Pappardelle with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan

I recently subscribed to Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine and have come across some great recipes from that. Cancy & I both love onions, so how can you go wrong with caramelized onions & Parmesan? We had this with an onion & garlic pork roast & it was a nice pairing. I hope you like it.

Pappardelle with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 package (8.8 ounces) pappardelle pasta or 8 ounces fettuccine

2 tablespoons butter

2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onions and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook, without stirring, until onions have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. When bottom of skillet darkens, add a few tablespoons water, and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon (you may need to do this 2 or 3 times).

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When onions have about 10 minutes left to cook, add pasta to water in pot, and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.

Add onions and butter to pasta in pot; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Gradually add enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve pasta topped with Parmesan.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

We made this as a side for our Creole Meatloaves with Trinity Gravy. It was a great balance alongside the heat of the Trinity Gravy. Rachael Ray did this as the side when she made the meatloaves on her talk show.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 1/2 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes

1 cup buttermilk

Salt and ground black pepper  

Wash and peel the sweet potatoes, then cut them into 1 1/2 to 2-inch chunks. Place them into a large pot and cover them with cold water (they should be covered by 4 or so inches of water so they cook evenly). Place the pot on the stove, add some salt and turn the heat on high to bring to a boil.


Once boiling, cook about 8 minutes, until they are tender but not falling apart. Drain thoroughly, then pop them back into the pot and place them over medium heat to dry them out a bit. Add the buttermilk, pepper and some salt to taste.  

Using a potato masher, mash up the sweet potatoes until smooth, and serve.



Creole Meatloaves with Trinity Gravy

Another delicious recipe from Miss Rachael Ray. I saw this recipe on her talk show last month and saved it until recently to try it out. It goes great with mashed sweet potatoes. We used a little extra hot sauce because, well we like it hot. If you are cooking for just 2 people, definitely divide this recipe in 1/2. The original makes alot. I hope you like it.

Creole Meatloaves with Trinity Gravy


2 pounds ground pork

2 medium onions, 1/2 of one grated, the rest finely chopped, divided

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon paprika

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

Salt and black pepper

1/4 cup grainy mustard

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling

2 tablespoons butter

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, depending on how much spice you like

4 to 5 scallions, sliced on bias, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.


In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, grated onion, garlic, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, grainy mustard, egg and breadcrumbs. Divide the pork mixture into 4 equal portions and shape into 4 loaves, each about an inch thick. Drizzle them with EVOO, place them onto a baking sheet and bake 35 minutes.


While the meatloaves are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the remaining chopped onion, celery, bell pepper and cook until nice and soft.


Add the tomato paste and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to smell nutty. Whisk in the stock and hot sauce, and cook until thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.


Serve the meatloaves topped with the Trinity Gravy and garnished with the scallions, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes alongside.

Port Aransas, TX… Trout Street Bar & Grill

We're still in Port Aransas. We had a great seafood meal last night. For as many time as we've been to Port A, we've never been to Trout Street. It's right next to Virginia's and is on the water as well. Last night, it was really breezy & chilly so we ate inside, but the do have a big deck if you decide to try them out on a nice day. So here is our dinner at Trout Street Bar & Grill in Port Aransas.

I had the Shrimp Embrochette. Basically it's bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with Parmesan and slices of jalapeno & then grilled. The shrimp were huge. I shared with Cancy and was completely stuffed by the end of dinner. The rice that came with it was good as well, but the shrimps were so filling, I could barely finish anything else.

Cancy had the 1pound of King Crab legs. The crab legs were huge. I tried a few pieces of the crab as well and it was cooked perfectly.  Cancy was also stuffed by the time we left the restaurant. I think we are officially seafood'ed out for a little while.

They had a really cool mural up above the bar...

and the general interior of the restaurant, itself was nice & cozy...

This is a great place to come check out if you ever find yourself in Port Aransas.

Port Aransas, TX... Virginia's On The Bay

We are in Port Aransas for our 2nd wedding anniversary. After a 4 hour drive down here from Austin, getting settled into our room @ the Seagull, we headed to Virginia's  for some great, fresh, seafood.

I had their Seared Flounder with Dijon-Peppercorn Sauce. It was delicious. I'd never had flounder before, but it tasted great and a nice texture to it. The Dijon-Peppercorn sauce was the perfect compliment to the fish. I see this being made at home soon.

Cancy had the Surf & Turf special. The 6 oz filet mignon was a perfect medium rare. The butterflied, grilled Tiger Shrimp was delicious as well.

We ate at Virginia's last time we were down here with Cody & Carol so we knew it would be good. This place is great. It's right on the bay and on a nice warm day, the whole dining area is open to the fresh sea air. It was chilly today so they had the dining room enclosed, but it was still a beautiful view.

Mary’s Mango Chicken

Mary sent this recipe to me almost 6 months ago. I’ve had it filed away in my Outlook folders and just recently was able to remind myself to try it. We’ve been having a very warm February so far, so why not bust out the grill.

It was a great little bit of tropical flavor with the mango & pine nuts. The cumin seemed like a lot when first making the herb mixture but it turned out to be just perfect when everything came together at the end. The chicken was cooked & seasoned perfectly & the rice had just the right amount of spice to it. Cancy & I both really liked this recipe. Thanks Mary!!


Mary’s Mango Chicken

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 (2 1/2-pound) chickens, quartered
2 large ripe mangoes, peeled; 1 cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, 1 cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups jasmine rice
3 cups water
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
6 fresh cilantro sprigs

Purée first 7 ingredients in processor. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until blended. Transfer 1/4 cup herb mixture to small bowl; reserve. Add yogurt and lemon juice to remaining mixture in processor and blend.

Place chicken in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place chicken, skin side down, on grill. Cover and grill until chicken is cooked through, turning every 5 minutes, about 30 minutes total. Grill mango slices 2 minutes per side; set aside. Meanwhile, combine rice, 3 cups water, and reserved 1/4 cup herb mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fold in mango cubes and pine nuts.

Arrange chicken on large platter; garnish with grilled mango slices and cilantro sprigs. Serve mango jasmine rice alongside.




Best Vanilla Ice Cream Ever…

Go to the store right now and get yourself a vanilla bean. Make this ice cream. Perfect, rich vanilla flavor with little specs of vanilla bean seeds. I really think this was the very best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had.

David Lebovitz has a cookbook called, The Perfect Scoop. I’ve heard tons of good things about it. I haven’t picked this book up yet, but he posted the vanilla ice cream recipe on his web site.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
5 egg yolks
2 cup heavy cream
A few drops of vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.

Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.



Honey Walnut Shortbread Cookies

I’ve never made shortbread cookies before, but while trying to find a sugar cookie recipe for Carol, I came across Ashlee’s blog post on shortbread. I used walnuts instead of pecans because that was what we had on hand. They turned out great and made my whole house smell like honey all evening. Yum.

Honey Walnut Shortbread  

1 Cup Butter
2 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Honey
¾ Cup Chopped Pecans
1 tsp. Vanilla

Beat butter, honey and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. If dough becomes too stiff to stir, knead in remaining flour by hand. Work in nuts.

Roll into a log, and then shape into a square.

Refrigerate for 4 hours or so.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice into 1/4", place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Prick with a fork.

Bake for 14 minutes.

Not-Sagna Pasta Toss

Another day, another Rachael Ray recipe, it seems. This one comes from her Food Network show. What a great shortcut meal. I’m not a fan of making lasagna. I tend to tear the noodles and I’m not a fan of the layering of everything. Why not make it easy and just toss everything together. Be careful though, as this makes a TON of food. If you are cooking for 2, plan on lots of leftovers.

Not-Sagna Pasta Toss


1 pound curly short cut pasta (I used mini fusilli)

Coarse salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan

1 pound ground sirloin

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, eyeball it in your palm

Black pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice, eyeball it in your palm

1 teaspoon, several drops, Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup dry red wine, a couple of glugs

1/2 cup beef stock

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I used a 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes)

1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (I used Fat Free Ricotta)

1 cup fresh basil, about 20 leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls, plus some to pass at table

Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Heads up: you will need a ladle of the starchy cooking water to help form sauce before draining.

Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add the meat and break it up into small bits as it caramelizes. Once meat has good color to it, 4 to 5 minutes, add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes and season with salt, pepper, allspice and Worcestershire sauce. Cook another 5 minutes, deglaze the meat and onions with red wine, cook off a minute, then combine about 1/2 cup of stock into the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 5 minutes.

Place ricotta cheese in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Add a ladleful of boiling, starchy pasta water to the ricotta and stir to combine. Add a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan to the ricotta and mix it in.

Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with cheeses. Add half the thick meat sauce to the pasta bowl and combine. Tear or shred the basil and add to the meat and pasta, toss again.

Taste to adjust salt and pepper. Serve bowlfuls of Not-sagna with extra sauce on top and more grated Parmesan to pass at the table.

Beef & Feta Pasta Bake

I found this recipe in the February issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. I’m a big fan of Feta cheese & this just looked like such an interesting combination of flavors. I halved the recipe & it still ended up making quite a bit so be prepared to share (or just freeze those leftovers).

Beef & Feta Pasta Bake


1 pound of Cavatappi Pasta

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons flour

2 Cups of Milk, heated

3/4 pound of Feta Cheese, crumbled

3 Cups of Meat Sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, whisk in the hot milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the feta.


In a large bowl, combine the meat sauce, cinnamon, cloves and sugar; stir in half of the pasta. In another large bowl, stir together the feta sauce and the remaining pasta. Transfer the meat-coated pasta to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; top with the feta-coated pasta. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.