Introducing Creativity To The Alternative Diet: Many of us have segued from traditional dietary lifestyle to alternative dietary lifestyles, i.e. Gluten free, Vegan, Grain free, Real food, etc. What are we discovering?? These recipes are NOT mediocre!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fruity Pork

I liked the pork, it was very similar to one that we make but that we add a gravy to. I think if I was going to do this again though I would just
slit it
stuff it
twine it.
Much easier! I found making the hole to be easy but not getting it wider. I must admit all the comments had me smiling while doing this. It also put me in the mood for blueberry season and our first pork tenderloin recipe!

Moroccan chicken stew with sweet potatoes FINALLY!

So I have to admit I was a little disappointed with this recipe as I know its been used several times in some of the chic chef houses so I was hoping to add a new recipe to our revolving usuals. But that said it may be totally my fault I used chicken breasts since I had a ton on hand instead of thighs and I didn't use saffron and I know that can make a big difference as well. I thought it was kind of interesting that you bread and fry up the chicken and then boil it which made the nice crisp skin turn mushy......

I'm curious for some feed back, right now I don't really feel like trying it again as the flavor really was pretty flat but I know my changes could ave been the cause as well. The idea of the recipe seems really yummy to me, so I have thought of putting my own twist on it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Torta and Flank Steak

Ok you caught me another lie.... i hope this doesn't become a habit.... I did skip the sloppy joes to make this recipe. B ut in my defense this is a recipe that has been a staple in my repitoire for years.
Here is my take on the torta... I love it obviously, and usually cut the salt in the spinach and the butter down. I have substitiuted panko crumbs as well as cracker crumbs for the bread with decent results although my favorite is to use a great crusty loaf for dinner one night and the leftovers for this the next. I have also changed up the spinach to use, kale, swiss chard, and various other greens. I love the swiss chard in it!!!
As for the steak, well... here is this story,
I had everything for the steak marinade but the sherry. I asked my bachelor neighbor if he happened to have some and he laughed and asked what the heck I was talking about. When I told him the recipe I was going to make he promptly got up, ran to the store and came back with sherry.... and a steak! He asked me to throw his steak in with ours because it sounded so good! We only mairnated it for about 3 hours and then grilled it! FABULOUS!!! He did a new york strip steak, i did flank and we tried each others and agree it was great with either! In fact we re doing it again tonight! YUMM-O

My apologies!!!

Sorry ladies, I know I have been a bit MIA as of late! But, after much deliberation I will post the truth now.....
I CAN'T DO SLOPPY JOES!!!! I have been seriously battling guilt and beating myself up about this recipe! I have bought all ingredients 4 times now and used everything for other dishes and tossed numerous buns! The truth is my mo used to make these growing up and it is one of the dishes I remember vivdily making myself sick so as to not have to eat them. I have tried to get over this because I do have faith that it is a good recipe but I just can't let my inner chef go enough to try.

I hate to admit this but my guilt over avoiding this recipe has forced me to fall behind on the others. I kept telling myself I would move on to them as soon as I do this. Well, it just ain't gonna happen! I have asked each of my sisters and a couple friends to make the recipe and let me know what they think so I can post their reviews, everyone who has tried it has loved them!!!!

There now you know the truth! I am sorry for being a pooper on this and I will gladly move on to the others and post my results!

Garlic Pepper Chicken and Carrot Salad

I got this recipe from a Thai cooking website that I like. It it so flavorful, but only takes a few ingredients and not very much time. I serve it on plain, steamed jasmine rice.

PLEASE NOTE: Depending on the amount of people you're making it for, you may have to double or triple or even quadruple. I would normally double this for me and my husband, but we eat a lot. You can see that it is just super-seasoned chicken, no veggies or anything. I am posting a salad that I LOVE below it as a suggestion for a side dish, but the chicken is the only "official" recipe this time.

Garlic and Pepper Chicken

(Serves however many people one chicken breast on rice would normally serve in your household!)

1 chicken breast, sliced into thin bite-size pieces (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon white pepper or black pepper (or mix 'em!)
1 3/4 teaspoons fish sauce (I probably use a little more than this)
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
2-3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cilantro leaves (for garnish)

1. Rinse and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. (I do it in thin slices that are bite size)
2. Smash the garlic lightly with the side of a knife. Remove the skin if not using thin-skinned Thai garlic. (I just finely chop it)
3. Heat the oil in a pan until very hot. Add the garlic and keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.
4. When (very) lightly browned, add the chicken. Cook until done (not raw). If it gets dry and sticky, add some water to the pan about 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
5. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and pepper. You may need to add a bit more water here so that it mixes well.
6. Mix well and serve on rice (for a one-dish meal), or in a plate (to share with friends). Garnish with cilantro.

Thai Carrot Salad

½ tsp finely chopped garlic
2-3 Tbsp lime juice
1Tbsp sugar (I think I often skip the sugar or just cut down the amount)
3 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
4 cups shredded carrot
½ cup cherry tomato, cut in half
1 to 2 red chilies, thinly sliced
2/3 cup chopped coriander
½ cup mint
1/3 cup roasted cashew nut

Whisk the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl
Add the next 3 ingredients, toss well
Let stand for 5-10 minutes, sprinkle with cashew nuts, coriander and mint before serving

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fruity Pork

Last night I made the pork tenderloin. We liked it, especially Andy! I didn't actually stuff the pork because I have a meat issue and couldn't bring myself to do the poking part. It worked out well though because I had an especially large tenderloin so I slit it long ways and sort of stuffed it that way and then wrapped it. I don't think it really made a big difference. Anyway, we all ate it up and like it, thanks Nikki! FOUR THUMBS UP!!

Special Request: Ground Beef Not Pot Pie

I got this recipe out of a Rachael Ray mag that a friend passed on to me when she was finished. I found this recipe and we LOVE it! It is simple (I take a few short cuts) and delicious. Chic Chef Carrie asked that I share it so here is the link to it! Enjoy!
PS: I always leave out the bacon because there is no need for the added fat and additional flavor.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

First I have to say that I am so sad because Alyssa is going back to Malta and that means no more cooking with Chic Chef Alyssa. I am so sad about this that I feel myself sinking into a deep cooking slump. Boxed macaroni may be my family's fate for at least three weeks because of my sad, sad, condition. I am unsure that my inner chef can go on with out her. :(

On the lighter side of things, this was a great last recipe to do with her! We had so much fun stuffing the pork tenderloin, as Alyssa already said. Hee hee hee. It was worth it though. It tasted great. Our dad was visiting and he loved it as did Mark and Anders. Alyssa shared the details already so that is all I have to say!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sumptuous Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Eva and I made the stuffed pork tenderloin last night. She'll post the pictures.
It was delicious and beautiful. We found it difficult to make the hole through the tenderloin very big, so there wasn't much fruit in the pieces from the very middle. However, there was plenty of sauce and the meat had a lot of flavor, so the middle pieces were just as excellent as the end pieces. We did use more than the half cup of fruit, so the sauce ended up less like a saucy sauce and more like a saucy chutney. No complaints there--it was fabulous! We had a large tenderloin, and though we didn't fry it longer than the 6 minutes, we did keep it in the oven for about 20 minutes versus the ten that the recipe suggests. So, we agree with you about the extra fruit and the extra cooking time.
Any suggestions on the hole-making would be appreciated (we used a sharpening steel). Maybe it was just our particular piece of meat.
We laughed a lot about how weird it felt to stick your fingers way into the hole and trying to cram the fruit in . . . We're so immature, but it was fun to laugh!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Apples and Dried Fruit


1/2cup coarsely shopped mixed fruit dried fruit, such as golden raisins, cranberries, apricots and prunes
1/4 cup full-bodied dry red wine
1 teaspoon butter
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 1-pound pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken stock


1) In a small bowl, mix the dried fruit with the wine. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof skillet. Add the apple and cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, boat 7 minutes. Add the water as the pan dries out.

2) Drain the dried fruit, reserving the wine. Stir the dried fruit into the apple and onion in the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate to cook. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup of the fruit mixture and reserve it for making the sauce. Wipe out the skillet.

3) Preheat the over to 425. Insert a sharpening steel or the handle of a wooden spoon into the thick end of the tenderloin. Carefully push the steel through the tenderloin and roll the meat to widen the hole slightly. Stuff the tenderloin with the fruit mixture and seal the ends with toothpicks.

4) Heat the oil in the skillet. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it in the skillet over high heat, turning, for about 6 minutes.( I tend to cook it longer then the 6 minutes) Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the meat for 10 minutes. (Again I cook it longer the the 10 minutes.) Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest.

5) Add the reserved wine to the skillet and cook over high heat, scraping up any brown bits, until syrupy, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup of fruit mixture and season with salt and pepper. Slice the tenderloin crosswise 1/2 thick and serve with the sauce.

So here are a few things that i have noticed in making this. I tend to add more fruit and the cook times seem much longer to me and i tend to make it in shifts. I like to get as much as i can done the night before and then finish after work the next day or do it on a weekend. I hope you ladies like this one can't wait to hear what you think.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nothing Sloppy About This Joe!

I finally tried them. I put them off in order to make the other recipes. I didn't want to fall too far behind, and I figured that the original poster of this one would likely forgive faster being that she is my sister.
I liked them. I didn't LOVE them, but I liked them. I loved how fast and easy they were and that everything just goes into one pan. And I really like worcestershire sauce and used the full 4 Tbsp, which was great.
I don't really like bell peppers and I don't like my food to be sweet, except dessert-type stuff. I would be interested to try the same recipe with out the pepper in the future, why not?
I usually have all the ingredients that it calls for on hand, so I'll surely keep this in mind for anytime when I have to come up with something on the fly.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tasty Torta

The torta was very nice. We had it just shortly after it came out of the oven. It was so good. Then, I had another piece when it was lukewarm, as the recipe suggests, and it was still so, so good. Then, today I had a piece straight out of the fridge without warming it up and it was still good! I'll make this again. A great way to have spinach besides in a salad which is usually how I eat it. And I love it when the leftovers are still good and easy. Thanks, Carrie!

Sloppy Joes!

So I never liked sloppy joes when my Mom made them when I was a kid, they were not made completely from scratch though as she would use a seasoning packet. I was very curious as to whether I would like these or not. I was pretty sure everyone else would like them even if I didn't. I forgot the Worcestershire sauce which I know was a main ingredient so I'll have to try again with it. But even without it both Jonathan and I liked it, the girls wouldn't even try it which was kinda funny and frustrating because I'm pretty sure if I could have got them to taste it they would have liked it. I will make this again with the Worcestershire sauce but I must admit part of me still feels like I did as a kid which was, I'd rather be eating a hamburger! :)

(I still haven't done the last two soups but I will!!)

Loved It!

Alyssa and I made the Torta together last night...delicious! We did not use as much butter as it calls for, we didn't dot the top, and the next time I will still cut down even more. I didn't see a problem because of it so, why not? We used almost 2 lbs of spinach and next time I might even try adding more, just to pack in the goodness! Even though it is clear that there are only three eggs in this I was expecting it to be more like a quiche for some reason but I am so glad it wasn't! I really liked that the bulk of the torta was the rice and spinach. Great flavor! Yes, yes, yes!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

FABULOUS Flank Steak! (Severns Review)

Tonight I made the flank steak and spinach torta. I followed the recipes exactly like they read. We really liked the torta however it was more work and dirty dishes than I normally prefer for a routine meal. Andy liked it but thought it lacked flavor however I liked the nutmeg. Also Andy & I thought the crunchy edges were nice. I think that we enjoy a spinach quiche as much or more and it's a lot less work so probably won't make this one again.
The steak on the other hand will be made repeatedly. We thought it was like eating candy. The flavor was amazing and it melted in my mouth. I have never prepared flank steak before and although it was a bit more spendy than I usually get, I do think I'll buy it again. The kids meat I cooked medium-well but Andy & I ate ours medium-rare. Overall the meal was a big hit but next time I'll make a quiche instead of the torta to cut down on time and dirty dishes. FOUR THUMBS UP!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Two In One

Hey everybody, I feel like I have gone on vacation from the blog because I haven't been regular about my reviews. I have, though, been making everything and I am prepared to catch up on those reviews.

First: Sloppy Joes

I did like this recipe. As I said in a comment, I really like the idea of "modernising" old recipes so I was excited for this one. I, as Tisha, liked the vegetables in it and it tasted fresh and wholesome to us. I used a little extra Worchershire sauce, which was sooo yummy! and I actually think even more would have been good or something to make the flavor not so "bright" Do you know what I mean when I say that?? Anyway, Thanks Rachel because this has got me thinking about other sort of classic recipes that I can re-vamp.

Second: Apple Brie Soup

Okay, the confession is that I did not make this myself. Rachel and Alyssa made it in JC, as they said, and they were so nice and brought me home a bit of it! Thank you guys again for thinking of me. I didn't really like it either. I think I have an explanation of why though. Have you guys every tried fruit soup? People absolutely RAVE about fruit soup. I don't like it at all!! The flavors in this remind me of fruit soup so that's probably why. Another thing that you all may have noticed is that all three sisters did not like this soup. I think this could be attributed to one of two reasons (possibly) Number one, we all tried the same soup so what if we made a mistake without knowing it in the preparation of the soup? OR number two, we come from the same family and often times that means that we have the same weird family preferences. You know what I mean we all have those! So there is my explanation. Now I am even more super curious to hear everyone else's thoughts on the soup! One more thing, weather I liked it or not, I was really excited about it when Serena posted because it was DIFFERENT. That's what I like so much about this blog. It gives me an opportunity to try things that I would not have. Thanks Serena!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spinach Torta and Flank Steak

Hello Ladies! Sorry this is a few days late. The main recipe I want everyone to "try" is the Spinach Torta which could be a main dish with a salad for lunch or I suppose even dinner for some of you birdies but we prefer to use it as a side dish for dinner. We have made it with steak, chicken, and pork so if more then one dish overwhelms you go for the Torta and just add it to whatever meat you would like! Happy Cooking!

Spinach Torta

2lbs fresh spinach (I usually only use 1lb, as thats how the Organic stuff comes from Costco and it always seems fine)
1 heaping C long grain rice
4 T butter + extra for pan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
Black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Cut off and discard root end of spinach. (I usually do this rather loosly not necessarily getting all ends!) Soak spinach 5 minutes, in cold water. Lift spinach out and drain away water in colander. Repeat until no soil visible in water.

Put spinach in pot without water except whats on leaves. Liberally salt. Cook until tender then drain reserving cooking water. When cool to touch, squeeze dry with hands and cut into coarse bits.

In another pot cook rice as normal but using reserved water as part of the cooking water. The rice should be tender but firm so usually a little under what the normal cooking time is.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put butter oil and onion in pan. Saute over medium heat. When onions are pale golden, add spinach and rice. Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently until all mixed well. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Grease a 10inch springform baking pan with butter. (used round pans and pie dishes before I got a springform!) Coat bottom and sides with bread crumbs tapping extra out and reserving. (Directions call for rice mixture to be cool for the next part I've done it when its still warm) When rice mixture is cool, add 1/4 cup cheese, nutmeg, and pepper. Mix in eggs one at a time. Put rice mixture into pan and level evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Dot with butter and bake for 15 minutes or until light crust has formed. (directions call for it to be served luke warm but we prefer it hot!)

This is a great dish for something a little different for a side and such a great way to get in Spinach! Our girls love it! And to give credit where do this recipe was snagged from Staci who I believe snagged it from a former employer :) and so the cycle continues!

Marinated Flank Steak

I'm very new to cooking with any sort of beef other then hamburger but I got this recipe off of another cooking blog and wanted to give it a try.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cooking sherry
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 heaping tablespoons minced ginger
3-5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 Flank Steak

Combine all ingredients in glass or ceramic dish then coat steak on both sides in marinade then marinade for at least 4-6 hours, I'm going for overnight.

There are a variety of ways to then cook it. In a grill pan stove top style, broiling in the oven or on an outside grill. The length of cooking also depends on your preference. Mooing, red, pink and so on :)

Happy Cooking!

Review: Apple Brie Soup

Well, as you already know I made this with Alyssa. I agree with her, this is not my bowl of soup. I really didn't like it. It was too sweet and it seemed like it was missing something. I tried a little curry in my bowl and that wasn't it. I am curious as Alyssa asked, what would be good to serve with this? We had baked chicken breast, It was a nice balance for the sweetness. I would have liked to taste more brie in it also. I don't think I'll be trying this again unfortunately.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Moroccan chicken stew delayed but delicious!!

So, I have been meaning to post this forever!! But, better late than never I suppose!

My first confession on this recipe is that I didn't make it! I totally cheated and honestly may do so again if the occasion arises. You see, I had all the ingredients on hand for a couple weeks. I was looking forward to it but found myself in a very chaotic schedule that left me with no time to cook. God smiled on me, and sent my sister to the rescue! She happen to have an abundance of time on her hands and enjoys cooking. SHe offered to take the ingredients, make me dinner, and deliver it!! HELLO!! So, sorry ladies but I jumped at the chance.

She claims to have followed the directions exaclty and the results were delicious!!! I will admit the first few bites I was unsure of the taste but, it quickly grew on me. She did use the saffron and I am fairly certain without it the recipe would be lacking. I loved the warm taste of hominess with the cinnamon yet, it was different and I realy enjoyed it! She and her boyfriend, both thought it was quite tasty.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Apple Brie Soup Review

I travelled down to Oregon to meet up with Rachel and make this soup! The most effort I've put into a Chic Chef recipe. Ha ha! It was fun to make try it together.
Sooooo, down to the nitty gritty: . . . I wasn't a fan. :( I'm not sure what I'd do differently, I'm not of the opinion that it is a bad recipe, I just honestly think it is something that isn't up my alley. Too sweet for me. What I liked about it: it was fun to try something so different to what I'm used to. Isn't that what this is all about? Thank you, Serena!
I'd like to ask . . . what did you guys make for the rest of the meal? I thought maybe therein lies the key. What do you usually serve it with, Serena? And do you serve it as a first course?

We loved the Joes!

Ok so this was a great dinner and made great leftovers! Not often do we eat ALL of the leftovers but this time we were fighting over them. We don't often eat Sloppy Joe's because in the past they have made Nathan sick (he has Crohns). But that will change now! Next time i will drain the tomatoes and maybe use a tomato paste instead of the sauce or maybe i should have been more patient and waited a little more but i was starving at that point! So thanks again Rach i will be making these again and again! I'm sure at some point i will get a good picture of Carson covered in them to show you girls!

Bring it on Carrie! I don't know if i have ever been the first one to post about a meal! Go me! ;)

Sloppy Joes Revived

So I actually cooked these the day after Rachel's initial post, and I just forgot to comment! Anyways, I made them exactly according to the recipe except I omitted the oats as I didn't have them on hand. Jeremy was quite excited to have sloppy joes, and I was excited to have produced healthy, veggie-laden, non-greasy sloppy joes (which is not how I remember them from my younger years). Served over toasted hamburger buns and with a side salad, this was a quick, tasty, healthy weeknight meal. Thanks Rachel, for helping me reintroduce this dish into my food life in fine fashion.