Why another cooking blog?

I decided to create this blog as a way for family and friends to see what I'm cooking and to share interesting food related tidbits I come across.
I'm frequently asked for recipes so I thought this would be a good place to start collecting the old, new, and funky recipes that I have.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Diet Coke habit

I don't feel nearly as bad now about how much diet coke I drink. 2-4 2 liters a day? Wow!


There is something to be said for cutting soda out of your diet though.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Follow up to Turkey Brining


No seriously..... I will never cook another turkey without brining it first. I'm not fond of turkey. Generally speaking it's not my favorite food on Thanksgiving. If you look at my Thanksgiving plate I'm loaded up with all the side dishes and a very small portion of turkey. BUT this turkey was probably the best turkey I have eaten for Thanksgiving hands down. It was tender, juicy, and flavorful.... even the breasts and we all know how dry they can get.
If I can locate a decent picture of said turkey I will upload it but I'm pretty sure that I was so distracted with everything else going on that I neglected to take pictures.

So lesson learned here: Always Brine Your Turkey

Lasagna Soup

My family loves pasta, pretty much any time and anywhere. I stumbled across this recipe - Lasagna Soup while pinning on pinterest (I've found a lot of recipes on there lately). I don't have a photo of the soup as by the time I got home it was already gone, that's a testament to how well this was received. :)
Here's the recipe:
Lasagna Soup

2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the bonus cheese:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

Servings:  8

Source:  adapted from 300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds, as seen in the February-April 2011 edition of At Home with Kowalski’s magazine

My Notes!
This was easy (according to my Mom, she actually made this recipe I just bought the ingredients) and quite tasty.  Definitely a keeper. I think you could freeze this if you didn't add the pasta or bonus cheese in until you were actually ready to serve.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tequila Tasting at Cantina Laredo

Recently my parents, Jeff and I have a friend who is a GM of one of the Cantina Laredo locations in our area. Periodically they host a Tequila dinner with a brand of tequila, this time it was Patron. They have a special menu for the dinner. Our meal this go round was Quesadila Poblano, Spinach Salad, choice of Porkchop or Crab Poblano Enchilada and Queso Blanco Flan for dessert.
Each course had a cocktail to go with it not to mention a about 1/2 an ounce of each tequila that was used to make the cocktails, strictly for tasting of course. ;)

Our Menu
I (read as Mom, Dad Jeff, and I) made notes as we progressed through the meal.
The first part of our meal we had Patron Silver Green Apple Sangria - this cocktail looked and tasted sort of like an apple-tini. I personally found it to be too sweet/tart for my tastes. But I do not like sweet drinks. My Mom liked it, as did Jeff. It was served with the quesadila poblao which was a tasty little quesadila with chorizo. They were tasty but I didn't eat both of mine, I wanted to save room for the rest of the meal.

For our salad we had a spinach salad with that had a tangy vinaigrette and cranberries. It was tasty and not over dressed as some places tend to do. The cocktail we had was a Patron Silver Tropical Cocktail. It was carmaly, coconutty, and very smooth.  We tasted the Silver by itself, it was fresh, smooth and went down easy. It complimented the salad and dressing nicely.
Patron Silver Tropical Cocktail

For our main course we had the choice of Crab Poblano Enchiladas (with arbol sauce, served on a bed of veracruz vegetables) or a Porkchop (with Pipian rojo sauce, served on a bed of poblano mashed potatoes). I chose the crab enchiladas and Jeff had the pork.
The pork was grilled, the sauce was mild with and earthy flavor. It was delish. The pork was served with potatoes and they had a good flavor with poblanos in them.
Crab Poblano Enchiladas
The crab enchiladas were awesome. I wish that they were on the regular menu, I would order them every time. They were rich, but not too rich. The sauce had more bite than the pork, it was creamy and made my mouth water just to look at. They were served with a creamed corn that was sweet and spicy, it worked very well with the sauce on the enchiladas.  We had two cocktails with this course a Patron Reposado PAMA Margarita and Patron Anejo Ultra Luxuria Margarita. It's about here that my notes get a tad hard to read. The general consensus of the reposado was it was earthy, had a little more bite than the silver but it was still smooth. The anejo didn't smell like tequila, my Mom said it smelled more like whiskey and that it burned her eyes. I was not a fan of the anejo. My Dad said he could sip this tequila. I thought it had almost a smoky flavor.
For dessert we had Queso Blano Flan and Patron's XO Cafe. The Flan was awesome, it had more of a cheesecake consistency. The tequila was neat, it had a rich coffee flavor and was like having dessert in a glass. Mom and I both thought it could be used like kahlua.
Queso Blano Flan

We had a great time, met interesting people, and ate wonderful food! I've said it before and I'll say it again. Any time Cantina Laredo has an event I am so there. They never fail to please and the service is always great. One of my favorite places to eat hands down. And I think Patron might be my new go to tequila.

Arsenic and apple juice


After reading that article I kind of want to throw out the apple juice in my fridge.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Sorry everyone, I have several posts in the works but I've been traveling for work and haven't had the time to tweak them. I will get them up soon. In the mean time..... anyone like canned meat?


Vienna sausages.... yum. Or not. I honestly cannot say whether I like them or not. It's been many a year since I've had them. Maybe I should rectify that.