I'm Just Here To Cook…and Eat!


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A Flank Steak Surprise

Sometimes, taking a chance on something pays off. In life and in food. This flank steak I’m about to share was one of those food times. I have no picture to share with you all – is that completely terrible that I’m still posting this? I mean, some cookbooks don’t have pictures for every recipe, right? Can this be one of those recipes? To be honest, I didn’t take the photo because it wasn’t the prettiest looking dish. And since I threw it together on a chance that the combination of ingredients may work, I was surprised at the great outcome. Again, life and cooking pretty similar… 

So here’s what I did. I slow cooked a piece of flank steak in my slow cooker with a marinade of 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tbs yellow spicy mustard, 1-2 tsp sriracha sauce (depending on your spice level), salt and pepper. Threw in 1 large garlic clove cut in half, 1 half of a medium yellow onion also cut in half, and 2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks. Slow cooked that on low for 10 hours.  And oh such a yummy surprise dish. 

Try it out. A different combination of ingredients isn’t such a bad thing! Enjoy and take those chances. And sorry about the no photo 🙂 just trust me on this one. 

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Chicken with a beer mustard sauce

When I make chicken in the oven, I tend to stick to similar flavors. This is a mash-up of other dishes I’ve made in a way, so I debated even posting about it. But it was too good not to share. It’s a great dish to cook solo, for a couple, or for a group since it’s a throw it in the oven and forget it meal – just adjust how much you make! And being home early enough to throw this in the oven is even better. The flavor combination of the mustard and beer with the chicken really makes your taste buds happy. This is definitely the dish to try, especially as autumn will be moving in soon! 

Ingredients
Chicken pieces – I picked up a dark meat mix (3 legs, 3 thighs), but use whatever kind you prefer
1 can of artichoke hearts, cut in half
3 carrots, sliced
1 bottle of beer
1 tbs stone grain mustard
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Chili powder

Directions 
In a large baking dish, place the chicken pieces which have been seasoned with chili powder, salt and pepper. 


Add the carrots and artichoke hearts to the dish. 

In a measuring cup, whisk together the beer, mustard, garlic and Worcestershire sauce which has been seasoned with pepper. Pour over the chicken. 



Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half. Serve over pasta, or rice if you prefer, with your choice of vegetables. Sautéed Swiss chard and roasted paprika spiced cauliflower are perfect pairings. 


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Bread Dip that’s perfect for the game or game night!

Football season is almost here so it seems fitting to share the most amazing, perfect for football Sunday bread dip. Not that I’m trying to rush summer by any means, but some people enjoy pre-season so thought I’d get this posted. To be honest I’m surprised it took me this long! My mom had this in her recipe book as St. Anthony Bread Dip, although I’m not really sure why as I have been told it’s a version of Mississpi Sin Dip. Either way, it’s delicious – the perfect blend of creamy yet spicy. This is definitely my go-to Super Bowl dip, but it’s great for any party or game night! 

Ingredients 
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz sour cream
1/4 Virginia ham sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalepeno
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 3lb round unseeded Italian bread

Directions
Carve out a 4 inch diameter circle in the top  of the bread. Lift off the top and remove most of the inside of the bread, leaving the inside intact. Reserve the inside for later. Mix all the other ingredients together and fill the bread. Place the top back on the bread. Wrap the bread in tinfoil and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees. Serve hot. Dice up the bread insides to use for dipping as well as cut into the sides. Enjoy! 


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Birthday Fun

Not sure how already, but my adorable, sassy, fun-loving, smart, funny, beautiful little niece is 2. They are having a party for her in a few weeks, and I’ve been tasked with making a cake themed off her favorite tv show. Damn you Pinterest… I love yet hate you all the same time! Stay tuned for this masterpiece (or mess!) to come! 🎉


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Gym Fuel Shakes

So I recently joined the gym. I know, what? It’s my first “real” gym membership. I joined the gym at my last job and went for a few months.  But this is legit. I’ve been wanting to join for awhile but never went through with it. Between working late and having a long commute home I never knew when I’d have the time or energy. But it helps to have a gym buddy to motivate you and that is what finally got me going. I tend to stick to the elipitical, but that thing really is a good work out! But I do like the leg machines from my days of running track many moons ago. But no matter if you’re doing cardio or lifting weights, a quick shake either before or after the gym will get you the energy you need. I simply mixed together some fresh berries, almond yogurt and almond milk to make this shake. You can mix it up by adding almond butter or if you want some extra bulk get some protein powder. But for something light, keep it simple. We’ll see how long this gym thing lasts, but I’ll say this shake thing may last forever! Happy working out y’all! 


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Rice and turkey meatballs

The best part of a family that cooks is sharing great recipes. I learned another good one from my aunt yesterday that will definitely go into my rotation. Like any good Greek, there is no real measurements, so as I went along I measured out ingredients to share with all you. The one ingredient I’ve never cooked with before is minute rice. I’ve never even ever purchased it! I like my good old tried and true cook for 20-25 minutes rice. So I had to purchase a box of this for my pantry. But none the less, this is a great dish to throw in the oven on a Sunday and have leftovers to bring for lunch! Hope you enjoy this shared family recipe as much as I did. 

Ingredients 

1 lb turkey chop meat
1/2 cup minute rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tbs onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 jar of your favorite sauce
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
Salt and pepper

Directions 
In a bowl, mix together the chop meat, rice, cheese, spices and about 1/4 cup of the sauce. Form the meatballs and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the sliced peppers and onions around the meatballs and drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper over the vegetables. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes to begin browning the meatballs. 


Remove the baking dish from the oven and cover with the remaining sauce. Bake for another 30 minutes until cooked through. Enjoy! 


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A throwback to mom’s pesto

I’ll be honest, I’m not really a basil person. But my mom’s pesto is the only kind I like. Maybe it’s more of a sentimental thing. Maybe it just truly is the best. Many people have asked for her recipe over the years.  A huge part of my mom’s yearly summer garden was fresh herbs, basil aways being in huge abundance. Partly bc once it starts to grow, it grows like crazy! But I’ll never forget her weekend pesto making – getting her huge food processor out from  storage and making batches upon batches that she’d freeze or give out to family and friends. I’m so glad she passed this recipe down to me, especially as she can no longer make it herself. This year, I was able to grow a small pot of basil on my front porch to make her famous pesto. 


Not the crazy growth of basil she produced every year, but it will get there! It’s been a small feat for me to remember to water it every day, but I guess it being in my face when I get home from work every day has helped! Haha. Regardless, it grew enough to make the pesto. Here’s her treasured recipe. 

Ingredients 

2 cups basil
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions 
In a food processor, pulse the basil with the garlic and pine nuts until finely minced. 


While the machine is still running, drizzle in the oil and process until smooth. Add the cheese and process briefly. I also add red pepper flakes. 


Enjoy with your favorite pasta or even over grilled chicken. My mom used to make a tortellini pesto salad for BBQs every summer. I haven’t thought about it in awhile, put it popped into my head recently. I recreated it for an extra pesto throwback. Enjoy!