Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Heading Home....

Welcome to Massachusetts Pictures, Images and Photos On Friday Mr. Lucky and I are heading back to Massachusetts for a friend's wedding and a visit with family. We are driving, it should be quite and adventure. We are doing the drive in three days, one less day than we took when we moved here. I cannot wait to get "home". I still, and probably always will, call Massachusetts home. It makes Mr. Lucky crazy. Maybe that is why I do it.

There are so many things I want to do while we are back east. The most important is probably to eat my fill of good fresh New England seafood. Broiled, fried, or baked, I am not picky.

seafood_fresh Pictures, Images and Photos

Beyond the seafood there are a few great restaurants that I miss out here. Not Your Average Joe's is one of them.  While we are visiting Mr. Lucky's mom we will definitely be going there!  They serve the most amazing foccacia bread with an olive oil and Parmesan cheese dipping sauce.  Their menu has delicious seasonal specials and there is something for everyone.  Try the Peanut Butter Thing for dessert, it is to die for!  Sal's Pizza is another place I am looking forward to going.  We cannot find decent pizza out here.  You saw in this post that I finally just had to make my own. Sal's large pizza is 19" and 3 pounds of goodness.  I am drooling now just thinking about it.

Buffalo Pizza Pictures, Images and Photos

Now I really can't wait to get home!  We are basically going to be driving and sleeping this trip so I probably won't have too much time to stop and take pictures but I will see what I can do.  I will most definitely post updates while we are in Massachusetts.  You'll have that seafood right along with me.

Talk with you soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I need some feedback....

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I can make my site more interesting and more user friendly.  One of the things that I think will make finding and making my recipes yourself would be to have pages with printable versions of all of the recipes.  What do you think?  Is this something you would use? 

I also love to get comments and feedback.  Please send me likes, hates, suggestions or anything else you can think of.  It is all appreciated. 

Not sure what is on the menu yet for this week but I am sure there will be some good stuff.

Talk with you soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

House guests....

This weekend we had our first house guest since we moved to Utah.  Our friend Mr. D went on a road trip and stopped here for a few days before heading back to Las Vegas.  I was pretty excited because he's always a fan of what I cook and I like nothing more than cooking for someone with a healthy appetite.  It also gives me opportunity to try new recipes.

I found two recipes to try out on Mr. D, one for dinner and one for dessert. 

The first recipe is a lemon cream pasta.  I have had this one for a while but I do not remember where I got it from.  I know I say that a lot but I copy tons of recipes and don't always write down the source like I should.

Here is the recipe as it was written (I doubled the amounts and made a few additions that I will show at the end):

Pasta is one of the only times I buy the name brand.
 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth (I always use the reduced sodium)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (a whole good sized lemon)
1 (8 oz) package rotelle pasta (Or any short cut pasta)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large sauce pan season the chicken broth with the garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

In process pasta

Stir the cream and lemon zest into the cooked pasta.  Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving. 

The finished pasta
Here are a few notes on my version.  I doubled all the ingredients and found that all the chicken broth was not absorbed.  It wasn't too much of a problem, it just made for more sauce.  If I make this again I will only use three cans of broth to see how it turns out.  When this was just about done I tasted it and I felt it needed something so I added about a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of dried Parsley.  They worked out perfectly.

Along with this pasta I made chicken cutlets.  I love chicken cutlets but they are a bit of work to make.  You can see my post on how I make them, here.

Don't they look delicious?
For dessert I made cannoli bites.  I love cannolis and when I found this recipe I knew I had try it.  I also knew that it could be very dangerous, I may become addicted.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh orange zest
2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips
30 mini Phyllo cups (2 boxes)

In a small food processor or blender, blend together the first 5 ingredients until smooth.  Remove to a bowl and fold in orange zest and chocolate chips.  Using a small spoon, spoon evenly into the Phyllo cups.  Sprinkle with extra powdered sugar, cocoa or both.  Serve immediately.  (The filling can be made in advance but do not fill the cups until just before serving so that they don't get soggy.)

Like my classy paper plate?
We were so glad to have Mr. D here for a visit.  I hope he enjoyed his stay and more importantly I hope he enjoyed what I cooked for him. 

Talk with you soon!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New and different....

I find that sometimes we get in a rut of eating the same meals over and over again.  I have been trying to mix things up with new marinades for meats and by picking up veggies that we've never tried before.  It is pretty difficult to get Mr. Lucky to eat vegetables but I still try.

This week I got a spaghetti squash.  I have had it before but not in quite awhile and I was sure that Mr. Lucky had never had it.  I went in search of a recipe and found a very simple one on Allrecipes.com. Best of all I had everything I needed in my pantry.

Here is the recipe:

4 ingredients, doesn't get much easier.

cooking spray
1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place squash halves cut-side down on the sheet. Bake until squash is tender but still crunchy, about 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, shred squash flesh from rind using a fork. Set aside.

 Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add squash to the skillet, and cook until hot. Season with salt and pepper.

Forgot to take a picture of it in the pan.
When I added the squash to the pan I also added about a cup of water and just cooked it until the squash absorbed the water.   The squash was just a little too crunchy for my taste and the water remedied that.  Make sure you taste the dish along the way so that you add enough salt and pepper so it's not too bland.

This turned out really well.  I am going to be looking for more spaghetti squash recipes.

Talk with you soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Keys to a happy workplace....

It has been a few weeks since I sent some treats in to work with Mr. Lucky so today I delivered some Key Lime pies.  I figured something nice and summery would be appreciated.  I have to help him keep everyone working hard and what is more motivating than an afternoon sugar high?

I have made this recipe a few times before.  It comes right off the back of the bottle of Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice bottle. The first time I found out about this juice was when my mom brought it home from a trip to Key West.  When that bottle ran out I was able to find it at our local grocery store in Massachusetts and I also found it at the grocery store here in Utah so it seems to be widely available.  You can also order right from their website. 

Here is the recipe:

9" graham cracker pie shell
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks (whites not used)
1/2 cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice
(I also add 2 drops of green food coloring to make it look more lime-y)

Combine milk, egg yolks, food coloring and lime juice and blend until smooth.  Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before refrigerating. 

I like this shade of green.
This pie is great served with fresh whipped cream or, like I did today, a simple raspberry sauce.  The sauce was just something I made to accompany the pie because whipped cream would not have held up.  I heated up about half a cup of raspberry jam with about a quarter cup of water and a teaspoon of vanilla.  Once the jam is "melted" I ran it through a mesh strainer to remove all those pesky seeds.  Quick, simple and tasty!

Since two of Mr. Lucky's people need gluten free I made them Key Lime Pots de Creme.  It is the same recipe but instead of putting the filling into the crust I poured it into ramekins.  Then ramekins are then put in a baking pan, I used my 9 x 13 inch metal pan.  The baking pan is then filled with water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins and then the whole thing is covered with foil and baked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cute, right?
I brought two of these in to the guys and kept two for us.  I am planning to have mine tomorrow.  The rest of it anyway, I had a couple bites today.  I had to make sure they tasted good. 

Talk with you soon!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Taking matters into my own hands....

Pizza has always been a a pretty big part of our diet.  Not always the healthiest option but on nights when I didn't want to cook it was our go to meal.  Since we have been in Utah we have had the hardest time finding good pizza.  We can't even find mediocre pizza, it is so sad.  I finally had to give in and make my own.

I used my bread machine to make the dough, it could not have been easier. 

My little bread machine.  It is about 10 years old.
Here is the recipe for one and a half pounds of dough from the cookbook that came from the bread machine:

I really need to get a container for my yeast.
All ingredients should be at room temperature (70-80 deg. F)

1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

All the ingredients in the pan ready to be mixed.
 The instructions are specific to the machine but once the dough is done:

Pat dough into a 12x15 inch jelly roll pan or a 12 inch round pizza pan.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle toppings over sauce.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

For my sauce I used some canned, crushed tomatoes that I had in the pantry and just added some roasted garlic.  I always have a block of Mozzarella on hand so I shredded up a few cups of that.  As a surprise to Mr. Lucky I made some steak and caramelized onions for toppings.  He was very happy with the results.

My first homemade pizza
This was the best pizza we have had in way too long. I will be making it again soon and I am already planning some new toppings to try and maybe even adding some herbs to the dough.  I am looking forward to it.

Talk with you soon!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another Gluttonous Weekend....

Mr. Lucky and I were in Vegas again this past weekend.  A good friend of mine, Loryn, moved from Tampa to Vegas and we went down to welcome her to her new city.  We also took advantage of the amazing food in the city.

On our first night we introduced Loryn to Casa di Amore. We have been here a handful of times before.  Our friend Mr. D, who also lives in Vegas, turned us on to it back in March and each time we go to Vegas the three of us plan a dinner there.  This time we added a fourth.

From the outside Casa di Amore is a plain building with no windows, it doesn't look like much.  Inside it is all Vegas; pictures of the Rat Pack and hotels of the past, brick walls, lounge singers and amazing Italian food.  Each time we have gone I have tried something different and I have not been disappointed.  If you are in Vegas call and make reservations.  They will even pick you up and drop you off in one of their limos if you are staying at a hotel in the city.  How cool is that?  It definitely makes it easier to have some wine to compliment your delicious dinner.  They are open from 5pm to 5am every day but Tuesday so you can even go after a late night Blackjack session.  Check out their menu on their website, you won't be disappointed.

Because Loryn is a dessert-aholic like me we had to make a return visit to Jean Phillipe at the Bellagio.  I told you about our first visit in this post.  We were just as awestruck with this visit as we were the first time.  Mr. Lucky got a croissant and a coffee (boring!). Ms. L got a Nutella something or other.  I cannot remember what it was called but it looked gorgeous.  I got a trio of small sweets; a chocolate peanut butter pop, a rose macaroon and a creme brulee.  The three were all set on a chocolate stand.  Wow!  I cannot recommend this place enough.  It is so much fun and everything is amazingly delicious.

Don't you love the little spoon?

Love this stand, such great presentation.
On Saturday night Mr. D took Mr. Lucky and I to Hank's Fine Steaks at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, NV.   WHAT A MEAL!  I can honestly say this was probably the second best meal we've ever had in Las Vegas.  The first, of course, being at our wedding.  As an appetizer I had an heirloom tomato salad with feta, micro arugula and a sherry vinaigrette. It was fantastic and it was the only part of this meal that I got a picture of, sorry!  I was too busy eating.

Delicious! And I want those plates!!!
For my meal I had a bone-in filet mignon. It was perfect.  I can't say it better than that, perfect.  Mr. Lucky had an absolutely huge bone-in rib eye steak.  It was pretty much perfect too, I had a taste. Mr. D had the "King Cut" prime rib.  When I tell you that this was the biggest piece of meat I have ever seen served on a plate I am not exaggerating in the least bit.  They claimed this to be 20 ounces but it was considerably more than that.  It was Fred Flintstone worthy.  Between the three of us we split three sides: horseradish mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green beans.  All three were excellent.

We barely had room for dessert but the rest of the meal was so great we had to try.  Rationalizing? Maybe a little.  Mr. Lucky had deep fried Oreos with ice cream.  Yup, I said deep fried Oreos. Totally ridiculous and according to him totally awesome.  Mr. D and I had a toffee cake with creme fraiche ice cream.  It was so rich and warm and so so so good.  The ice cream was tasty but seemed as if it had been churned a bit too long.  Mr. Lucky and I are definitely planning a trip back to Hank's, I am counting down the days.

It was a great weekend!  Loryn got a proper welcome to her new home town, we had time with good friends and we ate very very well. 

Talk with you soon!