Corned Beef and Cabbage

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m not a fan of all of the green beer, but I do love delicious food and corned beef and cabbage is super yummy! Last year was my first time trying to make corned beef and cabbage and I have to say, it turned out ok but I’m not all that crazy about how soggy the cabbage gets and that the flavor is sort of sucked out of it. I love cabbage raw and when I eat cooked cabbage, I like it to have some crunch to it. So this year, that was my goal. This is what I came up with – make the corned beef and veggies in the slow cooker and the cabbage completely separate. BEST decision ever! Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 3 Celery Stalks, cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • 1 Medium Yellow or Sweet Onion, cut into wedges
  • 5-6 Medium Red Potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Package Corned Beef Brisket (mine was just under 3 pounds), including the Pickling Spice Packet that comes with it
  • 1 head of Green Cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Butter
  • White Vinegar – to taste

Directions

  1. In a larger oval slow cooker (this makes it way easier since the meat fits better!) place the celery, carrots, onions and potatoes.
  2. Place your corned beef brisket on top of the veggies fat side up.
  3. Sprinkle the pickling spices all around and add your sprigs of thyme.
  4. Add 6 cups of water – this should cover most of the meat.
  5. Cover and cook on high for about 5-6 hours or until corned beef is tender.
  6. About 30 minutes before the corned beef is done, chop up your cabbage and place in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Sprinkle generously with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the cabbage is the consistency you prefer. I left mine still sort of crunchy.
  8. Towards the end – splash the cabbage with white vinegar. I put probably about 4-5 tablespoons of it in there because we really like vinegar in my house!
  9. Serve corned beef (slicing it against the grain) with the vegetables and cabbage and enjoy!

Facebook Hashtags – ugh!

Ever since Facebook announced that they were launching their ‘support’ of hashtags, I thought it was an awful idea. Sure, sure, Twitter is getting bigger and bigger – so let’s follow their footsteps. BUT, we won’t offer everything that Twitter offers. (For those of you who just don’t get hashtags – it basically means that if you include a (#) in front of a ‘keyword’, it links in your status and people can click on that link to view a public stream of everyone that has used that hashtag. For example #tbt or #throwbackthursday is very popular right now. You must not use spaces though, otherwise it will not work.)

What bothers me about this, besides the fact that Facebook is just following the pack, is that there is absolutely NO documentation out there helping developers out when it comes to embedding these streams anywhere. If I want to, I can embed any hashtag stream from Twitter, but yet, I can’t from Facebook. So if I’m running a campaign for a specific hashtag – do I only target my Twitter audience?? I’m guessing Facebook just needs to get on top of this and get an API developed but at this point, it’s frustrating! If you’re going to jump on the bandwagon of hashtags, you better be able to support it, and at this point – Facebook is one giant disappointment.

/End Rant

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I must try this recipe! And make some super gooey grilled cheese sammiches to go with it!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil
  • parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, sauté garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes.
  3. Add the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan to break them up.
  4. Add the juice from the whole tomatoes, as well.
  5. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar.
  6. Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.

Garlic Spaghetti

I was flipping through the channels one day and ran across a Garlic Spaghetti that Melissa d’Arabian was making on Food Network. If you don’t like garlic, this recipe is not for you. It has a wonderful garlic flavor and was absolutely delicious. I was really amazed at how much the butter cut down the acid in the tomatoes and really mellowed out the flavor. I will put the original recipe and then the things I did to ‘modify’ it. We also made some cheesy Texas Toast to go along with it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 9 cloves of garlic – I used HUGE pieces of garlic since we love it
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of butter – I ended up using 8
  • 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes – I used a 28 oz. can because that is what I had
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. spaghetti – I used Thin Spaghetti and next time will try fresh Tagliatelle
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil
  • Grate Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, cook the garlic in the olive oil for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the garlic from drying out.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and tomatoes and stir until well blended and the butter is melted.
  3. Stir the garlic and oil into the tomatoes and butter and add salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Toss the sauce with the spaghetti and place in a nice serving dish.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Mayonnaise Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Say what???? Mayonnaise in a cake you ask? Why yes!

Growing up, my aunt Karen used to make this cake for us all the time. I believe she would make it with peanut butter frosting if I remember correctly. She is an amazing baker – takes after my Grandma Sutton I hear. She even spent years making and decorating cakes! I however, did not get the amazing baker gene. I love to cook because I don’t like to measure, so baking is a struggle for me.

I’m also not the most patient person in the world (*go ahead and snicker if you know me, we all know it’s true!) so baking is tough, I want to be able to taste along the way and make it better as I go, and well, you just can’t do that with baking. You have to follow a recipe and then bake it and then let it cool, and then possibly frost or whatever to it before you even get to take a bite. It’s like torture! That and I’m not a huge fan of sweets anyway.

If you’re anything like me, then this recipe is definitely for you! Mayonnaise cake is a chocolate cake, a very subtle chocolate cake. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet and it’s SUPER moist! It’s also super easy to make :) Here it is!

mayonnaise cake

For the cake:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. Sift and blend flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add mayonnaise, water and vanilla. Stir until mixed well.
  3. Grease a 9×13 pan and pour batter in evenly.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

For the frosting:

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 16 oz. of powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy

 

Everyone loved the cake and super loved the frosting – even if it sounds odd, just try it! It’s delicious! If you don’t eat it right away, make sure you put it in the fridge.

Vegetable Tian

Ok, so I’ve never heard of Vegetable Tian before, but I saw a picture of it and decided that I wanted to try it. Here is my photo of it:

Vegetable Tian

So for dinner last night, I decided to make it with some Boca Burgers. Not just your normal Boca Burger either, the Bruschetta flavored ones. (See photo below).

boca-bruschetta-patties

 

While we were making the Boca Burgers, I decided to throw on a nice thick piece of fresh mozzarella. So we ended up with open faced Boca Burgers with mozzarella…YUM! It turned out great! When I started to eat the Vegetable Tian, I couldn’t believe how much flavor there was! Not only that, but Kevin (my fiancé) loved it…and he’s not really a big fan of cooked tomatoes. I was surprised that the veggies still had a good crunch to them as well! So I decided to share this recipe – and a photo, because I think everyone should try this!

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Vidalia Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1-2 small to medium Zucchini
  • 1 medium Yellow Squash
  • 1-2 smaller Potatoes
  • 1 medium to large Tomato (I used a beefsteak tomato)
  • Dried Thyme
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dice the onion and saute with the garlic in some olive oil until the onions are softened.
  2. Thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.
  3. Spray the inside of a square or round baking dish with some non-stick spray (Or the culinary AquaNet as Guy Fieri calls it). I used an 8″x6″ glass Pyrex dish. Spread the softened onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Stack up your veggies vertically, alternating veggies. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and thyme.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and place it back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until your cheese is a golden brown.

Enjoy!

Pickle Loaf

I got this recipe from a friend. His wife used to make it for us when we would have company potlucks all the time and it was always a hit. Recently we had a little potluck at my current job and I had to fight to get any of it! Everyone has at least tried the ham/cream cheese/pickle roll-up at least once in their life…well, this is a billion times better! Try it when you have some people over, I guarantee that you won’t have any leftovers…because even if you have a little left, you’re just going to eat it yourself!

Printable Version

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of French Bread
  • 1 pound of ham cut up – I take thinly shaved sliced and chop it with my slap chop, works great!
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley – I use the Italian flat leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • dill pickles

Directions:

  • Cut bread lengthwise and scoop out the center.
  • Spread a thin layer of mayo on the bread and set aside.
  • Mix ingredients together and spread on both sides of the bread.
  • Line pickles on the bottom half of the bread and close. (I chopped up the pickles and put a full layer of chopped up pickles on the bottom half of the bread before I closed it).
  • Wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.

Turkey Meatball & Green Olive Casserole

Ok Ok, I know what you’re thinking…green olives??? Well, the answer is YES! Green olives! This casserole has some very unique flavors but somehow it all works. Between the celery and green olives and the turkey meatballs, it just keeps you coming back for more.

Printable Version

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1/2 pound pre-cooked meatballs, thawed — you can always make your own instead
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 3/4 – 1 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 tablesppon butter
  • paprika

Directions:

  • Preheat the over to 350°. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta according to package to al dente.
  • Meanwhile, mix soup and sour cream in a large bowl. Add pasta, meatballs and olives. Stir gently to combine all ingredients. Transfer to prepared casserole dish.
  • Melt the butter and add in the bread crumbs. Stir well and sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.
  • Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly.

Meatball Subs

Another great recipe! Delicious meatballs covered in a chunky tomato sauce and warm gooey cheese, served on a crispy bun/roll – YUM! I like using frozen meatballs that I have defrosted for this recipe but you are more than welcome to make your own.

meatball sub

Printable Version

Ingredients:

  • Meatballs (either frozen or homemade)
  • Buns (Hoagie rolls or something similar)
  • Sliced Provolone Cheese
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Sliced Black Olives (optional)
  • Hot Giariniera (optional)
  • Sauce (see below)

I use about 1/3 of the giant bag from Sam’s club for my frozen meatballs.

meatballs

And we found some rolls at the Walmart bakery that looked like this:

meatball sub bun

Sauce Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion (yellow or white)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 (14.5oz.) cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

In a deep saucepan, heat olive oil (1-2 tablespoons), add onions and cook until onions are transparent. Add garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes and then add the tomatoes. Cook for 20 minutes over medium low to low heat. Add basil and oregano and continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Puree into a sauce – or mash with a masher if you like chunkier sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs to sauce.

To assemble: split your buns/rolls in half, lay down 2 slices of provolone cheese and top with meatballs (about 4 or 5 of them) and some sauce. Then top with shredded mozzarella and put them on a baking pan under the broiler until the cheese melts and the bun starts to turn golden brown. Top with parmesan cheese, black olives and giardiniera and enjoy!

Carrabba’s Tag Pic Pac

Every time I go to Carrabba’s I’ve gotten the Tag Pic Pac since the first time I tried it. It has so much flavor and I’ve always thought that it had to be easy to make this at home. Well, Carrabba’s has posted the recipe on their website and I am so excited to try it!!!!

Tag Pic Pac

Printable Version

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh tagliarini or fettuccine

Directions

  • To make the sauce, heat the oil and garlic together in a small skillet over medium-low heat just so the garlic is softened and the oil is very warm, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand to infuse the oil, about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl. Squeeze the tomatoes through your fingers until they are coarsely crushed. Stir in the garlic in its oil and the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours for the flavors to marry.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt to taste. Add the Tagliarini and stir well to separate the strands. Cook according to the manufacturer’s directions until al dente. Drain well.
  • Return the tagliarini to its cooking pot. Add the sauce and mix well. Cover and let stand for 1 minute. Divide among 4 serving bowls and serve hot.