Monday, October 29, 2012

Savory Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It's almost Halloween and everyone is carving pumpkins, stalking up on candy and watching scary movies. Besides Christmas, the month of October and Halloween is my favorite time of year. Is it weird that I love Halloween decorations just as much as Christmas decorations?!?

One of my favorite parts of Halloween is pumpkin carving. I love rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty while I dig out pumpkin guts. The last time Dusty and I carved pumpkins we did these....

I carved Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas and Dusty totally showed me up and carved Scar from The Lion King. I'm still amazed at how awesome his pumpkin turned out. Who knew that I was going to be soon marrying a pumpkin artist?!?

This year Dusty and I joined forces to make one awesome and difficult pumpkin. It may look simple at first, but carving out those letters was quite the challenge. It took a couple hours of joint effort with delicate carving skills, but I think it turned out great!

There is only one thing to do when you have a ton of pumpkin seeds from a carved pumpkin....ROAST THEM! Dusty found this recipe online for roasted pumpkin seeds and it turned out delicious. The pumpkin seeds have now become pumpkin crack!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
{Makes 2 cups}

-2 cups of raw Pumpkin Seeds
-2 tbsp of Salted Butter-melted
-1/2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
-1 tsp of Lawry's Season Salt

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir to combine. Spread the seeds out onto the baking sheet. Spread the seeds out into a single layer.

Place the baking sheet with seeds in the oven for 1 hour, stirring half way through. Once the seeds have roasted for an hour, remove them from the oven and start snacking right away!


Recipe Inspiration:


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bake Sale for Beka-Benefitting the Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America

Hey Everybody!

I'm really excited to tell you about this amazing event that I am apart of today! On my friend Megan's website, Wanna Be A Country Cleaver, she is hosting the Bake Sale for Beka. It's a fabulous bake sale of amazing baked goods from food bloggers across the country and awesome products from companies such as Le Creuset, Kerry Gold Cheese, Star Foods, etc. All up for auction today and tomorrow!

The proceeds of the auction benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. So when you bid on something, you get an awesome treat/product and you are doing some good in the world! How great is that?!?

My Pig-Out Cookies (bacon and chocolate = heaven) are up for auction along with some other mouth-watering treats and awesome products!

Can you believe Le Creuset is donating this beauty!?!?!?

So get your wallets out and start bidding!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Moroccan-Style Beef with Couscous

Moroccan-Style Beef is a delicious and hearty dish that will make your home smell wonderful with the scents of cumin, cinnamon, and coriander. I'm all about savory dishes, and this one definitely fits that description. I really like the savory and the sweetness provided by the raisins.  I've also made this dish with ground turkey, and if you are feeling extra authentic to moroccan/indian cuisine, you can make it with ground lamb as well.

Couscous is one of my all time favorite side dishes. Why? Because it cooks in 5 minutes. Plus it is super tasty with a funky but wonderful texture. I prefer mine with salt, pepper and lemon juice. It's so simple to make and accompanies tons of dishes. I especially love to serve it with Greek Chicken because it soaks up all of the tomato sauce flavors. Mmmm mmmm good!

Moroccan-Style Beef with Couscous
{Serves 6}

-1 lb lean ground beef
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 large onion thinly sliced
-1/2 cup of 1/4" cut carrot
-3/4 tsp ground cumin
-3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground coriander
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
-1/4 cup raisins
-3 tbsp tomato paste
-Zest of 1 Lemon
-1/4 tsp salt
-15 oz can Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-Prepared coucous

Heat a dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven pot). Add the ground beef to the pan, stirring to crumble until no longer pink. Remove the beef from the skillet and drain away the fat. 

Add the tbsp of oil to the skillet and swirl to coat. Add the sliced onion and cut carrots, and saute for 4 minutes. Add the spices (cumin, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne) and saute for 30 seconds while stirring constantly. 

Add the ground beef back into the skillet along with the chicken broth, raisins, lemon zest, salt, tomato paste and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer (medium-low) for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro and lemon juice. Serve with couscous. 


Recipe Inspired By: Cooking Light

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eating British

A couple of weeks ago I became obsessed with Downton Abbey. Have you watched it? Well, you should! I  had previously heard about the show, but was kinda weary about watching it because it sounded like your typical British show...boring. I have yet to make it through Pride & Prejudice. I seriously have tried watching that movie at least 5 times and have fallen asleep each time. I don't get what is wrong with me. Maybe I'll try it again and the 6th time will be the charm.

Anyways, back to the point. Downton Abbey. Love it. Watched both seasons in 2 days. I think the reason I enjoy it so much is because of the attention to detail in the show. The clothing, food, decorations, manners, everything! They don't miss a single thing with this show and it's fascinating to observe how the different classes interact with one another. 

Plus, Matthew Crawley (sigh), what a wonderful, beautiful man. And Branson, how I love Branson! 

Can you believe Season 3 doesn't start until January?!? Well, I've got a secret. I found this pin on Pinterest to the Season 3 episodes 1 & 2 that are now airing in England! It's legit, because I've already watched it and it is soooo good!

So with this new fascination for everything British sparked by the show, I brought out my British cookbook that I bought a couple years ago for the Royal Wedding and started perusing delicious recipes that the royal family enjoy. 

I love this Cottage Pie.
The gravy, meat and mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food!

And this Eton Mess
Such a fancy, but simple dessert!

The other night, I made a chicken breast recipe from Julia Child's cookbook and accompanied the chicken with a fantastic side dish from my cookbook "Eating Royally" of Marinated Portabella Mushrooms that I would have never ever thought of making unless I had this cookbook. So good and so simple! Dusty was impressed and gobbled it up!

Marinated Portabella Mushrooms
By Darren McGrady
{4 servings}

-4 large Portabella Mushrooms
-1/2 cup Olive Oil
-1 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
-2 tbsp Tarragon Vinegar (I used regular white distilled vinegar)
-2 tbsp Red Wine
-1 tsp finely chopped Green Onions
-1/4 tsp dried Thyme
-1 clove Garlic
-1/4 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Ground Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack on the center. 

Peel the skin off the mushrooms to allow the marinade to seep into the flesh. Carefully remove the center stem out of the mushrooms and then cut the mushrooms in half on the bias. 

Whisk together the olive oil, Worchestershire sauce, vinegar, red wine, green onion, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, and pour into a ziplock bag. Add the mushrooms, and marinate at room temperature for about 1 hour, turning the bag occasionally.

Place the mushrooms onto a baking sheet and cook in the center of the oven until tender, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


On another note, every week I'm trying to make at least one ethnic dish such as Mexican/Spanish or Asian....why not European?!?! It's my goal is to make at least one dish a week that is European, that way it introduces new flavors into the menu each week! Today I loaded up on some fun Oktoberfest foods from World Market. Next week I will be making spaetzle for the first time!

Any fun and unique recipes that involve sauerkraut and sweet German mustard that don't involve bratwurst?!? I need ideas!

P.S. You gotta check out Call the Midwife!!! It's another British show that is on PBS on Sunday's that is awesome too! LOVE THIS SHOW!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pork Lo Mein

Billings lacks really tasty ethnic food. Actually, all of Montana lacks good ethnic food. There are a few gems out there, but not many. If you want a steak with a baked potato, we've got it. But acquiring delicious Asian and Mexican food is another story. Therefore, you must make it yourself if you want it. It's one of the few things that the state of Montana lacks.

This is one of Dusty and my favorite Asian dishes to make, and it came from our very first cookbook, Anyone Can Cook. If you can't learn to cook from that cookbook, then you've got a problem. That cookbook has taught the both of us how cook and we've had it since we first started dating 5 years ago. It made me giggle the other night when I opened the book to this recipe and saw that it read "LEVEL 3" for skill level in cooking. This recipe is so easy to make! Which shows how far I've come from my days of being able to only make scrambled eggs and turkey sandwiches.

I highly recommend making the entire 6 servings because it is DELICIOUS for leftovers. Also, you could substitute the pork for shrimp, beef or chicken.

Pork Lo Mein 
{6 servings}

1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs Lean Boneless Pork  (sliced into thin strips against grain)
10 oz dried Chinese Egg Noodles (or Spaghetti/Angel Hair Pasta)
1/4 cup Oyster Sauce
1/4 cup Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Rice Wine or Sherry
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp finely chopped fresh Ginger
1 medium Red Onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
8 oz sliced Mushrooms
2 cups Sugar Snap Peas, halved

Cook noodles according to directions until tender; drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir to combine oyster sauce, soy sauce and sherry. Set aside.

Pour cooking oil and sesame oil into a large 12-inch pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add ginger, cooking and stirring for 30 seconds. Add onion, cooking and stirring for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, cooking and stirring for 2 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, cooking and stirring for 1 minute. Remove vegetables from skillet into a bowl.

Add half of the pork to the pan/wok, cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes until there is no longer any pink. Remove the pork from the pan and add the other half of the pork, repeating until no longer pink.

Return all the meat, vegetables, noodles and sauce to the pan. Using two spoons or spatulas, lightly toss the mixture for about 3-5 minutes until everything is heated through.

Scoop up some lo mein onto your plate and dig in! ENJOY!

Recipe Source: Anyone Can Cook by Better Homes & Gardens

Monday, October 1, 2012

Honey Dijon Wings

Because tonight is Monday Night Football and Dusty is cheering on his Cowboys, I made wings! And not just any wings....savory and sweet Honey Dijon Wings!

Usually for a football game, I make my Football Spicy Wings because I like it HOT! But tonight I made a more sophisticated and savory version of chicken wings that I absolutely love...and Dusty loves more! Besides football, these wings would be perfect for a luncheon or any group gathering. Your guests will be licking their fingers and singing your praises!

Honey Dijon Wings
{4 servings]

-2 lbs of chicken wings, split at the joints and tips removed
-Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
-Cooking Spray
-6 tbsp Dijon Mustard
-1/4 cup Honey
-1 tbsp + 1 tsp Ground Mustard Powder
-1 tsp minced fresh Garlic

Position the lower oven rack on the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees (F). Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray so the wings don't stick to the surface.

Pat the wings dry and sprinkle them with Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste. Spread the wings out evenly in the baking dish and bake the wings, flipping them over halfway through, for 40 minutes.

While the wings are baking, combine in a large bowl the dijon mustard, honey, ground mustard powder and garlic. Mix together and set aside until wings are done baking.

Once the wings are done baking, remove the wings from the baking dish and place them in the large bowl with the honey dijon sauce. Toss the wings until fully coated with the honey dijon sauce and then return the wings to the baking dish to continue baking for 3-5 minutes until glazed.


Recipe Inspired By Food Network June 2011 Issue
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