Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Call It What You Want" Balsamic Salad

Thought I'd share this little salad and dressing with you guys. It is my absolute favorite!

Blend the following items:
1 medium white onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil

Once blended, stir 1 tsp of poppy seeds to the dressing.

For the salad itself, you will need spinach, golden raisins, Craisins, sliced almonds, and cherry tomatoes.

The dressing tastes best if you make it a few days prior to serving. Enjoy and happy blending!!!

xoxo Andie

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Baked Portobello and Homemade Mashed Potatos

I got inspired this weekend to bake some portobello mushrooms, something I haven't done in a while. But, it came out very delectable.

For the baked portobello mushrooms, you basically need the ingredients seen here plus seasoning.
After slicing the beef steak tomato, I put four slices on an baking pan and added about a teaspoon of evoo and and a tsp of balsamic vinegar to each tomato slice.
I also added a tsp of evoo and a tsp of balsamic to the bottom of each portobello mushroom cap and let them sit for a few mins to absorb the evoo and balsamic.

Then, I placed the mushroom caps on top of the tomatos and added some seasoning, basil, garlic powder, parsley, and s&p to taste.

Lastly, I placed a slice of muenster cheese on each one and baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 mins.
The mashed potatos were easy to make with my Kitchenaid Masher.

After boiling some golden potatos until they were tender, I strained them and mashed them in a pot with a cup of milk and 2 tbsp of butter.

I also added some s&p and chives to my taste. This was the end result:

So that nothing would go to waste, I used the rest of the beef steak tomato and cheese to make an improptu caprese salad.

By adding evoo, balsamic, and basil to the tomatos and cheese, it made a great antipasto for any meal.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Calling all Sweet Potato lovers...

Saturday night, we had some friends over for a BBQ to watch the Final Four tournament. On the menu:

Churrasco, cooked on the grill
Mashed sweet potatoes (recipe to follow)
Homemade pastelitos (recipe below)

My husband and I LOVE sweet potato, but I usually bake them; I decided to make them mashed. While on a hunt for a recipe, I remember a fellow nestie who provided this recipe (sorry I don't recall who it was, but THANKS!). At first glance, I thought it was a bust b/c it looked strange... but boy was I wrong. I am still getting compliments. I made 8 potatoes (for 8 people) but we only ate 1/2 the casserole. So the remaining 1/2 I took to my IL's house Sunday for dinner, and got some more compliments.

You must try it! You won't be disappointed. TIP: The recipe is a bit complicated, so I don't recommend for a weekday meal.

Ruth Chris Mashed Sweet Potato

Sweet potato mixture
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato, skins off
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, well beaten
1 stick butter, melted

Crust mixture
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick butter, melted

Boil or steam sweet potatoes, drain, remove skins, set aside.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the ingredients for the sweet potato mixture. Pour into buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm.
Combine crust mixture ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle surface of baked sweet potato mixture with crust mixture.

Broil briefly, just until crust is brown. Allow to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sausage and Rice... a lo Cubano!

I love simple meals. My mom recommended this to me, and I needed to try it. Neither my husband nor I are huge fans of the sausage and rice meal, but, I tried it anyways... you never know! Well, it turned out pretty good... and I even brought the leftover to lunch today.

Again, no pictures, but just picture yellow rice with chopped sausages. =) One last thing, I don't know how to make certain words actual links, so I add them separately.

1 package of Spanish sausage (4 links - found in the meat section of the supermarket)
1 can of Vienna sausage
1 cup rice
Olive oil & corn oil
Salt & pepper
Bijol (food coloring -

  • Preheat pan with olive oil at medium. Cut all the sausages into small pieces (about 1/2 in thick). Add to pan to cook (approximately 8-10 min).
  • I prepare the rice in the hitachi ( Add one cup of rice, and 1.5 cups of water. Add salt / pepper for flavor. Add a pinch of bijol for coloring. Add 1 tablespoon of corn oil.
  • When sausages ready, add them to the uncooked rice. Stir well. Set hitachi.
Cooking time: approximately 25 min.

Pretty easy, huh?!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fried Yuca

The cassava, manioc, casava, or yuca (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Indeed, cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the world, with Africa its largest center of production.

The soft-boiled root has a delicate flavor and can replace boiled potatoes in many uses: as an accompaniment for meat dishes. Deep fried (after boiling or steaming), it can replace fried potatoes, with a distinctive flavor, which is exactly what we do!

I am a huge fan of easy recipes which take little time. Therefore, I use Sanso Yuca, which is ready to eat, and deep fry them like french fries... and the results are great, easy and fast!

If you don't have a deep fryer, you can fry on a stove; I use vegetable oil and ensure the oil is real hot; add the yuca, being very careful not to splatter the oil. Turn frequently to cook all around. When golden, remove from heat and enjoy. Add salt for taste.

Guava filled crescents!

Saturday's breakfast was just heavenly. I decided to turn some boring crescents from Pillsbury into some homemade pastelitos! Very easy to make, and they were delish.

Unroll the crescents. Add cream cheese and Cubanita guava. Roll into a crescent, and bake according to instructions on package (approximately 13 minutes at 375 degrees). And viola, home made guava and cheese pastelito.

Tortilla EspaƱola

(Sorry, no pictures)

Friday, my husband and I ventured into creating a Tortilla EspaƱola for dinner... and I must say it was amazing! One of my better meals, so I had to share, and hope you all enjoy too! The entire process took approximately 30 minutes (from start to finish).

10 eggs
2 large potatoes
1 sweet onion
Olive oil

  • Preheat on broil.
  • Peel potatoes; cut into small pieces (like home fries); fry them. I have a small deep fryer, so I just fried them there, and it took all of 10 minutes.
  • Chop onion; caramelize the onion using the olive oil and butter until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Separate the yolk and the egg whites from the eggs; beat each separately until frothy. Combine both mixtures and mix again. Add salt and pepper for flavor
  • Drizzle the large pan with olive oil, and add the eggs. Immediately following, add the caramelized onions, and fried potatoes.
  • Cook on medium until the sides are ready; in order to avoid having to flip the tortilla, I finish cooking the top in the oven on broil. However, if you are brave enough to flip the tortilla flip and continue cooking for another 2-5 minutes (both in stove and oven).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Our Valentine's Dinner....a little late.

This was Alexis's Valentines Day Dinner and he loved it!
I'll add the dessert in aother post
There was also a Crab Cake appetizer but I forgot to take a picture of it :(

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, one turn of the pan

  • 24 large Porcini mushroom caps, stems removed and reserved brushed with damp towel

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3/4 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 20 stems mushrooms, finely chopped

  • 1 rib of celery and green, leafy top from the heart of the stalk, chopped

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped

  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed

  • dry 3 slices white bread, toasted and buttered, chopped into small dice

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano, 2 handfuls

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and mushroom caps and season caps with salt and pepper. Saute caps 5 to 7 minutes, until they are lightly browned and tender on edges. Turn caps up and let juices drain away from caps.

  3. Transfer caps to a small nonstick baking sheet.

  4. Wipe out skillet and return to heat.

  5. Add a touch of oil and sausage to the hot skillet. Brown and crumble sausage for 3 minutes.

  6. In a food processor pulse and chop the garlic, add mushroom stems and pulse to chop the mushroom stems. A

  7. Add celery, onion and red bell pepper to the mushrooms and pulse to chop.

  8. Remove mixture from the processor and saute veggies and mushrooms over medium high heat another 3 to 5 minutes.

  9. Add dry, defrosted spinach and stir into stuffing.

  10. Add chopped bread and cheese to the pan and toss stuffing until bread is moist and stuffing is combined, 2 or 3 minutes.

  11. Fill caps with stuffing using a small scoop or large spoon.

  12. *If you have on hand sprinkle some fresh grated Parmasean Cheese on top.

  13. Place caps in hot oven and reduce heat to 450 degrees F.

  14. Bake 6 to 8 minutes to crisp edges of stuffing and set stuffing in mushrooms.

  15. Transfer stuffed mushrooms to a serving plate.

Ribeye Steaks, Asiago Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Scampi Shrimp and Sauteed Asparagus.


  • 2 Ribeye Steaks

  • Sea Salt

  • Fresh Ground Peppercorn

  • Worcestershire Sauce

Covered in Sea Salt, Fresh Ground Black Peppercorn, and a bit of Worcestershire Sauce.

Seared using a cast iron skillet on the stop top then placed in the oven for about 10 minutes for Medium cooking.

Asiago Cheese Mashed Potatoes

I took a little cue from Jen for these but made a few changes

  • 1-2 cups of Fresh Asiago Cheese (shredded).

  • Baby red potatos (cut in halves or fourths)

  • 7-10 Garlic Cloves

  • Butter

  • Heavy Cream

  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes and the garlic cloves together until potatoes become tender (skin will start to peels). Drain. Mash all together, add heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of butter, shredded Asiago Cheese.



Sauteed in a pan with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper till tender.

Scampi Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1/4 cup dry white vermouth

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • lemon juice

I just throw it all in a pan till the shrimp cooks. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Chocolate Feast!

We celebrated Valentine's Day Saturday night and I cooked up a fantastic dinner! I didn't take pictures of anything except the dessert, though. A recap of the dinner?? I would love to!

(courtesy of Food Network and Sandra Lee)

Spring Salad with fruit and and orange-white chocolate vinaigrette

Cherry Chocolate Mexican Rice

Sirloin Steak with chocolate merlot sauce
This is a picture of all the chocolate I used tonight. TONS. lol I didn't use it all, though, just a few tablespoons here, a 1/4 cup there. I have so many bags in my freezer now, I'll be making chocolate recipes for the next 4 months.

Believe it or not, the chocolate in all these recipes was not strong, at all! It added a nice aroma and really helped kick up the tastes in the onion, garlic and spices used in everything. My least favorite was the mexican rice, but only because I'm not a huge fan of rice.

Dessert. Ooooohh dessert's recipe came courtesy of Williams-Sonoma. It. Was. HEAVENLY. (and totally fattening.) I made a Chocolate Bread Pudding (made with REAL milk!!) topped with vanilla ice cream (REAL vanilla ice cream. none of this fat free sugar free ice milk I've been buying lately!) Whipped cream (made with REAL whipping cream!!) and caramel sauce (this was fat free. gotta watch the calories somewhere, right?)

So, without further ado, i bring you Williams-Sonoma mouth watering, fattening, indulgent Chocolate Bread Pudding. Enjoy!!

(btw, all pictures were taken on my camera phone.... so, sorry if they're terrible!!)

2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs
Pinch of salt
5 day-old croissants, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Caramel sauce for serving
Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
Preheat an oven to 325°F. Lightly butter a 2-quart oval au gratin dish.

Pour the milk and cream into a heavy saucepan. Place the vanilla bean on a work surface. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the bean in half lengthwise. Using the knife tip, scrape the seeds from the bean, then add the seeds and bean halves to the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the 5 oz. finely chopped chocolate until smooth.

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and salt until blended. Form a kitchen towel into a ring and place the bowl on top to prevent it from moving. Gradually pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Add the croissants and stir to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes, occasionally pressing the croissants into the custard.

(this is it soaking in the custard. It was all I could do to keep from dipping my fingers into the warm chocolate custard!!)

Stir 3 oz. of the chopped chocolate into the croissant mixture and transfer to the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining chopped chocolate on top. Bake until a knife inserted near the center of the pudding comes out almost clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Accompany each serving with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 8.
this is it!! It came out kind of fuzzy, but those shiny blobs?? that's chocolate!!! imagine eating a giant, warm chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough chunk. That's exactly what it tasted like. I still have a whole dish left, and I'm giving it away to my neighbors and parents. I have no self control and it was amazing!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Creamy, Cheesy Lasagna

I found a great lasagna recipe on another food blog (thanks, doctorannie!) and tweaked it a bit to fit mine and my husband's taste. The results were delicious...possibly the best lasagna I've ever tasted. This recipe is a lot of work, but if you're a family of two, it'll feed you for quite a few days.

12 lasagna noodles
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage
1/2 lb. ground sirloin beef
1 large white onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 8 oz. cans tomato paste
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 lb. ricotta cheese
5 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add lasagna noodles. Cook appox. 8-9 minutes, stirring carefully occasionally, then drain. Peel and chop onion and grind in food processor. Remove sausages from casings and mash together with a fork. In a large pan, pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and heat over high heat. Add ground onion, garlic, sausage, and ground sirloin, stirring well. Once sausage and sirloin are browned, reduce heat to medium low and add tomato paste, crushed tomato, cream, Italian seasoning, basil, and oregano. Stir well and then lower heat to low and allow to simmer. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, eggs, salt, and pepper. In a deep 9x13" lasagna pan, pour 2 cups of the tomato and meat sauce and spread evenly. Layer 4 lasagna noodles on top, followed by half of the cheese mixture (be sure to spread evenly), 1/3 of the remaining tomato meat sauce, then 4 more noodles, the other half of the cheese mixture, another 1/3 of the tomato meat sauce, and then finally, the last 4 noodles and the remaining tomato meat sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 3 cups or as much as you need of the remaining mozzarella evenly over the top of the lasagna. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.