White Chocolate Almond Blueberry Blondies

Emily is a great food blogger who is taking it a step further than most. You’ll catch her once in awhile on one of the Food Network Challenges. Her blog is great and her recipes are always tasty. She just posted this recipe this week and I knew I had to make it. I had everything on hand, so why not? I shared these @ work and with friends here. Everyone liked them. Great twist on a dessert bar.

White Chocolate Almond Blueberry Blondies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped sliced almonds, toasted
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9-inch baking dish with foil; coat foil with cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt; whisk in almonds. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter and sugar until creamy - about 1 minute; beat in lemon zest and juice, almond extract and egg until combined - about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until combined; stir in white chocolate and blueberries until combined.

Spread batter into dish and bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before lifting foil out of pan and slicing into bars.

Taco Pasta Toss

Oh Rachael Ray, your recipes make for a very content husband. Your meals fit our tastes perfectly. Cancy was excited for another recipe with a bottle of beer in it. I was just excited for another good Rachael Recipe. This Taco Pasta Toss does not disappoint.

Taco Pasta Toss
Salt and pepper
1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound ground beef sirloin
1 large onion, chopped
1 large jalapeño chile—halved, seeded if desired and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder (about 2 palmfuls)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (about 1/2 palmful)
1 tablespoon ground coriander (about a palmful)
1/4 cup tomato paste
One 12-ounce bottle beer or 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar, monterey jack or any Mexican semisoft cheese
2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 head iceberg letuce or 1/2 small heart romaine lettuce, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add three-quarters of the onion, the jalapeño, garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in the beer.

Add the sauce to the pasta and toss. Spoon into a serving dish, top with the cheese and tent with foil to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. Top with the remaining onion, the tomatoes and lettuce— just like tacos!

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

This is my very favorite mac & cheese recipe. I saw this on Alton Brown’s show, Good Eat ages ago and it’s our go-to recipe for mac & cheese.

We’ve also made a meal out of this on lazy nights by browning a pound of ground turkey and adding it to the finished mac & cheese. Try this one out, you won’t regret it.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs ( We only use 1 egg )
6 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce ( We use about 2 Tbsp of Sriracha. We like it spicy )
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

Lemon Chicken & Sweet Pea Tortellini

I “heart” Rachael Ray. When her magazine comes in the mail each month, I dig through planning out new recipes. This one comes from the “$10 Spot” section. It’s really inexpensive and is a short list of ingredients for a Rachael recipe.

The chicken by itself is wonderful, but please try the tortellini with it. It takes a couple to get the hang of it, but then they are easy to put together. I hope you like it.

Lemon Chicken & Sweet Pea Tortellini

1 lemon, 1/2 thinly sliced crosswise, 1/2 squeezed into juice
4 chicken leg quarters
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
24 wonton wrappers

Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer down the center of a roasting pan. Rub the chicken with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken skin side up on the lemon slices and bake for 35 minutes. Transfer to the broiler and cook until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Drizzle the chicken with the lemon juice.

Meanwhile, using a food processor, mix together the peas, ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon tarragon and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

On a work surface, working with 2 wonton wrappers at a time, spoon a teaspoon of the pea mixture onto the center of each wrapper. Moisten the edges with water and fold the wrapper in half diagonally to form a triangle, pushing out any air pockets and pressing the edges firmly to seal. With the long side of the triangle facing you, fold the top point back toward you, then fold the right and left points to meet it and press all 3 points firmly together, securing with more water.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the tortellini until they float to the top, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tortellini to 4 plates. Divide the chicken and roasted lemon slices among the plates and top with the pan juices. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons tarragon.

Tuscan Lamb with Garlicky Tomato Sauce & Polenta

Valentine’s Day.

Cancy knows I like lamb. He found this recipe in one of my Real Simple magazines and decided that he would cook dinner for us on Valentine’s Day. This was soooooo good.

We cheated on the polenta portion of this meal though. Instead of making it fresh we just just took a premade polenta log (found in the pasta section of the grocery store) and sliced it, sprinkled a little parmesan on it, and broiled it until the cheese was browned.

Spend some quality time in the kitchen with your significant other and make this meal. You will love it.

Tuscan Lamb with Garlicky Tomato Sauce & Polenta

1 teaspoon olive oil
8 small lamb loin chops (about 3/4 inch thick; 2 pounds total)
kosher salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
3/4 cup instant polenta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.

Add the garlic to the drippings and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, wine, rosemary, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.

Nestle the lamb in the tomatoes, transfer the skillet to oven, and cook, 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the lamb and tomato sauce.

Pulled Pork Tacos

I found this recipe on Tricia’s site. Looks like it’s originally from Allrecipes.com. Regardless of where it comes from, it’s wonderful!!! I’m a big crockpot fan, especially on the weekends. Even better, this recipe only has 6 ingredients. You will love, love, love this. If you’re not a pork fan, I bet this recipe would work just fine if you subbed chicken breasts.

Pulled Pork Tacos
3 lb. pork tenderloin

1/2 tsp. salt

2 4 oz. cans of diced green chiles

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup taco sauce

1/2 cup water

Place roast in bottom of the crockpot. Season with salt. Place garlic and green chiles on top. Cover with taco sauce. Pour about 1/2 cup water around the edges of the roast. (Note: You may not need 1/2 cup, because after cooking, there was quite a bit of liquid left. Next time, I’ll probably only use about 1/4 cup.)

Cook on low for 7 hours. At end of cook time, remove roast from crockpot and shred. (At this point, drain some — but not all — of the liquid in the crockpot, if necessary.) Return shredded meat to crockpot and let sit for about 15 minutes, so that it can absorb some of the liquid.
Serve on tortilla shells with your favorite taco toppings. Enjoy!

Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Sauce

We are still working through a freezer full of beef, so this was a perfect recipe for us. It looks like a long list of ingredients but if you prep and measure everything out first, you’ll move along really quickly through the meal. This has a really great flavor to it. Cancy & I both really enjoyed it.

Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Sauce ( Originally from Cooking Light January 2010 )

3 cups uncooked egg noodles
Cooking spray
1 pound top sirloin steak, cut into 3/4-inch pieces, fat trimmed
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 (10-ounce) package presliced baby bella mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

While noodles cook, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak; sauté 5 minutes, browning on all sides.

Remove from pan; cover.

Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes.

Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in Worcestershire Sauce. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Gradually add broth, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Add pepper, salt, and thyme sprigs.

Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Return beef to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
Discard thyme sprigs. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired

Baked Jambalaya

Jambalaya is comfort food in our house. We love the cajun flavors. When I saw this recipe, with one step, i was sold. I had to give it a try. You will love it.

Baked Jambalaya

1 stick butter, melted
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1 can Rotel
1 can french onion soup
1 can beef consomme
2 lbs. uncooked chicken, turkey or peeled shrimp ( I used 1lb of Andouille sausage & 1lb of shrimp )
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cups uncooked rice
2 bay leaves
14 ounces (or 1 can) chicken broth
We added some Cajun Seasoning as well as some crushed red pepper to this before baking.

Mix all ingredients and bake in buttered casserole, covered tightly for one hour at 350F; stir and recover, then bake 30 minutes more or until rice is done.

Beef Fried Rice

I saw this recipe from Lynn and thought it looked like a great way to use the beef in the freezer as well as the vegetables in the fridge. You could really make this your own and add whatever you need to use up.

I cut the rice in 1/2 when I made this, but left the vegetables and meat the same as the recipe. It came together pretty quickly and was an easy weeknight meal. We’ll definitely be making this again.

Beef Fried Rice
1 pound ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 small can of diced water chestnuts, drained (This was not in the original recipe)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or use a little fresh if you have some)
Salt and pepper to taste
5 cups cooked long grain rice
2 eggs, scrambled
1/3 -1/2 cup soy sauce

In a large skillet, brown beef. Drain all but 2-3 tablespoons fat and add garlic, carrots, celery and onion cook until onions are slightly tender. Then add mushrooms and cook until all vegetables are tender. Add ginger, salt, pepper, rice and eggs; stir until well mixed and eggs are cooked. Add soy sauce and heat through.

Grilled Glazed Steak & Asparagus

We love Steak & We love Asparagus. This recipe from Epicurious was perfect for us. The glaze tastes great on both the meat & the vegetables. We ended up broiling the steaks and roasting the asparagus in the oven so we missed a little of the grill flavor, but the recipe works well done inside the oven as well.

Grilled Glazed Steak & Asparagus

1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1 pound medium asparagus, trimmed
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

Prepare a charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas).

Stir together oyster sauce, vinegar, mustard, and red-pepper flakes in a large bowl.
Thread about half of asparagus crosswise onto 2 parallel skewers, leaving space between. Repeat with remaining asparagus and skewers. Brush asparagus with some of glaze, then brush steak all over with remaining glaze and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Oil grill rack, then grill steak and asparagus, covered only if using a gas grill, turning steak once and asparagus occasionally, until asparagus is tender and well browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes, and steak is medium-rare, about 10 minutes.

Let steak stand on a cutting board 15 minutes; put asparagus on a platter and cover. Thinly slice steak across the grain.

Slow Cooked White Chicken Chili

I found this in my Google Reader and knew I had to try it. We had a short burst of cold, blustery weather during March in Texas. I always crave soups/stews on cold days so this was perfect.

My favorite thing about this is that it’s in the crockpot. Throw everything in early in the day and then go about your business. Dinner will take care of itself.

Slow Cooked White Chicken Chili

1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken

1 cup dried beans, rinsed and sorted ( We used white beans )

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons oregano

½ teaspoon salt
1 10
¾ ounce can cream of chicken soup

5 cups of water

1 teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 4.5 ounce can diced green chiles
* We also added 2 fresh jalapenos, chopped

Soak beans overnight. ( We skipped this step )

Drain beans. Place in slow cooker with chicken, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, soup, and water. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until beans are done. Before serving, stir in cumin, hot pepper sauce, and chilies. Serve with sour cream and cheese.