Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A detour from the kitchen

I realize that the last couple of posts have not had recipes. For this I apologize. BUT since I am Mrs. ShoeFanatic, I need to blog about this.


Me, Sister-in-law, 2 nieces & 1 nephew went shopping on Saturday. It turns out that the Gulfport outlet has a Sperry store. This is good for my feet but bad for my wallet. Behold, my new additions:

Sperry flip flops

Ann Taylor ballet flats

Brown sandals for spring

Mr. ShoeFanatic's Sperry flip flops

Sister-in-law also got Niece #1 a very cute pair of boat shoes but hers had just blue plaid.

Nephew also got some. His are really cute since he's only 2 and they are so little!

Ok, next post I swear will have a recipe in it!


CW from BayouRant.com asked me to post some recipes on his site and I am so flattered that of course I obliged! Go check them out!


How we saved $50

On Sunday I was tired and didn't cook. So after much intense discussion (that he was losing) about whether we were going to order sushi or go pick up steaks at the store, Mr. ShoeFanatic took it upon himself to just throw something together. Here's how it went down:

Remember the side of stir fry peppers we had with the apricot porkchops? He cubed those.

Remember the pulled pork sandwiches?
He shredded some more pork (sans BBQ sauce).

Remember the Blueberry & Raspberry Chipotle Sauce?
He heated that up.

So we had pork quesadillas and if I do say so myself, they were pretty damn awesome. And that my friends, is how we saved $50.

I married a very resourceful man.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Awesome blog

Does anyone remember when I mentioned the coolest blogger on the planet, Mrs. Newlywed? Well, she has a giveaway this week and you should go check it out. While you're there, read her blog; she's hilarious!

Menu Monday

As you can probably tell by now, we don't always follow the planned menu. So even though we were supposed to have Red Beans & Rice on Saturday, I ended up going shopping with my awesome sister-in-law and when we got back, Mr. ShoeFanatic took us to eat at Popeye's. Yes, we are totally klassy like that. Anyway, this week I have a lot going on so it'll be quick stuff!

Monday--Red Beans & Rice
Tuesday--Leftovers or Chinese Food
Wednesday--Chicken Marsala (Mr. ShoeFanatic)
Saturday--Chicken Fajitas

Friday, March 27, 2009

Banana Bread

I got an inkling for banana bread this week. I am a constant snoozer so I am always 5 minutes behind. Drives me nuts. So I never eat breakfast and am starving by 10am. I thought if I made some yummy banana bread, I could just grab it in the morning on my way to work.

This recipe was probably the very first thing I ever cooked growing up. My mom got this recipe from one of her patients in her early days of nursing. I think. Anyway, it's tried and true.

1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix
1/3 c oil
3 eggs
3 med bananas, smashed (the riper, the better)
Nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the cake mix, oil and eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the bananas then the nuts (if you're adding nuts).

Bake in a loaf pan for 45 minutes*. This recipe makes enough for 2 loaves.

*The recipe calls for 1 hour and 10 minutes but they were definitely done after 45 minutes. My oven is not stellar by any means so I am chalking my perfectly baked loaves up to these awesome loaf pans I got as a wedding gift.

So good! These were baked perfectly with just a little crunch on top. I am sitting here smelling the extra piece that Mr. ShoeFanatic packed in my lunch for me today. It won't last long.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ground Beef Enchiladas

As previously mentioned, we love enchiladas. Is there another dish out there that is easier? I personally don't think so. Regardless of my pork disasters, Mr. ShoeFanatic has the utmost faith in me when it comes to enchiladas. We just bought a bunch of ground chuck and this recipe has been bookmarked for quite some time. Onward...

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lg can enchilada sauce
1 lb ground chuck
1/2 onion, diced
1 taco seasoning pack
1 oz cream cheese
1 c white rice, cooked
8 tortillas
1 bag Mexican shredded cheese
Sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together cream of mushroom soup and enchilada sauce in a med bowl until it's not lumpy. Set aside.

Brown meat and onion in a dutch oven over med heat. About 10-15 minutes. When meat is thoroughly browned, add taco seasoning and however much water it calls for in the directions (mine called for 2/3 c). Cook water out, about 10 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp of the enchilada sauce mixture and the cream cheese. Cook this into the meat mixture; about 5 min. Add rice last and stir to mix well.

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Heat up your tortillas in the microwave between 2 damp paper towels. About 20 seconds.

Put a spoonful of the rice/meat mixture in the middle of a tortilla. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top. Fold and lay seam side down into the casserole dish. Continue for the rest of your tortillas.

When they are all stuffed and folded, pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce mixture on top and sprinkle the rest of the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10.

Serve with toppings of your choice. We like sour cream.

I'm quitting my job to sell enchiladas on the side of the road. That's how good these are. Very creamy and cheesy! I got 2 thumbs up from Mr. ShoeFanatic as well. Yay!

I meant to put some jalapenos into the meat mixture but I forgot. I think they'd be really good cooked in.

Served With:
Grilled Corn on the Cob

Le Petit Pierogi

Monday, March 23, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Orzo

I have been wanting to try an orzo pasta dish. So I did my thing where I find several recipes and then make them my own. I love roasted red pepper and this is really easy. I will definitely make this again!

2 T butter
½ onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 c orzo pasta
2 c chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
½ c grated parmesan cheese
1 roasted red pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt your butter and sauté the onions and garlic, about 10 minutes. Add the orzo and coat well. Pour in your chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. When you have a decent boil going, lower the fire to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes. I should add here that I have a crappy stove so I kept checking it but you really shouldn’t do that.

Here’s something else you shouldn’t do. If you happen to be cooking Spinach Salad Dressing at the same time you should definitely pay attention to what you are doing! I do not care how enthralling your conversation with your husband is! Do not pour ¼ c apple cider vinegar into the orzo! It will ruin it and you will have to start over! Don’t ask me how I know this.


While your pasta is cooking, roast your red pepper. We did ours on the grill but if you are lucky enough to have a gas stove, you can do it there too. Roast it until the skin is black. Place in either a Tupperware container or glass bowl and cover to let it sweat; about 20 minutes. Then just deseed and chop it like you normally would. I should also add here that Mr. ShoeFanatic did not cook this as much as he should have. Apparently, we were both having an off night.

Ok, once your timer goes off, check on the pasta. If it’s too liquidy still, turn the heat up to boil some of the broth off. But stand there and stir and watch it while you do that so it doesn’t burn the bottom (I have a complex about that). If the pasta isn’t cooked enough, add a little more chicken broth and let it cook longer.

Once you are happy with the consistency, season with salt & pepper to your tasting. Stir in your cheese and red pepper and enjoy!

I really like this! I think if Mr. ShoeFanatic had cooked the pepper like he was supposed to it would have been better but other than that, it was really good. I really liked the cheesiness of it.

Le Petit Pierogi
Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

Spinach Salad Dressing

My mom gave me this recipe a couple years ago (I have no clue where she got it) and I love it! I think the flavor of this dressing is really good and when you add different toppings to your salad, it makes it that much better. Very easy too!

1 c Olive oil
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
2 T Lea & Perrins Worchestire Sauce
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
Hard Boiled eggs, 1 per person

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk together and cook over low-med heat. Stir continuously so you don't scramble the egg! Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes. It will start to get thick; that’s when it’s ready.

Ladle over fresh spinach and sliced egg. Add the toppings of your choice. We like feta, pecans and berries.

So I’ve been cooking this ever since I started dating Mr. ShoeFanatic (that’s 3 years in case anyone’s counting) and he has always loved it. Last night he tells me that he never really cared for the dressing but he wanted to make sure we were married before he told me this. Jerk.

Regardless of his ridiculous opinion, I love it and could easily eat this as a side to every meal!


Menu Monday

Monday--Ground Beef Enchiladas & Grilled Corn on the Cob
Wednesday--Pulled Pork Sandwiches (courtesy of Mr. ShoeFanatic; I think he wants to prove me wrong) & Zapp's. (Sans coleslaw. Blech.)
Friday--We're going to a shrimp boil at the home of some of Mr. ShoeFanatic's co-workers
Saturday--Red Beans & Rice

Should be a yummy week!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Martha Stewart Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love chocolate. A lot. I saw this recipe on Mrs. Newlywed's blog (click it; you'll thank me later) and she's fabulous and Martha is my icon so it was a win-win combination. Today I was being unreasonably lazy and looking for a snack. Nothing in my kitchen was calling out to me so I decided to whip these up. I've made them before and they are always a sure thing.

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
14 T (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c packed light-brown sugar
1 t salt
2 t pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 c (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges and set in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. (they won't last a week.)

Throw away every single chocolate chip cookie recipe you have ever saved. This is the only recipe you need. So chewy! So soft! So chocolatey! I'm in love.

Martha Stewart

Crock Pot Apricot Pork Chops

Hmm, that title kind of rhymes. Ok, so even though my earlier porkchops were a disaster, I decided to give it another go. The thing I don't like about porkchops is that they are always dry. How do we solve that? Put it in the Crock Pot of course! I got this from The CrockPot Lady. Her blog is amazing. I literally spent a week reading the entire thing. You should too.

4-6 pork chops
1 12oz jar apricot jam
3 T brown sugar
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cloves
11 oz orange juice*

Place your pork chops in the bottom of your crockpot.

In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients except the orange juice. Mix well. Spoon the jam mixture over the pork chops. Pour the orange juice on top.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

It literally took me less than 10 minutes to put this together.

*I am aware that the original recipe calls for a can of mandarin oranges. However, I would rather have a limb amputated than eat oranges on my food. I am about to vomit just typing that. So I nixed the oranges and just put some orange juice instead. Yes, I am a freak. Yes, I am ok with that.

::sigh:: One word: Dry. I don't know what I am doing wrong. They spent 9 freaking hours in the CrockPot! Mr. ShoeFanatic says this is why they are dry. I say he's a moron sometimes. Anyway, the sauce was super yummy. I spooned it on top of the rice pilaf and that was awesome. It was ok but I am definitely done with pork! I'm serious this time.

Served With:
Bell Peppers
Uncle Ben's Rice Pilaf

A Year of Crockpotting

Asian Porkchops

Here is how we figure out what we are cooking at the ShoeFanatic household. We go to Sam's. We see what's on sale. We buy enough to last a month. I figure out recipes around that particular meat. Easy enough.

Last week...pork. Awesome. I like pork. As a matter of fact, when I was a kid my favorite meal in the whole world was my mom's porkchops. They were bone suckin' good. I mean, I had never cooked pork chops before but it can't be that hard. I figured out that Beef Stroganoff business just fine! Pork chops it was.

Lord, help me.

Salt & pepper
4-6 pork chops

2/3 c soy sauce
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 t ground ginger
A couple squirts of ketchup
About 1/2 c orange juice
A couple shakes of Lea & Perrins

Combine the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over low-med heat until it starts to thicken. Once it's at the consistency and taste that you like, remove from heat and let cool completely.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Place in a container that has a tight fitting lid or a large ziploc bag. Pour the completely cooled marinade over the pork chops. Let sit at least 6 hours or overnight.

Grill for approximately 7 minutes. The thicker your pork chops are, the longer they need to grill.

Terrible. Don't do it. Geez, where do I start...Ok, for starters, the chops were dry. I hate dry meat. HATE IT. This is why I never cook pork. This is also why after this meal, I swore to Mr. ShoeFanatic that I would never cook pork again. Mr. ShoeFanatic thinks that he cooked them too long which is why they were dry. He could be right. He also said that if we're going to grill chops, they need to be thicker. I suppose it's possible.

The marinade was ok. Not fabulous by any means. It was just ok. We decided that it had too much soy sauce and needed fruit to provide some balance. However, we didn't have fruit and had to resort to orange juice. ::sigh:: I readily admit that I completely strayed from the 2 recipes that I found and that was obviously a bad idea. All in all, I think this could be a decent dish. Not that I'll be trying it again any time soon.

Served With:
Roasted Red Pepper Orzo Pasta
Spinach Salad

Annie's Eats
Cooking This and That

Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna is my signature dish. EVERYONE loves my lasagna. It was the first dish I ever cooked for Mr. ShoeFanatic and to this day, he swears it would be his last meal. He's a smart man. So, I saw this recipe and thought the concept was phenomenal. An easier lasagna than my own? I'm in.

I should probably add that I made way too much. Like seriously, take my recipe and cut it in half. I knew I was making a lot but I usually do that so we have stuff for lunch. This was A LOT. Proceed.

11 lasagna noodles (I could have used more but I ran out and ended up stuffing 6 shells to use the rest of the filling)
2 lbs ground chuck
1/2 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 lg tub cottage cheese
1 bag shredded Italian Cheese blend
1 box frozen spinach, cooked
1 egg
Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil)
1 jar pasta sauce

Preheat the oven to 350.

Boil your noodles in a large pot. Brown your beef, onion, garlic and equal amounts of each seasoning in a large dutch oven until the beef is cooked entirely. While that is cooking, boil your noodles and start preparing your filling.

In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, 1/2 bag of cheese, spinach and egg. Mix thoroughly.

Spray the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Put a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom.

When your noodles are cooked, drain them and then lay them out on a flat surface (I used a cutting board but a sheet pan would work too).

When your meat mixture is cooked completely, stir it into the filling mixture. You can let it cool down for a couple minutes if you'd like; it's going to be hot! Mix thoroughly.

Put a spoonful of filling and spread on each lasagna noodle. If you do it too thick, it's not going to fold well so try not to put too much. When the entire noodle has a layer of filling, roll it up and place it seam side down in the casserole dish. Repeat for each noodle.

Once all the noodles are filled and folded, pour the rest of the pasta sauce on top and put the other bag of cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes uncover and cook for another 10 minutes or so; until the cheese and melted and is slightly brown and bubbly.


Oh Em Gee. These were amazing. I was a little bit leary because of the spinach (not a regular lasgana ingredient) but they were sooooo good. You couldn't even tell the spinach was in there! This is definitely one of those Deceptively Delicious meals. Mr. ShoeFanatic even said that it might be better than my original lasagna. (Watch it, buddy.) The whole dish was divine and it was super easy to serve. I think this would be a great dish to send to someone else because I bet it would freeze and reheat well. Regardless, you should stop reading and go make this. Now.

Served With:
Fresh Green Beans
Spinach Salad

Erica's Kitchen Adventure
Amber's Delectable Delights

French Toast

On Friday, Mr. ShoeFanatic called to rave about the breakfast that his co-worker had brought for everyone. As much as I adore said co-worker, I felt I needed to remind my dear husband who is the true queen of the kitchen! So this morning, I dragged my sleepy self out of bed to make French Toast before Mr. ShoeFanatic had to leave for work.

6 T half & half
4 eggs
15 T milk
3/4 t vanilla
3/8 t cinnamon
3/8 t salt
1 1/2 stale French baguettes, sliced

Combine first six ingredients in a dish or bowl. (I did this step the night before and just stuck it in the fridge.) Take your slices (about 4-6 at a time and let them soak in the batter mixture.

Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and put a pat of butter in the center (yes, it is probably unnecessary to do both but I hate when things stick). Cook your bread slices in the pan for about 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with syrup or whatever topping you like.

Um, how do I put this. They were good. Really! The mixture was AWESOME. The bread was not. That baguette was a serious pain in the arse to cut and I didn't like how it didn't cook all the way through. But seriously, this mixture is amazing! Next time, I would probably make this with either regular bread or try it with bagels like the original recipe did.

And as always, I messed with the ingredients. I felt like just 1 T of half and half with 2 eggs was too egg-y. I had just a tad bit of milk left in a gallon so I just used the rest of that. But it was skim milk so it was too thin. So I added more half and half. Then I felt like I needed to add more vanilla, cinnamon and salt. It's a never ending process. But it was very good.

Amber's Delectable Delights

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Garlic Knots

This is some seriously good bread. Very soft, kind of flaky, just a little hint of sweet. Adding that garlic butter mixture on top is just gravy. This recipe was also very easy. I highly recommend it if you are looking to make your virgin jump into breadmaking!

3 c bread flour
1/4 c milk
1 T sugar
2 t instant yeast
1 1/4 t salt
2 T olive oil
1 c and 2 T lukewarm water

6-10 cloves garlic, peeled
4 T butter, melted

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix to combine.

Add the milk, oil and water. Use the paddle attachment or dough hook and mix and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour or water as needed.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let rise for at least an hour, longer if your kitchen is cold, until dough is doubled in size.

Put dough on a floured workspace. Divide into 16 pieces. Roll each into a rope about 10 inches long and follow these steps (a better explanation with pictures can be found here):

Step 1: - Tie each strip of dough into a knot.

Step 2: - Take the end that’s lying underneath, and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center.

Step 3: - Then take the end of the knot that’s lying on top, and tuck it underneath and into the center.

Place the knots onto a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for 45-90 minutes, until dough is puffy looking.

Preheat oven to 350, and bake for 15-18 minutes. Until only very lightly browned.

Make the glaze by chopping the garlic in a food processor with the melted butter. You can play with this ratio depending on how much you like garlic.

Remove knots from oven, and brush with the glaze. Enjoy!

Oh these are so very good. And so easy! I had never made homemade bread before and was a little scared but it really was so simple. Mr. ShoeFanatic literally could not stop eating them. We also had friends over when we made this and they left with the recipe. Definitely try these!


Shrimp Robin

Bookmark this recipe. Seriously, it is so good and too easy. Mr. ShoeFanatic is a total kitchen snob and doesn't usually like to take "shortcuts" but he loves when I make this! This also does not take very long to cook. I started cooking this at 6:40 and we were sitting down to eat at 7:30. I also had to wait on the bread so it probably only takes 30-40 minutes tops.

Oh, sorry I don't have a picture of this fabulous creation. I forgot before we ate and there wasn't any leftover.

3 lbs. shrimp, peeled & deveined
Seasoning (salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 container Guidry's Fresh Cuts seasoning mix (or any other fresh/frozen seasoning mix)
2 jars Classico Alfredo Sauce
2 T Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning Blend
2 c shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 c half & half
1 bag of pasta shells, boiled

Season your shrimp and let sit overnight in the fridge.

Melt your butter in a large dutch oven. Add your seasoning mix (you can also use freshly chopped onions, bell pepper, garlic and celery...but this is easier) and shrimp and saute until shrimp are pink. About 10-15 minutes.

Add your alfredo sauce and blackened redfish seasoning, stir well and let simmer for a few minutes. Lastly, stir in your parmesan and evaporated milk. Let this simmer for another few minutes. It will be a soupy sauce.

Ladle over the pasta and garnish with more parmesan if desired.

All of my friends think that I am the greatest chef ever when I make this. I almost hate giving them the recipe because then they see just how easy it is. You could definitely use your own alfredo sauce if you wanted but Classico is probably the best jarred sauce I've ever had. The Paul Prudhomme seasoning is what really gives this dish it's awesome flavor anyway.

Served With:
Garlic Knots


Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Monday

Monday--Shrimp & Egg Stew
Wednesday--Pork Fingers (courtesy of Mr. ShoeFanatic)
Thursday--Grilled Pork Chops, Roasted Red Pepper Orzo & Spinach Salad
Friday--We're out of seafood so unless Mr. ShoeFanatic wants me to make Tuna Casserole (he doesn't), we will go eat sushi
Sunday--Lasagna Rolls

Want to guess what was on sale at Sam's this week? :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes. One of the single greatest creations on earth. Seriously, people it's up there with the wheel and fire. I mean, it's like a little perfectly sized cake made just for you! I dare you to find a person who doesn't love cupcakes. It isn't possible.

And just when I thought I couldn't love cupcakes anymore I discovered red velvet cupcakes. Heaven! And this recipe is definitely the one to try. I have never in my life attempted red velvet anything but this was so easy. And so good! They were moist and the perfect shade of red. Mr. ShoeFanatic asked me if I could double the recipe next time since these seemed to disappear so quickly. Bad Coco.

2 1/2 c cake flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t baking soda
1 T cocoa powder
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk
2 T (1 oz) red food coloring
1 t vanilla extract
1 t white distilled vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients (slowly!) and beat until smooth. About 2 minutes.

Pour into cupcake papers placed in a muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

12 oz cream cheese, softened
12 oz butter, softened
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
3 c confectioners sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy. About 10 minutes.

The actual recipe is for a red velvet cake and this frosting ratio reflects that. I had more than half leftover so when making these again (which shall be very, very soon) I would definitely cut this recipe in half.

I am literally salivating as I am typing this. I am so making these again tomorrow.

The Way the Cookie Crumbles -- she does an excellent cupcake comparison here
Apple A Day (the original recipe)

Wine Review!

Here's a fun tidbit of information. The ShoeFanatics are total winos. We went to Napa Valley on our honeymoon. Now we like to think we are connoisseur's...although we are probably just a couple of lushes (is that a word?). Anyway, since we love wine and we love to try new wine and we love sharing wine knowledge, every so often I hope to blog about it.

A friend recommended that we try Mirassou Pinot Noir. She assured me it was a bargain for under $10 and a staple in her household. Never one to pass up a great deal (or a glass) I picked up a bottle to have with our Duck Quesadillas.

It is now a staple in the ShoeFanatic household. This was really, really good wine. Very smooth to drink by itself or with dinner. And it complimentated the "gamey" duck flavor nicely. Mr. ShoeFanatic commented that it had a very strong plum aroma and he was right. I think this would be a good wine for people who are still on the fence about whether or not they like reds. It's not nearly as big and dry as a cabernet but it's not sweet either. We will definitely be trying this again. Actually, we already purchased another bottle. ;)

Thanks, Jennifer!

Duck Quesadillas with Blueberry & Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

This is so freaking good. If your husband is an avid sportsman like mine and/or you find yourself with lots of ducks in the freezer, you really must try this recipe. Smoked Duck Quesadillas is actually an entree at one of our favorite restaurants. This is by far one of our favorite meals.

13 ducks, breasted
marinade (recipe below)
15 tortillas
1/2 bag shredded cheese (we used the Kraft Mexican blend)
Blueberry & Raspberry Chipotle Sauce (recipe below)
Sour cream

Let your duck breasts marinate for at least a few hours. If you have time, do it all day or overnight; it will make it that much more flavorful and tender.

When you are ready to start cooking, preheat your grill. Grill the ducks for approximately 10 minutes or to your prefered doneness. They are small so it won't take long to cook.

Remove from grill. Take each duck breast and slice it in half (long-wise) and then into strips.

Get your pan warm and add a small pat of butter. Take a tortilla and put a spoonful of duck meat and a sprinkle of cheese. Fold over and grill on each side until cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with sauce and sour cream.

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
*Seasoning (Smoked Paprika, Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder)

Mix all ingredients together in a large container that has a lid.

*Mr. ShoeFanatic does not understand the concept of measuring seasonings. I would guess equal parts of each until (1/2 tsp?) and you can add more later if you need.

Blueberry & Raspberry Chipotle Sauce:
16 oz frozen blueberries
12 oz frozen raspberries
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c ketchup
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T Honey
5 T Cane Syrup (we use Steens)
5 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
2 T Smoked Paprika

Heat all ingredients together. When berries start to breakdown, allow to cool a little and blend until smooth. I used a blender but a stick or immersion style would work also. After blending strain through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Heat until sauce is thick.

This ratio makes a LOT of sauce. I think we probably could cut it in half and have plenty.

It's like you can't stop eating this. You know you are full but you just can't stop! The duck is really tender and very flavorful. Although that sauce is what really makes it. I think this recipe could have some more variety to it. There's no reason you couldn't do veggies with the duck or mix up the sauce with different berries.

The very first time we had this, we drank a bottle of Lily Hill Estate Petite Sirah from Bella Winery in Healdsburg, CA. We visited them on our honeymoon and it was such a great winery. If you ever get a chance to go by there, definitely jump on it. They are on the smaller side but produce some amazing wines.

Served With:
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Mirassou Pinot Noir

Coyote Blues

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

Mmm, we love Mexican food and enchiladas are one of our easy, "go to" meals when we don't know what else to make. They are so quick and easy it's ridiculous but my regular recipe was starting to get a bit...boring. This recipe is anything but boring.

5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
Seasoning (salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder)
Olive Oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 lg can enchilada sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
7 tortillas
1 can refried beans
2 bags of cheese (we used finely shredded Mexican blend)
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 375.

Season chicken with equal parts of each seasoning or to your liking. Cube and set aside. You can also cube first and then season in a bowl but I think it's easier to season them when they are whole.

Pour olive oil on the bottom of your pan; just enough to cover the bottom. Add onions and garlic and let saute; about 10 minutes.

While your onions and garlic are sauteing, pour the cans of enchilada sauce and mushroom soup in a bowl. Whisk together until there are no lumps.

When your garlic and onions are soft, add the raw chicken and some water (just a little so it doesn't burn) and let it cook thoroughly.

While your chicken is cooking place your tortillas between 2 damp paper towels on a plate and heat in the microwave for about 25 seconds. Get a 9x13 casserole dish and coat with nonstick spray. And open your can of refried beans and one bag of cheese.

Once your chicken is cooked, it's time to assemble! Take a spoonful of beans and spread them on a tortilla. Add another spoonful (or two) of chicken. Sprinkle cheese on the chicken and roll together. Place folded side down in the casserole dish. Repeat for the remainder of the tortillas. When they are all situated, pour the enchilada sauce mixture on top and the other bag of cheese. You probably don't need to use an entire bag but we like cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 3. Top with sour cream (or whatever topping you like).

This is the best freaking enchilada recipe ever. They are so creamy and we could not stop eating! It also went pretty far. We had this for dinner on a Monday night and then each took some for lunch the next 2 days. This will definitely be cooked again in the very near future (and I will provide pictures then)!

Served With:
Uncle Ben's Spanish Rice (not recommended)

Erica's Kitchen Adventures

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tomatoes & Asparagus

Yet another pictureless post.

We love asparagus and basalmic vinegar. When I saw this recipe on Erica's Kitchen Adventures blog, I knew we had to try it. I couldn't find cherry tomatoes at the market so I used grape tomatoes instead.

1 bunch of asparagus stalks, ends removed
Grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 T olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

2 T olive oil
1 T basalmic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut asparagus into 3 pieces using angled cuts. Put those and the tomatoes in a baking dish. Pour olive oil over and sprinkle with salt & pepper and mix to cover. Roast for about 10 minutes until the asparagus is fork tender.

Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingreadients. Make sure it's mixed very well.

When the asparagus and tomatoes are done, cover in dressing and mix gently to coat.

I loved this. Mr. ShoeFanatic only loved the tomatoes. He informed me that he only likes his asparagus grilled. I think the key here is to use really good basalmic vinegar. We bought ours on our honeymoon at this shop called Olivier. You can really taste the difference! Also, next time I probably would only cut the asparagus in half.

Erica's Kitchen Adventures

Beef Stroganoff

10/04/09: we have photos!

I got the inkling to make this recipe from Christen's blog. Prior to making this, I had never had Beef Stroganoff before. Beef and noodles were never something that my mother would have cooked together outside of spaghetti. After much research I found another recipe that looked good. I took these 2 recipes and decided to "make it my own" as Mr. ShoeFanatic would say.

1 1/2 - 2 lbs. beef roast, cubed
Seasoning (salt, pepper, cayenne & garlic powder)
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
Beef broth
Sour cream
Kitchen Bouquet

Season your beef with equal amounts of each seasoning in a large bowl; add more cayenne if you like a lot of spice. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large dutch oven while dicing the onion and garlic. Add onion & garlic and cook until soft (about 10 minutes). Add meat and fresh mushrooms to pot. Add enough water to almost cover the beef. Let simmer on medium heat (covered) for approximately 3 hours. Watch closely and check often. Add water as needed.

Once meat is tender and the sauce starts to taste nice, add the cream of mushroom soup and let it cook for about 10 minutes or until there are no lumps. Take a whisk to it if you have stubborn lumps. Taste for seasoning here. Also, if your sauce is not as thick as you'd like, whisk some flour in and continue to let it cook. If you think it's too thick, thin it out with some beef broth.

You can continue to let it simmer on low as long as you watch your sauce. Just before serving, stir in about a cup of sour cream. This will make your sauce much lighter. If desired, add very small amounts (~1 tsp) of Kitchen Bouquet to darken it back up. A little goes a long way! Stir in completely before adding more. Once you have reached your desired consistency and color, serve over noodles.

Mr. ShoeFanatic loved it and asked me to cook it once a week. The sauce was perfect and the meat was so tender. This was also a very easy recipe even if it was a little time consuming for the meat to get tender. I hear that this is very easy to make in the Crock Pot as well which would make it more convenient for a weeknight meal.

Cooking with Christen
Best Beef Stroganoff

Tomatoes & Asparagus

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Grilled Corn on the Cob

This recipe is how I know Spring has Sprung! It is one of our favorite side items when we grill and I have Mr. ShoeFanatic to thank for introducing me to it.

4-5 ears of corn

Butter (optional)
Salt & Pepper (optional)

Soak corn (still in husks) in cool water for approximately 30 minutes.

While corn is soaking preheat your grill to medium/high heat.

Put corn on grill when you have reached your desired heat. Grill corn for approximately 20 minutes, rolling every 5-7 minutes.

It's done when the husks are black and the corn feels pressure to the touch. You can serve with butter, salt & pepper to taste but I like it just like it is!

This recipe is a sure thing every time. It's healthy (sans butter), easy and sooo good!

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Mr. ShoeFanatic is not normally a fan of crossing ethnic boundaries in the kitchen. So when I proposed making Mexican Stuffed Shells, he scoffed at me. But after my success with the Beef Stroganoff and Garlic Knots (coming soon to a blog near you), he said he didn't doubt me.

1.5 lbs ground chuck
1 envelope taco seasoning
3/4 c water
4 oz cream cheese
12-15 Jumbo shells
1 lg jar taco sauce
1 bag shredded cheese (your choice)
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large dutch oven, brown your beef thoroughly. Add taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese. Cover and let simmer until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, boil your noodles as directed. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 dish with Cooking Spray. Pour about half the jar of taco sauce to cover the bottom. When noodles are done, drain and set them individually on a cutting board so they don't touch each other (or they'll stick together). They will be very HOT!

Fill each shell with the meat mixture and place in the dish. Pour the remainder of the taco sauce on top of the shells. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, sprinkle cheese on top and bake for about 10 more minutes uncovered. Serve with your choice of toppings!

Ironically, Mr. ShoeFanatic couldn't eat enough of it and I thought it was just ok. I think my mouth kept expecting tomato sauce. He asked me to cook it again so I probably will. I think I would also use a bit more seasoning next time. Saute an onion with the meat, salt, pepper, cayenne, etc. Overall though, it was a success!


Menu Mondays

First things first. I am a planner. At any given time you can find about 10 "lists" in our house between me and Mr. ShoeFanatic. I double heart when other food bloggers do Menu Monday so I present to you, our menu for the week:

(Yes, I know it's Tuesday. I'm also a slacker)

Monday--Mexican Stuffed Shells with Grilled Corn on the Cob
Tuesday--raw oysters at The Chimes
Wednesday--Duck Quesadillas with Blueberry & Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
Friday--Shrimp & Egg Stew
Saturday--Shrimp Robin & Garlic Knots

We need to do our monthly "meat run" at Sam's before I figure out what to cook on Sunday.

ETA: I had to change a few things around since some friends are coming over for dinner on Saturday.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Blog!

I did it. I started a blog. A few clicks here and there and I'm officially a blogger. I like to cook and try new things in the kitchen so I am 99% sure this is going to be a cooking blog.

On the off chance someone actually reads this bad boy I guess I'll tell you a little about me. I married Mr. ShoeFanatic in November 2008. The wedding was great; the honeymoon was better (Napa Valley, CA). We bought a house in Baton Rouge, LA and reside there with our doggie, the illustrious Coco Chanel (Coco for short).

I love cooking, reading, shoes, wine, margaritas, peanut butter and chocolate. I don't like snoring, messes in my kitchen, raw onions, cats, laundry and hurricanes.