Welcome to my kitchen! This is a blog that is evolving as my life does. I like food, but I don't have all the time in the world to cook. So lately, I'm going with simple, easy recipes. I may switch that up occassionally and post something time-intensive, but that isn't what I'm about these days. If that sounds like you - I hope you enjoy some of these recipes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Italian Pasta Salad

I love summertime because it's an excuse to eat pasta salad, after pasta salad, after pasta salad.  So fun, tasty and colorful.  It is the perfect side dish, and can be also be the perfect main course with the right ingredients.  We are going to a birthday party and a bbq tonight and are in charge of bringing a side.  I jumped at the chance to use up some of the leftover ingredients from the 12 layer dip I made a few days ago.    This is what was created:

Italian Pasta Salad
Serves 8

1 box 12oz Tri Color Rotini Pasta
1/2 cup Fat Free Italian Dressing
1/2 cup Fresh Garlic Caesar Dressing
1 package 12oz Flavorino Tomatos, sliced (or grape tomatoes)
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup sliced olives
7 oz Turkey Polka Kielbasa, cut into slivers
Freshly Crushed Black Pepper
Freshly Grated Parmesan 

Cook the rotini pasta to al dente.  While the pasta is boiling, slice the tomatoes,  chop the entire bell pepper, finely dice the shallot, slice the olives, and cut up the kielbasa.  Put all ingredients aside in a medium sized bowl.  When the pasta is done, rinse in cold water and transfer to a large bowl.  Add all the chopped ingredients along with the two salad dressings and mix well.  Refrigerate for at least an hour and serve cold.  Grate some fresh parmesan cheese and crushed black pepper on top right before serving.

I adapted this recipe from the Italian Pasta Salad I at Allrecipes.com.

I changed and added a few more ingredients and also cut down the dressing amounts.  I think it's absolutely delicious this way and you could even change the meat to chicken if you like.  It would be great with some chopped hard boiled eggs even too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

I love mexican food!  It might be my favorite genre of food.  Although, I have lots of favorites when it comes to food.....so that would be a really hard call to make.  I do love enchiladas though.  And I think they're even better homemade.

As a child I was pretty much allergic to everything under the sun.  I was lucky that I wasn't allergic to the sun.  One of the things I haven't quite outgrown is corn.  So, I have to substitute some ingredients every once in a while when I can.  In this recipe, for instance, I use whole wheat tortillas instead of traditional corn tortillas.  They give off a great flavor and crisp up on the ends just like the corn ones do.  Fantastic.

Pulled Pork Enchiladas
Serves 4

2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 Tbsp minced onions
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack and cheddar)
1 lb pulled pork, cooked
8 10" whole wheat tortillas

In a medium saucepan combine the tomato sauce, paste, onions, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, olive oil and water.  Stir and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Reserve 1/2 cup of your sauce for topping the enchiladas with.  Add the cooked pulled pork to the rest of sauce and let simmer about 5 more minutes.  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  

Prep a 9x13" glass dish with a spritz of olive oil on the bottom.  This will help to crisp up the wheat tortillas a bit.  Take one of your tortillas and fill the middle with 1/8 of the meat and approx. 3 tbsp cheese sprinkled onto the meat.   Roll up the tortilla and place in the glass pan seam side down against one end of the pan.  Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, setting each right next to the last.  All 8 tortillas should fit snuggly into the dish.  Top the entire dish with the 1/2 cup of sauce that was set aside.  Top with the rest of the shredded cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

Depending on your tomato sauce and how thick it is straight out of the can, you add less water or more water to your enchilada sauce until you acquire the thickness you desire.  Not too thick, not too thin.  Juuuuuust right.

These were delicious and fresh.  I served them with some refried beans topped with a tiny splash of shredded cheese.  I love the flavor of the homemade sauce.  The stuff from a can just never appeals to me.  It doesn't taste like enchilada sauce-maybe because growing up my dad always made his own.  This is so quick and easy, there is no excuse to use the pre-made stuff.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

12 Layer Dip

This is my spin on the famous 7 Layer Dip.  I like more layers of flavors, so I put them in my dip.  Don't be shy-add whatever deliciousness you want on your dip.  Get crazy.  Do an avocado layer, put some fresh peppers in there, jalapenos, habaneros, chiles in adobo, whatever tickles your fancy.   This is my go-to recipe:

12 Layer Dip
Serves 6

1 16oz can refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning (or your own blend )
1/2 lb ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken), cooked and drained of all grease
Your favorite hot sauce, in dashes, about 2 tsp
1 cup of salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 cups shredded cheese (I like the mexican style preshredded)
3 Tbsp sliced green onions, diced
1/2 cup lettuce, finely shredded
1/4 cup sliced olives
1 roma tomato, diced (or you could grab a can of Rotel and drain some of those tomatoes)

Mix your refried beans and taco seasoning together until well blended.  Take a glass pie plate and layer the ingredients in the order listed.  I like to put a little cheese in between the lettuce and olive layer for color.  

You can see the lovely layers:

Monday, March 22, 2010


I've made this recipe twice now and I absolutely love it.  It's such a simple recipe but packs some pretty good flavor.  It's a spin off from the recipe Hummus III at All Recipes.com

Serves 4

1 14 oz can of chick peas with the juice reserved
3 tsp tahini
One lemon, juiced
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pinch of paprika to top it off

Drain the chick peas and reserve the juice in a separate bowl for later.   Add the chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and olive oil into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add juice from the chick peas as often as needed for the consistency you like.  Transfer to another bowl to serve and top with a pinch or 2 of paprika to dress it up.

This is so much better than the store bought hummus.   The recipe is easily doubled, but I only have a mini food prep and it wouldn't hold much more than this.  So I halved the recipe from AllRecipes.com and it works perfectly!  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Salsa Chicken

A chicken and rice recipe?  Now we're talking!  I have heard lots of good things about this recipe, how easy it is, how awesome the flavor is....  I also heard a rumor that you can take a Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker and put chicken in it-cook it in the microwave for 20 minutes and you will get delicious, juicy chicken every time. Are both of these rumors true?  I'm about to find out! 

Normally, this recipe is made in a slow cooker, for 8 hours on low.  I was inspired by Dunne's recipe at With a Cherry on Top for my own adaptation of this dish.  Her way you get amazing chicken that is easily shredded for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, nachos, etc.  The way I did it, was quick and easy-but the chicken won't be easily shredded-but it will be oh, so delicious and full of flavor.   

We served it over rice:

Salsa Chicken
Serves 5

5 Chicken Breasts
1 16oz  Jar of your Favorite Salsa
1 can (10oz) Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 packet Taco Seasoning (or your own Taco Seasoning)
Your favorite hot sauce

Place the chicken on the bottom of the Deep Dish Baker.  In a separate bowl mix the can of cheddar cheese soup and the jar of salsa along with the taco seasonings.  Cover your chicken with the mixture and turn your chicken pieces over to get both sides covered with your sauce.  Add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to each chicken breast.  Cover and microwave on high for 18-20 minutes.

That's it!

This is what the chicken will look like when it's all done cooking.  (I took out 2 pieces of the chicken before I took this picture.)  It is the easiest meal I've ever made.   It is a bit on the spicy side, but that's the way we like it.   You can make it as spicy or as mild as you would like by choosing a mild salsa, a medium salsa or a hot salsa.  The addition of the hot sauce can be omitted completely.  Also, if you aren't feeling it, you don't need to make your own taco seasoning.  Grab a packet at the grocery store and throw that in instead!  This recipe can be made for you!  And it's easy no matter which way you make it.

This meal was completely done in less that 25 minutes.  Now that's an easy dish!

Taco Seasoning

I've started to experiment with making my own taco seasoning since I'm not into paying $1+ for a packet of taco seasoning.  And I usually think there is too much salt in the pre-packaged ones as well.  At least they make low sodium packets now.  Anyway-I've found a mix of seasonings that I'm really liking now.  Here it is:

Taco Seasoning
(This is for 1lb of ground beef or chicken)

1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp minced onions
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper  (I like to grind them up in my mortar and pestle before I add them to the mix)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all your ingredients together until well blended.  I like to mix them up in my mortar and pestle since it's already out to crush my red pepper flakes even more.  Store in an air-tight container or use immediately.  Use as much or as little as you like.   

Don't forget to drain your meat of all the grease, and also add 3/4 cup water when adding the taco seasoning.  Simmer until water is mostly absorbed and the meat is well seasoned.  

This is a great base for your tacos.  I also like to add a few dashes of our favorite hot sauce onto the meat when I add the spices for a little extra kick.  So yummy!  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!!  

What says St. Paddy's day more than corned beef and cabbage?  Funny story-as a kid this was the ONE meal that my mom would actually let me take a pass on, and I was allowed to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.  I despised corned beef and cabbage growing up.  And thought I couldn't stand it until about 3 years ago at a friends house when I tried it again.  Delicious!!!

So, since the husband is Irish, well I guess I am now too-I figured I better learn how to make it.  Last year was my first foray into making this meal and it came out really good.  So I decided to make it again.  I guess this will be our SPD tradition!

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Serves 6

4.5lb flat cut corned beef brisket
1 head cabbage
8 new potatoes, skin on, cubed

Put your brisket in the slow cooker, fat side down.  Take the spice packet that comes with the brisket and sprinkle on top and around your corned beef.  Cover the meat with water until there is about an inch of water above the top of the meat.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  

Take the cooked brisket and remove from your slow cooker.  Remove the fat layer then cut and shred your meat.  Cut up your cabbage, separate the pieces and place into the broth already in the slow cooker.  Cut up your potatoes with the skin still on and add to the slow cooker.  Put your meat on top and mix it all up.  (You can add more hot water if you need to-the cabbage will cook down a bit so don't add too much.)  Cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours on low.  Taste the potatoes and when they are done to your liking serve it up!

Side note: I used my fairly large slow cooker (6.5 qt) for this recipe.  You might need to cut down on some of the ingredients if yours is on the smaller side.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss

This pasta creation was inspired by the angel hair pasta dish at The Cheesecake Factory that I absolutely love.  I haven't had it in far too long, so this recipe I'm sure doesn't taste much like the actual dish-but it is really yummy anyway!

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss
Serves 4

3  chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 box angel hair pasta-cooked to al dente
Italian dressing packet, prepared
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp freeze dried chives (or fresh-I had dried so that's what I used)
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
fresh parmesan to top off the dish

Cook your chicken in a skillet with ~2 tsp olive oil.  I added the garlic and about 1/2 tsp of the italian seasoning onto the chicken about 3 minutes before it was done cooking.  Heat your water and cook your pasta while the chicken is cooking to save time.

Chop the tomatoes and halve the quartered artichoke hearts and set aside in a bowl.  Prepare the italian dressing as directed.  I used olive oil and apple cider vinegar.  Cut the chicken into nice, bite size pieces and add to the vegetables along with the garlic from your skillet.

Rinse the angel hair pasta in cold water and find a big bowl to put it in.  Add the chicken, artichoke hearts, and the tomatoes to the pasta.  Sprinkle the italian seasoning, chives, oregano, and basil onto the dish-then pour the dressing on and stir it all up!  Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

When ready to serve, plate the dish into a nice pasta bowl and grate some fresh parmesan cheese on the top!

Letting the pasta sit for that additional hour really lets all the flavors mesh together.  You can serve this dish as soon as you mix it up, since the pasta is already cold from the running water, but I like to let it sit and I also think it tastes better a little colder.

This is a fantastic summer dish.  It is so easy to make and can be completely ready in less than 15 minutes.  You can't beat that!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

London Broil

I have a hard time cooking and enjoying red meat dishes, since I'm just not a huge fan of it.  But I found some London Broil at a really good price at the store and thought, 'Hey, that sounds fancy-I bet Jeff would appreciate that!'  So I bought it.  Then I was off to the great wide internet to look for a recipe for London Broil that I could tackle.  When I stumbled upon this recipe I instantly thought 'JACKPOT!'

(Pardon me for not recognizing the source-I didn't print it out with the recipe. If it is yours, please let me know and I will correct that.)

London Broil
Serves 5

Ingredients for the steak:
1 top round London Broil steak (2-3 lbs)
1 beef bouillon cube
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for the herb butter:
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh chervil or tarragon, chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare the steak by dissolving the bouillon cube in 3/4 cup hot water in a bowl.  Set aside to cool.  Whisk in 2 tbsp olive oil, the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Place the steak in a large resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade in and seal-squeezing out all the air.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to 1 day.)

To prepare the herb butter mix the butter, chives, parsley, chervil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper in a bowl.

About 30 minutes before cooking remove your meat from the bag, discard the marinade, dry it well and bring to room temperature.  Heat a large heavy skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) over high heat for about 2 minutes.  Rub the steak with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp salt over the surface of your pan; add the meat and set a heavy skillet (I used another cast iron grill pan with foil in between to keep the pan clean) on top of your meat.  Sear for about 7 minutes, turn the steak over and replace the heavy skillet or weight and cook until a thermometer inserted reads 110 degrees for a medium rare cut of meat.  It should take about 5 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board.  Brush with some of the herb butter, tent with foil (I used the same foil from before) and let rest for 10 minutes.  Thinly slice against the grain; top with more herb butter and drizzle with the pan juices.

I really liked this!  It was so juicy and flavorful and the herb butter was delicious.  I didn't use all of the herb butter though-it makes quite a bit and I think might've overpowered the meat if the entire portion was used.  I served it with some rice, but next time I will make sure to really put some thought into what sides to serve it with.  The only thing Jeff said could've made it better was a different side.  I agree-I slacked on the side dishes.  Next time, London Broil, next time...

Cheesy Artichoke Triangles

As promised, here are the Pampered Chef, Cheesy Artichoke Triangles that I made for an appetizer for Valentine's Day.  My Grandma gave me a PC recipe book while we were in Texas visiting her last December.  Which is great because I've got a PC Stoneware Bar Pan that needs using!

This recipe was fairly easy actually.  Highly recommended.

Cheesy Artichoke Triangles
Serves: 24 appetizers

2 pkgs (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 pkgs (8 oz) lowfat cream cheese, softened
1 lemon
2 eggs
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained and finely chopped
1 cup (4 oz) parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided
2 plum tomatos, sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Unroll one package of crescent rolls across one end of the pan.  Repeat with 2nd package of dough on other side of pan.  Roll dough to seal the seam and press dough up and all along the edges of the pan to form the "crust."  Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown and remove from oven.

Meanwhile, cream the cream cheese in mixer until smooth.  Zest lemon for 1 tsp zest.  Add lemon zest, eggs, and garlic to cream cheese.  Mix.  Add finely chopped artichokes and 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese to cream cheese mixture, mix well.

Spread the artichoke mixture evenly over the crust; arrange tomato slices over filling.  Combine the remaining parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper in a separate bowl.  Sprinkle mixture on the top of your filling.

Bake 25-30 minutes until light golden brown and set.  Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.  Cut into 12 squares; cut each square in half diagonally.  

These are absolutely delicious!!  My husband is not a fan of cream cheese and even he loved these.  They make such a nice looking appetizer and are even good heated up afterwards.   I just toasted them up in the toaster oven and they were almost as good as new.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

For Valentine's Day this year I wanted to do something different, so I made Chicken Tikka Masala with saffron rice and homemade naan.  It was actually quite delicious.  I was a little nervous for my first Indian dish, so I couldn't be happier with the result.

The recipe is from allrecipes.com and other than a few changes (recommended by the reviews on their website and I'm glad I listened)-it was perfect.  For starters-omit almost all the salt in their recipe.  That is an obnoxious amount of salt.  Use less ginger, and we added a serrano pepper for a little bit more bite.  Other than that it didn't need any changes.  And it tasted better than we've had at some restaurants.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4


  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 long skewers
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic, serrano and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, and paprika. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

We served this up with some yummy Cheesy Artichoke Triangles as an appetizer.  It's a Pampered Chef recipe and there will definitely be more on that later.  It was also really good, and another recipe I would make again.

Italian Beef Sandwiches

My husband absolutely loves beef sandwiches-Chicago style.  So, I made my way through the many internet recipes for italian beef sandwiches and settled on this one.  And I am so glad that I did.  We loved these!

(Pardon me for not recognizing the source-I didn't print it out with the recipe.  If it is yours, please let me know and I will correct that.)

Italian Beef Sandwiches
Serves 6-8

1 4-5 lb rump roast
1 packet italian salad dressing mix
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 bay leaf

In a small saucepan, combine the water along with all the seasonings and the dressing packet.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile-put your roast in the slow cooker and pour the mixture over the roast.  Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours.  (You could cook it on high for 4-5 hours.)  Remove bay leaf and shred meat.  

Serve on a hoagie topped with some sort of white cheese (provolone is a popular Chicago option, but we used munster and it was delicious!) and giardiniera.  You could also top with some jalapenos or italian sweet peppers.

These were some of the best homemade sandwiches I've ever had.  This recipe also makes a LOT of sammies so invite your friends people.  There's enough for everyone.  Pair it with some french fries and you've got yourself a delicious dinner that didn't take 10 minutes to prep.

Beef and Italian Sausage Lasagna

I got this lasagna recipe from my sister who made it for Christmas dinner one year and I absolutely loved it.   It is 'bitchin' as my husband would say.  I couldn't agree more.  This recipe might take a little while to make, but every second is worth it.  The sauce is more delicious the longer it simmers so don't cheat and take it off early.

Beef and Italian Sausage Lasagna
Serves 8

1 lb Italian Sausage
1 lb 93% lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatos
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 Tbsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp parsley
12-16 lasagna noodles-cooked to al dente
24 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 lb mozzarella cheese-sliced
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook the sausage, beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until the meat is fully cooked.  (Tip-use a big sauce pan-this makes a LOT of sauce!)  Drain grease.
Add in crushed tomatos, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.  Stir.  Season with sugar, basil, fennel, italian seasoning, 1 Tbsp salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp parsley.  Let simmer 1 1/2 hours.

Combine ricotta cheese, egg, 2 Tbsp parsley, 1/2 tsp salt.

Preheat oven to 375.

Layer your lasagna with 1 1/2 cups meat on the bottom of the pan, noodles, 1/3 ricotta, 1/3 mozzarella, meat sauce, sprinkle parmesan and repeat.

Spray foil with cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking and cover.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove foil and cook an additional 25 minutes.

Taste this sauce as it's simmering.  It is absolutely amazing.  You won't be disappointed.  Trust me.
Serve it up with a delicious salad and you have a meal you could serve to special guests or your favorite person.

Braised Short Ribs

I have heard for some time now about the Pioneer Woman....and how many people have tried her recipes.  And quite honestly-I felt left out.  I looked up a few recipes and printed them out not knowing which one to try and headed to the grocery store.  The first place I like to hit up once I'm there?  The 'Manager's Specials' section in the meat department.  What did I find there?  Beef Short Ribs!  Which is a good thing-because those suckers are expensive!  They had one package of 4 with the bone in, and one package of 5 without the bone.  I scooped them both up, grabbed the rest of my ingredients and was off to the casa to get to cooking.

Braised Short Ribs 
Pioneer Woman Style!
Serves 8

  • 8 whole Beef Short Ribs
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 6 pieces Pancetta, Diced  (I used bacon-It's what I had on hand)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Diced
  • 2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
  • 2 cups Red Or White Wine
  • 1 can low sodium Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary

Salt and pepper ribs, dredge in flour, set aside.
In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta(or bacon) over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.
Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.
Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.
Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate mixture, then remove solid fat from the top.)
The Pioneer Woman suggests that you serve 2 ribs on bed of creamy polenta, spooning a little juice over the top.  We served it on top of rice and thought it was delicious!
The bone-in ribs are where it's at.  The boneless ones were just as tasty-but not quite as tender.  I would still make it again with boneless-but I would know it's only a 4 star meal....  :P  I used red wine to make the dish-it was a little too much for us, so I would put about 1/2 cup less in next time.  

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

As soon as I saw this dish here , I couldn't have been more excited to try it!  I absolutely LOVE Chicken Cordon Bleu.  My favorite being served at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.  It was so amazing, it melted in your mouth.  I still cannot wait for the day that we can go back and visit that wonderful restaurant.  Ahhh, enough reminiscing-on to the recipe!  

This was such an easy recipe.  The chicken cooks in no time (I seasoned mine with some spices while I cooked it.)  It took less than 30 minutes start to finish and was a good consistency.  I liked the Panko bread crumbs-that was a nice touch to really give the dish a chicken cordon bleu *feeling.*  

Pasta Cordon Bleu
Recipe courtesy of Dunne at With a Cherry on Top
Serves 6

1 lb. Pasta (I used penne-you could use any fun shaped pasta)
1 cup Chicken Breasts, cooked and cubed
1 cup Ham, cooked and cubed
1 1/2 cups Milk
8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
2 Tbsp. Dried Minced Onion
2 cups Swiss Cheese, shredded

Cayenne Pepper
1 cup Panko Crumbs
1/2 cup Butter, melted 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over med-high heat. Salt it and add the pasta; cook until al dente (about 11 minutes-I used whole wheat pasta which takes a bit longer than regular pasta). Drain and return to the pot. Add in the chicken and ham and toss to combine.

Preheat the broiler. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and minced onion over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until it becomes a smooth texture (about 5 minutes). Stir into the pasta mixture. Stir in the Swiss cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer pasta to a baking dish and top with Panko crumbs. Pour melted butter over crumbs and broil until browned (I gave it 4 minutes).

I liked this dish, but thought it lacked flavor.  It had a really nice consistency, it was nice and filling, but I think if I had cubed the ham in bigger, much bigger pieces, it would have tasted better.  I just thought it lacked something-not quite sure what-but it needed just a little something more.  I added some cayenne pepper to my recipe  and that was a hit with the husband and his friend.  Maybe if I would've served it with a nice artisan bread with dipping oil....

Edited to add:  This makes amazing leftovers!!  I thought the leftovers were better than the fresh, right out of the oven dish.