Friday, September 24, 2010

Five Not So Hot Eateries


I remember when I thought Red Lobster and Applebees were the bees knee! Then my palate advanced! I moved to Houston and began experiencing some of the fantastic cuisine the great state had to offer! So this week, name five eateries that you thought were so divine that are not even on your radar any longer!  No offense to the people who love these places!


Red Lobster - when you have experienced Sea Bass in a light lobster broth, Red Lobster will NEVER be a joint you want to frequent

Olive Garden - confession...I still go here on rare occasions because their salad dressing is delicious #DontJudgeMe.  However, if you ever experience fresh, homemade pasta made daily! Bay bey I PROMISE you will NEVER want to eat at Olive Garden again...Trust me! Fresh pasta is allathat!

Applebees - this was a hot high school hangout.  We thought we were doing IT when we went there! LOL

Bennigans - If I'm being honest, they used to have the banginest chicken fingers...Just sayin

A fifth restaurant is failing to cross my memory...I'm old hell! LOL

Oh wait!!! The local hood spot! LOLOL With the exception of Bean Burger Doug's...dude used to flip these huge burgers with his fangas, served food out of the back of his house and his burgers used to hit the SPOT after a late night of clubbing! LOLOL

What yall got?????

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mango Cucumber Chops

That chop right there was all a that! I'm going to make this quick because I'm trying to get my Bigges.t Lo.ser on in a few.

Chops were on sale. I purchased them, froze them and didn't have a clue as to how I was going to prepare the amount of chops I bought.
While perusing one of my favorite sites, I came across this gem of a recipe.  Know why it is a Weeknight Winner? Marinade! Marinades are quick and easy and can add tons of flavor to meats and poultry

I don't even think I made any variations!

Mango Cucumber Chops

What you need:
  • 2-3 Pork chops
  • 1/2 cup Orange juice (yall know I'm extra so I used fresh squeezed, but regular juice is fine)
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 cup Cucumbers
  • 1 cup Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup Red onion
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 cup of Mangoes
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Orange Juice
  • Chopped cilantro, optional
salt & pepper to taste

What to do:
  • Add chops to a large bowl.  Mix next four ingredients in with the chops. Let marinate until you are ready to grill, at least 2-3 hours.
  • Make the salsa. Chop all the vegetables and the mango. De-seed the jalapeno if you don't want that fiyah! 
  • Add the lime juice, vinegar, olive oil and orange juice
  • Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve with the chops
  • Grill the chops over medium high heat until done
  • Before serving the chops place a good ole heaping of the salsa on the chop and serve
  • Oh, be sure to let the chops rest before cutting into them!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cooking With Babe

This week Babe made packaged blueberry muffins. I know I know...packaged but I was going somewhere with this.  I am trying to teach Babe how to read and follow recipe directions. I did nothing...but take pictures!! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tandoori Turkey Burgers

Hello Lovah!

There was s time when I hated ground turkey.  Every time someone would attempt to prepare a turkey burger it was always under-seasoned or too salty.  You can't treat ground turkey like you do ground beef.  Ground beef can hold its own with salt and pepper...ground turkey not so much.

Before I experimented with making my own tandoori seasonings I used a brand I found at The Crack House that came with some black rice I'd purchased. This spice blend changed the turkey burger game for me!!! I don't prepare turkey burgers any other way now. Out the park delicious.

Dress that burger with some avocado, tomato, red onions and your favorite cheese all on a toasted bun....*FAINT*

 This is definitely a Weeknight Winner!

Tandoori Turkey Burgers

What you need:

  • 1lb Ground turkey

  • 1-2 Tbsp Tandoori or Thai Spice Blend (my recipe can be found here or you can use any store bought brand)

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil

  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced

  • Your choices of garnishes

What to do:

  • Preheat grill pan or medium skillet over medium high heat; spray pan with non-stick cooking spray

  • Combine all of the ingredients, being careful not to over mix

  • Portion four burgers

  • Grill until cooked through

  • Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What To Do?

So Babe said she wanted to eat foods from different countries.  We are planning a Chinese meal very soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mushroom Sauced Spaghetti

I am taking on the task of eating out of my pantry and freezer.  Fall is near and I want to re-up my pantry with fresh items.  I have so much dried pasta in my pantry it is ridiculous!  Every time I'm spending all of my money perusing Big Lots or Tarjay or Marshalls, I pick up a different kind; basil, spinach fettucine, tomato basil, different shapes and sizes...I got'em!  The funny thing is while I love a good pasta dish, we don't really eat a lot of it.



This recipe is a definite Weeknight Winner!  This dish came together in less than thirty minutes.  No special ingredients either, I had everything already in my pantry or fridge: pre-sliced mushrooms, onions and garlic, cream, etc.!

I found the recipe here (such a beautiful site!)  I only made a few small changes:
  • I did not use the bouillon (it can be salty)
  • I used the pasta water instead
  • I ended up using a tablespoon of butter
  • I used dried sage
  • I garnished the pasta with a bit of Asiago cheese and pepper flakes

Mushroom Sauced Spaghetti
Adapted from:

What you need:
  • 8 oz store-bought fettuccine (I used spaghetti)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or enough to sautee vegetables)
  • 1 small onion (or shallot), chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 oz of fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp of all purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp dried sage 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:
  • Prepare pasta according to package directions, reserving 1-2 cups of the pasta water
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium heat, and cook onions and garlic until translucent, 3-5 minutes
  • Stir in mushrooms, and cook until tender, another 2-3 minutes
  • Add the butter, after the butter melts add the flour. This will thicken the sauce.  Stir with the vegetables for about 3-5 minutes
  • Mix in the pasta water (more or less depending on the thickness of the sauce) and the heavy cream and sage. Cook and stir until thickened. If too thick, use some pasta water (i.e., the leftover water from the cooked pasta) to thin out the sauce a bit.
  • Either mix the sauce with the cooked pasta (like I did) or pour sauce over pasta! 
  • Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Non-Food Post - Believing the Fairytale

I LOVE love! That's no secret. Even when I am not in love I LOVE love. I love the process of falling in love. Falling in love with someone who is falling in love with is the best feeling.

I think going to my sister's wedding has me nostalgic and "thinky." I can think of few couples, married or otherwise, that are more perfect for one another than BIL (brother in law) and my sister! They are truly "love personified." They deserve the love that they have for each other. I am really thankful that I was able to experience their nuptials and be a part of their beautiful wedding. Y'all know I cried like a baby right??? Whoever said that love and marriage were old fashioned and that the younger generation (they are 27 and 28) doesn't believe in commitment and marriage and building families and lives together are wrong wrong wrong!

The young people that were at the wedding were either married or engaged and couldn't wait to become wives and husbands. I mean there were a lot of great guys there that weren't even in relationships yet that were talking about how they were looking forward to "their wedding day". Men were saying this! For some reason that blew my mind. There are a lot of great men and women out there that take marriage and vows seriously. It was wonderful to see that some man or woman hadn't ruined them or jaded them. I pray that it doesn't happen. Man, love is just fantastic!

While I was at the wedding I was also reflecting on how I am not jaded or bitter about falling in and out of love, being in unhealthy relationships, etc. I still completely believe in the fairytale. I remember talking to Kimberly about still believing in the fairytale. She is living her fairytale, my sister is living her fairytale, a new friend of mine, Tiffany will be living her fairytale soon...that is refreshing and keeps me hopeful! I am very happy to be able to experience other people falling in love, being committed to their partners and just dealing with the issues that come up in marriages and relationships. It keeps me hopeful.

I'm not stupid but I'm not bitter either. I totally believe that the love of my life is out there. I totally see he and I falling in love, I see it being fantastically awesome, I see him adoring me and Babe, I see our families loving one another, I see my girlfriends giving me a bachelorette party for the books (showing up and showing clean out...I'm a party girl at heart!), I see a beautiful wedding...I see those things in my future. Now I don't know if that will be a year from now or ten years from now but I believe wholeheartedly that it will happen for ME.

Whatever fairytale you have envisioned for yourself, stay strong. Yes, I know it is difficult. Yes, I know that you want love right now and you are tired of waiting but don't settle. Witnessing what I saw this weekend and witnessing the love that was in that room it is soooo worth waiting for. Be encouraged. Don't settle.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Friday Five

Picture Credit:

Five food tips that make my life easier!

  1. When I know I am going to have a busy week and there has been no time to menu plan, I will roast a whole chicken or unseasoned chicken breasts or brown a couple of pounds of ground turkey for quick weeknight meals (salads, sloppy joes, quesadillas, stir fries, etc). Half of the work is already done!
  2. I break down my vegetables as soon as I get them in the kitchen, I wash and chop and often, freeze our surplus of fresh vegetables and fruits. Makes it easier to throw together a weeknight meal when all you have to do is grab a pre-portioned package of clean, fresh vegetables or whip a smoothie with fresh frozen fruit! 
  3. I also place my fresh fruits and vegetables at eye level in my fridge. There was a time when I threw away far more fresh produce than I actually cooked or ate! I make mixed fruit cups, vegetable cups, etc. Easy access! 
  4. We have to watch our sodium intake. I love bacon. I rinse the bacon prior to cooking. Still get the great flavor with less sodium. Even when I buy the "lower sodium" bacon I rinse it. 
  5. Babe is not allowed to eat breakfast at school....have y'all seen what passes for breakfast at most schools? Bleh! Besides, if it were left up to Babe she would eat junk at every meal! *shrug* she's 8! So to make breakfast time easier and somewhat healthier during the week, I make homemade waffles and/or pancakes and freeze them along with pre-cooked sausage or bacon. Thirty seconds in the microwave... breakfast!

What are some of YOUR food tips that make life more manageable?