Favorite Recipes


Roasted Brussel Sprouts- Amazing!

Coffee with whipped cream and Homemade chocolate sauceI saw a picture of Roasted Brussel Sprouts on Pinterest (You can follow me here) but I was intrigued. I like to try new things, but my only experience with brussel sprouts was as soggy boiled or steamed nuggets of limp green grossness. Yes, I was not a fan of the my family’s traditional method of preparation. Then this picture. I was done for. I like roasted potatoes, so I thought I would give it a whirl…

*2lbs Brussel Sprouts (ends trimmed and HALVED)
*2tbs Olive Oil
*Kosher Salt & Black Pepper (coarse ground) to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the ingredients together in a big bowl. Put on a rimmed cookie sheet and put in the oven on a lower rack setting. Time for 10-15 minutes and stir once so the sprouts don’t burn, cook for another 15min until well carmelized. Serve hot, these are really yummy and are easy to eat!

Best Salad Ever! (Glazed Pear & Candied Walnut Salad) I usually make this for my whole family, but feel free to monkey with the ingredients to make it uniquely yours!

  • 1 head butter lettuce, washed & torn
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed & torn
  • 3 med bartlett pears, not too soft
  • 3tbs sugar
  • 1/4C candied walnuts
  • 1/4C crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4C craisens
  • 1/4C croutons
  • 1/2C olives
Slice pears into wedges and toss with sugar in a bowl. Pre-heat skillet and let pears sit while preparing other ingredients, e.g. washing/tearing lettuce etc. Toss the salad and place into bowls. Place the sliced pears in the hot skillet. Caramelize each side for approximately 3-5min per side, but DO NOT overcook the pears because they will become mushy. Be careful of over-filling the pan because you will steam, not caramelize the pears. As the pears are finished, take them out and set them on top of the salad in the bowls, creating a star shape on top. Super pretty and yummy to boot. I don’t use dressing, but if you like, you can top with a simple Italian or even blue cheese dressing.

Spanish Style Tortilla with Red Peppers (a la Rachael Ray – http://bit.ly/yX5LEn for original)

  • 1pkg hot sausage (Chorizo, or hot pork sausage)- casing off
  • 1 Red Bell pepper sliced thin
  • 4 Tomatoes, de-seeded (reserved) and sliced thin
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Pkg of sliced Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 C Cilantro
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 4 C lightly crushed tortilla chips
  • Cheddar Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. In skillet on med heat, brown the sausage and reserved tomato seed/gel (the Test Kitchen says the most Tomato flavor can be found in the gel and seeds, but they contribute a ton of moisture, so I saute them up with the sausage.)

Add the Tomatoes Onion, Peppers, Mushrooms and Garlic and stir. Let cook until only a little tender. (Make sure the mushrooms are cooked completely, or else they will continue to add moisture to the dish and it will not set. Top with Tortilla Chips, lightly crushed, and stir to incorporate. Fill in with beaten Eggs, wait until partially set and put whole skillet into the oven at 450 deg.

Bake for 15 min until cooked through. Top with the cheddar cheese and broil for 3 min.

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

While you may think you know this recipe, it is has been re-incarnated from what I grew up with (milk and cream of mushroom soup) for the lactose intolerant in our house.

  • 1pks of pork chop – regular cut
  • 2 Carrots
  • 3 Stalk Celery
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 2 pkgs of sliced crimini mushrooms (or button if you prefer)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 4 C stock or broth of your choice

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. In large dutch oven on stove heat on med heat. Use 1Tbs Olive Oil and batch brown the outside of your Pork Chops. Stack any pieces that do not fit (smaller ones only) on top of pile. Top with sprigs of rosemary, carrots and celery. Seal with foil and place lid on top of foil. Place in oven until Chops register 135 or 140 degrees on instant read thermometer. Take out of the oven and place on cutting board, re-use foil to tent the meat. The residual heat will finish cooking it.

Re-use the dutch oven and drippings from the meat. (big fan of not having to use multiple pans, but if you want your recipe to go faster, then start the gravy while the meat is cooking and add the drippings at the end). Place drippings in a fat separator or other dish. Heat the dutch oven with 1Tbs of olive oil and 2Tbs of meat drippings. Saute Onion and mushrooms until soft, then add garlic (it cooks faster) until fragrant. Add 2Tbs of flour, and cook until light brown. Use a blender or food processor to blend the roasted rosemary, carrots and celery. Add remaining drippings and stock and the vegetable mixture. Simmer until thicken and glossy.

Add the pork chops back to the dutch oven to keep warm until serving. ENJOY!

I like to serve with green beans and roasted potatoes…

Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing (1/5/2012)

  • 1 package of pork chops
  • Olive oil
  • 4 sprigs Rosemary
  • 1 large Onion + 1 Tbl Garlic
  • 6 stalks of celery
  • 4 Med. Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 boxes of stuffing mix

Using heavy bottomed pan, brown the sides of the pork chops. Be careful of heat. I usually buy my pork chops from Costco, so they are pretty thick. If you have thinner pork chops, the baking time might change a bit. Do the browning in batches until all porkchops are browned.

While browning the pork chops, chop apples in 1 inch pieces and rough cut the onion and celery. In a hot pan carmelize the onion, celery then add garlic, cook until fragrant. Add Apples and cook for approximately 5 min to start the cooking process. Place bread crumbs from stuffing mix in bowl. Add onion mix to the bread crumbs from the stuffing mix. Prepare the stuffing mix according to directions, except leave out approximately 1Cup of liquid. The steam and moisture from the cooking apples will replace this.

When pork chops are finished browing, cover with the apple stuffing. Seal the pan with foil to keep in the steam for the stuffing during baking. Bake in a 350deg oven for approximately 30min until the temperature of the pork chop reaches 135 or 140 deg on a thermometer. Take out of oven and let set for 10 min to finish the cooking process. This ensures a moist juicy pork chop.


Navy Bean/ Ham Soup

With leftover ham from the holiday dinner, I was at a loss what to do. So, I went to my local WinCo (LOVE that place) to the bulk foods section and bought some navy beans.

As a disclaimer, I don’t like Navy beans, or really any type of bean/lentil or pea. Its a weird holdover from childhood.

Of course, I didn’t really plan ahead. So I pulled out my trusty Test Kitchen cookbook and wondered (hoped) there was a solution, and there was. I brought the beans to a boil, then capped it with a lid and took it off the heat. 1 hour later, the beans were ready to go. Then, I started throwing things in a pot, and it actually turned out pretty well. The kids and I both ate it without any complaints.


  • 1lb of Navy Beans
  • 1 Ham bone
  • 3cups Cubed ham
  • 6stalks celery
  • 1 large Yellow Onion
  • 2 1/2 Qts Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Qt Beef Stock
  • 1Qt Water
  • 1Tbs white pepper
  • 2tsp salt
  • 5sprigs Rosemary (fresh)
  • 1sprig Basil (fresh)


Heat the stock pot and add the 3 cups of cubed ham. Cook the ham down to get a good rendering a fat. Add the onion and celery. Sweat the onion and celery till onion is clear. Add the liquid (chicken, beef and water) and the ham bone. Add seasonings (salt, rosemary, basil) and bring to boil. Let simmer gently for 1 hour. Enjoy!

Even though I don’t typically like beans, peas or lentils (see disclaimer above) I really liked this soup and can’t wait to make it again.

Dirty Rice
1 pkg of ground hot sausage
1Medium Onion, diced
6 stalks of Celery, chopped small
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Cajun Seasoning
2cups brown rice
4cups of chicken Broth

***add ins: black or red beans depending on personal taste. (My boys LOVE black beans and ask for those)

Brown the sausage in a heavy dutch oven and break into small pieces. Scoop out of Pan and leave 2Tbl if grease. Add the onion to the hot pan, sauté until partially softened, then add celery.


(I like to add in the leafy bits and use the leafy bits to garnish as well) when the onion is mostly cooked and starting to caramelize, add the garlic. Cook for about 1 min and add the
rice and the Cajun Seasoning. Sauté the rice and Cajun Seasoning until rice is toasted, 3-5min. Add the sausage back into the Pam and add the chicken stock, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom. Those little charred bits are FULL of flavor. Simmer for about 30min

until the rice is cooked and fluffy. Stir in the beans to fluff the rice and enjoy!

It’s hard for me to time the beans and the rice in the same pot, so I cook those separate. Or, if I’m running low on time, I open up a can of beans.

Roast Chicken (In style of Cooks Illustrated)

  • 1 whole Chicken
  • Johnnys Seasoning Salt
  • Lemon Slices
  • Rosemary
  • 1 med. Onion chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2Tbs flour
  • 1tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 pats of butter, chilled

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place oven-safe 8/9 inch skillet in oven, empty. Pat dry the chicken, make sure you empty the cavity of any giblets or neck. Rinse and pat the inside dry as well. Open the space between the chicken breast and place two 1/4inch slices of lemon with rosemary sprinkled on them on each breast. Take a liberal sprinkling of Johnnys Seasoning Salt and rub around the lemon slices. Also sprinkle Johnnys seasoning salt on the outside of the bird, on the skin.

When the oven is preheated, and the pan is hot, place the prepared chicken in the pan, breast side up. According to the Cooks Illustrated magazine, placing the chicken in the hot pan accelerates cooking on the dark meat, since they typically need to cook longer than the breast. Cook in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the breast meat reaches 140 and the thighs 160. Then, turn off the oven. (Shocking, I know) The residual heat will continue to cook the chicken for the next 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is perfectly cooked. Crisp skin, moist meat and SUPER yummy.

When the chicken is done cooking, take out of oven and set on heat safe surface. Using hot pads, lift the chicken out of the pan and tilt to drain the juice out of the cavity into the sauce pan. This is also a great way to check doneness. If the juices run clear (not red), you can be sure your chicken is done. Place the chicken on a cutting board and let it rest. Transfer the sauce pan to the stovetop, just remember it is HOT!

Scrape some of the fat from the pan until you have about 2Tbs left in the pan with accumulated juices. Add the onion and cook until translucent, then the garlic until fragrant, then the flour and cook until it turns brown as if you are making a roux. Add the chicken stock to the pan and stir to break up any clumps of the flour. Add salt and pepper to taste and the splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir until the gravy has thickened and at the very end for a richer sauce, stir in 1 or 2 of the pats of chilled butter, one at a time.

The chicken does not necessarily need the gravy, but the browned bits from the pan are too yummy to waste. I make brown rice and green beans as a side and top the rice with the gravy. I hope you ENJOY, we always do!


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