Rosemary Citrus Lamb Stew

>> Thursday, October 22, 2009

This is one of my mom's recipes and I'm not sure where she found it. She fixed it for us last year and I haven't stopped thinking about it since! Now that the weather's gotten chillier, it seemed like the perfect time for a hearty stew. Additionally, since it has to slowly cook for several hours, I was able to get it together during Grandma's afternoon visit with Finley.

It turned out just as good as I remembered! It was fairly easy to prepare and delicious. Since the meat gets more tender the longer it cooks, I'm sure this would work well in a crockpot too. The recipe says to cook it 2 1/2 hours but I think I cooked mine closer to 5 hours and the meat was falling apart it was so tender. Can't wait to have the left-overs tomorrow for lunch!

Rosemary Citrus Lamb Stew

1/4 c olive oil
3 lbs lamb stew meat
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t cracked black pepper
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c beef croth
1 c red wine
4 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 oranges, zested and juiced
1 can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Brown on all sides, stirring as needed for 10 - 12 minutes. Add onions and carrots and cook for 4 more minutes. Add garlic and continue to stir for 30 more seconds. Add wine, broth, rosemary, bay leaf, orange zest and orange juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover.

Cook for 2 1/2 hours until meat is fork tender and beginning to pull apart. Remove bay leaf. Add beans and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

*** I served it over jasmine rice.


Easy Pasta and Chicken Dish

>> Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I got this recipe off of ( and decided to try it out this week. It was super simple to make and very easy to modify to your own preferences. I added sauteed onion, fresh basil, parmesan cheese and I used fresh spinach instead of frozen. It seemed a little dry so I added extra chicken broth to get the creamy texture I wanted from the sauce. I'd say that the fresh basil and parmesan cheese are musts; otherwise I think the sauce would be a little bland.


Crab Bisque

I've been craving a good seafood bisque for a few weeks but it's a hassle to go out to eat now that Finley's here. So I set out to make seafood crab bisqueat home - who needs Eddie V's?! I went through a couple of different recipes and finally decided to throw caution to the wind and come up with my own recipe since I couldn't find one that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. It turned out excellent! I served it with my favorite salad (described in the previous post) and fresh sourdough bread for sopping up the remains of the soup. While the recipe is definitely not low-calorie, every now and then we all deserve a splurge!

Erin's Crab Bisque

7 T butter, divided
1/2 white onion, chopped
6 oz mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3/4 c white wine, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T flour
1/2 c chicken broth
2 c milk
2 T tomato paste
7 chives, snipped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 lb crab meat, divided
chives to garnish

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 T butter. Add onion, mushrooms and 1/4 c white wine. Saute for a few minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add garlic and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 more minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt 4 T butter. Whisk in flour and cook for about a minute. Add in the chicken broth and stir well to combine. Cook 1 minute until thickened slightly. Stir in 1/2 c white wine. Stir to combine, cook 1 minute and let thicken. Add in milk, mushroom mixture, tomato paste and chives. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir well and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup so it's velvety smooth and thick. (If you don't have an immersion blender, puree it in a blender in batches.) Stir in most of the crab but reserve a few tablespoons crab meat for garnish. Cook for about 5 minutes to heat crab thoroughly.

To serve, spoon into bowls. Top with a heaping tablespoon of crab meat and snipped chives.


My Favorite Salad

Sagra is an Italian restaurant here in Austin that I love for one their salads. I've recreated it at home several times and it never disappoints. There's not really a recipe so much as there are ingredients that you throw together: arugula, crisped and crumbled pancetta, diced pears, toasted walnuts and goat cheese with a champagne vinaigrette. Tonight I subbed bleu cheese for the goat cheese because Andrew much prefers it and the salad still turned out great. For the vinaigrette I whisk together white wine or champagne vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, chives, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and olive oil - sorry I don't have the quantities - but you could always use a bottled champagne vinaigrette too.


Quiche Lorraine

>> Friday, October 16, 2009

Andrew loves Quiche Lorraine so I set out to try and find a winning recipe. I chose this recipe but then I made several changes of course. It's hard for me not to change a recipe! Here are the changes I made:

- I only used 4 slices of bacon and I thought that was plenty.

- I sauteed the onion in the bacon grease and drained the onions on a paper towel with the bacon.

- I used six eggs and only about 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

- I omitted the sugar too.

We loved it and I think it will go into heavy rotation since it was quick to throw together and I usually have all the ingredients in the pantry already.


Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce

We had an easy Greek dinner tonight. Along with the chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, I also served a chopped Greek salad (cucumber, tomato, kalamata olive, feta cheese, parsley with red wine vinaigrette), hummus and pita bread. The only thing I did differently with the chicken recipe was to omit the zucchini because I didn't have any on hand. I liked the chicken marinade, it was easy and flavorful, but the tzatziki sauce seemed to be lacking something - maybe some dill or maybe I just needed to salt it more.


Dressed Up Bacon Mac 'N' Cheese

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

I love macaroni and cheese but I never want to make it for dinner because it doesn't seem substantial enough - just lots of cheese and carbs, not that those are bad things! So I decided to bulk it up a bit to make it a little more interesting. I used a Food Network magazine recipe as the basis for the dish and then I made a couple of changes. I added chopped zucchini, tomatoes, and chicken to jazz it up and make it feel more like an entree casserole rather than a side dish. Based on reviews of the recipe, I added cheddar cheese (and lots of it!) as well. Overall, I thought it was pretty good but my quest for the ultimate mac'n'cheese will continue. However, Andrew got seconds!



>> Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cold and wet weather means it is chili time! So tonight Andrew and I whipped up a batch of chili to compliment this dreary weather. I have a chili recipe that I have used for a couple of years now and we really like it. I like to serve it with biscuits, fritos or cornbread and I like to top my chili with green onions, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. Here's my recipe - it looks like a ton of ingredients but many of them are common spices and seasonings that you probably have in your pantry already:


1 lb ground beef or bison
4 slices peppered bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil (or leftover bacon grease)
1 small white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 (14 oz) can of beef broth
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can chili beans
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bottle beer of your choice
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon basil, dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayene
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

In a saute pan, cook ground beef (or venison) until browned. Drain and set aside. In the same pan, cook bacon until crispy and fat is rendered. Drain bacon on paper towels. Crumble bacon when cool enough to handle and set aside with the beef.

In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onion, bell pepper and celery until onion turns translucent. Add the beef, bacon and remaining ingredients, except for the tomato paste, and simmer for at least an hour and up to four hours. Stir in the tomato paste and stir to incorporate it fully. Continue simmering for an additional 30 minutes.


Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce

Saturday night for dessert I made a bread pudding with a whiskey cream sauce. For our anniverdary dinner this year, Andrew and I went to Green Pastures and I had an excellent bread pudding - and I've been craving it ever since! This was my attempt to recreate it but I wasn't thrilled with the results. It wasn't bad, it just didn't live up to its predecessor.

What made this bread pudding different from other recipes I'd looked at was that it used fresh bread bread, not day old/slightly stale bread. Therein lied the problem, I think. The bread pudding ended up a little too soggy for me but everyone else seemed to like it...or they were just being polite! Here's the recipe that I used: and here is the recipe I think I'll try the next time I'm craving bread pudding:


Coq au Vin

Yesterday evening Andrew and I had both sets of our parents over for dinner. I decided to try my hand at coq au vin because it sounded like a great dish for cooler weather. My inspiration was another friend who made it (thanks Alicia!) and she got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman ( TPW's website is wonderful for all cooks, but especially for the novice since she posts pictures of every step in the recipe. Being a visual learner, I love that about her website! Anyway, here's the recipe I used and I followed it exactly - with the exception that I added celery to the vegetable mixture.


Tortellini Soup

>> Friday, October 9, 2009

Since it was such a dreary day I decided soup was in order. This is the second time I've made this recipe and Andrew and I really enjoy it. I serve it with Pillsbury garlic breadsticks that I sprinkle with Italian seasoning prior to baking.



The nachos before I covered all the good stuff with cheese.

Not gourmet, certainly not elegant, but so yummy! And easy! These days easy is of the utmost important since I don't always have a lot of time in the kitchen. For these nachos I laid out tortilla chips on a baking pan and layered them with taco meat, black beans, avocado chunks, tomatoes, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese. Threw them in a 325 degree oven for 9-10 minutes and put them on the table. I served them with a sour cream-salsa dip that I made by combining equal parts sour cream and salsa (go figure!).


Spaghetti Carbonara a la Erin

>> Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being a stay at home mom to an infant necessitates having a few recipes that can come together really quickly with minimal prep. Spaghetti Carbonara fits the bill - I literally had this on the table in 20 minutes tonight! I don't have a real recipe because I just kind of eyeball a lot of the ingredients but here's my basic recipe. But beware, this is not a healthy recipe!

Spaghetti Carbonara a la Erin

4 slices peppered bacon
1 egg (I use pasteurized eggs to reduce the risk of salmonella), beaten
2-3 tablespoons white wine
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 oz grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
12 oz spaghetti noodles
parsley for garnish

Over medium heat, fry the bacon in a large saucepan until browned and crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain and reserve the bacon fat in the saucepan.

Meanwhile cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain pasta and add to bacon fat in saucepan.

In a small bowl, combine egg, white wine and cream. Add mixture and parmesan to the pasta and toss to combine. Garnish with parsley and extra parmesan cheese.

Here's a link to a more adventurous carbonara recipe that I want to try but I won't because I know Andrew would be completely opposed to the addition of cinnamon.


Deconstructed Chicken Cordon Bleu and Bacon and Brussel Sprout Hash

Now that I'm staying home with Finley, we watch a lot of TV. Food Network is a favorite and one day I saw an episode of Tyler Florence's Ultimate show during which he featured Chicken Cordon Bleu ( To make it easier on myself (I do have a 10 week old after all!), I 'deconstructed' the chicken simply because I didn't have time to make it ahead and refrigerate it. Basically I breaded the chicken as Tyler did, but then I baked it and when it was almost done, I laid the proscuitto and shredded gruyere on top, and returned it to the oven to let the cheese melt. I thought it turned out just alright. Honestly it's probably not a recipe I'll make again because I felt the proscuitto and gruyere were just a little too overpowering and pungent. That being said, it's really highly rated online so it may be a recipe you would love!

But the real stand out to me was the Bacon and Brussel Sprout Hash ( I loved it and I will definitely keep it in mind the next time I roast a chicken or have a dinner party. And I loved the burst of color the purple fingerling potatoes added! I had fun making it too because I'd never worked with fingerling potatoes before and I don't think I'd had brussel sprouts since I was a kid. All in all, it's a keeper!


Pumpkin Bars

I love fall for its cooler weather, the holiday season and for pumpkin! Anything pumpkin is a-ok to me - pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli in brown butter with fried sage leaves, and most importantly pumpkin bars. This year I tried a new recipe, Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese icing ( and they were delightful! They make a ton but somehow Andrew and I have managed to eat them all in under a week. So if you're looking for a new pumpkin recipe, I'd recommend trying this one.


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