Saturday, January 26, 2013

Black Butte Porter Meatloaf With Gruyere

From Deschutes Brewery

So, my friend, Gabrielle, sent me this recipe. 

Just by looking at it, I knew it would be MUST MAKE. 

And geeeez, I was right. This was phenomenal. 

I couldnt find the right porter, so I actually made mine with chocolate stout, because that's what I had on hand. Weird, I know. But it worked. Promise. And, also? Gruyere is freaking EXPENSIVE. Cripes. But, the pockets of cheese in the meatloaf were the best part. So, I suppose I should shut my yap. 


2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 C carrots, diced
1/2 C celery, diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 C Black Butte Porter
4 ounces bread, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 C whole milk
2 lbs ground beef
2 large eggs
1/2 C gruyere cut into small cubes
1/4 C fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs BBQ sauce for a glaze


Heat the oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the beer, and simmer briskly, until almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until warm.

In a shallow dish that holds it in a single layer, soak the bread in the milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the coarseness and freshness of the bread. Lightly squeeze a handful of bread at a time to remove some of the milk (it should be wet but not drenched). Finely chop and add to the bowl with the vegetable mixture.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Add the beef and eggs to the onion mixture. Scatter the cheese and parsley over the meat, and then sprinkle with the Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to gently mix all the ingredients until just combined; try not to compact the mixture as you do this.

Transfer the meatloaf mixture to a 9x13-inch baking pan and form into a 10x4-inch rectangular block (it becomes loaf-shaped as it cooks). Finish the meatloaf by spreading the glaze over the top and lightly down the sides of the meatloaf. Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F in the center of the meatloaf, 40 to 55 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie In A Cup

Recipe from No. 2 Pencil

The other night, we were sitting around, craving something sweet. I came across this recipe, and thought it would be perfect. ONE serving of chocolate chip cookie! Made in the microwave!

Ok, it was more like a spongy cake than a cookie, but I had all the ingredients on hand and it did the job. 

1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Granulated White Sugar
1 Tablespoon of firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
3 Drops of Vanilla Extract
Small Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 Egg Yolk (discard the egg white)
Scant 1/4 of All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Start by melting your butter in the microwave. Add sugars, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. Separate your egg and add the yolk only to your cup. Stir to combine. Add flour, then stir again. Add the chocolate chips, and give a final stir. Cook in microwave 40-60 seconds, start checking for doneness at 40 seconds. Mine takes 50 seconds. 

Serve warm.

The Best Lasagna Ever

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

We were trying to figure out what to make for dinner today when I stumbled across a bottle of local made marinara sauce that LeGreg had brought down from his hometown. I knew what to do. Lasagna. Naturally, I totally ended up NOT using that sauce. But, whatever. It got the ball rolling. When I found the Pioneer Woman's recipe, it looked easy enough that I didn't think it was even worth using the bottled sauce that we had.

I was right.

This lasagna was DELICIOUS and pretty simple to make.

A crowd pleaser.

The original recipe uses regular cooked lasagna noodles, but I used no cook noodles. Because, YOU DON'T HAVE TO COOK THEM! Win.


  • 1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups Lowfat Cottage Cheese
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Grated (not Shredded) Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 pound mozzerella cheese
  • 1 package (10 Ounce) No Cook Lasagna Noodles

In a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; less if you’re feeling naughty. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.
In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly cooked).
To assemble:
Arrange 6 lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, or however many it takes to cover the bottom, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.
Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.
If eating immediately, let it sit for 20-30 mins to allow the noodles to soak up some of the moisture.

Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg


I have stumbled across a gem.

The perfect hard boiled eggs, from Nom Nom Paleo.

I will never stray from this  method, from now on. The eggs were light and fluffy and, as the original post says, not stinky and didn't have the grey ring around the yolk. I will say that my yolk was a little dark in the middle (but still cooked through). Likely because the eggs I used were pretty big. She says to use a timer on all the steps, as timing is key.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Bread

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction.

Yep. I'm ADAPTING things, folks.

Kiiind of a big deal.

When friends Nic and Rob came to visit last week, they left an army of 5 bananas behind. I have commitment issues to eating a whole banana, so they just sat there.

And sat there.

Until I checked the clock.


I adapted this a little bit. I only had whole wheat, so I didnt mix with regular flour. I used all 5 of my bananas, instead of the 3 in the recipe, I didn't have buttermilk, so I tossed some sour cream in there, and I added CHOCOLATE. Because I had it. Duh.

The result?



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 mashed bananas
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 bar dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Lightly grease a standard 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
Beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition to make sure the eggs are fully incorporated into the mixture. Stir in the mashed banana. OR, if you're lazy, like me, and don't want to dirty up another dish by mashing them, just toss the whole (peeled, obvs) bananas in the mixture and run your beaters through them a few time. It left mine a little chunky, which I'm all for. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed butter mixture alternating with the sour cream (I didn't alternate, because I only had 1/4 cup of sour cream, compared to the 1/2 cup of buttermilk called out in the original recipe). Be sure to start and end with the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Fold in chocolate until just mixed.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for about 60 minutes (I went to 70 mins. I think the extra banana is probably to blame), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Black Beans

Another Isabel's Cantina special!

A super easy way to fancy up some boring ass beans.

2-14oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cold water
2 Tbl olive oil
1 med spanish onion (no idea. we used yellow)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbl cumin
1 Tbl oregano
1 Tbl chile powder
2 bay leaves
1 Tbl dried sweet basil

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft and translucent, about 2 mins. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and chile powder. Stir to combine and simmer for about 1 min. Add the beans, 2 cups cold water, the bay leaves, and basil. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers. Cover partially and simmer for about 5 mins. Remove and discard the bay leaves before serving. The beans can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat over medium heat.

Firecracker Corn

I've been eyeballing this recipe in Isabel's Cantina for a while, but jalapenos make me a little gun shy. A little too gringa for that, usually.

Enter LeGreg, Mr. Spice Master. He was all about it, so I let him have at it.

It was surprisingly delicious. Smoky and spicy, but not overly so. He couldn't find red jalapenos, so he used fresh green ones.

3 Tbl olive oil
3 red jalapenos, thinly sliced into circles, seeds discarded
4 ears corn, kernels cut from the cobs, or 2 cups frozen corn kernals (yep), defrosted

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the jalapenos and cook until softened, about 3 mins. Add the corn and saute for a minute or two, until the corn is tender and hot. Season with salt and transfer to a serving bowl. The corn can be stored, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 1 day. Serve hot or at room temp.

I mean...does it get any easier?

(hint: no)

Ropa Vieja

After hosting a whole slew of family for a couple weeks, LeGreg and I thought my parents might like to have dinner cooked for them.

We were right! Imagine that!

I thought ropa vieja was a stew, based on exactly nothing, but it turned out to be more of a shredded, delicious, soupy meat.

Served with firecracker corn and black beans.

This is out of my favorite cookbook, Isabel's Cantina.

For the meat:
1 flank steak (about 1.5 lbs), cut across the grain into 4 pieces
1 med yellow onion, halved
4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cumin

For the sauce:
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 med yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbl tomato paste
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 tsp salt
3 green onions, green parts only, sliced
1/2 cup sliced green olives (optional)(gross. nope)

To cook the meat, combine the steak, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and cumin in a large pot and add enough water to cover completely. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat so the water simmers gently. Cook until the meat is very tender (it will shrink A LOT) and falling apart, 2 to 2.5 hrs.

Remove the meat from the liquid. Strain the liquid, serving the broth but discarding the solids. Place the meat in a bowl to cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat into small pieces.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Saute until the bell pepper is tender and onion is soft and translucent, about 4 mins. Add the white wine and tomato paste. Stir well and cook for about 5 mins.

Add the reserved broth, the chipotle, and salt. Continue simmering for another 5 mins. Add the beef, stir, and cook until the beef is heated through. The ropa vieja can be stored, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Reheat over medium heat before proceeding. Stir in the green onions and garnish with sliced green olives, if desired, before serving.

Easy Cranberry Souffle

This was the other side I brought for Christmas.

Recipe and picture from My Life as a Mrs.


For the Cranberries:
3 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounce bag)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
For the Topping:
3/4 cup melted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten


For the Cranberries:
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Wash cranberries and pick out any rotten ones. Place into prepared baking dish. Mix together the sugar and walnuts and sprinkle over the top of the cranberries. Gently shake dish to help spread out the sugar mixture.
For the Topping:
Mix together butter, sugar, flour, and eggs in a bowl and spread mixture evenly on top of cranberry mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Ok, so I only have one square dish, and it was used for the sweet potatoes. I used one of those rectangle, tall casserole dishes, which I think sort of messed up the topping. It was still delicious, but there was equal parts topping to cranberry, which was just....a lot. As the originator mentions in the recipe, though, toss a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of this "side" dish, and it makes a killer dessert, too. I will definitely make this the correct dish. 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes Brulee

Recipe and picture from Skinny Taste.

We had Christmas dinner with LeGreg's family, and I wanted to contribute. I found a couple recipes that I could semi- make ahead of time and could HOPEFULLY not screw up.

I made the potatoes and put them in the dish ahead of time and made the topping and stuck it in some tubberware in the fridge. It made the 2.5 hr drive just fine.

  • 5 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft (6 cups cooked)
  • 3/4 cup 1% milk
  • 3 tbsp light butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unpacked light brown sugar


When the potatoes are cooked and soft, combine them with milk, light butter, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mash or puree until smooth.  

Spoon into a 9 x 9 or 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar evenly over top. Broil 2 minutes or until sugar melts, careful not to burn. Let it stand until the melted sugar hardens (about 5 minutes).

Holy crap. The little hint of cinnamon and nutmeg in this? And the BRULEE? SO GOOD!! These were absolutely delicious and will for sure be made again.