Friday, April 11, 2014

quick and easy pepper steak.. 30 minutes or less..

one of my favorite quick weeknight dishes is tomato beef stir fry.. we just love it.. i decided to change it up a bit the other night..i bought some gochujang from amazon and when it arrived i decided to throw this dish together.. i always keep peppers and onions on hand in the fridge.. they are staples that i usually buy every week or get them in my bountiful basket.. we love peppers.. red, green, orange, yellow, spicy or mild.. you name it we like them.. this is a quick, under 30 minute meal that is satisfying and delicious..
{please excuse the photos i honestly had not planned on making it and therefore had not planned on taking any photos}
pepper steak

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 15-20 minutes
serves: 6


2 lbs. flank steak, sliced very thin against the grain
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tblsp. cooking sherry
1 tblsp. agave
2 tblsp. cornstarch
1 small knob of fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. gochujang {or a red chili paste like sambal oelek.. if you can't find either use red chili oil, i bought gochujang on amazon} add more if your feeling adventurous it's got a zing to it..
canola oil
1 onion, diced
1-2 greed pepper, diced {depending on size}
salt and pepper


in a large mixing bowl combine soy sauce, sherry, agave, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper and gochujang/chili paste.. whisk together.. add sliced beef and toss to coat.. set aside..  in a large wok or iron skillet heat canola oil, about a tblsp. add onions and cook for about a minute.. add peppers.. cook for another minute or 2 remove to a plate.. make sure your wok/skillet is pretty hot and add your meat{without marinade but reserve it, your going to use it} in batches, cook for about 30 seconds then stir around and cook another 30 seconds, remove the first batch to a plate continue until all the meat is cooked.. reduce heat to low add all the meat and any juices that accumulated on the plate.. add the onions and peppers and any juices that have accumulated on the plate.. bring back up the heat to medium high and add reserved marinade.. cook for about 2-3 minutes and then reduce heat to low/simmer and cook another few minutes.. remove from heat and serve immediately.. i served it over steamed white rice.. but would have been so good with sweet and spicy noodles or these spicy thai rice noodles!

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

throwback thursday.. grilled cheese cuban style sandwich

for throwback thursday and in honor of national grilled cheese day coming up in 2 days i decided to share with you one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches ever.. i had never had a cuban sandwich until janet came into our lives.. you see my brother married a beautiful cuban and the recipes she shares with us are amazing.. i love love love this cuban sandwich here.. probably the best sandwich I've ever made.. and this sandwich i am sharing today comes in a close second!!

cuban grilled cheese sandwich

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 7-10 minutes
servings: 4


8 slices of sour dough bread
8 slices of thin sliced honey cured deli ham
8 thin slices of cuban pork {recipe below}
8 slices of swiss {or pepper jack for a little kick}
mustard {I like to use spicy mustard}
pickles {traditionally it calls for slices thing dill pickles.. i used a spicy brand of sweet called wickless}
6 tblsp.+ of softened butter


pre heat a non stick skillet over medium/medium low heat.. melt a little butter in the pan.. assemble your sandwiches.. bread, mustard, cheese, ham, pickles, pork roast, cheese and the top slice of bread.. butter the top slice of bread and butter side down add the sandwich to your pan.. cover and l until cook lightly browned on that side.. the side facing up now needs some butter so spread a layer of butter on it before you flip it.. once flipped, cover and cook another few minutes until lightly browned on that side as well and cheese is getting melty.. repeat with your remaining sandwiches.. seriously yummy!! {if you want to go all out reserve some of the au jus from the pork roast and make a cheesy french dip}

cuban roast pork

you start off slow roasting a pork shoulder and after a few hours it looks like this..

after a few more hours it looks like this.. this pork is amazing!!

cuban roast pork:

prep time: 3-24 hours
cooking time: 3 hours
servings: 6-8
3 cups orange juice
2 tsblp. olive oil
the juice and zest of 1 lime
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper
1 oz. rum
3-4 lb. pork shoulder, bone in


combine the marinade for the pork in a medium mixing bowl until well incorporated.. take a zip lock bag and put your pork in it and then pour your marinade over it and seal the bag.. kinda squish it around to make sure the entire pork is covered.. put in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours but ideally about 24 hours.. when your done marinading remove pork from bag and reserve the marinade.. heat your oven to 250 degrees {f}.. take a large heavy bottom dutch oven {or oven proof pot} and heat two twirls around the pan of olive oil over medium high heat.. sear the pork on both sides until nice and brown..take your reserved marinade and pour over your pork.. cover with lid and cook for an hour.. after an hour baste and put back in for another hour.. basting this time like every 20 minutes.. then cook covered for another hour and baste again every 20 or so minutes.. {you've now cooked it for 3 hours} remove cover, crank heat up to 375 and cook another hour this time basting every 10 minutes.. you want your meat at an internal temperature of 170 {remove around 160-165 it will continue to cook once removed from oven}check after about 30-40 minutes you might already be at your ideal temperature.. remove from oven when done allow to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing..

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

take my word for it wednesday.. it's easy to make the perfect baked potato.. if you know how..

so your probably wondering to yourself why in the world is she telling us how to make a baked potato.. it's the easiest thing in the world to make.. well from experience of having 2 children leave the nest the past few years things we "cooks"/"foodies" take for granted as being so easy is still something we had to learn at some point.. well my momma taught me, i am going to say some 35 years ago.. {good gawd i feel old now} i've mentioned before i didn't like potatoes when i was little.. which is a strange thing to dislike but then again i didn't like bacon as a child either so i think we have established i was a strange little duck.. but sometime in my late teens before i moved out i jumped on the baked potato band wagon.. i never did do the whole loaded baked potato thing and still don't.. don't get me wrong i love love to fill my potatoes with a lot of different things.. i love a baked potato stuffed with fresh sautéed mushrooms, or cut up bbq chicken and sometimes i like to put my salad right in my potato.. but the butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese and chive.. nope not gonna happen {shaking head vigorously} now that i am a grown up {issue to be debated if i am actually a grown up left for another post} i love bacon.. as can be seen by my many many posts featuring bacon.. such as my bacon wrapped little smokies, or this little wonder bacon wrapped green bean bundles.. i've even gone so far as to make homemade baconsavory bacon bread pudding, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, cheesy bacon scalloped potatoes, beer, bacon and pecan tart, bacon, lettuce and double tomato sammie,  bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos, open faced bacon, egg and asparagus sammie, bacon fried brown rice,  extraordinary blt, and a new favorite the  kentucky hot brown {whew that was a mouthful repeating all my love of bacon} but even though it would appear clearly i am obsessed with it.. i don't like it on burgers and most of all baked potatoes.. is there a reason?? possibly a rational explanation to my madness?? sadly there is not.. as my kids would say i am just plain weird!! but don't let my weirdness prevent you from loading your potato up with as many bacon bits as your little heart desires!! go for it..

easy baked taters

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 45-60 minutes {depending on the size of the potato}
servings: 1


1 russet potato
olive oil
course sea salt


sour cream
salt and pepper


pre heat your oven to 375 degrees {f}..wash and scrub your potato.. towel dry with a paper towel, poke the potato with a fork {i use a large serving fork} 2 times on the front and then on the back of the potato..pour some olive oil on your hand and rub it all over the potato {you can brush it on if you don't want to get your hands oily}sprinkle with course sea salt.. place in the center of the middle rack of the oven.. i usually put a foil lined baking sheet under it because sometimes stuff comes of the holes and drips down.. not every time just sometimes.. bake for 45-60 minutes {depending on the size of your potato} after 45 minutes i give it a gentle squeeze if it's soft it's ready if there is some resistance i cook it for another 15 minutes.. remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes.. with a sharp knife cut a "t" in the potato.. do not cut all the way through your making like a little pocket opening.. then with both hands pinch the sides of the potato and squeeze all the while pushing up and towards the center of the potato until the fluffy yumminess comes up... {i usually do this holding a dish towel or paper towel over the potato because those suckers can be hot and the steam coming up from the potato can burn like a motha!} add  dollop of butter and sour cream, salt, pepper and maybe some fresh chopped chives.. or basically whatever floats your boat!!! when your done eating the inside fluffy part make sure to spread a little more butter and eat the skin.. yuuuummmmmmmyyyyyy.. my favorite thing is to take a bit of steak, scoop up some tater, pierce whatever veggie i am serving and grab some salad all in one perfect bite!! baked potatoes are so versatile they are like a blank canvas.. you can eat them with a little butter {which is how pete and his sisters eat them.. never have added anything other than butter} or load it up and make meal out of it with chili, cheese, sour cream.. etc.. go crazy. .enjoy i always say play with your food!!

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

in honor of national beer day.. i give you beer mac n cheese..

this was supposed to post yesterday april 7 in honor of national beer day.. you see in 1933 president roosevelt repealed prohibition and allowed beer to be brewed and sold in the us.. and for that i am forever grateful to fdr.. but i am an adams girl {not sam adams the beer} president john adams  and john quincy adams.. you see we are descendant's of john adams... it's a long story and we had a genealogist look into our family and when it was all said and done we were related.. it's one of the reasons my brother's son's middle name is quincy!! well enough about me let's talk about beer!!

*its a much more interesting subject any way*

i had my cousins over for dinner a few months back.. and without intending on it, the theme was beer.. i made beer mac n cheese, a beer dip, pretzel poppers with a beer cheese dip and well i served beer.. of course.. but i have to tell you this beer mac n cheese was scrumptious!! 

beer mac n cheese

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
servings: 6


2.5 cups pasta { i used some strange shaped pasta i found at a specialty store}
2 tblsp. butter
2 tblsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup beer {i used an ipa}
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
salt and pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
panko breadcrumbs


pre heat your oven to 350 degrees {f}.. cook pasta according to package directions.. i usually drain mine about 2 minutes before the recommended time on the package when i am making mac and cheese that will go into the oven.. while it's cooking make your roux.. in a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat melt your butter.. you want it frothy but not burning add you flour when the butter is melted and whisk until it reaches a light butterscotch color.. about 2 minutes.. add your milk and whisk for a minute or 2 then add your beer.. continue to whisk.. add cheese and stir until melted and lovely.. turn heat to low and continue to stir while it thickens.. add salt, pepper and nutmeg.. after about 5-6 minutes it's ready to go {don't worry if it's not the texture your used to for mac n cheese the beer makes it a tad bit "runny" but will thicken up in the oven}.. now add your cooked noodles to the cheese mixture and incorporate well..add to a casserole dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.. {you can add extra cheese on top or panko.. i forgot the panko the first time but the second time i made it i added the panko to the top..} remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes before serving.. you don't want anyone getting the infamous hot cheese burn on their tongue!! it was perfect for my dinner.. i served it burgers.. what could be better.. and thank you fdr for making it all possible :)

the one below i remembered to add the panko.. i cooked it without panko for 15 minutes then added the panko and cooked it another 15 minutes.. the added little crunch was delightful!! 

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

miracle whip vanilla cupcakes

i am not a baker.. boy am i not a baker.. but my beautiful niece's baptism was last weekend and i really wanted to bring cupcakes.. soooo here we go..
i made chocolate cupcakes .. but this time i wanted to make vanilla also.. i thought well i used grandmommy's chocolate miracle whip cake to make the chocolate ones why couldn't i use the same recipe for my vanilla ones.. and then it clicked..

if i omit the cocoa and amp up the vanilla i bet it would work.. i had to make some other adjustments but it worked! and it worked our wonderfully!! and soo easy!!!

miracle whip vanilla cupcakes
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 17-20 minutes
servings: 24 cupcakes


1 1/4 cup sugar
2.5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup miracle whip
1 cup+ warm water
1 tblsp. vanilla


preheat oven to 350 degrees {f}.. sift dry ingredients together then add miracle whip, water and vanilla... combine all ingredients until mixed well... i use a hand whisk.. spoon batter between 24 liners in your cupcake pan.. bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean...  remove when done and allow to cool completely before adding your frosting..

chocolate frosting


2 sticks {1 cup} softened butter
1/2 cup {8 tblsp.} of cocoa powder
5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream {or milk}
{if you want to make vanilla frosting omit the cocoa powder and amp up the vanilla to 1 tblsp.}


in a medium mixing bowl, whip butter and cocoa until smooth.. add vanilla and slowly the powdered sugar {i used my stand mixer and added the powdered sugar 2 cups at a time with the last time only being 1 cup}.. while the mixer is running and the powdered sugar is thoroughly mixed in slowly stream in cream/milk until frosting reaches your desired consistency... scrape sides down and mix/whip again until fluffy and smooth.. frosts 24 cupcakes..

this beautiful little girl amazes me everyday.. I {heart} her..
enjoy and keep cook'n!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

take my word for it wednesday.. pasta shells, cheese, jalapenos and tomatoes make for a wonderful mac 'n cheese..

today is take my word for wednesday.. where i am continually asking you to forgive my shortcomings.. today is no different.. these pictures are not very good.. but i hadn't planned on making this dish last night it was totally spur of the moment and therefore by the time i decided to make it and then decided, because it tasted so awesome, to share it with y'all the sun was setting and not ideal for picture taking.. so despite the funky pictures.. take my word for it.. this is ahhhhmmaazing.. ohh so good.. i was driving home from work, which is the time i organize my evening into what i am going to do as soon as i get home to maximize my time and get the most done that i can before bed.. so i was thinking we are having grilled fish tacos and creamy refried beans... i will need to get the fished seasoned and the beans on..  then my mind totally took a detour and  i started thinking about this dish my sis in law used to make which she called cheesy fideo.. you take fideo noodles and break them up and cook them in a little oil for a minute then add a can of diced tomatoes and a can of water cook down the liquid and then add cheese and seasoning.. in a word delish!! well i didn't have fideo.. i had shells left over from when ollie stayed the night and i made grandmommy's mac 'n cheese.. then i remembered i had some velvetta from when i made velvetta spaghetti for a backyard bbq we recently had.. then i remembered in my last bountiful basket i had received a ton of anaheim and jalapeno peppers and since i always keep canned tomatoes on hand a dish was forming in my scattered brain.. when i got home i got the fish seasoned up and the beans started.. i chopped the cabbage, onions, cilantro and peppers for my crunchy cole slaw..i then went ahead and decided to make this dish.. everything turned out yummy.. i can't tell you enough how good this pasta was.. don't you love it when you alter a recipe a little bit and it turns out really good..
i bet if you added cooked ground beef or ground turkey it would make for a wonderful meal maybe serve it with a crisp salad.. ohh i might have to make that next week!!!

spicy velvetta and shells

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 35 minutes
servings: 4


2 cups pasta shells
1 small block of velvetta cheese {16 oz}
1 anaheim pepper, seeded and diced small
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced small {if you want more heat leave the seeds in or throw in 2 peppers}
2 tsp. garlic chili powder {if you can't find garlic chili powder add 1 tsp. garlic powder and 1 tsp. chili powder} i added more at the end because i really enjoy the taste..
salt and pepper
1 16 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes
chopped cilantro for garnish {optional}


cook pasta according to package directions.. drain reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water.. cut velvetta into chunks.. add the pasta back into the pot, add velvetta, diced peppers, garlic chili powder, salt, pepper and can of tomatoes.. turn stove on medium-low heat and stir everything until the cheese is completely melted.. you might need to add little of the pasta water {kinda depends on the consistency you want it} once it's a cheesy gooey delight remove from stove and serve immediately... it would be awesome with burgers..

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

short rib french dip sandwich

every once in awhile you come across a recipe that sings to you.. it calls to you.. and this one did just that!! i saw pioneer woman's recipe for this short rib sandwich and knew it had to be made.. it didn't disappoint.. i've complained before i don't like shredded meat.. but i made an exception for this recipe.. it's delicious..

sear your ribs on all sides.. 

then sauté the veggies..

after several hours its fall apart tender and amazingly delicious..

after it's been in the fridge for several hours you can easily remove the congealed fat..not a lovely site but whatcha gonna do?? :)

short rib French dip sandwich
prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 3 hours
serves: 4
2.5 lbs. beef short ribs
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 onions, diced fine
3 carrots, diced fine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup red white
1 cup beef broth
caramelized onions
bolillo rolls
swiss cheese
horseradish aoli
preheat oven to 300 degrees.. salt and pepper the ribs.. in a heavy bottom dutch oven heat two twirls around the pan of olive oil over high heat.. sear short ribs on all sides about 2-3 minutes.. remove to a plate.. reduce heat to medium and add veggies..saute for about 2-3 minutes.. add wine and cook for another 5 minutes.. add beef broth..add back the short ribs along with any juice accumulated on the plate.. add the lid to the pot and place in the oven for 2.5-3 hours or until ribs are tender and falling off the bone.. remove ribs and shred place in tupperware or something similar and place in the fridge.. remove broth and veggies and add to a tupperware or some kind of bowl that can go in the fridge cover and add to the fridge for a few hours {or over night} so the fat will congeal on the top, once it's hard remove the hard fat top and discard.. {if some of the juice or pieces of carrot and onion come with the fat don't worry about it}.. reheat on the stove top.. in a non stick skillet heat the shredded short ribs.. {if you don't have time for keeping it in the fridge then spoon as much of the fat off the top that you can and then remove the ribs and shred and make sandwiches and serve immediately} once the short ribs are reheated and the au jus is heated assemble the sandwiches.. make your caramelized onions.. in a heavy saute pan{i used my iron skillet} melt 2 tblsp. of the butter and 2 twirls around the pan of olive oil and add the sliced onions and salt... saute over medium heat for about half an hour or until golden brown and caramelized... slice and toast your rolls.. spread horseradish aoli on one side.. add meat and spoon the veggies and caramelized onions over the meat.. add swiss cheese and the top of the roll.. slice in half and serve with a bowl of au jus..  deeeelissshhhhious..

horseradish aioli
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 extra large egg yolk
juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon 
3/4 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tblsp. horseradish
in a food processor add garlic and pulse a few times.. add egg yolk, lemon juice and zest.. drizzle olive through the feed tube in thin stream while the food processor is on and until the aioli is emulsified.. season with salt and pepper.. stir in mustard and horseradish..
enjoy and get cook'n!!