My Official Taste Tester

Saturday nights is usually reserved for our date nights when we  either go out to our favorite spot, try a new spot, or if I have time cook up something special for us. Since the quarantine I’ve been doing a lot more cooking for our date nights  and Nick has become my official taste tester for everything that I  make.

I’ve made this man pasta, cookies, and even a lasagna and now he want’s bread because all his coworkers are bringing bread from home that their wives or girlfriends are making so of course I do have a recipe I’ve been wanting to try so he will get his bread for work to.

This date night I decided to cook since we were going to do a movie in, I had found a recipe by Chef Gordon Ramsay on his Instagram page for a 10 minute curry and a fried bread to top it off. So of course I had to try this recipe because we both love curry and it looked easy, so why not.

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Now to make your own you will have to do like me and follow along in the video: @gordongram 

 

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Chicken & Shrimp Curry

I just used a little too much spinach and I added shrimp instead of peas (he hates peas, go figure). Both dishes came out really good and this will be going on the menu again.

For dessert I threw on a Betty Crocker Apple Crisp  20200516_124051since I had some apples left over and sometimes he is a big ole kid that loves things that reminds him of his childhood. 

I hope you guys have as much fun making this with your special someone as much as we had fun doing this one together.

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Chocolate Chips Everywhere…

Today is “National Chocolate Chip Day”, and of course if your making cookies, chocolate chips definitely deserve it’s own holiday. The story goes that in the 30’s a woman by the name of Ruth Graves was baking cookies and decided to add some chocolate chunks to her dough, well it took off and the toll house cookie was born.

You would think I would fix that tried and true Toll House Cookie recipe but I decided to try my hand at the famous $250 Neiman Marcus cookies and there are thousands of this recipe out there, I just picked the last one I looked at (I was getting a little tired). Just as I get geared up to make those, what happens during our extended stay at home orders, but DoubleTree  hotel posted their famous cookies online, you know the ones they bake fresh and leave for guests staying in the hotel, of course I had to try these.

But it looks like I wasn’t done on my chocolate chip cookie quest because I just decided to pull up the Neiman Marcus Store  I found their cookie recipe so yep I had to put that on the list to try.

I finally started baking cookies and giving them out to my mom, my sisters and my kids, that everyone was like “NO MORE”, who knew you could get tired of cookies. But below is my take on each of the cookies I made. Continue reading

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Work Family: Pasta Maker & Sauce

It has been 13 years since I started working at the Harrahs casino with my work family and over the years we have been through everything, from birthdays, weddings, deaths in the families and even babies being born. Of course as everyone knows sometimes you see your work family more than you see your own family so you can’t help but love them or yeah even hate em sometimes, but that’s family for you.

So it had to be at the start of my time at Harrahs that my work daughter gave me the best birthday present ever. I had been talking about wanting to make homemade pasta ever since the little ole Italian grandmother of the bunch had given me her recipe for homemade pasta sauce, which by the way she made me promise to never give it out to anyone (so hush, I made some modifications and now it’s my sauce). So on my birthday she hands me a pasta maker and I was thrilled to say the least, but alas I never got around to making pasta that year. I didn’t get around to making pasta at all through an ankle surgery, and two moves, until now when this pandemic had us in lock-down.

Now after 13 years, yes I pulled out that pasta maker and I learned not only how to make fresh pasta, which by the way is the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted. After figuring out how to get the contraption to actually stay on the counter and finding the perfect recipe, which I’m not even going to copy, because there are so many recipes out there it was crazy but after doing a huge search I found one at “The Spruce Eats” which was perfect for me cause it made enough for 2 and hey it’s only me.

Next up was now taking that mixture of ingredients that this grandma gave me, that didn’t even have any sort of measurements for me to use….what the heck…right! So what’s the internet for, I started doing some research just to at least get some measurements or something to help me figure out how much of everything I should use. Just like pasta recipes you got a million sauce recipes, all kinds of sauce recipes, but at least I had a starting point on how much of anything I should use. After all that I was ready to make my own tomato sauce. Continue reading

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Why Do I Cook?

Cooking is life for me, that’s why I cook (#wecook). I’ve loved cooking since I was  little girl and my parents got me an Easy Bake Oven for my birthday one year and my dad had cakes and cookies everyday when he came home from work. Growing up I would cook the recipes out of my “Seventeen” magazine and I remember the first one I cooked was for an orange chicken dinner and ok my first try not great, but my dad ate everything I ever made.

As I got older and started working I wanted to go into the food service industry and I wanted to be a chef, in fact after meeting so many chefs during my early college years I wanted to be just like them a superstar. The one thing those chef’s didn’t tell me was the people that would dislike the food or complain or some other such nonsense and me I  guess I was too thin skinned to be a chef so I stopped wanting to be a chef, but I still loved cooking and that’s why I’m here now.

I cook because it’s an art form for me, I’ll look through my cabinets and throw something together and for the most part it all turns out good and yes I will be sharing those on here. It got to the point were my daughter created a notebook for me to write down all my recipes to pass on to her. I had a tendency to not really write anything down…yeah I know.

 

It’s so funny but now that my kids are all grown-up they all love to cook also, they have their own different styles but its an art form for them and a way to express themselves and I couldn’t be prouder of all of them.

3 Chefs to be

Oldest, youngest, middle

So that’s a little bit about why I cook, pleasure; art; and to feed the people I love.

The other week I posted about helping out our local restaurants and of course I started utilizing the weekly grocery service offered by Happy Gillis and I was thrilled with my bag so much that I’ve got my mom and sister turned on to it and I just ordered the Mother’s day meal for my mom.

With all the fresh veggies that I got in my bag I was wondering what should I make with the “yukon gold potato’s, fresh spinach, tri-colored carrots and the fresh rosemary. Oh and don’t let me forget about the awesome pound of bacon I ordered also. So what did I make I did a “Garden Bag Chuck Roast” with sautéed Spinach on the side. Next time I’m going to save a couple of more strips of the bacon to really cover the roast up. All in all I will be making this one again.

 

Garden Bag Pot Roast

Ingredients:
Small Chuck Roast
3-4 slices of thick cut bacon
5 Yukon gold potatoes
6 peeled Tri-colored carrots
Fresh Rosemary sprigs
1 cup of Red wine (I used a merlot)
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Rinse roast off, pat dry and season with salt, pepper and garlic
   rubbed in. Wrap bacon strips around roast and can use toothpicks
   or the rosemary stalks. In heavy skillet brown bacon wrapped roast.
   Remove from pan an place to the side.

2. In separate bowl toss quartered potatoes and whole baby carrots
   with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and chopped fresh
   rosemary. Toss until well coated.

3. Place a layer of the potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the
   skillet, place roast on top and place the remaining potatoes and 
   carrots on the sides. Pour a glass of wine over everything.
   
4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or
   until beef and vegetables are tender.
Sautéed Spinach 

Ingredients:
1 Bag of fresh Spinach
1/2 yellow onion sliced
Chopped bacon, 1 slice

Directions:
1. Place chopped bacon in skillet cook till crisp, add onions
   sauté for about 4 minutes add spinach and cook down.

So why do you guys out there cook? I would love to know what you’ve been cooking or your favorite places to eat.

Until next time, peace and all that jazz.

 

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COVID-19 and Restaurants

This has been the craziest year I have ever seen in Kansas City (MO), in fact in my whole life I have never seen anything like this before. Businesses closing down even my own job closed down (casino), and of course the biggest shut down’s have been our favorite local restaurants who have had to revamp how they do business but yet a few will close because they will be unable to push through this.

That’s why I was really heartbroken when one of my favorite places closed its door over the past week. Both myself and the Mister really enjoyed Beignet owned by Chef/Owner Bryan Merker, who also had owned our favorite creole place down in the crossroads called Nica’s. This is where we would go at least once a week, celebrated our anniversary and tried turducken for the very first time (yeah I miss that place). But when Beignet’s opened in the City market we were like woohoo, we can still get some great creole dishes and for seven years Chef Bryan delivered.

 

I hate I never got a chance to go as often as I liked but whenever I did go and Chef was around he always remembered me and would give me a hug in greeting. I wish that I had known and tried to help out in someway.

Beignet’s may be gone but they will never be forgotten and because so many of our local places are struggling I’ve created a list not only for myself but for you guys to help also.

And as this sign said…”We’re all in this together”

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How to Support Local Restaurants

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