Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nick's English Hut, Bloomington, Indiana

Anita has been talking about the strombolis at Nick's English Hut for years. And even though we are often near Bloomington, we'd never stopped until now.

We both ordered the traditional stromboli. We were split on the results. Anita absolutely loved hers and is still talking about it today. I thought it was good, but needed a kick. I lean towards spicier foods and I just felt that that strom could've used some heat. Now, that being said, I could hang out at Nick's for a game and drink a few beers and easily throw down a few strombolis. It's the kind of place I would been at a lot back in my college days.

So, I think we'll be going back to Nick's next time we're in the area.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vegetables Tempura with Spicy Aioli

We ordered calamari tempura for an appetizer when we were at Bubba Gump's in Gatinburg, TN, over the Thanksgiving holiday. The tempura came with red pepper and pepperoncinis. I've been wanting to recreate them at home ever since, so I did!

We did up some red bell peppers, pepperoncinis, and broccoli. They were all outstanding! You can try pretty much any vegetable you have on hand. Make sure they aren't wet or they'll splatter when you put them into the hot oil.

I found the original recipe for the tempura on Simply Recipes. The spicy aioli is by Giada.

Makes: 1 batch*
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • Vegetables
  • Canola oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup very cold sparkling water

* This makes enough for 1 bell pepper and a few pepperoncinis or a large head of broccoli.

1. Slice vegetables as desired.

2. Heat oil to 375 in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.

3. Mix baking soda, salt, corn starch and flour in a large bowl.

4. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk and cold water. Pour into dry ingredients and mix to make the batter. The batter will not be smooth like a pancake batter and it's ok if there are a few lumps.

5. Working in batches, dip the vegetables into the batter and then gently place into the oil. Do not shake off the excess batter. Cook for about 1 minute per side and remove to paper towel-lined plates.

6. Serve with the spicy aioli for dipping.

For the Spicy Aioli:

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Thai-chili paste
  • 1 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Homemade Jolly Rancher Lollipops

These were so much fun to make, and even more fun to eat!

The key to making these lollipops is to not make too many at a time. They set up quickly, so if you have too many of them they'll cool before you can get the sticks in them. I found the original idea on the Art Can Hurt blog.

Makes: About 20 pops or so
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 1 bag Jolly Rancher candies
  • Lollipop sticks

1. Preheat your oven to 200 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and then parchment paper.

2. Open the individual candies. To make a lollipop, arrange 3 candies one after another on the parchment paper. Do this about 4 times on a single baking sheet. If you do too many they will set before you can get the sticks into them.

3. Bake for about 15 minutes. You'll want to keep an eye on the first batch to get a feel for how long they take to melt in your oven. Remove them once they have melted together.

4. Take a lollipop stick and place it into the melted candy (don't touch the candy with your fingers or you'll get burned!) and twist it to coat it.

5. Repeat for the remaining candies.

6. Let cool before serving.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Barred Owl

Our youngest cat, Macey, was particularly interested in something out the second floor back window the other day. I looked out, expecting to see the Cooper's Hawk, but instead saw this big fellow sitting on a limb above the bird feeder.

Turns out, he's a barred owl. According to Wikipedia, he's the only owl with brown eyes - all others have yellow eyes. I thought owls eat only mice, but turns out they eat a lot of things, from pigeons to squirrels. This might explain the recent drop in our squirrel population.

This owl sat on the limb for about an hour then disappeared back into the woods. He's a beautiful creature. I hope we see him again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baked Angel Hair with Sausage

This is the perfect recipe for a large dinner. It makes a big batch, and is really easy to make.

You can switch things up a bit by omitting the rosemary and substituting Creole seasoning. I found the original recipe over on Bo's Bowl blog, which is chock full of great food ideas!

Makes: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/2 lbs mild Italian sausage (I used hot for some kick!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lb Crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed, divided
  • 2 15-oz jars Alfredo sauce
  • 1 lb angel hair pasta
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Remove the sausage from casings and slice into 1/2" rounds.

3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the sausage and brown on both sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined planed

4. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute until soft. Add 1/2 of the rosemary, combine.

5. Add the two jars of Alfredo sauce to the skillet. Stir, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.

6. While the sauce is simmering, cook the angel hair pasta per the package instructions EXCEPT do not cook fully. Reduce the cooking time by 1 minute instead.

7. Drain the pasta well and add to the sauce. Combine well.

8. Spray a 13" x 9" baking dish with non-stick spray. Carefully pour in the sauce/pasta mixture and spread out evenly. Top with the sausage pieces and cheese and sprinkle with remaining rosemary.

9. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown the top and serve.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Caramelized Onion-Mushroom Dressing

I have been following the Cajun Delights blog for some time now. Marguerite always has great food and music. It's a must-follow!

We made this dressing when we tried out our new infrared turkey cooker the other day. It is really good. I really liked the idea of using torn French bread instead of leftover sliced bread chunks. I'll be using French bread in all future dressings I make, that's for sure!

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb loaf French bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth (you might need slightly more or less)
  • 2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

2. Spread bread pieces out on a baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, turning at least once. Bake until golden. Depending on the bread, this may take longer then 15 minutes. Remove and place in a large bowl.

3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook 15-20 minutes, until caramelized.

4. Add the mushrooms and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

5. Add vegetable mixture and the spices and herbs to the bread crumbs. Toss to mix.

6. Add broth to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping any brown yum-yums that were left in the pan from cooking the vegetables. Pour over the bread and toss to coat.

7. Add eggs and mix gently. Spray a 13" x 9" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in the dressing spread out evenly. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10-20 minutes or until golden.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roasted Broccoli with Cherry Tomatoes

Wow! This is an excellent side dish. We both loved this a lot. Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out their flavors. You can also make this on a grill.

I might add a few toasted almond slivers next time. The original recipe came from the Neelys.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Printable Recipe

  • 2 bunches broccoli
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, whole (halved if they are large)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2. Cut broccoli into florets. Place in large bowl. Add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Spread vegetables out on a baking sheet. Roast until the broccoli stems start to turn tender, 15-20 minutes.

4. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lobster Po'Boys

I ran across some wild caught lobster tails on sale the other day. I had a hankerin' for a po'boy, and after some research, ran across this recipe from the Neelys.

This is the first time I've cooked lobster tail like this, and I was really pleasantly surprised how good it was. The remoulade is great, and would be great with a shrimp po'boy too... which is what I think I'll make next!

Makes: 2 large sandwiches or 4 small sandwiches
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 frozen lobster tails, thawed and cut in half lengthwise
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 club rolls or 1 loaf French bread, halved
  • Sliced tomato
  • Remoulade (see below)
  • Canola or peanut oil for frying

Note: If you don't have self-rising flour, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.

Note: If you don't have Creole mustard (which for some reason is getting harder and harder for me to find in our local grocery stores), 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard with a 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of Tabasco or hot sauce.

1. Add oil to a deep fryer or Dutch oven to a depth of about 3". Heat to 375 F.

2. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Dredge lobster tail in wet mixture then place in breading and coat well. Place in fryer and cook 5-7 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

3. Serve lobster on bread slathered with remoulade sauce and sliced tomato.

For the remoulade:


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped fine
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sloppy Joe Nachos

Quick and easy. And actually pretty tasty.

Just make your favorite Sloppy Joe recipe, but instead of serving on buns, serve it over Fritos or tortilla chips and top with your favorite toppings.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning (store-bought or see below)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • Chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar, sour cream, etc for topping
  • Fritos or tortilla chips

1. Brown beef in a deep skillet.

2. Add onion and cook until soften, about 5 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, combine the steak seasoning, chili powder, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato sauce. Add to meat and onion and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue simmering until thickened.

4. Serve over chips, topped with your favorite toppings.

For the Montreal Steak Seasoning:

Makes: About 1/2 cup


  • 4 T salt
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T dried minced onion
  • 1/2 T dried minced garlic
  • 1/2 T red pepper flake
  • 1/2 T dried thyme
  • 1/2 T dried rosemary
  • 1/2 T dried fennel

1. Place all ingredients into a spice grinder and grind until a coarse powder.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crab Omlette with Jalapeño Hashbrowns

I love Cajun Delight's blog! I'm a total fan of anything Cajun. It's by far my favorite cuisine.

Marguerite posted the recipes (and some music to go with them!) for this omlette and hashbrowns and I just knew I'd have to make them soon. They are fantastic! The crab in the omlette is great and there is some serious kick in the hashbrowns. The flavors are so good.

I need to practice my omlette flipping technique. A lot. So, my omlettes are more... scrambles. Still super tasty, just not as pretty. It didn't matter because the omlettes didn't last very long.

By coincidence, not 5 minutes after I wrote this post I received an email from Fine Cooking on the proper technique for making an omlette. How'd they know I needed help? Kinda spooky!

For the Crab Omlettes:

Makes: 2-3 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Cajun seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup (plus more for garnish) fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and Hot sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Monterrey Jack)

1. Crack eggs into large bowl. Beat lightly. Stir in the cream and Cajun seasoning.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

3. Add crab, parsley, a pinch of salt and hot sauce, to taste. Stir and saute another 5 minutes.

4. Add eggs and cheese and cook 2-3 minutes. Do not stir.

5. Fold mixture in half and cook another 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes.

6. Slice into serving sizes and serve garnished with parsley.

For the Jalapeño Hashbrowns:

Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes


  • 1 (24 oz) package of frozen, hashbrowns, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1/2 cup (or more) pickled jalapeño slices
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) Cajun seasoning
  • Salt and Hot sauce, both to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Paprika

1. Place all ingredients except the paprika and milk in a large bowl. Mix well.

2. Slowly stir in the milk. You want the mixture to be a spreadable (a little thick and not runny).

3. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in potato mixture and spread out evenly. Sprinkle top with paprika.

4. Bake 45 minutes-1 hour or until lightly browned and bubbly hot.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mac n' Cheese

The more recipes I try, the more I start to build up a list of my go-to recipes. This mac n' cheeese recipe from Guy Fieri is definitely on my go-to list now.

I made only minor changes to the original idea. This mac n' cheese is outstandingly good.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 medium red onion, peeled, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 pieces bacon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place onion and garlic on a piece of foil. Drizzle with oil and seal. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the onion and garlic become fragrant. Let cool slightly. Squeeze the garlic cloves out from their skin and chop. Also chop the onion.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta per package instructions. Drain well.

3. While the onion and garlic and pasta are cooking, cook the bacon in a large saute pan. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat. Crumble the bacon and reserve.

3. Add garlic and onion to pan and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook another minute.

4. Whisk in the cream and thyme, simmer and reduce by 1/3rd.

5. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

6. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Add the pasta and spread evenly. Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the pasta and spread evenly.

7. Melt the butter in the microwave. In a small bowl, combine the butter, bread crumbs and parsley. Sprinkle over top of cheese and pasta.

8. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is a great way to clean out your fridge and freezer of leftovers.

This is a copy cat of the Olive Garden's minestrone soup. You can substitute rice or barley for the pasta if you wish. Instead of canned beans I used dry beans that I soaked overnight.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen green beans
  • 1/2 stalk celery, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans great northern beans, drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup small shell pasta

1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, celery and green beans. Saute until onions begin to soften.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, carrot, water and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for 20 minutes.

3. Add spinach and pasta and cook another 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Texas Taco Joes

I love Sloppy Joes. Like the ones we made not too long ago. But, sometimes you want a new take on an old classic, and this is it.

These are ready in under 30 minutes. Perfect for a quick meal after a long day. I found the original recipe on the Kraft website.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded, stemmed, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (or one 1 1/4 oz package)
  • 4 slices Texas toast
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup Mexican-style shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet with the onion, pepper and jalapeño.

2. Add the tomatoes and taco seasoning and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.

3. Add corn and heat thoroughly. Meanwhile, toast the bread.

4. Serve meat mixture over bread, topped with cheese and cilantro.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mediterranean Nachos

What a wonderful change from your usual nachos!

These nachos are piled high with homemade pita chips and humus, topped with black olives and feta. Really good eatin'! The original recipe for the nachos comes from Claire Robinson. The hummus recipe came from here.

Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 3 pitas
  • 1 1/2 cups hummus (see below)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cook lamb in a medium skillet until done. Season with salt and pepper and remove from skillet, leaving the fat.

3. Brush pitas with fat from cooking the lamb. Cut into 8 wedges, then place on a baking sheet. Bake until golden and crunchy, about 10 minutes.

4. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer half the pita chips, lamb, hummus, and feta. Repeat with remaining chips, lamb, hummus and feta and top with black olives. Bake for 5 more minutes. Serve garnished with parsley.

For the hummus:

Makes: About 3 cups


  • 2 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Place all ingredients along with 1/4 cup of the bean liquid into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Beefy Cajun Mac

Creamy. Cheesy. Beefy. Goody!

I'm a big fan of the Smoky Mountain Cafe blog. They have lots of good-tasting, stick-to-your-ribs food. This time of year that's exactly what I'm looking for!

This mac is very easy to make. I made a few very minor changes to the original recipe. I didn't have andouille on hand, so I substituted smoked sausage.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped smoked sausage (or andouille)
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups dried pasta (I used rotini)
  • Cajun seasoning (I used Cajun Power)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain well.

3. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the sausage and brown lightly.

4. Add the ground beef. Crumble and cook until almost done.

5. Stir in the flour. Reduce heat to medium. Add the cream and Worcestershire sauce. Stir often, simmering, until the sauce thickens.

6. Add the tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, pepper, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, and the Cajun seasoning, to taste. Stir until the cheese has melted completely.

7. Remove from heat. Stir in the pasta. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour the pasta mixture into the dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

8. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Scrambled Eggs with Sausage Puffs

This is a take on Denny's Scram Slam. It's easy and tasty.

I served the eggs up with some sausage puffs. They're rather addicting.

For the eggs:

Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup whole mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and mushrooms. Saute until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

2. Melt remaining butter and add the eggs. Stir eggs constantly while they cook, 5-7 minutes, or until starting to set.

3. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs and stir.

4. Add the sauteed vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook until eggs are done.

5. Divide in half and serve topped with the tomatoes.

For the sausage puffs:

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes


  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage links
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 egg, whisked

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Cook sausages in a large skillet until almost done. (They'll finish cooking in the oven). Remove and let cool slightly.

3. Roll out pastry dough in a square about 12" on each side.

4. Brush dough with the maple syrup.

5. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into equal-sized squares, then cut each square into a triangle.

6. Place a sausage on the lower edge of a triangle and roll. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sausages.

7. Brush tops of puffs with the egg.

8. Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Apollo 14

Today is the 41st anniversary of the landing of Apollo 14 on the moon. It's amazing that it was that long ago.

Apollo 14 had to be an even more stressful flight than usual considering that it came after the almost-disastrous Apollo 13. The crew consisted of Alan Shepard (of Project Mercury fame), Stuart Rosa, and Edgar Mitchell.

The lunar module set down in Fra Mauro, which is where Apollo 13 was to land.

The Apollo 14 crew successfully returned to Earth on February 9, 1971.

I've been slowly collecting these glasses commemorating the Apollo missions to the moon. Maybe this weekend I'll get the matching carafes when we go antiquing!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mini Calzones

This is my take on a really simple recipe from Kraft.

Normally, I'd make my own dough, or use some homemade pizza sauce, but it was one of those evenings where I just needed something quick, but still good. You could put anything you want inside of these. I think next time I may just use broccoli and cheddar.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
  • 1/4 cup pepperoni, diced
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • 1/4 cup Italian cheese mix, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons marinara sauce

1. Crumble sausage into a medium skillet and cook until done. Drain.

2. Unroll dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12x18" rectangle. Cut into 4 equally-sized rectangles.

3. In a bowl, combine the pepperoni, sausage, cheese and marinara sauce. Spoon onto one half of each dough rectangle. Fold other half over and seal by pressing with a fork.

4. Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hot Grilled Chicken Wings

These wings are not tame. They are hot and spicy. If you can't take the heat, cut back on the cayenne. I found these wings to be heavily addicting.

It's entirely possible that I doubled the rub mixture when I made this. It's not a bad idea if you really want the wings hot. Keep a bowl of cold ranch or blue cheese dressing on the side for dipping.

The original recipe came from Guy Fieri.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 pounds chicken wings

1. Rinse wings. Cut into wings and drumettes. Pat dry. Place into a large resealable baggy.

2. Combine the dry ingredients. Add all but two tablespoons to bag with the chicken. Seal and toss to coat the chicken. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.

3. To cook on the grill: set up grill for direct and indirect cooking. Brown wings over direct coals then remove to indirect heat and cook until done, flipping once.

4. To cook in the oven: preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Add wings and cook for 25 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until done.

5. Serve with sauce.

For the dipping sauce:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 habanero, minced
  • 2 tablespoons reserved wing rub, from above
  • 3 cups hot sauce (I used Frank's)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and habenero and saute for 1 minute.

2. Add the wing rub and hot sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

3. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering until wings are done cooking and are ready to serve.