Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Chronicles

So, let it begin, the true countdown. And through out all the decorating, shopping, preparing for guests & the hustle & bustle this season brings, let us not forget the reason we do all of it in the first place.  

Christmas Past 2006

See you on Monday with something delicious. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving...................

From My Home to Your Home!!!!!!!!!!

With preparing for guests tonight, this the best I can do. But really, in the end, and in the true spirit of things, all I want to say is thank you. Thank you for giving me more than you can imagine, for motivating me more than you know, and for inspiring me to be my best self. If you're reading this, then I am talking to you!!!!!

*** *** *** *** ***

I also wanted to share these cookies with you. I made them last night for Tristan's class & meant to take a picture to post about it, in case you haven't seen these before & were interested in making them. I borrowed this picture from Melissa at A Little Loveliness.

All you need is a package of fudge strip cookies, Reese's PB cups & some icing. Turn the cookie upside down. Use the icing to "glue" the Reese's PB cups to the cookie. Then draw a square with the icing. I used orange icing for mine.

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Caramelized Chili Shrimp

I am so thrilled to have come across this recipe in the new Pillsbury pamphlet book at the grocery checkout. I always have all these ingredients on hand, including shrimp in the freezer, so it's nice to know I can whip up a great appetizer in less than 15 minutes. I made this twice over the weekend & took a batch to my friend Tammy's house. A little bit of sweet & a little bit of spice, these have definitely secured a spot at my Christmas appetizer table & any other gathering.

1/2 cup sugar
1 tblsp all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher (coarse) salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb large uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined, tails on
1/2 lime

Make sure your shrimp are patted dry. Heat oven to 500. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. In a resealable 1 gallon plastic bag, mix all ingredients except shrimp & lime. Add shrimp; seal bag & shake to coat with shrimp with sugar mixture. Use your fingers to squeeze the bag to make sure the garlic gets evenly dispersed.

Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Using spatula, group the shrimp together & squeeze fresh lime juice over. Place on serving platter.

My Thoughts:

Next time I may use shrimp without the tail so that people can just use their fork to eat the entire shrimp without getting their hands sticky. The baking time says 7-9 minutes but these are perfect at 7 on the dot. A minute longer will produce overcooked shrimp.

Click Here to Print Recipe

For more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays please visit Lisa at
Blessed with Grace

Monday, November 24, 2008

Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel

Happy Birthday Jennifer !!!!

While I probably spent way too much time in the kitchen, it was still a really nice weekend! Plus, I have 4-5 successes to come out of it, which I will share with you this week. So, there was Twilight on Friday night, a beautiful Saturday morning of exploration with my little guy, a visit to the park just the 3 of us & a spontaneous Sunday night at our friend's house making dinner, sampling a champagne/vodka hybrid & playing Rock Band with the kids.

How was Twilight? I liked it enough & was not as disappointed as some, but didn't love it. There were laughable scenes that should not have been but I promised myself I wouldn't dissect it too much. I figured nothing on the big screen could compete with the feelings I was left with after reading the series anyway. What I did love was seeing it with my best friend Tam after having a few drinks, the 1st kiss & the casting of Alice & Emmett. What I didn't like was Jacob's hair, Jasper looking like Edward Scissorhands & Edward's response to Bella in Biology. My opinion is it's definitely a go see it for yourself & tell me what you think kinda movie.

What I really loved was finding this recipe at the last minute Saturday morning, where I had all the ingredients on hand, including the over ripe bananas. My little guy really liked it & I also took some over to our neighbors & friends. This would be perfect if you're having guests in for the holidays.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts & almonds)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 8x8 inch baking pan. Stir together chocolate chips, brown sugar, nuts & cinnamon; set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter & egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas & milk. Add dry ingredients & mix until combined.

Spread half of batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter & streusel. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack.

My Thoughts:

Check your cake after 35 minutes. Mine was done in 38 minutes. If you're into sweet & love chocolate use the 1 cup of chocolate chips. Me, I may just decrease to 3/4 cup next time. I also used different nuts just to get rid of them but I would love to try the pecans. Depending on your preference for the level of sweetness, this could be had for breakfast or for dessert!
Click Here to Print Recipe

Coming tomorrow is an awesome appetizer that will be sitting on my holiday table. So delicious, I made it twice this weekend!!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dip & Dinos


I have shared this dip with you before but with the holidays coming up & because this is the first time I have my own pictures, I wanted to post it again. It is a family favorite, my sister & I have been making it for years. And since it is so easy, I never even factor it in to my timeline when entertaining. It always has a spot. Even those who don't love artichokes have loved this dip!!

(2) 14oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained & cut up
(2) can original Rotel (diced tomatoes & chiles), drained
(1) cup mayo
(1) cup grated parmesan cheese
(2) tsp garlic powder
(1) tsp worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 375. To minimize cleanup, drain artichoke hearts in one side of the colander & the Rotel in the other side. Let sit for a few minutes. Roughly chop up the artichoke hearts in half. Pour into a shallow baking dish. Add mayo, parm cheese, garlic & worcestershire. Combine well. Bake for 30-35 minutes until nice & bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with Scoops!!!

My Thoughts:

Too easy. This dip tastes perfect warm or at room temperature so it's perfect for taking right out of the oven & bringing somewhere. Even people who don't love artichokes have loved this dip. It's a must try. While it's not spicy at all, it does have a little kick. So, if you are on the cautious side at all, just buy the mild Rotel instead of the original.

*** *** ***

Here's pics from last weekend when we saw the live show Walking with Dinosaurs. It was an awesome experience & worth the money. It's based on the award winning BBC TV series & depicts the evolution of these dinos & their daily interactions with one another. I was amazed at how incredibly real they looked.

Click on pics to make larger.

We went with Tristan's girlfriend Emily who he has known since he was 8 months old, and her mom. How cute do they look together?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things to Come......A Wordful Wednesday

Quaint & charming spaces are sometimes created through untraditional means. Putting something in a small space can then make it a cozy, small space. The first bed & breakfast I ever stayed in had a clawfoot tub at the foot of my parent's bed. Weird, I thought, but that's why I fell in love with B&B's!!

Our kitchen isn't big enough for a built in island so I knew this mobile island was perfect. I had been wanting one for so long, unable to find the right one, until now. Am I crazy for looking forward to creating so many memories over this cute little piece of furniture? For being so excited to have my kitchen reflect more of who I am & what I enjoy?

Chef's Catalog - please hurry to fulfill my order just in time for Christmas entertaining. I'll love you forever!!!

Speaking of Christmas, this will be a perfect treat before dinner. This vertical pear salad with watercress, toasted pecans, crumbled blue cheese & vinaigrette is not only pretty but delicious when drizzled with some honey. I'm expecting 9-10 people for the holiday but instead of making one per person I may serve them on a few plates & scatter them around the table for a family style salad.

Click Here to Print Recipe

These are just 2 things I am really looking forward to during the holidays but would mean nothing if I couldn't share them with those I love!

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Tuscan Stuffed Mushrooms

I've gotten a bit tired of regular 'ol stuffed mushrooms with the breadcrumbs & wasn't inspired to make any until I came across this recipe from Giada. These were simply some of the best stuffed mushrooms I've had & such a nice change from the usual. So savory & delicious!!

These will definitely be an appetizer at my Christmas dinner - just look at the colors - although they'd be perfect for Thanksgiving as well. I took these to my parents this past weekend as soon as they were out of the oven & once there we just placed them under the broiler for 2 minutes to freshen 'em up a bit. We all agreed these are a keeper for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 cup diced jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed
1 cup diced pitted green olives, rinsed
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 bunch scallions, diced (white parts only)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omit)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb white button mushrooms, cleaned & stemmed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl mix together the roasted red bell peppers, olives, cheese, breadcrumbs, scallions, olive oil, salt (if using) & pepper. Spoon the filling into the cavity of the mushrooms. Place them on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. I like to do this so they are not sitting in all their liquid getting soggy. Instead the bottoms roast just like the tops. Bake until the mushrooms are tender, about 12 minutes.

Transfer the mushrooms to a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped basil, if desired and serve.

My Thoughts:

The original recipe called for half of the filling but it seemed too little to me so I doubled the recipe to what you see above. This was enough filling for a one pound pkg of mushrooms, with the filling piled up high on each. It will sink a bit once cooked so pile as high as you can.

Visit Lisa Ann for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays !

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pecan Caramel Cheesecake

Awesome weekend! We visited Madagascar, went Walking with Dinosaurs, spent time with friends, ate a good meal with family; a nice balance of good things! More on the live experience with the Dinosaurs to come but if you're considering going, it's definitely worth it!!

We spent time at my parents house yesterday & since I promised them I'd bring a dip, appetizer & dessert but was running short on time, I cheated a bit on the last & decided to go with this Sandra Lee recipe which uses 70% ready-made products with 30% fresh. This turned out way beyond my expectations & I would definitely make it again. I've never used the no bake cheesecake packages & while I won't make a habit of it, it was nice for a change.

I can definitely see this on my dessert table at Thanksgiving. Everyone loved it!!!

2 boxes real cheesecake dessert mix, Jell-O No Bake
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tblsp water
2 1/2 cups cold milk
1 cup butterscotch caramel sauce
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar

Line bottom of 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Mix the 2 packages of crust (from cheesecake dessert mix), the melted butter, sugar & water in a large bowl until well blended. Reserve 1 cup of crumb mixture for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared pan (not up sides).

Combine the 2 packages of cheesecake filling & the cold milk in another large bowl. Beat for 3 minutes or until smooth & thick. Fold 1/2 cup of caramel sauce into cheesecake mixture. Pour mixture into crust lined springform pan. ***Mix reserved crumb mixture with 1/4 cup of caramel sauce, pecans & brown sugar. Sprinkle mixture on top of cheesecake***

Refrigerate cake at least ***5 hours*** or until set. Run warm knife around pan sides to loosen cake; remove pan sides. Transfer cake to serving platter & drizzle with remaining ***1/4 cup of caramel sauce.***

My Thoughts:

*** I am not sure how they expect you to sprinkle any mixture once that mixture has been combined with sticky gooey caramel sauce. So, I ended up having to spread it, if I could even call it that, carefully over the cake with my fingers. I then toasted more pecans & filled in any spots. This took a lot of patience & while this came out awesome, I won't do it the same next time. I recommend to warm up 1/4 cup of the caramel, drizzle it on top of the cheesecake mixture. Then, mix only the crumb mixture with the pecans & brown sugar & sprinkle that on top.

Then, right before serving, you can warm up the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel sauce & drizzle that over the cheesecake, letting it drip down sides.

As for the setting time, I set it for 5 hours but it needed more time. Ideally, make the day before. If not, set for at least 7 hours.

Click Here to Print Recipe

And for a little more sweetness:

Friday, November 14, 2008

To Some Jews, Faith Means Lox, Bagels & Seinfeld

I read that somewhere & it just made me laugh a little.

I grew up a Jew, just not a practicing one. We grew up in the Bronx as part of a huge melting pot. I had black friends, Irish friends, Spanish friends. It was awesome. But we seemed to be the only Jews. When I was younger I wondered where the others were. Hah. I even got tied to a pole when I was younger because I was the little Jewish girl. I laughed about it later with the kid who did it. For a long time, after getting out of the Bronx, we went back often to re-visit those good times with friends who were still there.

I had such a fun-filled childhood, living in a 5 story building, always hanging out on "the stoop," friends calling up to us from the street to our 3rd story window, asking if we could come out to play. The ice cream truck would come by & we'd have mom throw money out the window with something heavy to weigh it down. Fun times. A time when it was safe for a bunch of kids to be running in the streets because we were all looking out for each other.

We celebrated Christmas because it was fun but we also put up the Menorah out of respect for the Jewish traditions. Yeah, we were like that.... Later my sisters & I were all dating someone of a different nationality & so we called ourselves the League of Nations. But I digress...

While my faith has changed since I was younger, I still hold onto what is considered an important part of Jewish cuisine. The Bagel with Cream Cheese & Lox.

Nova Lox is a salmon fillet, thinly sliced, lightly salted & smoked & very delicate. Ordinary Lox is similar but much saltier. It was introduced to the United States through Eastern European Jewish immigrants.

The only way I eat it is on a lightly toasted bagel, with a schmear of cream cheese, thinly sliced onions & black pepper. I often slice up some tomato as well. Some people do the capers but it's not my bag. We enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A package is usually good for 3 bagels & I enjoy mine open faced with not too much salmon on each side.
This is to us what grits are to Southerners. I know some of my friends up North have never had grits & I know many people who have never tried Lox. 

You can usually find 2 different types of Lox at the supermarket near the fish. I always get the one that says Nova. It is more delicate & less salty than the other package normally labeled as just Lox. If this is something you've never tried, you ought to. You'll either love it or hate it. But at least you can say you tried it.
Well, I really enjoyed sharing this with you. I didn't plan on talking about my childhood but it seemed natural once I got going.
Have a great weekend!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Plate of Muffins

I came across a Martha Stewart craft for making a glittered party pedestal over at a Life Made by Marcie. Go check her out to see the awesome pedestal she made for a Halloween party she had. You can mark it for next year. Although I had no need for this exact kind, it did give me an idea to make my own serving plate.

Here it is & I love it. I plan to make more at different heights which will make for a nice presentation at the holidays. Sure you can buy them but this was fun to make & cheaper. I found the plate on clearance & the candlestick at Michael's. Just glue them together & you're ready to entertain.

Garlic & Sundried Tomato Corn Muffins

What would look nice on this serving plate are some of these muffins I made a few weeks back. This recipe is from Giada & while I got mixed reviews I thought it was worth sharing because it's easy enough & intriguing. If you like garlic, sundried tomatoes & corn muffins you might want to give them a try. I think they're nice served with soup.

2 (8 1/2 oz)pkgs Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes (from an 8oz jar)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2 muffin tins. In a large bowl combine the muffin mix, corn, garlic & sun-dried tomatoes. Stir to combine. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream & eggs until well blended. Add the buttermilk mixture to the muffin mix. Stir to combine. Spoon the mix into the muffin tins, filling up the cups about halfway. Bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

My Thoughts:

I would recommend decreasing garlic to 2 cloves & maybe adding a bit more sundried tomatoes. Not by 50% but just a little bit more.

Click Here to Print Recipe

Since this post is getting long I will hold off until tomorrow to share with you a family favorite I have grown up on. It's something some of you may never have had before!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Personal Cornucopia - 202nd Post

(click on the smaller pics to get a good idea of what really makes me happy)

A pantry Makeover:

Cozy Corners to get lost in imagination, share in culinary delights or wash the day away:

Getting to know the Woman Behind the Waitress at my favorite Thai place:

(Annie was in costume for Halloween)

Buying individual bottles & Sampling Beers with family & friends:

Enjoying the flow of fresh air that brings with it Energy & Life:


My Little Angel just right this moment with his shortest haircut yet:

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Not Your Ordinary Enchiladas

Why? Well, look at the first ingredient. Deli turkey!!!
I did not expect for these to be the BEST enchiladas I've ever had. These were perfect & healthier than the original!!!!!

I always read how so many of you love Mexican food. So, you'd be doing yourself a great culinary disservice if you didn't try these. They take 35 minutes, start to finish! I had these leftover for lunch the next day and they were just as awesome, re-heated in oven for 15-20 minutes.

3/4 lb turkey breast, sliced (from the deli), then chopped by you (I ordered Boars Head Ovengold roasted turkey)
1 (8 3/4 oz) can Fiesta corn
1 8 oz container reduced-fat sour cream plus more for serving
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat (2%) Mexican cheese blend
2 tblsp chopped fresh cilantro
10 (6-inch) corn tortillas or 7 flour tortillas
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 cup mild salsa (I used Paul Newman)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 13" by 9" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine turkey, corn, sour cream, half of cheese & half of cilantro. Stack 5 tortillas on damp paper towel on microwave-safe dish; top with another damp paper towel. Microwave on High 30 seconds to soften.

Place about 1/3 cup turkey mixture on each tortilla & roll up tightly. Arrange in prepared baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas & filling. I used flour tortillas which were bigger so I used more than 1/3 cup, maybe 50% more.

In bowl, stir enchilada sauce with salsa; pour over tortillas to cover. Top with remaining cheese & bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese melts & enchiladas are heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve with sour cream.

My Thoughts:

Next time I will make both corn & flour. Since they were slightly bigger I was able to get 7 out of this recipe. I would not change a thing about this recipe, especially the turkey!!!!! Just order 3/4 lb sliced deli turkey & you chop it up at home! This is easier than having to shred a rotisserie chicken or cook ground meat & healthier & better than canned anything!

Click Here to Print Recipe

For more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays please visit Blessed with Grace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday's Ménage à Trois

What an awesome weekend! My sister was in town with her beau Duane. They didn't even put their bags down before they were playing with Tristan. It's so much fun watching him enjoy the company of others.

The weather was gorgeous so I had the patio doors open for most of the weekend.
I also cooked quite a bit & wanted to share a few things with you today. Now, I hope you know by now that when I post a recipe, it's because I believe in it 100%. I not only post it to share with you but I want to catalog it for my own use again. While the broccoli is a tried & true old family favorite, I am sharing the 2 pumpkin recipes today with slight reservations. I believe they can be awesome but with some modifications. So, here they are for you to check out. Please see notes.


Italian Style Breadcrumbs / Panko Breadcrumbs
Garlic powder
2 pkgs of frozen broccoli spears, thawed & dried
Flour for dredging
4 eggs, whisked
Vegetable or olive oil enough for a shallow fry
Parmesan cheese

Add some garlic, pepper & whatever other spices you like to your breadcrumbs. I have used a combo of both style crumbs. The panko adds a little more texture but go with what you like best. You will have your pans lined up ~ flour, eggs, breadcrumb mixture.

Dredge the broccoli spears in the flour & make sure to shake off excess. Place in eggs. Then roll in breadcrumbs covering completely. Place on wax paper & continue with the rest.  Refrigerate if able for 1/2 hour. This will allow the breading to stay on better.

Heat oil about 3/4 inch deep for a shallow fry.

Fry until golden brown for 2-3 minutes, turn over for 2 minutes more. When it's golden brown the broccoli will be perfect on the inside. Drain on paper towel &amp. Lightly salt & dust with some freshly grated parmesan, immediately.

Food for Thought

May sound crazy but this leftover broccoli is amazing the next day smashed on an egg sandwich. Also, you can use fresh broccoli but you'd want to blanch it first before continuing on. I have used fresh baby broccoli and didn't need to blanch since the pieces were small enough to cook within the time frame needed for the breading to turn golden. I have used olive oil for frying instead of vegetable oil. Again, use what you like.


If you are interested in making this recipe, I would recommend a couple of things. Double the chocolate amount or at least increase by 50%. Also, make sure your chocolate is very small. I used little morsels & still felt they should have been smaller so they could've melted better & formed a nicer layer. FYI, there wasn't enough room left for the entire pumpkin mixture on top so you'll have some leftover. I was fine with that as more would not have been better!

Click Here to See & Print Pie Recipe

If you are interested in making this soup, I would highly recommend doubling up on the curry powder & pumpkin pie spice. You may even need to triple it, depending on your taste. And while I did not make the orange-cranberry topper I suggest you do because this could be bland without it. I also only pureed just half of this soup as I like it chunky. Tammy came over to do some taste testing. She suggested & I agree that this also could be nice as a curry sauce over some rice.
Click Here to See & Print Soup Recipe

Friday, November 7, 2008

All American Mini Apple Pies

My sister Lauren is in town with her boyfriend so we stayed up until 12:30 last night talking, playing with Tristan & sampling new beers. I also made a Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake which we will be trying tonight so if it's delicious it will be posted early next week. And that garlic breaded broccoli will be made this weekend as well. I am craving it so badly & just can't wait until Thanksgiving to have my Mom's.

I have made these mini apple pies a few times & they're always a hit. They're easy to make & fun because they're minis. I LOVE individual desserts like this. Forgive me as this is not the best presentation of them. I was rushing making the tops for them so usually they're prettier & just when we were going to smack them with some cool whip the camera died. So, just visualize.........and then go make 'em!!!!!!

2 medium tart baking apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 sheet refrigerated pie crust

Pre-heat oven to 425. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin. Peel, core & chop apples. Combine apples with sugar, flour & cinnamon. Open & unroll pie crust. Flatten out a bit with rolling pin. Cut out 5 circles using a 4 inch wide bowl. Reserve scraps for top of pies. Press a circle inside each muffin hole. Evenly divide apple mixture into each. Use scraps to either make circles to cover top or cut into strips to do a lattice. Make sure you connect your top design to the bottom by gently squeezing, otherwise when the crust fluffs up it will disconnect itself.

Fill empty muffin spaces with water 1/4 way up. Bake until bubbling & golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let pies cool for 10 minutes & then carefully remove from tin with a spoon or by turning upside down into a platter.
Serve with ice cream or cool whip.

My Thoughts:

I like making this half mixture when I am crunched for time but still need something sweet for a few people. If you're going to double the recipe to use an entire 12 cup muffin tin remember that you might need 3 sheets of pie crusts if you 're going to do more than just strips of lattice work for the top of your pies. I like to do a variation.

Click Here to Print Recipe

*** *** ***

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!! I leave you with one photo of my beautiful Dark Knight.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Best Ever Beer Steamed Burgers

These burgers are simply awesome & you don't even have to fire up the grill. I live in FL so my grill is never covered in snow & I will still use this process more often when making burgers. The secret is steaming them in beer for the last few minutes of cooking time. Give these a try & if there is one topping you don't like, no big deal, just substitute! I'll be making mushroom Swiss burgers next time!!

3 tblsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup fresh mushrooms
Salt & pepper
1 4-oz can sliced, peeled green chiles, drained
1/3 cup pitted, brine-cured olives such as kalamata, sliced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, chuck or round (I bought 4 fresh pre-made patties)
6 ounces Cheddar cheese, cut into 4 slices (fresh from the deli)
1/3 cup beer
4 hamburger buns, split & toasted if you'd like

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until hot. Add onion & cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add mushrooms & cook, stirring, until mushrooms have browned & liquid they release has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Season mushroom mixture with salt & pepper to taste & transfer to a bowl; add chiles & olives. Set aside.

If you buy chopped meat, gently shape beef into four 4-inch burgers; season with salt & pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce heat to medium-high, add burgers & cook 3 minutes. Turn burgers & cook 2 minutes. Divide chile mixture onto them & top each with a slice of cheese. Add beer to skillet; cover & steam until cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes. This will yield a burger with just a tad pink in the middle. If you like yours well done, I would increase the cooking time in the beginning by 2 minutes because you don't want your cheese to turn into a gloppy mess.
Transfer burgers to toasted buns & serve.

My Thoughts:

The topping can be made ahead of time which is awesome! Fresh cheddar is a must. Any beer will do, I used Blue Moon & just drank the rest naturally. These burgers are SO moist. You may also want to put them on a rack for a second before loading them onto your bun so that all the juices don't make your bun soppy. Also, the chiles are not enough to make these too spicy. More thoughts on the printable page.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The End of a Birthday - A Wordful Wednesday

A card labeled “Mom,” sitting there on the shelf
With his beautiful little handwriting, a present in itself

Flowers from a lover, husband & dear friend
All the beautiful colors of a
love that’ll never end

A dinner celebration at a quaint & charming spot
gourmet paradise, no other place could top

A hidden treasure nestled in a beautiful little town
A boy taking after his momma,
exploring what’s around

To add more sweetness to a most lovely night
Shared among
family, a confectioner’s delight

So all in all a happy birthday indeed
It feels
so good to be only 23!!

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Fried Green Tomatoes

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Tomorrow I will share more about Halloween as well as my birthday celebration including dinner at a beautiful restaurant that was on my to do list for over 5 years!! For now, I wanted to recycle this oldie but goodie since it didn't get much air time a few months back.

I recently ordered these out at a restaurant & while the taste was good they were the thinnest fried green tomatoes I've ever seen. I even had to ask if there were tomatoes in there. Other times there's too much batter or they're too thick & hard. I love these homemade ones so much that I'm sticking to 'em. They really are the best I have ever tasted!!!!!!

Vegetable Oil
2 Green Tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick (makes about 8 rounds)
3 Eggs whisked
Breadcrumb mixture - Italian breadcrumbs mixed with Panko (Italian Style)
Garlic powder & dried basil

Heat about 2-3 inches vegetable oil over medium high heat. Mix breadcrumbs with garlic & dried basil. Dredge tomato slices in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture & then breadcrumbs. Cook for about 3 minutes, then turn them over for their last minute. The tomatoes floated to the top when they were just about done.

Remove with slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt & parmesan cheese immediately. Let cool 2 minutes. They taste so good when they're not so hot!!!

My Thoughts:

I combined the breadcrumbs because I was low on one of them. Since they came out so good I will purposely do this again!

Click Here for Printable Recipe

For more delicious Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, please go visit Blessed with Grace.