I'm Just Here To Cook…and Eat!


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Calamari Steak

As I sit at my desk checking through preview links, I’m listening to the newest Ed Sheeran song just released on Spotify (can’t wait for this album!) and dreaming of the Calamari Steak I had in Southern California. After a long holiday season, a much needed vacation brought me back to this delicious meal and I was in heaven. I came across this on a menu years ago on a family vacation to Hawaii and ordered it not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I mean, what is a Calamari Steak? I had only ever seen and known little tiny rings or tentacles before this steak option appeared on this amazing menu. So of course I ordered and as the plate was put before me, it truly was a steak of Calamari. And I was moved. Yes, moved. It was so tender, so tasty, and I needed more. I’ve only ever again seen this on a menu in Southern California so as anyone knows my missions on vacations are mostly about food, and mission accomplished in Newport Beach. Grilled Calamari steak with lemon and herbs. Yum. But please someone tell me, where oh where can I find this on the East Coast?? On that note, back to more Ed Sheeran and previewing but please don’t hesitate to interrupt if you have good news about this Calamari Steak hunt πŸ™‚


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Homemade Rigatoni

A day off from work meant a day of cooking and arts & crafts for this girl. I went and purchased cream of tarter to make those snickerdoodle cookies (updated post with the picture!) – and yum they were amazing. And then I finally used the present my parents got for me for Christmas – a pasta extruder attachment for my stand mixer – best present ever. Well, one of the best πŸ™‚ I’ve been so excited about this attachment! I’ll say, it was easy to use but I definitely need some tricks of the trade. I chose the rigatoni shape (there are 6 different shapes included) but I had trouble cutting it and it was sticking together. Maybe more flour or a different pasta recipe? Any tips anyone? Either way, it was super fun and I can’t wait to try again! I used Giada’s fresh pasta recipe which I’ve shared before and always use. 

Pasta recipe: https://imjustheretocook.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/homemade-pasta/

The set came with 6 settings: rigatoni, fusilli, large macaroni, small macaroni, bucatini and spaghetti.  


The attachment was so easy to use! Just make the pasta dough and send it through the extruder! 



Pair your pasta with your favorite sauce and you have a completely homemade meal. So comforting and so enjoyable πŸ™‚ 


Oh, and here’s my arts & crafts πŸ™‚ Purchase some wooden letters from your local crafts store along with whatever paint colors you want to use, and just have fun! 


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A Snickerdoodle for you

I’ve been really in the mood to bake some cookies lately, but just didn’t get around to it this past weekend. So I thought what better to whip up a batch for Valentine’s Day? So I went to find the recipe for the Snickerdoodles from The Pioneer Woman I’ve been wanting to try and was all ready to start baking. But a quick skim through the recipe and I quickly learned I didn’t have all the ingredients. Who knew you needed cream of tarter for a snickerdoodle?? Well you do. After reading I learned that it creates the texture everyone loves so much in a snickerdoodle and also provides that slight tangy flavor we all know as well. So… you ask why am I writing this blog post? Oh I’ll make these this coming weekend after I purchase my cream of tarter, you’ll be sure of that! And at that point, I’ll be happy to update this post with a picture. But I did want to make sure I provided the recipe for all you out there that may want to get these in the oven tomorrow morning for your babe. Let me know what you think! Happy Valentine’s Day!  

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Update! I made these delicious cookies this weekend. Yum. Yum yum yum. Put these on your shortlist of cookies to bake next. Seriously. 

Snickerdoodles

Recipe by Ree Drummond’s friend Sommer as appears on The Pioneer Woman 

Ingredients 

2 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoons Salt
1 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar, Divided
2 Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 400ΒΊF and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and 1 Β½ cups sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3–5 minutes. Then beat in eggs and scrape the bowl. Turn mixer on low and slowly add flour mixture until well combined.

Mix remaining ΒΌ cup sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Use a 1 Β½ tablespoon cookie scoop to measure out dough balls. Roll each ball in your hands to even them out, then roll in cinnamon sugar to thoroughly coat.

Place the balls on prepared baking sheets, 2 Β½ inches apart. Bake for 8–9 minutes, until just barley golden around the edges. Cool for several minutes on the baking sheets before moving.


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Spicy Pork Stew

There’s nothing better than a home cooked meal made with love for your Valentine! But as we all know, during the week this could be difficult. So put that slow cooker to use! And the best part, easy clean up to enjoy the rest of the night πŸ™‚ 

Ingredients 

1 pork loin
1 medium yellow onion sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp hot sauce (or more if you like it spicer!
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Mexican chili powder
Salt and pepper 

Directions 

Cut the pork into chunks. Throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker. Set to low for 8-10 hours. So easy! 

With about 20 minutes left, throw the frozen peas into the slow cooker as you cook your rice. Serve the pork over the rice with a nice bottle of wine on the side. Enjoy! ❀️


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Buffalo Wings

When two girls who love to cook and eat get together for Super Bowl, it always means trying new recipes and having way too much food. It’s started off with just one standard dip (my mom always called it St. Anthony’s Bread dip but it’s really a version of Mississippi Sin dip – recipe to come at a later post!). Then I found a recipe for Jalepeno Poppers. Then we wanted to make Buffalo Wings from scratch for the first time. Nachos, ravioli and cookies also got added to the list. (Yes it was just us two girls eating!) I have to say, while we didn’t follow a recipe, the Buffalo Wings came out so good! We sort of knew the general things we needed to do and decided to just wing it (no pun intended! Heehee). 

Always make sure if your chicken wings are not already prepped to cut off the wing tip. You can’t eat this part, so why plate it or waste any of your delicious Buffalo sauce on it! We decided to bake our wings. Make sure they are patted dry to ensure they crisp up. 20 minutes on one side at 350 degrees. Then flip and another 20 minutes. Once you know they are just about cooked through, broil the wings on low to crisp them up. 

To make the sauce, start with 2 tbs of melted butter and about a third of the standard bottle of hot sauce. Mix together and toss the wings. Then stick them back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process again. You’re left with amazingly crisp, yummy tasting, not too saucy Buffalo Wings. Flag this for next Super Bowl! 


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Zucchini Soup

What’s better on a cold winters night than soup? I’ve been thinking of this zucchini soup I make for a while now (haven’t made it in forever!) and thought tonight would be the perfect night. It takes less than an hour to make which is perfect. It has beautiful flavors with the zucchini and slight hint of lemon. I’ve added beans to the recipe tonight to provide a little protein which has also given the soup a bit extra thickness. Time to cuddle up with my soup, wine and a movie – Stay warm! 

Zucchini Soup with Pasta
Recipe from Cooks Encyclopedia of Soup by Debra Mayhew (adapted slightly) 

Ingredients 
4 tbs oil
2 onions, minced
1 1/2 qt chicken stock
2 lbs zucchini
1 cup small soup pasta
A little lemon juice
2 tbs chopped fresh chervil (I did not add this)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Small white beans (not in original recipe)
Red pepper flakes (not in original recipe) 

Directions 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, cover and cook slowly for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not colored. 

Add the stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. 

Meanwhile, grate the zucchini and stir into the boiling stock with the beans and the pasta. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and summer for 15 minutes until the pasta is tender. 

Season to taste with the lemon and additional salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped chervil and serve.