro.

Serve with spicy Thia peanut noodles and stir fry bok choy and red pepper.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chinese Food Ala Trader Joe’s

Tonight I needed a quick fix meal. So I went to my old standby Trader Joe’s and got some Mandarin Orange Chicken. I like my food a bit spicier than what they offer so I put the sauce on low and added 2-3 tablespoons of red pepper flakes and set the sauce to simmer while the chicken baked in the oven. I made some rice and steamed some green beans and added almond silvers. In about 30 minutes dinner was ready. I hope that you enjoy your meal tonight.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Carne Asada for Rena

Carne Asada

1 Flank Steak or other thin cut steak
1 cup of orange juice or enough to cover steak
2 green onions chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons of Tapitio
1 onion diced
1 bunch of chopped cilantro
corn tortillas
3 limes, sliced

Place OJ, green onions, and Tapitio in a dish, taste to see if you want more hot sauce, add steak and cover for 1 to 3 days. Heat grill on high and cook steak until just done. Slice with a pizza cutter into strips. Serve with diced onion, chopped fresh cilantro, warm corn tortillas, and lime slices. Enjoy.

For Rena

I was asked to add some recipes by Rena so here they are...

Pork Carnitas

1 Pork shoulder/Boston butt under 10 lbs.
1 jar of Safeway brand Salsa Verde
1/2 onion diced
1 lime cut in half

In a crock pot place pork, onion, lime juice, lime halves, and Salsa Verde. Cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. When done shred meat. Place shredded meat in pan and add juices from crock pot trying not to get any of the "chunks" of onion. Place in oven at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, turn and brown meat again. Serve and enjoy this low fat version of a Mexican classic.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

4 year old Favorite's Meal

This was not dinner tonight, but this is a meal that my 4 year old has been asking for since I made it. I have modified this recipe from since I hate ginger. Give this recipe a try I am sure that you will love the addition of the zucchini to any stir fry.

Pork and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Serves: 4 Yields: 4 servings
1 package of thin cut pork chops, about 12-oz., thinly sliced
1 cup(s) (reduced-sodium) chicken broth
2 tablespoon(s) teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoon(s) canola oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
8 ounce(s) snow peas, strings removed, fresh or frozen
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise , in half and thinly sliced crosswise
3 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces
1. Toss pork with garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix broth, teriyaki sauce and soy sauce in a cup; set aside.
2. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, warm 1 tsp. oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add snow peas, zucchini and green onions, and stir-fry until lightly browned and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.
3. In the same skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp. oil; add pork mixture and stir-fry until pork just loses its pink color, about 3 minutes. Transfer pork to bowl with vegetables.
4. Stir sauce mixture to blend; add to skillet and heat to boiling. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return pork and vegetables to skillet, stir to combine with sauce and heat through. Serve with rice, if you like.

Souper Sunday

Today I made two soups. One was based (I only added the toppings) on recipe that the super friendly Wayne, the food taster the Newport News Trader Joe's made. Here is my version of his Soy Chorizo Corn Chowder.

1 package of soy chorizo
1 carton of Trader Joe's creamy corn and roasted red pepper soup
1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
1/3 cup of diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons of Mexican Crema
1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro

Brown chorizo in soup pot. Add rest of ingredients to pot. Simmer on low for half-hour. Serve garnishing with cheese, red bell pepper and crema. Serve and enjoy.

This made a great lunch and gave me some ideas for new recipes.

Dinner tonight was Clam Chowder. I have to work on my recipe a little, but I should be posting it soon. I love a thick clam chowder and in my opinion have almost got this down. I hope that you enjoy your dinner tonight.

Osso Bucco

So, if there is a way for me to burn the crap out of myself while cooking I will find it. I recieved a great set of stainless steal cookware for Christmas, and decied to use it to make my Osso Bucco. After removing it from the oven, I grabbed the handle with bare hands, thankfully I only got burned on my thumb and index finger, but ouch, stailess steal in a 375 degree oven for two hours if f-ing hot! Anyway, the meal came out great and it was not only well worth my time, it was worth the burn too. Here is my recipe, if you try it I hope that you enjoy it as much as my family and I did.

Osso Bucco


4-6 veal shanks
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
2 medium carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
2 cups of tomato sauce
2 cups of beef stock
2 cups of dry white wine

Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Generously salt and pepper veal shanks. In a large stock pot or dutch oven heat olive oil and butter until butter browns. Place shanks in pan and brown for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove shanks and place to side. Reduce heat to medium and add carrots, onion, celery, thyme, and garlic, cook stirring regularly until onions are golden and all vegetables are softened. Add tomato sauce, beef stock, and wine, bring to a boil. Place veal shanks back into pan, making sure that meat is covered at least ¾ of the way. If meat is not covered, add more stock. Cover pan and place in oven for 2 hours or until meat is falling off the bone. Remove meat from pan and cover with tin foil to keep warm. Place pan on burner and reduce mixture until thick and sauce like about 20-30 minutes. While sauce is reducing make Risotto Milanese and gremolata.

Plate by putting risotto on plate, place sauce on top, add meat, and gremolata and enjoy.


Zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian parsley

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of osso bucco.

Mario Baltali’s Risotto Milanese

¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into ¼ -inch dice
1 teaspoon if Saffron threads
2 cups of Arborio Rice
4 cups of chicken stock (I used 6)
4 tablespoons of butter
½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a 12-to-14 inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook unitl softened and translucent, but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add saffron and cook, stirring, for 1 minutes. Add rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add a 4 to 6 ounce ladle of the stock and cook, stirring until it is absorbed. Continue adding stock a ladle at a time, waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter and cheese until well mixed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fish Nights

Friday nights are fish nights in my house. Since m husband is not the biggest fish fan and my four-year-old loves salmon we have been eating that every Friday for the last three weeks. This week I decided to branch out and get them both to try a new fish, Red Snapper. I found an excellent recipe on Epicurious, Red Snapper with black olives, tomatoes, and capers. Check out the recipe here: My husband was not sure about trying something new, but I new that even if he did not like the fish, he would love the garnish. I have to say that this is a very good dish and I would make this again in a heartbeat. My son loved the fish and ate a good-sized portion without to much complaint which considering how dinner has been lately (two hours of him “eating”) this is saying a lot.

Today I am going to be making my osso bucco. I have three recipes that I have printed out and I figure I will make a combination of al of them and see how it turns out. I am really looking forward to this meal. I am keeping my fingers crossed that all comes out good since I do not have a dutch oven, hmmm maybe I should go shopping today? I hope that you enjoy your dinner tonight...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Burgers and Birthdays

Today is my husband's birthday. For dinner he wanted one of his favorite things that I hardly ever make, burgers. I like using extra lean ground beef for burgers, something that most cooks do not use. I have found that the lack of grease leads to a great burger. I season my meat with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. Using a cast iron skillet I pan fry the burgers to perfection. I also cooked up some great Niman's Ranch bacon. This is some of the best bacon going. I highly recommend this product, it can be found at Trader Joe's and online at I served the burgers with oven cooked potato wedges. Now all of us are just waiting for our stomachs to settle before we cut into the sheet cake from Costco. Costco has the best deal on sheet cakes. For around $17 you can get a cake that serves 48 people. We have nowhere near that many people here tonight, and our cake will probably last for quite a few days.

On a different note I picked up my meat order from the farm today. I like to shop with Full Quiver Farm if you are in the Hampton Roads area check out their products at I am looking forward to trying the beef, pork, and osso bucco cuts that I purchased. I should have a great Osso Bucco recipe up in a few days. Take care and I hope that you enjoy your dinner tonight....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Carne Asada

Dinner tonight is Carne Asada. The meat has been marinating for almost 4 days in a mixture of orange juice, green onion, and Tapatio. For some rather interesting recipes featuring Tapatio check out After bracing the freezing weather to hit the grill, the meat came out more tender than it ever has before. The extra days of marinating really paid off. I am serving the Carne Asada with chopped cilantro, diced onion, lime wedges, corn tortillas, and thanks to Wal Mart (the only place that has a decent collection of Mexican products around here) some crema. This is a meal that is simple, easy to make, and so very satisfying. We have some extra beer left over from Saturday so that is going to be a nice accompaniment. I hope that you enjoy your dinner as much as I am going to enjoy mine.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dinner and Wine

The past few days have been rather busy. Our best friend came down from Jersey to visit, but with having the two kids and some of the coldest weather of the year it was a little hard for all of us to get out together. Thankfully, we were able to enjoy some great food and wine. On Thursday, we enjoyed Moroccan Roasted chicken, with Moroccan flavored vegetables, and Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf Sides Moroccan Curry style. For those interested in trying out the chicken here where you can find the recipe:

Friday is our new fish night and while I am longing to try this recipe Lobster and Hearts of Palm Salad with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing from Emeril Live in the Central American Flavors episode. Instead we had some wild Alaskan salmon that I prepared by rubbing a 50/50 mix of salt and pepper into the flesh of the fish and letting it sit until in the fridge until you can no longer see any crystals from the salt or sugar on the fish. I then pan seared the fish. I severed this with garlic-mashed potatoes and a great salad that I have adapted from this recipe I do not use fennel or mint leaves, but I personally do not think that this distracts from the flavor fullness of this great salad. We had this meal with some La Crema 2007 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. The wine has a nice citrus and apple flavor with undertones of vanilla and caramel. While it is kept in oak barrels for seven months, fortunately the flavors from the wood do not come through.

Saturday was our Mexican night. I had picked up a 14 lbs. pork shoulder and used some to make pulled Carolina style BBQ pork. With the rest, I made pork carnitas. I only wish that Safeway were in VA as their Salsa Verde gives carnitas just the right flavor while cooking. I served the pork with rice, guacamole, and refried beans. We drank some Corona and some wine that did not pair with the food, but tasted great anyway. Kris Pinot Grigio is probably going to be one of my new favorite wines. The citrus and apricot flavors of this wine lead to a light, crisp, and fruity wine. I will definitely be buying some of this wine. I am envisioning a meal of fish and risotto to compliment the wine.

For a bit, it is going to be leftovers until all of the pork is gone. I am excited though because on Wednesday I am picking up some veal shanks to make osso bucco with. I am not sure, if that is going to be dinner on Thursday or if I am going to wait until Saturday so that I can give the meal my full attention. I hope that you enjoy your dinner tonight….

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Easy Dinner for the Whole Family

Kraft Foods used to have a recipe magazine that they would send out once a month, unfortunately they have chosen to make this an online feature. However, before this happened I found a great recipe This is a family favorite. We do not use apple pie filling because as you can guess that would be to sweet, instead try using fresh sliced peeled apples or if you can find them, canned fried apples. The use of fresh or canned fried apples makes this dish much better without the added sweetness and cinnamon flavors that apple pie filling can add. I also season the pork chops with onion powder, salt, pepper, and parsley mimicking the flavor of the stuffing. Kids and adults can both enjoy this meal without having to trick your child into eating something that tastes good. Try this with a mixed green salad and your family will be hooked too. I hope that you enjoy your dinner tonight...

Why is it that since I have moved to Southern Virginia the best pizza that I have had is from Dominos? I am originally from Chicago and love a good thin crust pizza; Dominos has perfected this (as far as one can outside of Chicago) with their thin crust option. I am not talking about the Brooklyn style, which may make New Yorker’s happy; this is the closest thing I have had to a traditional Chicago style pizza outside of the greater Chicago land area. I love the pepperoni, mushroom, and onion, which just takes me back to the days that I sat around the pizza parlor with the family and each of us, order our favorite. Thank you Dominos for giving me an option that I can at least enjoy when I want pizza. I only wish that there were a place like Bronx Pizza in San Diego around here, the pizza places in this area are so bad that Round Table seems like a dream of great pizza. For anyone living in the Hampton Roads area, good luck finding a pizza that is good, let alone great. I hope that you enjoy your dinner tonight...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Trader Joe's always comes to the rescue.

At some point during you day you are going to wonder what is for dinner tonight. For me that moment came today while visiting the disappointing (small with a bad selection) Whole Foods in Richmond,VA where I overhead someone ask if they has any lobster bisque. I love lobster bisque, in my opinion World Famous in Pacific Beach, CA has a greatest and since moving away from the area I have been forced to branch out in my search for great lobster bisque. I will not make it because the recipe tends to be more work than I want to put into any meal that I am going to be the only member of the household enjoying it. So, to Trader Joe's I go and low and behold they not only have a pre-made lobster bisque that is enjoyable, but to make up for the lack of lobster meat in the soup, I found langostino tails to add in. Tonight I get to enjoy a not that pretty looking, but great tasting bowl of lobster bisque with a few pieces of baguette, and if I am not full after that, a small mixed green salad. I hope that you enjoy your dinner tonight...