Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beef & Pepper Sandwiches with Spicy Au Jus

This recipe was shared with me by one of my dear friends and most faithful blog readers, Michelle. She is always trying my recipes, so it was very fun to try one of hers! I found it to be both delicious and unique, so I just had to share it with all of you. This sandwich is similar to a french dip, but with a spicy kick. It was simple to make and the perfect meal on a cold wintery day. If you do not like things very spicy, I would recommend reducing the amount of pepperocinis you use. Enjoy!


Chuck Roast (2 lbs or more)
Garlic Powder or garlic salt
Onion Powder or onion salt
1 jar pepperocinis (sold next to the olives/pickles)
2 cans beef consomme (Campbell's next to the soups)
1 can beer (any kind, I used Leinenkugel's Nut Brown)
1 loaf French bread
Provolone cheese


  • Season roast with garlic/onion powder and pepper and place in slow cooker.
  • Add jar of pepperocinis (including liquid), beef consomme, and beer to slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for at least 6 hours.
  • Slice French bread loaf and then slice or shred beef. Place meat on French bread to make sandwiches and top with provolone cheese. Serve with small bowls of liquid from slow cooker for dipping.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"The Chewy" Chocolate Chip Cookies

After reading great reviews about Alton Brown's "The Chewy" I decided to try it, even though I already had a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. "The Chewy" is by far my new favorite! These cookies are soft on the inside but slightly crispy around the edges. After three days they still taste fresh baked. I highly encourage any chocolate chip cookie lover to try this recipe!


2 sticks unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  • Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Source: The Food Network's Alton Brown

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

Tilapia is a very easy to cook and mild tasting fish.  If you are new to cooking fish, this is a great one to start with.  I typically buy tilapia fillets in the freezer section, and about 6 frozen fillets come per bag.  The fillets thaw quickly for last minute meals and there are many simple ways to cook them.  I halved this recipe and used 3 tilapia fillets since it was for just the two of us, but the full amounts are listed below.  We both thought it was delicious and we will definitely be making again.  Enjoy!


          1/2 cup Parmesan cheese  
          1/4 cup butter, softened  
          3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
          2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
          1/4 teaspoon dried basil  
          1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
          1/8 teaspoon onion powder  
          1/8 teaspoon celery salt  
          2 pounds tilapia fillets
    1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
    2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
    3. Place fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish. 
      Recipe adapted from

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Pinch Bowls

    Time for my first product rave!  I recently purchased this set of Le Creuset Pinch Bowls at Tuesday Morning.  I have been surprised at how useful they are!  I am the type of cook who cleans and organizes as she goes.  I always admired how chefs on the FoodNetwork made cooking look so simple, quick, clean, and easy, and pinch bowls have proven to be the secret ingredient.  I honestly think that organization like this is the only way Rachael Ray can claim any of her meals are able to be made in 30 minutes!  I now use these bowls with virtually everything I make.  I love pre-measuring the ingredients and getting everything set up in advance, and then just tossing in the spices, seasonings, garlic, etc when the time is right.  No need to fumble around for the right spoon or bottle in the middle of a recipe.  These particular bowls are made of silicone and hold 2 ounces, or 1/4 cup.  They are easy to clean and do not retain smells from garlic or strong spices after being run through the dishwasher.  I also find them to be useful for serving dipping sauces and melted butter.  Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you all since they have made cooking so much more enjoyable for me.  Not to mention, they are just so darn cute!

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Buffalo Chicken Dip

    This tangy dip resembles the taste of buffalo chicken wings and seems to be a hit each time I make it.  The buffalo sauce can be adjusted according to taste- use more if you would like it spicier.  This dip can also be placed in a crock pot rather than baked in the oven, which makes it easily transportable, and able to be kept warm and gooey all throughout a football game or party.


    3 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (if they are pretty large I'd probably use only 2)
    1 (8oz) package cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)
    1 cup ranch dressing (sometimes I use 1/2 cup ranch and 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing)
    3/4 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
    1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

    For serving

    1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut in to 4 inch pieces


    • Boil chicken breasts until cooked through and no longer pink the middle, then cool and shred them.
    • Place shredded chicken and hot sauce in a pan over medium heat and heat through.
    • Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing, stirring and cooking until well blended and warm.
    • Mix in half of the shredded cheese, then place the mixture in a lightly greased baking pan or transfer to a slow cooker.
    • Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake at 325 degrees until hot and bubbly (about 20 mins) or cook on low setting in crock pot until hot and bubbly.
    • Serve with celery sticks and crackers (I use Ritz or Townhouse brands).
    Recipe originally adapted from, however changes have been made to reflect personal taste.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Champagne Chicken

    I tried it out mainly because it seemed interesting that champagne was used to make the sauce. The meal received rave reviews from my husband, who stated, "You have to blog this" after only a few bites. I do not blog every recipe that I try, but this one is definitely something worth sharing. The sauce is rich and tangy. It went well with the orzo pasta I served along side it, but I think it would also go well with a simple salad and bread sticks to dip in the sauce. Oh, and don't forget to pour yourself a glass of bubbly!


    3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    1/3 cup flour

    1 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp pepper

    1/4 cup butter

    2 tsp olive oil

    1.5 cups champagne

    1 cup whipping cream

    1 tsp ground rosemary


    • Flatten chicken by placing on a cutting board, covering with plastic wrap, and pounding with meat mallet or rolling pin.
    • Dust chicken with the flour, salt and pepper
    • In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat
    • Add chicken and saute 5 minutes, turn over and add the champagne. Continue to cook for 12-15 minutes
    • Add the cream and rosemary and cook until thickened
    • Remove chicken and place on your serving plate. Pour sauce over chicken and enjoy
    *I did not use the rosemary in this recipe because I didn't have any on hand. I do not think it is needed, however left it in the recipe in case someone wants to try it.

    Recipe adapted from the Rookie Chef

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Zuppa Toscana

    The Kozy Kitchen has been out of commission for a few weeks due to a move from Southern Alabama to Wisconsin. This recipe is very appropriate for my first post after moving into this snowy, freezing climate because it is so warm and comforting. This recipe is basically a knockoff of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, the popular sausage and potato based soup offered as an option before the main course. The taste is shockingly similar. In any case, it has quickly become my and my husband's favorite soup, and possibly favorite food that I make. Enjoy!


    1 lb mild italian sausage (I use Jimmy Dean's brand)
    1Tbsp olive oil
    6 slices bacon, chopped
    2 medium sized potatoes, sliced in small half moons
    10 + cups chicken stock/broth
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    About 4 cups kale leaves, torn
    1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like)
    2/3 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
    fresh ground pepper to taste


    1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. Transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate after it is cooked.
    2. Add bacon to pot and cook until slightly crispy, then place on same plate as sausage.
    3. Drain all but about 2 Tbsp of fat. Add onions and saute until soft, then add garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf and saute a couple minutes more.
    4. Add cold stock and stir with wooden spoon to remove stuck on bits from bottom of pot.
    5. Add potatoes and meat and bring to a boil. Simmer 15-20 mins.
    6. Add kale and cream, simmer 10 minutes more and serve.