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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spanish Tomato Bread

Are you ready for an embarrassingly easy breakfast idea? I mean honestly, you don't even need a recipe for this, but I'm giving it to you anyway. Mostly I just want to introduce to you this popular Spanish breakfast. It involves bread, olive oil, garlic, and a tomato. Maybe just a pinch of salt. You can't go wrong there. You can toast the bread, or leave it plain, your choice. You rub the bread with a piece of garlic. Then you cut a tomato in half and rub its juices over the piece of bread. Top if off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some salt if you are feeling it and you've got yourself a breakfast from Spain. You can get fancy and top it with a little cheese, ham, or sausage if you want to get crazy, or just enjoy it in all its simplicity.

I told you it was easy! Now you have yourself an entirely new breakfast idea!

Time to Make It: <5 minutes

Yield: 4 slices

4 slices bread (preferably artisan bread)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
1 tomato, halved
extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt


1. (Optional) toast the bread.

2. Rub the cut side of the garlic clove across the bread to give it a hint of garlic flavor.

3. Rub the cut side of the tomato over the bread slices, squeezing the juices out over the bread.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and dust with a pinch of salt. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Caramelized Waffles (Liege Waffles)

Caramelized Waffles (Liege Waffles)

These waffles are addictingly delicious. Caramelized on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The key to making these Liege-style waffles is Belgian pearl sugar. You probably won't find it at your regular grocery store, unless your grocery store is super cool and carries specialized imported ingredients. That's okay though, you can easily order pearl sugar online from Amazon as a cheap add-on item. You'll just have to wait a few days to make them. These waffles are worth the wait though.

I first tried Liege waffles at a hole-in-the-wall type waffle place. I wondered what in the world they had done to the waffles to get them caramelized and crispy on the outside. I knew they weren't deep fried, and after a little poking around I discovered they were just a different kind of waffle. Liege waffles use a yeast base so there is rising time involved with these babies. If you want these for breakfast or brunch, you can make the batter the night before and refrigerate them after rising. Or you can use them as a breakfast/dessert for dinner type thing and just plan ahead. I mean, you already ordered the sugar so it's not like this will be a last minute meal anyway. Just be careful, your family may expect Liege waffles from now on!

Time to Make It: About 2 hours
Yield: 8 waffles


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lukewarm water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup Belgian pearl sugar


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combing flour, brown sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix together on low using the paddle attachment.

2. Pour in lukewarm water and mix on low for 30 seconds.

3. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing on low for 20 seconds between each egg.

4. Pour in vanilla extract. Mix on low, adding in melted butter gradually until batter is smooth. Batter will be very thick and very sticky.

5. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, 30 minutes.

6. Stir in Belgian pearl sugar and let rise an additional 15 minutes.

7. Preheat a Belgian waffle iron. Brush with melted butter and cook about 1/4 cup of batter at a time. Cook until golden brown on each side.

Note: Waffles can be kept warm on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven until all are cooked and ready to serve.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Moroccan Ramen

Moroccan ramen

I've been working on some recipes using ramen noodles lately. My youngest brother is heading off to college soon and has requested some delicious, cheap, and easy recipes and the man loves ramen. This is a more involved ramen recipe using a cheap, yet completely delicious cut of chicken: the thigh. Now, you could totally make this recipe without the chicken if you are in a bind (aka empty wallet syndrome). The ramen stands on it own without the chicken, but hey, if you want some meat, you've got it. 

Pro tip for keeping it cheap: buy your spices from bulk bins. Bulk bins are pretty popular in grocery stores these days. Bulk spices are a killer deal! You can refill your spice jars for under a dollar, sometimes for pennies. 

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


4 large chicken thighs
1 lemon
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
4 tablespoons butter, divided
6 cups chicken broth
3 packages ramen noodles, spice pack discarded
4 boiled eggs
fresh cilantro


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a glass pan or baking sheet. Cut the lemon in half. Slice one of the halves thinly and reserve the remaining half for later. Places the slices on the bottom of of the glass pan.

2. Mix the spices together in a small bowl. Rub down each of the chicken thighs 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture getting both beneath the skin and on top of the skin. There will be spice mixture leftover for use later. Place the chicken thighs in the glass pan on top of the lemon slices. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the the chicken, reserving the peel for later. Place a half teaspoon of butter on top of each chicken thigh. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, until chicken reaches the safe temperature of 165 degrees. 

3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan. Stir in remaining spice mixture and let toast for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in chicken broth, add in used lemon half, and bring to a boil. Cook ramen noodles until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Serve ramen topped with 1 chicken thigh, fresh cilantro leaves, roasted lemon slices, and boiled eggs as desired.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cream of Asparagus Soup (Without Cream)

Cream of Asparagus Soup (Without Cream)

This post is sponsored by Plugra Butter

I love all the fresh asparagus of spring. I buy it several pounds at a time. Yes, we love it that much. Now, you know how spring weather goes. One day it is warm and sunny, the next it is drizzly and cold. Here in Utah those changes can happen within an hour. Why did I ever leave California?!? That means some days I'm still shivering and need a good soup to warm me from the inside out. This "cream of" soup uses no cream to keep you from feeling weighed down and covering up the springtime feel of the asparagus. The potato lends it all the creaminess (texture-wise) it needs. This is also a great time to remind you about all the wonderful benefits of butter. It's contains healthy saturated fat and is rich in fat-soluble vitamins among other benefits. So you know, it's pretty good stuff. 

Time to Make It: 35 minutes
Yield: Serves 6


1 pound fresh asparagus
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


1. Trim the tough ends off the asparagus and discard. Cut off the tips and reserve them for later use. Cut the rest of the stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium high heat. Add in onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add in garlic and saute an additional minute. Stir in flour until white specks are all absorbed.

3. Pour in chicken broth, asparagus stalks, potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until potato chunks are tender.

4. Fill a separate medium saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add in asparagus tips and boil 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve.

5. Puree the potato mixture using an immersion blender, or transfer in batches to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. 

6. Stir in asparagus tips and serve hot with freshly ground pepper. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

S'mores Funnel Cake

Smores Funnel Cake

This mouthwatering concoction consists of a fluffy funnel cake, marshmallow drizzle, chocolate sauce and Graham Crackers, topped with more marshmallows and more chocolate shavings. It's the kind of treat dreams are made of really. You don't have to go to the county fair to get a funnel cake of epic proportions. You can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home. Now, because I cook everything from scratch, I've included recipes for homemade marshmallow sauce and homemade chocolate sauce. Sure, you can just go buy them from the store, but I'm truly in love with homemade. It always taste better when it is made from scratch, with love. Feel free to deck it out with extra marshmallows, crushed graham cracker, and chocolate pieces. Can you really have too much s'mores? 

Funnel Cake


2 eggs

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
oil for frying


1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Pour in milk, water, and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Add in sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Add in flour and whisk until smooth. 

2. Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with 1/2 to 1-inch of oil. Heat to 375 degrees.

3. Transfer the batter to a funnel or squeeze bottle. If using a funnel, plug the spout with your finger and lade into about 1/2 cup at a time. Drizzle into the hot oil in a spiral motion until all batter has been used. 

4. Fry for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet to drain. 

5. To serve, drizzle funnel cake with chocolate and marshmallow sauce. Dust with crushed graham cracker and sprinkle with mini marshmallows and additional chocolate chunks or shavings as desired. 

Marshmallow Sauce


3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Cook over high heat, swirlling the pan, until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook to 240 degrees, about 4 to 5 minutes, until syrup reaches the soft-ball stage.

2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat until frothy. Add in cream of tarter and salt. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.

3. Pour the hot syrup into the whipped egg whites slowly while mixing at a medium speed. Continue beating until mixture can hold its own shape. Pour in the vanilla during the final few seconds of beating. Transfer to a heat safe container and refrigerate. 

Chocolate Sauce


1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla


1. In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sugar, and evaporated milk. Stir to combine over low heat.

2. Bring to a boil (see cooking lesson below). Reduce heat to medium and continue simmering for 7 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

4. Blend the mixture for about 2 minutes using a blender or hand mixer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Asparagus, Avocado, and Strawberry Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette (Spring Salad)

Asparagus, Avocado, and Strawberry Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Those spring fruits and vegetables are popping up in grocery stores all over. Yay for killer sales! This salad combines all of my favorite spring produce into one fresh and inviting salad. Asparagus is roasted (my favorite preparation) and served warm over the cold salad with sweet strawberries and creamy avocados. It's all topped off with a grapefruit vinaigrette. Pretty sure this salad is full of all those good things like vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients, but I'm more interested in the fact that it is delicious and makes me feel all spring-like and happy. Be gone winter! I'm ready to burst into spring!

Time to Make It: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 (as a main dish)


1 pound fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons cider vinegar or white wine?
1 tsp honey
pinch salt and pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
2 avocados, pitted and diced
1 pound strawberries, stems removed and sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until tender.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking together grapefruit juice, olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

3. Serve salad greens topped with diced avocados, strawberries, asparagus, and feta cheese. Drizzle with grapefruit vinaigrette. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Corned Beef and Cabbage Nachos

Corned Beef and Cabbage Nachos

I love turning traditional dishes into something new. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional Irish meal that is often eaten by Americans every March 17 for St. Patrick's Day. In the past, I've taken corned beef and cabbage and turned it into a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich. This year I'm turning it into nachos. It makes perfect sense really. Meat, some veggies, and a white cheese sauce makes perfect sense on top of a huge pile of tortilla chips. Corned beef has so much flavor that it can really shine through with the milder flavors of the cabbage and cheese sauce. This is a great meal in lieu of the traditional, or as a clever use for leftovers. Either way you'll have a plate of nachos you can dive right into. 


1 (3 lb) corned beef roast
4 tablespoons butter
1 small head green cabbage, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
16 oz tortilla chips

Mozzarella Nacho Cheese Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Cook the corned beef using your desired cooking method. For 3 different cooking methods, see cooking lesson below. Shred or roughly chop the corned beef for serving. 

2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Place butter in the pan and let sizzle and melt. Add in cabbage. Season with salt and pepper, and saute until cabbage is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

3. Make your cheese sauce by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour to form a paste. Pour in milk and bring to a simmer, increasing heat to medium high. Once sauce begins to thicken, remove from heat and stir in mozzarella cheese. 

4. Lay chips out and sprinkle with corned beef and cabbage. Top with nacho cheese sauce. Serve hot. 

How To Cook Corned Beef

Corned Beef brisket roasts generally come with a spice packet included, or already rubbed with spices. If the roast you purchase comes with a spice packet, you'll want to rub those spices over the roast before proceeding with any of the following cooking methods. Boiling is the traditional method, but other methods can be used as well.

Boiled Corned Beef

Place the roast, including spices, into a heavy pot, preferably a dutch oven, and fill with water until roast is completely covered by 1/2 to 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let it simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Don't even lift the lid until the time is up. Once the meat is fork-tender, remove the roast from the water, slice, and serve as desired. You can add other items to the cooking water as well, including onions, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. You can also substitute beef broth for the water.

Baked Corned Beef

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the roast in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Yes, you need to boil the roast before you bake it. Let it boil while the oven preheats. Once the oven is preheated, remove the roast from the water and place it in a shallow baking dish, fat side up. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 to 3 hours. Before putting the meat in the oven you can rub the top with mustard or brown sugar for additional flavoring.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

Place the corned beef into a slow cooker. Cover with water. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. If desired you can substitute beef broth in place of the water, or add other items to the slow cooker as well including onions, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. 


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