Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas

The presents are finally all wrapped and under the tree, all that is left to do is enjoy christmas eve with my wonderful hubby and three doggies, and then tomorrow we will be taking some of those presents down to League city to spend christmas day with friends and their beautiful daughters, Payton, Parker and Presley... can't wait to see the girls open their presents!

Hope you all have a wonderful christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Three cheese ravioli with salad and french bread

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner - belgian waffles, bacon and eggs

Wednesday: Pork tenderloin stuffed with harvest apples with roast potatoes and parsnips

Thursday: Sweet corn tamale cakes

Friday: Going out to eat

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nigella Lawson Book Signing

Last night the hubby and I went to a Nigella Lawson book signing for her new Christmas book. I was so beyond excited to see her in person, I have been looking forward to this book signing for months. My wonderful hubby stopped by the bookstore to buy not only me but my mum a book each and get our signing line tickets, and then he even left work early so we would be able to get there on time. My mum lives in England, so obviously she wasn't there, so the hubby actually stood in line and got a book signed for her.

One thing that really shocked me was the amount of British people that were there. I haven't been around that many British people in 7 years and it was actually kind of emotional, hearing all those regional British accents and for the first time in 7 years I was in a place where the Brits out numbered the Americans.

Nigella was great, she gave a little talk and then took questions from the audience, and then when it was finally our turn to get our books signed she asked how long it had been since I had been back home to England and she tought it was sad that I have never gone back in the 7 years that I have been here.

It was a great night and I can't thank my wonderful and patient hubby enough for taking me and for standing in line with a Margaret name tag so my mum could have a signed book!

Anyway, my pictures didn't turn out that great, but I had to post one anyway!

My mum's copy, that we will be shipping back to England at the weekend

Curried Beef Short Ribs

The hubby really loves the mango chutney short ribs that I make, but I have made them so often now that I needed a change, so I found this recipe over at Newlywed cooking and had everything on hand to make them. I have to say that I loved these short ribs, they are just so good, I can't wait to make them again!

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup chopped onions
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons red curry paste, divided
1/2 cup light coconut milk, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in an electric slow cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.

2. Add shallots, onion, garlic, and ginger to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons of red curry paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. Add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours

3. Remove ribs from cooker. Strain cooking liquid through a colander over a bowl; discard solids.

4. Stir 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, rind, and juice into liquid. Add liquid back to slow cooker and turn on "keep warm" setting.

5. Add meat back to slow cooker & stir to combine with liquid.

6. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon red curry paste & 1/4 cup coconut milk until combined. Pour over meat and stir. Keep in slow cooker on "keep warm" until ready to serve.

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

I've been meaning to make this recipe from Closet Cooking for a while now. I love cauliflower and chickpeas and am definitely a fan of curries, and it tasted just as good as I hoped it would.

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 head cauliflower
1 can chickpeas
1 cup water
1/2 pound green beans
salt to taste
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)

1. Heat the oil in a large pan.
2. Add the onion and curry powder and cook until the onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce, cauliflower, chickpeas and water and and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
6. Add the green beans and cook until they are just tender and still crisp, about 3-5 minutes.
7. Serve on rice and garnish with cilantro

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I love pastitsio, it's basically a greek version of lasagna, but I would choose this over traditional lasagna any day! and I am also thrilled that the hubby liked this, he has come so far from his steak and potato only eating days, I'm so proud! I got this recipe from Ellysaysopa

1 lb. bucatini pasta (use penne or something similar if you can’t find it)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup grated myzithra cheese
1 batch Greek meatsauce
1 batch bechamel sauce
1/4 cup kefalotyri cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Greek Meatsauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground beef
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 or 2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

6 Tbsp. butter
2/3 cup flour
1 qt. milk
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup kefalotyri
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Heat olive oil in a large pan, add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes

Add the ground beef, brown and then drain the fat from the pan

Stir in the tomato paste

Add the beef broth, cinnamon stick, cloves, parsley, bay, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for an hour, stirring occasionally

Melt butter in a large pan. Stir in the flour, cooking for a few minutes until golden brown. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk to combine well. Bring to a boil and let cook for a few minutes

Add the grated nutmeg

Take off the heat and add the kefalotyri cheese, eggs and egg yolk

Cook pasta, drain and add the beaten egg, butter, and the myzithra cheese

Grease your baking dish and add half the pasta

Add all of the meat sauce

Add the rest of the pasta

Pour all the bechamel over the pasta and top with the kefalotyri cheese and the breadcrumbs, bake at 375 for 45 minutes

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Israeli Couscous With Tomato and Lemon

I neede a quick and easy dinner and this recipe was both those things, and tasted great!

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 Roma or plum tomatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tbsp)
4 strips lemon peel (2 inches each)
Pinch of saffron
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 chicken stock
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add couscous, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, and return skillet to heat.

Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, lemon peel, and saffron, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add wine, and cook for 4 minutes. Add stock, salt, and couscous, and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until couscous is tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in peas, and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Venezuelan Stuffed Corn Cakes

This is another recipe I have been meaning to make for a while, and after the hubby tried the apricot meatloaf the other night I made this for him, as he loves the sweet corn tamale cakes that I make pretty often. The corn cakes were good, but the chicken and avocado filling was really good! I found this recipe over at Pink parsley catering


1 cup cooked chicken, shredded into bite size pieces
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into small chunks
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 scallions, sliced thin
juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together and adjust seasonings to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed

Corn Cakes

2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400.

Whisk the masa, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Gradually add the water and stir to form a dough. Using a generous 1/3 cup of dough, form eight 3-inch rounds, each about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Add 4 of the corn cakes and cook until golden on both sides, about 4-6 minutes total. Transfer to a parchement lined baking sheet, and repeat with remaining oil and corn cakes.

Bake until the corn cakes sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 10-15 minutes. Split the cakes open using a fork or paring knife as you would an English muffin, and stuff each with a generous 3 Tablspoons of filling. Serve immediately.