Today was a really cold day here in the desert…cold and rainy. We see so few days like this– when it gets a little chilly we all LOVE it. We cozy in and build a fire and make delicious hot comfort food. Like this Chicken Stroganoff Skillet Lasagna…just about right for a day like today, and SO up my alley. This thing has “Erika” written all over it. Did I mention how embarrassingly EASY this is to make? It is. (more…)
Doesn’t this chilly weather call for a nice big bowl of steaming hot goodness? Well, The Best Chicken and Dumplings is definitely the answer for me today. There is something that just screams back to my childhood when I eat those cute little fluffy balls of dough swimming in that hot and flavorful broth…YUM. In my younger years I always thought this would be really hard to make…but honestly, they are very easy. There are a few steps here but nothing crazy. And believe me, this dish is SO worth any effort it takes to make them.
Speaking of making chicken and dumplings, I always make mine in my favorite Le Creuset Dutch Oven. I waited until I was a mature adult before I invested in one of the babies and BOY OH BOY are they just awesome to cook in. Well, today is a lucky day for one of my readers…We are having an incredible giveaway that includes a Le Creuset Dutch Oven so they can make this scrumptious meal in it! Enter the giveaway here.
I just heard Oxford declared “selfie” as the word of the year for 2013. I’m not great at selfies but I think if I took one, it would look something like the photo above. I am a messy version of a classic dish. With food flying everywhere.
Oh look! Our new puppy just took her own selfie after she got het toes done!
Okay enough of the cutest puppy in the world…Thanksgiving is a little more than a week away and I am already thinking about leftovers. In fact, I think I may like leftovers more than I like the actual dinner. My husband starts making turkey sandwiches on Thanksgiving night practically right after the turkey is put in the fridge so I think we all may just be wired that way over here.
This Turkey “Shepherd’s” Pie is another one of my mash-ups, a play on the traditional version which contains lamb. Got leftover turkey? Awesome. Got leftover mashed potatoes? Perfect. What about peas? All good. You may just have just about everything you need to make these suckers without having to go to the store after Thanksgiving. You can sit at home with a belly full of food like my family does waiting the the really full feeling to go away so we can eat more!!!
I love Halloween for so many reasons, and this spooky Vampire Martini is one of them. It is SO much fun! A creepy concoction of vampire’s blood and vodka, oh my! The syringes look so real, it’s almost unnerving. What’s really going on here is a combo of my cantaloupe martini, dry ice and a syringe of raspberry purée. The raspberries turn a nice deep red color when cooked– and when put into a syringe (bought on Amazon or ask your pharmacist for plastic syringes) the smartest of vampires can’t stay away!
These little mummies will win over your heart and your stomach! They are just so darned cute you don’t want to eat them but trust me, once you have one you will be heading back for more! These little Halloweeño Jalapeño Popper Mummies are so easy to make, too. I always say you could wrap Crescent Roll dough on a shoe and it would taste good but the jalapeño popper is such a good compliment to the buttery, crispy Crescent Roll wrapping.They are a perfect addition to your Halloween appetizer spread or to bring to a Halloween party. These will disappear quickly so you might want to make two batches!
This salad is a take on my favorite salad at Houston’s / Hillstone Restaurant, their Evil Jungle Salad (also called Thai Steak & Noodle Salad). It is packed with so many flavors, I devour it every time I order it! I make my version gluten-free without noodles and more greens. I also add peanut sauce to mine- it seems like the perfect compliment to this yummy meal in a bowl!
- For the Steak Marinade:
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 teaspoons lime juice
- 3 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed then minced
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 lb Filet Mignon, cut into 1" squares
- For the salad
- 3 cups chopped Romaine
- 3 cups shredded Napa Cabbage
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 10 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- 10 Mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- 1 Avocado, chopped into 1" pieces
- 1 Mango, chopped into 1" pieces
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- For the Thai Peanut Dressing
- ¼ cup Peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons Rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce (gluten free version if you'd like)
- 2 teaspoons Water
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Canola oil
- Salt to taste
- For garnish
- ½ cup chopped peanuts
- mint leaves
- *Make marinade and pour half of it over the cut up filet mignon. Set the other half of this dressing aside to dress the greens. Marinate the steak for a minimum 30 minutes.
- *Mix ingredients for the Thai Peanut dressing in glass bowl set aside.
- *Toss napa cabbage, romaine lettuce, cilantro, basil and mint in a large glass bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
- *Heat a cast iron skillet (or other skillet) over high heat. Working in two batches so as not to crowd the meat, sear the steak cubes about 1-2 minutes on top and bottom, then sides until browned on each side. You want the steak to be medium rare-medium. Let steak cool 10-15 minutes. You could even place in the refrigerator to speed it along.
- *Toss the refrigerated salad ingredients with remaining marinade. Add avocado and mango. Divide into 3-4 bowls. Top the salad with seared steak and drizzle with peanut dressing. Top with chopped peanuts and mint leaves. Serve immediately.
National Jerky Day is June 12th and it got me thinking. How could I make a meal out of jerky and not have it feel like I was eating a football? I know what you’re thinking… JERKY??? Most people think all jerky is going to be as tough to chew as a football and wouldn’t EVEN consider putting that into a recipe! But NOT so!!! I have seen people in airports and on the streets devouring this stuff in a bag so I got my hands on some Krave Jerky. It’s so moist and tender- really flavorful!! I realized that this could be a quick answer to protein in salads, sandwiches and even cocktails!
The second I tried the Lemon Garlic Turkey Jerky I thought this would be delicious on my favorite Quinoa and Berry Salad with a Fresh Pear Dressing. Give this a whirl and let me know what you think.
Perfectly refreshing for Mother’s Day and a great alternative to the Peach Bellini, this is herbal mixology at its best! Peach and basil go so well together and this drink goes down a little TOO easily…watch out! I am a vodka drinker so I substitute vodka for the bourbon and it sure does wet my whistle!
My Peach and Basil Bliss is a part of RedEnvelope’s Mother’s Day Brunch Cocktail series. I was so happy they asked me to participate- I have found many wonderful and thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts over the years at Red Envelope!
Oh. MY. There are no words for how delicious these cinnamon rolls are. These are BETTER than Cinnabon- super moist and so flavorful! When I see Cinnabon copycat recipes on the internet I think about how similar these are but mine are a little different. I use scalded milk. Why? Well, my grandmother used scalded milk and that’s the only way I have ever made them. I remember making a version of these when I was a kid and I used the HOT scalded milk…needless to say my cinnamon rolls did not rise and it was a major disaster. I also use a little more salt in the dough to enhance the flavor and cut the sweetness a little. Then of course is the apple filling. Once again, Oh. MY. These are the cinnamon rolls you dream about- gooey in the center, with a cream cheese frosting. Now add the tart apples and this is a serious cinnamon roll.
I always make these Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls the day before Christmas and heat them up Christmas morning… they are always a huge hit in my house and disappear instantly!
- For the dough:
- 1 package yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup scalded milk (Heat milk until bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Cool until lukewarm)
- ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, divided
- 5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a small bowl, add yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar to the lukewarm water and let it sit until it dissolves, about 10 minutes.
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment, (or a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer) add scalded milk, melted butter, egg, remaining sugar, and salt and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add half of the flour and mix until smooth.
- Add yeast mixture and continue to mix on low.
- Slowly add the remaining flour (if using an electric mixer you will have to stop when it's getting hard to mix and use a wooden spoon to incorporate the rest of the flour as best you can- the motor of the electric mixer will burn out- then turn dough to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, folding the dough over onto itself and pushing down repeatedly). For a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes.
- Remove dough, place in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside on countertop or warm place. Let it rise until it is double in size, about 2 hours.
- While dough is rising, make the filling. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and sugar in a large skillet, then add the apples. Sauté until apples are slightly caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When dough has risen, remove cover and, using your fist, punch the dough down and remove from the bowl.
- Roll out on a well-floured surface into a 16x24 inch rectangle and spread the remaining 2 tablespoons butter almost out to the edges, but not quite.
- Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly across the butter.
- Spread the apple mixture over the brown sugar as evenly as you can.
- Roll into a log, starting from one end to the other, lengthwise, so the log is 24 inches.
- Using a sharp knife, gently cut 2 inch slices with a sawing motion (try not to push too hard to pinch the dough), this will give you 12 cinnamon rolls.
- Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment. The cinnamon roll slices close together, but not touching, in the pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough is doubled, 1½-2 hours.
- While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, being careful not to over-bake them.
- While the cinnamon rolls are baking, mix cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt together with an electric or stand mixer on medium speed and set aside. When cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, spread the glaze over the top and serve.