Monthly Archives: July 2012

Beef and Red Wine Pies

A lundi, j’ai fait cuire comme les francais. Or en anglais, on Monday  I cooked like the French.

Most of the recipes I try, I base my decision to cook them on their pictures and the ingredient list. In most cases, that is enough. But from now on I will always read through the entire recipe before I promise my family I will make it. So this weekend, I pulled out my Great Tastes French cookbook and found a delicious looking recipe for beef and red wine pies. I looked at the picture and the ingredient list and thought it was something I could handle. I get home from work on Monday and open the book again and this time I actually read the recipe. Here’s what I find… “simmer for 1 hour, add carrots… simmer for another 45 minutes, assemble pies… cook for 25 more minutes.” So not including prep time (chopping meat, onions, carrots, garlic), the dish is going to take more than 2 hours to cook. When I come to this realization it is already 5:45 p.m. and my mom is already on her way to my house with our newly purchased mini pie tins and all the ingredients. We forged ahead and let me tell you, the pies were well worth the wait.

Beef and Red Wine Pies (from Great Tastes French)


1/4 cup oil

3 lbs 5 0z chuck steak, cubed (I saved some money here and used venison chuck steaks)

2 onions chopped (I used one very large yellow onion and it was plenty)

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups good-quality (that’s right, it stipulates this in the ingredient list) dry red wine

2 cups beef stock

2 bay leaves

2 thyme sprigs (I didn’t have these so when the time came, I just added some dried Thyme)

2 carrots chopped

2 pie crusts

Ready-made puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, lightly beaten


1. Grease six metal mini pie tins.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and brown the steak in batches. Remove the pan. Heat remaining oil in the pan, add onion and garlic and stir over medium heat until golden brown. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes, or until well browned. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in wine and stock.

3. Return to heat and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Return the meat to the pan, add the bay leaves and thyme and simmer for 1 hour.

4. Add the carrot and simmer for anther 45 minutes., or until the sauce has thickened. Season, then remove the bay leaves and thyme. Allow to cool.

5. Preheat oven 400 degrees. Cut circles out of pie crust to line the base and sides of each pie tin. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly brown. (To prevent the dough from puffing up, line tins with parchment paper and fill with baking beads or uncooked rice. I had none of these things, so I just let them puff). Let cool.

6. Cut circles out of the puff pastry to fit the tops of the pie tins. Divid filling among the pies and brush the edges with some of the beaten egg. Cover with the puff pastry and press the edges with a fork to seal. Cut a slit in the top of each pie and brush with remaining beaten egg.

7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden brown.

Easy Bake Chicken

1. This dish totally lives up to it’s name. Prep was about 5 minutes and then it’s into the oven to bake. The third and last step… eat and enjoy!

Easy Bake Chicken (from


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons brown sugar

3 teaspoons olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, lightly grease a casserole dish.

2. Sauté garlic in oil until tender. Remove from heat and mix in sugar.

3. Place chicken into dish and spread sugar/garlic mixture over the chicken.

4. Cook for 15 – 30 minutes (Mine cooked for about 20 minutes)

To go along with my chicken, I made an easy store bought cheddar and broccoli pasta side – they were 10 for $10 at Copps! It was the perfect partner for my quick and delicious weeknight meal.



** Look for a not-so-easy, but super tasty meal tomorrow!




No Bake Pistachio Cheesecake

Last night we grilled some yummy steaks, but this post is all about the dessert! A no bake pistachio cheesecake.

Recipe (from


Crust –

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Filling –

1 – 8 oz package cream cheese (at room temperature)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 package instant pistachio pudding

1 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the crust ingredients together until crumbly. Press firmly into a 9-inch cheesecake pan or 4 ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool completely.

2. Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar for the filling.

3. Mix the pudding mix and milk.

4. Beat pudding mixture into the cream cheese and sugar, until well blended.

5. Spread evenly into your dishes and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

6. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

The only comment I have on this recipe is that the crust makes the overall dish a little too sweet. Next time I will definitely stick to a traditional graham cracker crust.

Outfit of the Day

I went a little western last Thursday, so I thought I’d share. You can’t really see it, but I’m wearing my riding boots to complete the ensemble.

I love how a belt can completely change the look and feel of an outfit!

Korean BBQ Chicken Tacos

This recipe was not only delicious, but it spurred a fun trip to Woodman’s with my co-worker Jen. I was on a mission to find Mirin – Asian cooking wine. We entered the Oriental food isle and we were AMAZED at the amount of items. It took us about 5 minutes of looking right at the bottle labels MIRIN – Rice cooking wine until we actually saw that we had found what I needed. Too bad every shopping trip wasn’t this much fun!

I found the recipe in Family Circle. My mom subscribes to that magazine and Woman’s Day. Both usually have some great recipes in them.

Korean BBQ Chicken Tacos (from Family Circle)


  • 1/4 cup mirin (Asian cooking wine)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 pounds thinly sliced chicken cutlets – I bought thin chicken filets (I think they are basically the same thing)
  • 5 tablespoons Korean teriyaki stir-fry sauce (such as House of Tsang)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 package small flour tortillas (8 per package)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves


1. In a glass or plastic bowl, combine mirin, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the salt. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add cucumber and let stand 15 minutes.

2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. (I used Bob’s George Foreman and it worked wonderfully!) Lightly coat grill rack with oil. Place chicken on a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Brush both sides with 3 tablespoons of the sauce. Grill until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sauce. Cut chicken into strips and add to skillet.

4. To serve, spoon about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto a tortilla. Add some of the marinated cucumbers and cilantro.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

I bought a few zucchini from the Farmer’s Market about two weeks ago all for the purpose of making this bread. I saw it on Pinterest and immediately knew I would love it! I still have one zucchini left and am tempted to make another loaf.

Lemon Zucchini Bread (from Nancy Creative)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini – No need to peel it, just trim off the ends


1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan.

2. Blend flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Beat 2 eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well. Fold in zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.

4.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, but don’t overmix.

5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Make the glaze while the bread cools completely.

Glaze –

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Spoon glaze over cooled loaf. Let glaze set, then serve.

Roasted Mushroom and Goat Cheese Ravioli

Last night’s dinner was spectacular… We had completely homemade roasted mushroom and goat cheese ravioli and pineapple cheesecake for dessert. Plus it was so nice outside that we enjoyed dinner and the weather on our deck.

Roasted Mushroom and Goat Cheese Ravioli Recipe (from Petite Kitchenese)


  • 1 lb of cremini mushrooms, cleaned (I used portabellas)
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • a hefty dash of red wine vinegar or sherry
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. of goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • a few garlic scapes, minced
  • a few sprigs of thyme, minced


Pasta Dough –

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • olive oil if/as needed

Put flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Crack eggs into the well. Using a fork, beat eggs and begin to pull flour into liquid. Once you can no longer mix with a fork, knead dough on a well-floured surface until smooth and elastic (8–10 minutes). (If dough feels a bit dry, add a little bit of olive oil when kneading.) Cover dough with a wet tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roasting the Mushrooms –

These made my tiny little kitchen smell soooooo GOOD!

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss mushrooms with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper, then spread across the bottom of a baking dish. Roast mushrooms for 15–20 minutes, or until they are tender. Remove and let cool.

Filling –

Dice the mushrooms and transfer to a bowl. Mix in goat cheese and parmesan and herbs.

Making the ravioli –

Roll pasta dough out into a rectangular shape on a well-floured surface (making rectangle as symmetrical as possible), until thin but not in danger of tearing (about 1/16 of an inch thick). Distribute spoonfuls of filling along half the surface of the dough. Brush a little bit of water in between the spoonfuls of filling, then cut off the unused portion of the dough. Carefully transfer it on top and press to seal.

Cut out ravioli with a sharp knife or a pasta wheel (I used a pizza cutter!). To make extra-sure they are sealed, press all around the edges with a fork. Trim ravioli, re-knead the leftover dough, then repeat the process until all of the filling has been used. Freeze any ravioli that you won’t eat immediately.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the ravioli. Cook until they begin to float (this should only take a few minutes). Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the cooked ravioli, garlic scapes, and half the thyme. Pan-fry for a few minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.


Pineapple Cheesecake Recipe (from My Baking Addiction)

The best part of this dessert is that it’s no-bake! And it tastes like delicious summer. However, it did spur me to purchase a cheap hand mixer.! I was definitely not whipping up cream cheese and sugar by hand and I’m sick of asking to borrow my mom’s. So I’m now the proud owner of a $15 hand mixer and it was worth every penny!



3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling –

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
12 ounces fresh pineapple, pureed ( I used 2 Dole cups, which equaled about 14 ounces. Then I saved the 100% pineapple juice for             breakfast today.)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed


1. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.

2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in pineapple and vanilla and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well combined.

3. Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into prepared individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.