Thursday, September 30, 2010

Birthday Dinner - Beef Brisket with Gorgonzola Sauce

Since my guy did not want to go out to dinner for his birthday tonight I decided to make him a special birthday dinner.  What guy does not love beef and cheese?


Beef Brisket with a Gorgonzola Sauce

1 lb brisket
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp paprika
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Dash of salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium skillet heat butter until melted. Place brisket in the skillet and season with paprika, garlic, red pepper, salt & pepper. You just want to brown the brisket on both sides. Once you have browned the brisket, place it into a deep baking dish and cook for 30 minutes until the inside of the brisket reaches 160 degrees. However, if you have the time you can slow cook the brisket in a crock pot.

Meanwhile, start preparing the gorgonzola sauce.

Gorgonzola Sauce

2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
1 ½ c heavy cream for a rich taste (I like to use skim milk for a lighter sauce)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
6 oz gorgonzola
salt & pepper to taste

Use the same medium skillet that you used to brown your brisket. This will allow you to mix the tasty deliciousness off the bottom of the skillet into your sauce. Heat the skillet to medium high and melt butter on the warm skillet, then slowly mix the flour. Once the flour has been mixed well with the butter add heavy cream and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, add gorgonzola (save a pinch of gorgonzola to add on top of the sauce) and reduce heat to low. Add salt & pepper to taste.

**Serve with a twice baked potato and for those special occasions you can even add a lobster.**

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turkey Corn Chili

Fall, chilly weather, and football season has finally arrived!  This recipe for chili is perfect for any day of the week, but for our football fans this is a perfect healthy tailgating option.


Turkey Corn Chili

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, red or green, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey meat
1 1/2-2 tablespoons chili powder (a palmful)
1 1/2-2 tablespoons ground cumin (a palmful)
1-2 teaspoons paprika
Coarse salt
2 cups frozen corn kernels or leftover prepared corn
1 can chunky-style crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
2 cans kidney beans
2 cups prepared chicken stock or broth
1 c beer
2 scallions, white and greens, chopped

Heat a deep pot over medium-high heat. Work close to the stove for your chopping. Add EVOO to your pot, about one turn of the pan in a steady stream, then add ground turkey and cook until cooked all the way through. In a medium non-stick skillet add vegetables as you chop them and cook vegetables for five minutes, stirring frequently; reduce the heat if veggies start to stick.

Stir in diced turkey meat and season with chili powder, cumin and paprika. Season with a little salt, to taste. Add corn, tomatoes, kidney beans, and broth. Combine well and adjust seasonings. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Garnish chili with chopped scallions.

Serve with corn bread

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Someone gave this recipe to me way back when and I forgot how sinfully delicious it turns out.


5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa
1 egg
3 T milk
3 T vegetable oil
2 T chocolate chips (opt)
Splash of vanilla extract (opt)
Vanilla Ice Cream (opt)
Chocolate Sauce (opt)

Mix flour, sugar, and cocoa (you may add all of the ingredients in the mug or in a separate bowl if you like). Add egg and mix until smooth. Pour in milk, vegetable, and mix well. If you decide to add chocolate chips and vanilla extract mix in before microwaving the cake. Microwave for 3 minutes. Don’t worry when the cake raises above the mug, it will not spill over. Let the cake sit for a few minutes to cool. Serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Recipe courtesy of a friend who knows how much I love chocolate :)  Photos courtesy of my lovely sister

Monday, September 20, 2010

Peanut Chicken and Rice

Many of you have requested some light and easy recipes.  How about 5 ingredients for easy?  If you do not already pick up these items during each grocery visit I recommend adding it to your list.


Peanut Chicken and Rice

3/4 cup water
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cubed boneless chicken breast
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped scallion whites
1/4 cup chopped scallion greens
Cooked brown rice

In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup water and the peanut butter. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, patted dry, and cook until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. In the same skillet, cook the mushrooms and 1/2 cup chopped scallion whites over medium heat for 30 seconds. Stir in the peanut butter mixture. Return the chicken and its juices to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through; season with salt and pepper. Top with 1/4 cup chopped scallion greens and serve with cooked brown rice.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pasta with White Clam Sauce

This is a light pasta recipe that everyone is sure to love. I just looked to see what I already had in my pantry and started creating something not too heavy that would satisfy my pasta craving. I hope this hits the spot for you too. XOXO, Esra

Pasta with White Clam Sauce

3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 box of shell pasta

2 skinless chicken breast, chopped into thin slices
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
2 scallions, diced
½ c heavy cream
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can of white clam sauce

Place a large pot of water over high heat for the pasta.

Heat a deep saucepan or skillet over medium heat with EVOO. Add chicken and allow it to cook for 5 minutes until almost cooked through. Add red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, and scallions, sauté until cooked, season with salt and pepper. Mix the cream of mushroom and heavy cream into the chicken mixture. Heat through and let reduce at a low, bubbling simmer while pasta cooks.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water to al dente and drain. Combine the chicken mixture with the pasta and add the white clam sauce. Mix well and serve with your favorite type of fresh bread.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wanted to say thank you to some of my coworkers and they requested cookies. Since I love any excuse to use my Kitchen Aid Mixer I decided this was the perfect opportunity to get creative and create my own recipe. This was a huge hit and I received many compliments on this tasty treat.


Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes about 60-70 cookies)

1 c butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ c packed brown sugar
¾ c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 ¼ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda (make sure it is not more than a year old or your cookies will turn out flat)
1 ½ tsp baking powder (once again make sure no more than a year old)
1 tsp salt
2 ½ c chocolate chips
1 c chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until it appears whipped and creamy. Slowly add the eggs and continue to mix well until blended.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture into the sugar mixture above and mix for 2 minutes until no flour is visible. Finally, mix in chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls (about 2 TB thick) onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them onto wire racks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Romantic Fondue Night at Home

Tonight was our anniversary and I wanted to make a romantic meal at home for us. After being at work all day I was a bit exhausted and the thought of going anywhere that required me to look presentable was out of the question :)
We both enjoy fondue and once you have all of these ingredients the rest is a lot of fun to make together. For those of you who prefer a healthy version of this I would recommend skipping the appetizer and the dessert. The main course is very figure friendly.



Swiss Cheddar Fondue

12 ounces beer
8 ounces swiss cheese, shredded (mild Irish Swiss works best)
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ c flour
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp pepper

In a medium sized bowl, mix cheeses with flour. Meanwhile, heat beer in fondue pot until steaming. Add Worcestershire, garlic, mustard and pepper; mix well. Add cheese and stir until melted.
Use chunks of bread, veggies and apples for dipping in cheese mixture.

Recipe courtesty of


Coq Au Vin Fondue (broth)

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Burgundy wine
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced

Heat vegetable stock in fondue pot until it begins to simmer (I cheated and started to heat this on the stove then moved it into the fondue pot to save time). Add all other ingredients, bring to simmer.

Place individual pieces of desired meat or veggies on fondue fork and put in pot until correct temperature has been reached.

I used filet migon, lobster, shrimp, mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots... mmmm so fabulous

Recipe compliments of


Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fondue

12 Oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
¼ C heavy cream
3 Tbsp raspberry liqueur

Combine the chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Heat until the chocolate is melted, stirring constantly; or combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every 30 to 45 seconds. Be careful not to let the chocolate burn. Pour into a warm fondue pot. Drizzle with the liqueur. Keep fondue warm over low heat.

We Used: Pound cake, brownie bites,  bananas, apples, and marshmallow

Recipe courtesty of this website: Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fondue Recipe

**Please note that even if you do not have a fondue pot you can do all of this on the stove with a medium size pot.**

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lake Country Hash Browns

A rustic, Italian twist on your traditional hash brown dish, incorporating seasonably fresh tomatoes and basil.  I served these alongside mini country ham biscuits and fresh peaches from our favorite local market in Lake Gaston– J.B. Jones.   

As they say, “you eat with your eyes first” and this is certainly an aesthetically pleasing dish.  Enjoy!
Alison J.

2 Russet potatoes, cleaned and diced into small cubes
1 large ripe tomato or two medium tomatoes, cubed
1/2 large sweet onion, finely diced
1 good handful of fresh basil leaves, stemmed & sliced
1 garlic clove (peeled and finely chopped)
salt, pepper and seasoning salt, to taste
extra virgin olive oil

Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium high heat with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Drop your cubed potatoes and diced onions into the skillet.  Saute for about 10 minutes until they become slightly golden.  Now add garlic and then your seasonings.  I'll leave the quantities of the salt, seasoning salt and pepper up to you, the chef!  Seasoning preferences vary, but I would suggest generously sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning salt across the top of the dish.  

Take a sample bite (the best part!) to test your seasonings, and adjust as needed.  Once the potatoes and onions are soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, remove the pan from the heat and toss in your fresh basil and tomato chunks.  Serve warm or at room temp - you can't go wrong either way!  

*Freshly grated Parmesan cheese would be a great way to top of this dish!