Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Shallot and Thyme Crust

Lamb is a meat I have had to work to warm up to over the years. I am not sure why because when I eat it I really like it, but I usually can only do a few bones. I think it might have roots when my family took a trip to England when I was 12. We stayed in a beautiful old place called Wortham Manor. It had old log books filled with everything from ghostly encounters to bottles of brandy. Well, next to the Manor there was a field full of sheep. A few of them had orange dye on their fleece (we were told it was to mark the orphan sheep so the woman could feed them looking back I am not sure it was the truth), and we named one "Little Rodman"... Well, those cute friendly sheep stuck in my head, and 13 years later I have learned to love lamb. I originally found this recipe at the Foodnetwork, but I couldn't find it to post. So, here is the same recipe- not sure why I had trouble finding it at my original source. It is delicious! I added a little extra mustard because I love mustard. Enjoy! Ingredients

Rack of lamb (7 or 8 ribs) at room temperature, Frenched
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar (I used a 16 year- the sweetness is great!)
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook shallots with salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and boil until liquid is evaporated. Remove skillet from heat and stir in bread crumbs, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Season lamb with salt and pepper and arrange, ribs side down, in a small roasting pan. Spread meat side with mustard and pat on crumb mixture evenly. Roast lamb in middle of oven until a meat thermometer registers 135°F. for medium-rare, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Slice lamb into chops.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Crockpot Beef Stew

I had been planning to make beef stew for awhile and when the day finally came I forgot the carrots! The shame... It was still really good. I found "teeny tiny" potatoes from Trader Joe's *love it!* and used those instead of sliced baby reds. It was an excellent substitution. I like to make a big batch of stew, and freeze some of the leftovers for worry free dinners on busy nights. Enjoy! Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs stew meat
1 lb "teeny tiny" potatoes (baby reds work great too!)
1 1/2 cup baby carrots
1 cup kitchen sliced green beans
1/2 cup green peas
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup water, divided
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 bay leaf

Lightly grease crockpot with PAM. Add meat and veggies to pot. In a separate bowl, mix broth, 1/2 cup water, wine, garlic, bay leaf, and seasonings. Stir well and pour over meat and veggies. Cook 4-6 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Before you serve mix flour and water to form a fluid paste. Slowly add to the stew, stir well, and allow to thicken.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

I made this dish for Ron's sister Julie and her hubby Chad after they had little Drew. It looked so yummy Ron and I had to make it for ourselves. The picture does not do this casserole justice because it is so yummy! Enjoy!Ingredients
1 lb chicken breasts, browned and diced
1 can healthy request cream of chicken soup
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar or colby cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup fat free half and half
3 oz 2% Velveeta, cut into small cubes
1 egg
1 1/4 cup water
4 cups cooked spaghetti
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbs granted Parmesan cheese
Butter, melted (enough to coat the bread crumbs)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix soup, water, pepper, garlic powder, all cheeses, egg in a bowl, mix well. Add pasta to the cheese mixture and mix well. Add cooked and diced chicken and half and half to pasta. Mix well. Lightly grease a 9X9 baking dish with PAM. Add noodle/chicken mixture and spread evenly in dish. In another bowl mix bread crumbs, melted butter, and Parmesan cheese. Spread bread crumb mixture evenly over pasta. Bake and 350 till sides bubble and top browns.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Breakfast Pie with Ham Potato Tomato and Cheese

Yay for two posts in one day! What to do with my leftover ham and potatoes? A breakfast pie sounded good to me! Ron and I each had a small slice with our soup and it was delicious. It will be a great start for the day tomorrow.


8 baby yellow potatoes, sliced thin
1 cup reduced fat cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat free half and half, divided
1 cup ham steak, diced
2 eggs, beaten
1 medium tomato, sliced and halved
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
1 Tbl fresh parsley, garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a pie pan with PAM. Layer 1/3 sliced potatoes to over bottom. Sprinkle with 1/3 amount of salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/3 amount of half and half evenly over potatoes. Evenly add 1/3 cup diced ham. Top 1/3 cup of cheese. Repeat for next two layers. Top with tomatoes and parsley. Cover with foil and bake for about 60 minutes till potatoes are tender.

Creamy Chicken Ham Potato and Corn Chowder

I really love corn chowder, but pretty unhealthy so I never make it. However, I really wanted a bowl of this yummy soup today. After rummaging my pantry, I added and subtracted a few things and made my old favorite much more calorie friendly. This one is a keeper- Enjoy!


1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup lean ham steak, diced
2 cups golden potatoes, diced
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 large onion, diced
1/3 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup fat free half and half
1 can 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
2 cups water
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Lightly coat a medium soup kettle with PAM. Add potatoes, onion, chicken, and ham to a kettle. Saute at med-low heat for about 15 minutes- stirring frequently. Turn heat to low. Add soup, corn, cheese, salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder. Stir well. Add half and half. Stir well. Add water. Stir well. Cook on low for about 2 hours. You can cook this at a higher temperature, but be sure to stir more often so the

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blue Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

I started getting Rachael Ray's magazine about 2 years ago and always have enjoyed her recipes. I saw this recipe on her website and it has been a hit with my family ever since. I just use spinach instead of the spinach/arugula combo she used and I added a little olive oil to the cheese/spinach stuffing. Yum!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large bag of baby spinach
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
12 pieces center cut bacon
1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a small sharp knife cut into the thick end of the chicken and make an incision reaching 2/3 the way down the breast. Loosen up the incision with your fingers to make a hole. Season the chicken with pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the cheese, baby spinach and olive oil. Mix well and stuff into breasts. Spiral-wrap the breasts with the bacon tightly to cover the meat evenly. Bake chicken at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. If necessary, turn oven up to 425 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes to crisp bacon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hearty Beef Chili

Colorful leaves, apple picking, football, Halloween, and.....CHILI! The great elements of a Wisconsin fall. I will not start making chili until the first frost and stop around the beginning of April. When i looked outside and saw the frost I immediately thought of my favorite bowl of chili. I am sure everyone has their own favorite seasonal elements, but I wanted to share mine.

2 lb lean beef (I used 95/5)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium hot pepper, finely diced (whatever heat you choose- we had fresh jalapenos from Ron's aunt Patti and uncle Joe's garden)
2 30 oz cans tomato sauce
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans chili beans, medium heat
3 Tbl chili powder
1 1/2 Tbl salt (you may want to do this to your taste)
1 Tbl black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt (optional)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


Brown and drain meat. Mix beef, onion, peppers, and all seasonings into your chili pot. Cook at low heat till veggies are semi-soft and mixed well. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beans. Stir well. I will usually let it look for awhile and then taste to see if I need to add any additional spice to the pot. Serve over noodles (Ron does, I don't), and top with cheese, onion, and sour cream.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Italian Shredded Pork Tenderloin with Olives

I love pork tenderloin and anyone who knows me knows I love olives. Why not put the two together!? The pork is cooked for over 15 hours and falls apart at the touch of a fork. Served over a nice crusty piece of bread. Yum! You could also do sandwiches on your griddle with this meat. Or even add some cheese, good salami, capicola and you almost have a muffaleta sandwich- crockpot style!


2 Lbs pork tenderloin (I used one that was italian seasoned)
1 16 oz jar of olive salad packed in 100% olive oil (contains: olives, olive oil, cauliflower, carrots, capers, sweet peppers, black olives, and spices)
1 1/2 cup water
1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)

I love this brand (however, I do think Nicky's- where I work on the weekend- has the best olive salad ever):


Lightly grease crockpot with PAM. Place pork tenderloin in crockpot- no need to slice! Top evenly with olive salad, water, and garlic. Cook on low for 12-15 hours. Serve with a crusty piece of bread.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fun Foodie Survey!!!

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal,including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Italic any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake