Tag Archives: dinner

Whiskey Barbecue Sliders

There have been quite a few recipes I’ve seen on some good blogs and websites lately that just got stuck in my head and wouldn’t go away.  So I gave in and cooked them up to enjoy over the weekend and for the Superbowl.  I ended up making a pot of Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Pretzel Bread, some cookies (of course), and these Whiskey BBQ Sliders.  I want to post the soup and Pretzel Bread later but for now, it’s all about the whiskey and the barbecue.

I first came across the Sliders over at Taco Tuesday and they totally caught my eye and made my mouth water, so I checked ’em out over at Pioneer Woman too.  With the jalapeños, whiskey, and a whole lot of barbecue sauce I was sure that my hubby would be excited for this dinner.  Ended up that he was, so much that he got in the kitchen to cook with me. =)

He loved how the entire house smelled while they were cooking too, “The house smells awesome right now, if there was a cologne that smelled just like this, I’d want it… I want to grab all my clothes and hang them up out here so they’ll smell as good as the house does right now.”  So funny, I’m not sure he loves that I blog about his comments, but I get a kick out of them.

We made them more like small-ish burgers, but I like to call ’em sliders anyway, it just sounds more exciting.  I love that they’re so saucy, and the sautéed onions add flavor and more texture in the sauce, the jalepenos and whiskey add a little kick.  Next time though I’ll use the ‘hot’ jalepenos rather than the ‘tame’ ones, maybe just chop them up to add into the sauce.  Sweet potato fries dipped in blue cheese dressing go great with these too.

I think this will be a sort of regular dinner around here.  Its fun to have a new way to cook up some of the beef in the freezer, and one that’s really quick and easy too.  I know you want the recipe now, it’s right here and here.  Oh and don’t forget, you’ll need heaps of napkins for this.  =)

Cheesy Baked Tortellinis

Since we’re in the midst of the busy holiday season, I wanted to share a favorite dinner recipe with you.  It’s not so much a great idea for all of the holiday parties, potlucks, and plans for entertaining as it is a great one for the busy weeknights where you just need a delicious home cooked, satisfying, and easy dinner.

When I’m in the mood for some comfort food, a little pasta, or just want to make a really quick and easy dinner, I make this Baked Cheese Tortellini dish.  It’s comfort food at it’s best and I love it.  And my husband loves it too, he’s always very happy when I tell him it’s what’s for dinner.

I originally found the recipe here, and just simplified it a bit and made it how I like it.  I often buy these Cheese Tortellinis when I’m at my cousin’s Italian specialty food store, All Things Italian.  I think it’d also be great with some of the fresh tortellinis you can buy in the refrigerated section in the grocery store.  Then this dish would be even quicker and easier to make.  =)

::Cheesy Tortellinis::

~ 1/2 lb cheese tortellinis
2 c. marinara sauce
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 c. grated parmesan
optional: fresh basil or parsley

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cook the tortellinis in boiling (salted) water until al dente, about ten minutes.  Drain, leaving just a tad bit of the pasta water in the pan.  Return the cooked pasta to the pan and gently stir in the marinara.  Pour into a small baking dish, sprinkle on the parm, s + p, and lay on the slices of fresh mozzarella.  (If using fresh pasta, just set in the baking dish, pour in the marinara, give it a little stir, and top with the cheese).  Bake for about 20-30 min.  I opened the oven door at the end and finished it under the broiler for a couple minutes.  Garnish with optional fresh basil or parsley.

This is so great when you’re in the mood for something easy and cheesy!  Enjoy! =)

Courgette Favorites :: Fried Zucchini

Can I think of any more not-so-nourishing ways to eat this vegetable??  Well probably, but we won’t go there for now.  My mom always made fried zucchini when I was growing up and I love it.  I don’t deep fry it, and neither did she, but we do a bread crumb coating and pan fry it.  They’re so good as a part of dinner or a little appetizer.  I made a lot of them last night and they’re pretty darn good the next day as a leftover snack too.

::Fried Zucchini::
1 c. flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. bread crumbs
1 or 2 large zucchini, 1/2″ thick slices
1/4 c. grated parmesan

With three bowls set out, fill one with the flour, one with two eggs, and one with bread crumbs (and parm if using).  Season the flour or the bread crumbs with s + p.

Roll each slice in flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs, and set on a baking sheet or plate.  Heat a large saute pan (non-stick, cast iron, or stainless) over medium heat, coating the pan with about 1/4″ of olive oil/vegetable oil.  When oil is hot and a pinch of bread crumbs gives a good sizzle, set the coated zucchini in the pan.  Don’t over crowd the pan, cook them in two batches if you have a lot.  Let sizzle and brown, about 5-ish min. on each side.  Only turn over once.  Line the same baking sheet or plate with paper towels and set fried zucchini on it to cool.  Each slice is done when it’s golden brown on each side, and if you press on the center a little and it’ll give.

–Use one hand for rolling the slices in the dry ingredients and the other for the wet egg layer, to minimize fingertip clumpage.
–1/2″ thick slices work best, firm on the outside and tender in the middle.
–When removing from pan and setting on paper towels, set the recently-cooked-side down, rather than turning over, so that the oil doesn’t soak back into the zucchini, but runs down into the paper towel.

These are served best with a little marinara or some aioli, but also just right without any dressing.  Cheers!

Courgette Favorites :: Zucchini Angel Hair Pancake

I’ve been in a zucchini mood lately, which works out well since I’m getting a bit of it from the garden and farmer’s market.  We enjoyed this dish last night for dinner, and though it’s a bit of work, it’s well worth it.  It’s a fun, delicious, Italian dish. I’ve made Zucchini Potato Pancakes before, and those are great as a side in your dinner but this big pancake with angel hair pasta serves well as a main course, and makes really good leftovers.  This recipe was in a Cooking Light magazine I was flipping through while getting my hair done last week.  So I went home, looked it up online and whipped up one big pancake.  =)

The only things I switched up in the recipe was the 1/3 c. flour that is called for, I replaced with 1/4 c. bread crumbs and 1/4 c. flour, and only did a little pinch of baking powder, and did more parmesan.  I also should have used my nonstick skillet but used the stainless saute pan, and rather than flipping it I cooked it til brown and crisp on the bottom then finished it in the oven at 450 for 20-25 min.
Well the food photography was done indoors and at night, so the pics don’t make it look as appetizing and delicious as it was, but this with a little green salad really is perfect!  YUM!  =)

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

I made this soup the other night with our potatoes from the garden, so I can freeze it and have it to pull out for dinner on those chilly winter nights to come.  I’m not so sure any of it is going to make it to the freezer.  Can’t. Stop. Eating. It.  Even with the weather so warm right now, and usually I don’t care for hot soup in the summer, I’ve been enjoying it for lunch and dinner.

So comforting, soothing, heartwarming, creamy, and flavorful.  I basically did Ina Garten’s recipe from my cookbook, Back to Basics, and changed it up a little.

The roasted potatoes and leeks, sauteed shallot and garlic, white wine, chicken broth, parmesan, whole milk, parmesan, and a sprinkling of thyme and parsley all make for the best flavor!  Really, if you plan on making potato soup sometime soon, you’ve got to cook this one up!

::Roasted Potato Leek Soup::

3-4 lbs potatoes, cut in 3/4″ cubes (ideally yukon golds, but I used russets and reds from our garden)
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1/3 c. olive oil
Spread the potatoes and leeks out in a single layer on 3 baking sheets, drizzle well with olive oil and s+p and toss.  Roast at 400 F for 35-40 min.

3-4 T olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 c. dry white wine
2 qts. chicken broth
4-6 c. whole milk
4 T. parmesan, grated

In a large stockpot heat the olive oil, add in shallots, then garlic and saute til a few min., then toss in two sheet pans of the roasted veg, setting aside the third pan for later.  Saute only a couple min., pour in white wine and let cook a few min.  Add about 1 qt of broth (enough to make it thin enough to puree).  Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture in the pot (or puree batches of it in a food processor).  After it’s all pureed in the pot, heat back up, add in 4-6 c. whole milk (or cream), parmesan, and sprinkle in 1 T. fresh or dried thyme, fresh parsley, and s+p to taste.  Do not let it get to a full boil, but a gentle simmer.  Add in the last baking sheet of roasted potatoes and leeks to the pureed soup, stir up and enjoy! 

We have now pulled out all of our potatoes from the garden, I think I will make another pot of this to have more to freeze.  It is so nice to have homemade soup in the freezer on those winter evenings where soup just sounds perfect, or those weeknights that you just don’t feel like cooking.  =)

((The Best Ever)) Fish Tacos

Beauty-full remote commercial fishing village of Cordova, AK

Ever since spending the summer of 2004 in Cordova, Alaska, I have been making these fish tacos.  Not long after I arrived to this small, remote, and breathtakingly beautiful fishing village, I found a quaint little red school-bus-turned-kitchen, Baja Taco, that served up the best salmon and halibut tacos, ever.  After my first visit, I was hooked.

The owner lady got her supply of Copper River Salmon and Halibut from her husband who was a commercial fisherman.  Two small, but very filling, tacos were served up in this little red basket and you had your choice of fresh wild Sockeye or Silver Salmon, or Halibut.  The fish is beer-battered and wrapped up in a flour tortilla along with shredded cabbage, chipotle aioli, and pico de gallo…with a lime wedge of course.

Absolutely delicious, fresh, flavorful, and such a treat.  And so, ever since I’ve been making my own similar version of what I discovered there.  The only difference really is Panko bread crumbs.  Be sure to find some good quality fish, preferably salmon or halibut, and good fresh ingredients.

Fresh Salsa

Chipotle Aioli

Flour, egg, panko

Wild Alaskan Salmon and Halibut

All coated up

Pan-fried for crispy coating and tender fish

Great textures, flavors, and colors!

::Heather’s Fish Tacos::

About 1 lb. fresh wild salmon or halibut, skinned, trim off fat, de-bone if necessary, cut into fish stick size pieces
2 c. green or purple cabbage, shredded

make chipotle aioli:

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. sour cream
1 chipotle pepper (from the canned chipotles in adobo)
juice of 1 lime
4 T. water
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until combined and smooth.  Add the chipotle according to your taste and preference for heat.. they do add quite the kick.  Refridgerate until using.

make salsa:

2  big red tomatoes (organic/heirloom for best flavor), diced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 jalepeno, minced (discard seeds if you don’t want it hot)
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1-2 lime(s)
big pinch of cilantro, chopped
dash of olive oil
Combine in a bowl, refrigerate til needed.

make/pan-fry fish sticks:

1/2 – 1 c. AP Flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 – 1 c. Panko Japanese bread crumbs
Set each ingredient in three seperate bowls, coat each fish fillet in the flour, then egg, then Panko.  Have a large skillet with about 1/2 to 3/4 c. oil (I use Canola/Vegetable/Olive Oil mix) heated to 350 deg. F., or til a pinch of bread crumbs dropped into oil sizzles and bubbles and floats, and doesn’t drop to the bottom.  Lay the fish fillets in the hot oil.  Cook until golden on each side yet still tender, about 3-5 min., depending on the thickness and size of fish sticks.  Lay onto a baking sheet/plate lined with paper towel.

Toast a flour tortilla in a skillet til a little crispy and golden, fill with fish stick(s), cabbage, aioli, and salsa.  Enjoy!


And if you’re family/friends love these as much as my hubby does, you’ll be getting hugs and kisses for the next week 🙂

Taco Pizza

The other night I made Taco Pizza for dinner, and I just have to share this!  You really don’t even need a recipe… more like just sharing the idea.  Taco Pizza and Cheeseburger Pizza are two of my fav pizzas to make at home.  Very tasty and just a good home-cooked satisfying and delicious dinner.  I love having mexican food for dinner, with all the fresh tomatoes, avocado, black beans, olives, salsa, sour cream, cheese, jalepeno… lots of different flavors, textures, and colors.  SO good!

The dough I make is found here, and over here on my cousin’s All Things Italian store blog.  Par-bake your pizza dough for 8 min. at 425 or 450 deg. F., take out of oven and cover with salsa and toppings.  Rather than a traditional tomato sauce base, I spread on salsa (we love it a little hot).  Then lay on slices of fresh mozzarella and cover with grated cheddar.  Sprinkle on the black beans, sliced black olives, sliced/diced jalepeno, even some taco-seasoned browned burger if desired, then bake another 8-ish min. or til cheese begins to get golden and it’s all cooked to your liking.

Favorite toppings on a par-baked crust

Baked til golden and edges are crispy

Taco Salad Toppings!

So yummy, all the delicious cheesy indulgence of any pizza, with some freshness added with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, salsa, and sour cream.

YUM!  Hope this inspires you to have fun making pizza at home… better yet making pizza with your sweetheart, family, kids, or friends.  🙂