Category Archives: Wife

Project 52.4 – Sloppy Joaquins

January 30, 2017

Week 4 comes to us courtesy of Rachael Ray’s The Book of Burger.  I LOVE a good burger, and could probably eat burgers at least once a week.  The same can be said for Mr. Twice Around, so this book is a match made in heaven.  I actually let him take the wheel for the selection of week 4’s recipe, and was not surprised in the least when he grabbed Book of Burger off the shelf with a manly Tim Allen style grunt.

According to Rachael, the “Sloppy Joaquin is the Spanish cousin to Sloppy Joe.”

According to us, it’s just damn delicious.  I took my mixture and put it over top of some quinoa, thus dubbing mine the “Sloppy Joaquinoa”.  Mr. Twice Around kept it traditional, and the tiny one, well, he just went face first into a bowl of it.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin
  • 6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 24 medium size cap mushrooms, crimini or white – your choice, chopped
  • Coarse salt and lots of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (eyeball it)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
  • 4 crusty rolls, ciabatta or Portuguese rolls if available, or Kaiser rolls, split
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • A wedge of Manchego cheese, for shaving
  • Chimichurri sauce- Recipe found here

Preparation

Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO. Add beef and deeply brown, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, onion and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are dark and onion is tender, 7-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the sherry and deglaze the pan, then reduce 1 minute. Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes more.

Pre-heat the broiler.
Spread rolls with softened butter and sprinkle heavily with parsley. Toast rolls until charred at edges. Top roll bottoms with sloppy mixture and shaved Manchego cheese.  Spoon the chimichurri over the sloppies,  then set roll tops in place. Olé!

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

AHDN: Brussels Sprouts Gratin

February 2, 2016

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Brussels Sprouts Gratin

1- 9oz bag of shaved Brussels sprouts
4 tbsp butter; divided
2 tbsp flour
1 cup grated parmesan; divided
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp paprika
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup half and half
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large, high- sided skillet and add shaved brussels sprouts.  Saute about 3 minutes over medium until brussels sprouts are a vibrant green color.  Remove from the skillet.  Add the additional 2 tbsp of butter to the pan and melt.  Stir in 2 tbsp of flour.  Gradually whisk in 1 cup of half and half until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan, along with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella.  Add salt, pepper. and paprika and combine.  Return the brussels sprouts to the skillet and fold into the cheese sauce mixture.   Pour into an 8 or 9 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of breadcrumbs with remaining 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese and enough olive oil (approx. 2 tbsp) until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand.  Sprinkle on top of the brussels sprouts.

Bake for 40 minutes @ 375.

This side dish was a perfect compliment to the chicken, and the left overs heated up nicely to go with some broiled flounder.  Whip up a double or triple batch with a bit of pancetta, and you have a GREAT holiday side dish!

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AHDN: At Home Date Night

February 2, 2016

When you have a life with littles, sometimes “date night” can be few and far between.  With baby sitters and broken routines, cries for mama and good night kisses…well, sometimes is it just plain hard!  To help alleviate some of the pressure, but also keep our time as just us, Mr. Twice Around and I have started implementing AT HOME DATE NIGHT, or AHDN as we call it.  The thought is that once munka is in bed, we have the rest of the evening to ourselves and can enjoy a “date” together.  No phones, no distractions – just time shared together.

The only real RULES that we have for AHDN are as follows:
1) Real clothes (with the occasional exception for PJ’s- when appropriate)
2) No cell phones
3) It has to be more than a Netflix binge on the couch

This past week was my turn to plan, so I decided on a kicked up version of dinner and a movie.

Act 1- Dinner.  Stone ground Mustard Chicken Thighs with a Brussel Sprout Gratin and White Wine

Act 2- Cozy Movie Time with snacks,  Tomato Cheese Crackers, prosciutto, grapes, brownie bites, and of course, champagne.

Now, the thing that really makes this ‘not your average movie night’ for us is the location of our movie.  Typically, we only have 1 TV in our home, and that is in our main living area.  We like it that way.  We prefer it that way. BUT- it makes it fun to bring out our second TV from storage and create a new ambiance for movie watching.  I decided that for date night, I’d set up our TV and Apple TV in our bedroom, and that we’d watch the movie from the comfort of our cozy bed, stacked high with extra pillows and cushions.  Add a tray for our snacks, and we were all set!

Stay tuned for more AHDN ideas!

Roasted Brussels Sprout and Prosciutto Pizza

January 3, 2016

What better way to start of a new year than with an old love?  I LOVE pizza.  In fact, I could probably eat pizza every day of my life.  It can be such a simple pleasure, and you can make it a thousand different ways that always seem to jazz it up.  Recently, our area got a new Pizza place called “MOD Pizza” – essentially, a made to order pizza place.  Seeing all of the toppings and combinations got me thinking about pizza night in my own household, and a new go- to was created.  Hearty and wholesome, it combines the perfect amount of salty with savory into one bite.  This is Roasted Brussels Sprout and Prosciutto Pizza.

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2 Cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 small package of prosciutto (about 5 oz), roughly chopped
1 cup freshly grated smoked havarti cheese
Your favorite pizza dough
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt
Pepper

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  Trim and roughly chop 2 cups of brussels sprouts.  Toss onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up an entire small package of prosciutto (If you’re like me, you eat some of it and wash your hands before moving on).  You can also grate your cup of smoked havarti.

On a separate baking sheet (or on your baking sheet that had your brussels sprouts if you hate dishes and are a patient person!) spread out your favorite pizza dough.  Lately, I’m really into the refrigerated Bistro Style Pizza Dough from WeWalka.  It’s good stuff- gets a really great crispness to it that I really desire in a pizza.  ANYWAY, once that’s spread out, top it with your cheese.  Now, this won’t be a typical cheesy pizza that oozes cheese.  Smoked havarti has a flavor that doesn’t demand as much as a typical mozzarella made pie.  Sprinkle and spread it so that it lightly covers your dough.  Do the same with your prosciutto and brussels sprouts, then return to the 400 degree oven for approx. 15 minutes.

If you like, you can finish it off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar once it comes out of the oven.  Truth be told, we forgot that step, and just went about devouring the pizza.  Obviously, it wasn’t missed too much since we ate the entire thing!

Note: If you have left over brussels sprouts from a previous dinner’s side dish, go ahead and use those babies!  Just skip the roasting step, chop them up, and toss them onto your pizza dough.

This pizza is perfect with a glass of wine on a fall or winter night.  It made a nice at home date night dinner with my guy, who suggested that next time, we crack an egg over it.  We’ll see how that goes and get back to you!

I’d love to hear from you- What pizza toppings top your list for pizza night?
J

 

Salty Turtle Pot de Creme

May 28, 2015

  

(please forgive the quality of this picture – I was enjoying a quiet moment before diving in to some new baby recipes)

Remember that decadent caramel sauce from a few days ago?  Tonight I’m sharing one of my favorite new uses for it- Salty Turtle Pot de Cremes. Pot de Cremes sound super fancy and intimidating, but believe me when I say this.is.easy.  The entire recipe goes into a blender!!!  The hardest part of these is waiting for them to set up!  

I first fell in love with pot de Cremes after watching an episode of “The Kitchen” around Valentine’s Day.  Geoffrey Zakarian was whipping up some silky and delicious chocolate versions, and I had been looking for something special for Valentine’s dinner since DH and I would be staying in with our littlest valentine.  

(Chocolate pot de Cremes from Food Network )

These looked impressive, but I needed to jazz some up with love of my own, and I wanted to see if I could simplify the steps and ingredients.  After some tweaking here and there, I came up with what I feel is the perfect blend of salty and sweet.  Rich and almost sinful, and so easy that you’ll make excuses to have them around! 

Salty Turtle Pot de Cremes

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 9 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Caramel sauce 
  • Chopped turtle clusters

In a small saucepan, scald the coconut milk. ( basically, bring it to the brink of a boil) Combine chocolate chips, eggs, vanilla, coffee, and chili powder in a blender and blend until smooth (about 30 to 45 seconds). Slowly add in the scalded milk- not too fast, or you’ll end up with scrambled chocol eggs! Blend again until smooth and combined.
In 4 ramekins, spoon 2 tbsp of caramel sauce into the bottom.  It will be a bit thick, and that is okay.  All the better, actually!  Pour your chocolate mixture on top and cover.  Chill for 4-6 hours or overnight until set.  Top each with flaky salt and chopped turtle clusters.

This recipe is also delicious with fresh raspberry jam in place of the caramel and topped with a few fresh berries, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. 

Really, with the base recipe, the possibilities are endless.  Try it out and let us know- How will you whip it up?  

Crazed

May 16, 2015

What is it about a visit from the parents that strikes fear into the hearts of women?  Without fail, I hear the words, and my “crazy eyes” (as DH calls them) come out in full force.  “She’s coming WHEN?… I need to…”  is always followed by an outrageous list of things that don’t REALLY need done, but that would make me feel like a more accomplished woman, wife, and mother when seen through the eyes of my mother-in-law. (and my mother, too, if she were alive) Continue reading

Rocky Road Brownies- Bonus!

July 4, 2014

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Who doesn’t love a brownie?  I have such amazing memories of my sweet Gramma Buffy’s brownies being at every holiday growing up, and while I can never fully replicate her delicious bites of gold, I’ve taken a stab at a new favorite for our get togethers.  Best of all- it starts with a box!  Brownies, marshmallows, chocolate chunks, and peanuts… in about 30 minutes.  Kids, dessert doesn’t get easier than this…

1. Start off with your favorite boxed brownie mix, and prepare as directed.
2.  Bake as directed, minus 3 to 5 minutes of cook time. (set timer.)
3.  Top mostly cooked brownies with mini marshmallows, chocolate chunks, and peanuts.
4. Return to oven for the remaining 3-5 minutes.
5. Enjoy gooey, delicious, sweet, and salty Rocky Road Brownies.

Picnic Pasta Salad

July 4, 2014

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Happy 4th of July!  Summer BBQ’s are in full swing, and picnics are abundant!  We’re getting ready to head over to our block party this afternoon and evening.  For the picnic, I’m taking over my favorite Picnic Pasta Salad!  Easy to throw together, and full of zippy flavor… it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!   Whip it up for your next get together!

Picnic Pasta Salad
1 family pack of 3 cheese tortellini (I like Barilla)
2 zucchini, diced
1 cup chopped carrot
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 green onions, chopped
1 can sliced olives, drained
3 -4 oz sliced pepperoni, quartered
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 packet of dry ranch dressing mix1/4 cup to 1/2 cup italian dressing (to taste)

Go ahead and cook your pasta as directed. (roughly 10 minutes)
While that’s cooking, I usually prep and chop my veggies.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain and run under cold water to cool and remove extra starchiness.  Drain again, and allow to cool an additional 3-5 minutes.
While the pasta is cooling, throw all of your veggies into a large bowl and give them a toss.  Add in your dry ranch packet, and toss it all again.  Add your pepperoni and  cooled pasta.  You guessed it- toss it all again!  Add 1/4 cup of italian dressing- I like to start small, and add more as needed- always better than overdressing your salad!  Finally, add in your Parmesan cheese, and toss everything together.  Taste and adjust as needed.  Chill for 2 hours before serving.

Happy 4th!
Jenny

PS: Looking for an EASY and delicious dessert?  Check out the next post for Rocky Road Brownies!