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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zuppa Toscana (sausage and potato soup from olive garden)

This is a household favorite. We have LOVED this soup since the first time we have tried it at olive garden. My fiance asked me to make it one day, and I must say it tastes pretty close to it, if not exactly like it. I have never tried Kale until I made this soup, I actually had a hard time finding it the first time i went to the store because I didn't know exactly what it looked like ha ha, but its right next to the collards and similar types of greens.

Here is what you will need...

2 cups Kale
1 lb Hot ground sausage
4 strips Bacon
1/2 Onion diced
1 cup Heavy Cream
4 cloves Garlic minced
2 large Russet Potatoes Sliced 1/2 inch thick
5 tablespoons Chicken Bouillon
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers
8 cups Water

In a Large pot, fry the ground sausage with the crushed red peppers, until cooked.

Once its cooked, empty the pot onto a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the excess fat.

Now in the same pot, add your four strips of bacon, you can add more if you like. The more bacon the merrier...but four strips is what I like to use. Once the bacon is cooked in the pan take it out with some tongs or a fork, and leave the bacon grease in the pan (which helps flavor your soup) and now chop your bacon into small pieces.

Now chop your onion...

And add it to the pan with your bacon and fry together until the onions are translucent and soft

OH! add in the garlic

AND the chicken bouillon!

Now that you have your base which will create the amazing flavor to your soup, add in the water.

Then add in the potatoes until soft

Then add in the heavy cream, the kale and reintroduce the sausage. Boil for about 5 minutes...

Then serve with a nice glass of wine and a salad or pasta =]

Thursday, March 15, 2012


This is my rendition of "picadillo". This dish is a easy "go to" dish for me when I cant figure out what to make, and my fiance and son are hungry. Its a one pot wonder :) I hope you like it.

Here is what you will need...

-1/2 teaspoon Garlic salt
-1 Can tomato sauce ( I believe its a 4oz can)
-1/3 cup Frozen corn Kernels
-1 can green beans
-1/2 tomato
-1/2 onion
-2 potatoes
-1 table spoon Lawry's seasoning salt
-1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
-1 lb ground beef
-2 cloves garlic
-1 yellow Chile

In a large pan cook your ground beef until done (when there is no pink left). Then rinse, peel, and cut your russet potatoes into small pieces like so.

Now add the potatoes into your ground beef right away on medium heat covered with a lid, mixing every 3-5 minutes. I cover the potatoes so they can cook right away.

This is the time to also add your seasonings (Lawry's garlic and seasoning salt, and pepper)

While they are cooking together, go ahead and roughly chop your tomato, onions, garlic and Chile.

add this to your pan once the potatoes are almost fully cooked. I check my potatoes by taking the biggest piece out and poking it with a fork. If it goes right through it with no resistance then your good to go =]

Mix all your veggies with your meat and potatoes, and cover. Cook until the onions become soft and translucent. Once they are cooked, add in your corn kernels and your green beans.

You can also add in your tomato sauce at this time.

Mix in the tomato sauce until the whole mixture is well blended, lower your flame to low and let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes so all the flavor can blend. Once it is finished I like to plate on top of white rice. You can use Mexican rice which I do as well, or you can eat it by itself. Either way it's good. OH! Serve with some avocado slices and tortillas if you'd like.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Beef tacos

These tacos are the ones my mom used to make me when I lived back at home, now I make them for my little family. They taste the same, but i make them a little differently than she does. My three year old son Jayden loves them, especially with sour cream and avocado so I hope you do too !

Here is what you will need....

1 lb ground beef
Corn tortillas (about 10)
Sour Cream
1 1/2-2 teaspoons Lawrys seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon Black fine ground pepper (regular pepper)
1-2 Avocados
1 Tomato
Parmasean Cheese
*your favorite salsa

In a bowl add your ground beef, lawrys seasoning salt & pepper.

Mix with your hands or a spoon. I used a fork here, but then it got annoying because it takes a little bit longer and it doesnt blend as well, so I switched it up and used my God given utensils..MY HANDS =]

In a skillet, turn heat to medium high-high depending on your stove top and spray with a non stick cooking spray. In your hand take a golf ball size portion of meat and flatten it out to the legnth of your hand. Dont make it too thick because it takes forever to cook. I'd say about 1/4 inch thick. I say make the patties about the legnth of your hand because the meat will shrink and if you make them smaller then your taco will just have meat in the center ha ha.

Once the meat is browned on both sides and the juices are no longer running off the meat, lay them on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up some of the natural fats that build up in the pan.

Once all the meat patties are cooked, I cleaned my pan and added oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan to fry the taco shells.

Place a patty on a tortilla, and once the oil is hot, introduce the tortilla and meat into the pan.

Once the tortilla has softened a little bit, flip it over to form the "taco". The reason I reccomend waiting until the toritlla has softened because if you dont you run the risk of the tortilla cracking right down the middle, and then you will need to get a whole new tortilla and try again.

Once the taco shell is hard on both sides, just like the meat patties, let them drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.Now get your veggies ready.....

Now that your tacos are done and your veggies are sliced, add them to your taco with a little bit of sour cream, your favorite salsa and sprinkle with parmasean cheese.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Albondigas (mexican meatball soup)

This is another recipe from my grandmas kitchen which is really delicious and a family favorite! I am still a little under the weather at the moment so I figured I would make some soup to soothe my throat and cough.... And to top it off its quick and easy to make and when your sick cooking is the last thing that you want to do so it was the perfect choice!

Here is what you will need...

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
2 zucchini's
1 salad tomato
1 onion
6 mint leaves
4 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons of ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon of pepper for meat mixture
1/2 teaspoon of pepper for liquid
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 cups of water
1 large russet potato
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon

There is a lot of chopping and mincing involved in this recipe so get ready :) First you have to mince your onion and tomato as fine as you can, because this is going go into your meat mixture that will create your meatball.

Now once the tomato and onion are all minced, add them into a large bowl along with your ground beef and two large eggs.

Mince one zucchini just as you did to the tomato and onion, and add that into your bowl as well, and you can add your salt and pepper at this time along with your minced garlic.

oops ... I almost forgot to mention, add in some roughly chopped mint! The mint is the KEY ingredient to albondigas

Now that you have everything ready to go for your meatballs, mince the other half of your tomato and onion and add them to a large pot with 3 tablespoons of oil in it and begin to fry the ingredients together.

Once the onions begin to soften, add in your chicken bouillon, oregano and pepper.

Now add in your water (which fills your pan about 1/2 way up) and bring to a boil.

Now once the water is boiling, add in 1 inch meatballs, more or less about the size of a golf ball. You don't want to make your meatballs too big because then they will take forever to cook, and the whole point for me personally is to have quick and easy recipes that I can make on a moments notice since i am so busy all the time.

make sure you add your meatballs in one at a time in different spots in your pot or boiling water so they don't get stuck together, or break apart

Now while your meatballs are boiling, cut your potato and remaining zucchini into slices. You are going to add these in your soup when the meatballs are almost fully cooked.

You can tell your meatballs are not finished yet because there is what I call a "meat foam" sounds gross right? HA HA, this is what it looks like...

Once it has disappeared, and your meatballs are floating to the top of your soup, add in the potatoes and zucchini, and one sprig of mint for extra flavoring. Boil until the veggies are cooked, which is more or less about 20 minutes.

Serve with a few avocado slices, a wedge of lime and a side of Mexican rice =] Enjoy