Month: November 2011

Steak Salad & Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache

In an effort to use up the vegetables that were in the refrigerator I decided that making a fresh steak salad for dinner would be fantastic!  You can use whatever veggies you have in the kitchen as well as a combination of canned as well.  I also decided to try a dessert recipe from Walt Disney World’s Food & Wine Festival as well that I fell in love with.  This dessert recipe would make Paula Deen proud,  enjoy!

Steak SaladSteak Salad (2 servings)


3/4 lb. top sirloin steak

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

2-3 tbs. Mrs. Dash Original Blend

Salt to taste

Mixed Greens

Veggies of your choice (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes) rinsed and trimmed

Canned veggies drained and rinsed (black beans, chick peas, corn)

Dressing of choice


Combine EVOO and Mrs. Dash in a small bowl.  Place steak into a shallow bowl and pour marinade over meat.  Let sit for about 15 minutes.  If you haven’t already rinse and cut up veggies and place into a large bowl.  Once you have all your veggies in a bowl pour about 3 tablespoons of dressing over the veggies and stir until well mixed.  Set aside.

Preheat a non-stick pan for the steak.  Cook about 4-5 minutes on both sides for medium rare using a food thermometer to ensure proper cooking temperature.

Let the steak rest for about 5 minutes while you place the mixed greens and spoon mixed veggie mix onto plates.  Slice steak for plating and drizzle with selected dressing.

Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s GanacheWarm Chocolate Lava Cake & Bailey's Ganache

This recipe makes 6 servings if you use 6 3/4 cup ramekins but I used a 24 count mini muffin pan instead.  You can also use muffin tins; recipe makes 12.  Be aware that cooking times will vary depending.

Ingredients for Chocolate Lava Cake:

8 (1 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate squares, chopped, or 1 cup semi-sweet chococlate chips

2 sticks of butter; plus additional to coat pan

5 egg yokes

4 whole eggs

3/4 cup sugar; have additional to coat pan

1/3 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter sides of the muffin tins.  Lightly coat with sugar, shake out excess

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler set over simmering water.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from over water and cool 10 minutes.

While chocolate mixture is cooling beat egg yolks and whole eggs together in a large bowl; add sugar and beat until thick and light, about 2 minutes by hand.

Fold in chocolate mixture.

Sift flour, than fold into batter, mixing until smooth.  Divide batter among prepared tin, filling about 3/4 full.

If you are using ramkins be sure to place them on a baking sheet and bake about 35-40 minutes or until sides of cake are set and middle is still soft.  If you used 12 count muffin tin bake about 15 minutes and bake 10-12 minutes if using a 24 count mini muffin pan.  DO NOT OVERBAKE!!

Using a small knife or metal spatula, cut around sides of cake to loosen.  Invert the ramekins onto plates.  When handling the 24- count pan I inverted the pan onto a cooling rack with great success!


You can double this as needed depending on how many small lava cakes are made.  I doubled this to ensure enough toppings for the 48 cakes that I made.


1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish cream

4 ounces milk chocolate, or 1/2 cup mil chocolate chips


Stir together cream and Bailey’s in a small saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly.  Just before boiling point, remove from heat and stir in milk chocolate.

Drizzle ganache over cakes.


Fried Brussel Sprouts, Chicken Tater Bake, and Baked Mac and Cheese

Three completely unrelated, though delicious, recipes I made on three different nights this past week.

The first one I made as a companion to some chicken and mashed potatoes, liberally stolen again from Michael Symon and The Chew.  I left out the capers, because neither Jeff nor I are fond of them, but you can include them if you’d like.
Michael Symon’s Fried Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Capers


canola oil for deep frying
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/2 Serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb Brussel sprouts (trimmed and quartered lengthwise)
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp olive oil


1.  Pour enough oil into a medium pot so that the oil comes 3 in. deep up the sides.  Heat the oil to 350 degrees, or until you see the snakey lines.

2.  While the oil is heating, whisk together serrano, honey, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a bowl large enough to toss all the Brussel sprouts.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Keep the bowl near the stove top.

3.  Working in batches, deep-fry the Brussel sprouts until the edges begin to curl and brown, about 3 mins.  Add the walnuts and capers to the last batch.  If using capers, stand back because the capers will pop and sputter.  Give the contents of the pot a stir, remove with a skimmer and place directly into the bowl of dressing.  Toss to coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

These are delicious and crunchy!
This picture is what was posted on The Chew’s site… mine didn’t look quite so elegant, but were just as tasty.

Chicken Tater Bake

This is a recipe from Jeff’s Aunt Carol.  It’s extremely easy, but extremely awesome.


1 3-4 lb chicken or 3 boneless chicken breasts
1 32-oz package of tater tots
2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
6 tbsp margarine
6 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
1/2 to 1 onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups corn flake crumbs
1/2 cup margarine (or enough to coat crumbs)


Cook chicken until done.  Remove from bones if using a whole chicken, and cut into bite size pieces.  Grease a 9 x13 pan and place tater tots in bottom of pan.  Cover with chopped chicken.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt margarine.  Stir in flour and make a paste.  Add milk, onion and soup.  Stir until thick and pour over cheese layer.  Melt 1/2 cup of margarine, add corn flakes and stir to coat.  Pour over casserole and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until bubbly.

This last recipe was a variation of baked mac and cheese that I took from Alton Brown, because I needed a quick Sunday lunch before some work.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese


1/2 lb elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five mins.  Make sure it’s free of lumps.  Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika.  Simmer for ten mins and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg.  Stir in 3/4 of the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.  Top with remaining cheese.

Melt butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat.  Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.  Bake for 30 mins.  Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Please enjoy these recipes!   …Though not necessarily all together.  🙂

Marinated Grilled Top Round Steak with Bacon “Smashed” Potatoes and Roasted Mini Carrots

Amy's Fall Feast
Marinated Grilled Top Round Steak

I wanted to use up some of the items leftover from the week’s shopping and this is what I came up with. The recipes came from two different locations as noted and the dinner took about an hour to make prepping everything before starting. Enjoy!

Marinated Grilled Top Round Steak (Classic Rachel Ray 30-Minutes Meals) – the recipe calls for flank steak but I used what I had


2 cloves garlic, minced (I used pre-minced garlic from the fridge)

1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (Montreal Seasoning by McCormick)

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 teaspooons Frank’s Red Hot (eyeball it)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (2 splashes, I used balsamic vinegar that gave it a more robust flavor)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)


Mix Garlic, grill seasoning, paprika, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and 1/3 cup EVOO in a shallow dish. Place meat in dish and coat it evenly in merinade. Let stand 15 minutes.

Heat a grill pan or cast-iron pan over high heat. Grill steak on hot pan; about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare to medium, and 6-7 minutes on each side for medium-well. Remove steak from grill and let it sit a few minutes before slicing. The internal temperature of the steak will continue to rise while it sits. To ensure your meat is cook use a cooking thermometer. Internal temperature should reach 145 degrees fahrenheit for medium-rare.

Bacon “Smashed” Potatoes (Classic Rachel Ray 30-Minutes Meals)


2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

4 slices thick-cut bacon (the recepie called for chopping this up before cooking, but I found it easier to cook whole than break apart with my fingers)

1/2 chicken broth

1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste


Place potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Cover pot. Bring water to a boil, remove lid, then cook potatoes until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Smash potoates with chick broth and add bacon and cheese. Season with sale and pepper to taste.

Roasted Mini Carrots (Food Network Magazine – October 2011)


1 1/2 cups mini carrots halved

1 sprig fresh Rosemary (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons EVOO

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix ingredients in a shallow baking dish. Roast, stirring once, until veggies are tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes. After I took the carrots out of the over I put them into the pan that I cooked the steak in for some additional flavor and moistened them as well.

Sweet Smoked Pork Ribs, Roasted Crispy Cheese Potatoes, and Aunt Elsa’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A few different recipes tried last weekend, after we got a smoker for Jeff’s 5 year anniversary present from work.

Sweet Smoked Pork Ribs


1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
10 lbs baby back pork ribs

1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup barbeque sauce


1.  Stir together the salt, white sugar, 2 tbsp brown sugar, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika and cumin in a small bowl to make a dry rub.  Rub the spice mixture into the ribs on all sides.  Wrap the ribs well with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 mins prior to cooking.

2.  Place the ribs onto the wire rack of the smoker.  It is ok if the meat is touching, but do not stack it.

3.  Place the racks into the smoker.  Fill the smoker pan with apple, grape, pear, or cherry chips, and bring the smoker to 270 degrees.  Smoke for 1 hour.

4.  Stir together the apple juice, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and barbeque sauce.  Brush the ribs with the sauce every 30 to 45 minutes after the first hour.  Cook the ribs in the smoker until the meat is no longer pink and starts to shrink back from the bones; 3 to 4 hours.  Brush the sauce onto the ribs one last time 30 minutes before the ribs are ready to be taken out of the smoker.

5.  Once the ribs are done, wrap them tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest 10 to 15 mins.  Then serve.

A couple of notes on this recipe.  It says sweet, but the rub is rather salty, so use as much as you want to taste.  Also, be sure to remove the membrane on the bottom side of the ribs, as that will let the rub and sauce penetrate better.

The ribs we used

I make the spice rub.

Jeff rubs in the spices.

Completely smoked.  🙂

Roasted Crispy Cheese Potatoes

This is a copyrighted recipe from Foodie With Family, so if you’d like to make it, please go to  🙂

They are delicious, honest.

Aunt Elsa’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is a recipe shared by Eva Longoria on The Chew.


2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
pineapple slices
maraschino cherries, drained
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter over low heat.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter and cook, stirring, until butter and sugar are blended, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Pour caramel into your cake pan of choice, preferably a 9 inch round.  Arrange the pineapple on top of the caramel, placing a cherry in the middle of each pineapple ring.  Set pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed until well combined.  Add the remaining 1/3 cup butter along with the milk and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg and beat on medium speed for another 2 minutes.  Pour the batter over the pineapple.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick or fork inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove pan from oven and tilt in all directions to release cake from the sides of the pan.  Let cool in the pan for about 3 mins.  Turn the pan over onto a serving plate and let stand for 2 to 3 mins.  Lift the pan off the cake.  Use a spatula to remove any fruit stuck to the pan and place on the cake.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

I realized, too late, that I didn’t have a round cake pan, so I used a 9 x13 metal pan.  They turned out more like bars, but still extremely tasty.

Michael Symon’s American Ghoul-ash

This was a recipe that Michael Symon did on The Chew…it’s extremely tasty and makes lots of leftovers!

Time: about 20 minutes
Servings: at least 4


1/2 lb elbow pasta
1 lb ground beef
salt to taste
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese


1.  In a large pot cook elbow pasta according to directions

2.  Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to pan.

3.  Add ground beef to pan and cook until brown.  Move meat to one side of pan and add onions in on the open side.  Season with salt.  Smash the garlic cloves and add them to the pan.  Mix the beef, onion and garlic together, and add tomato paste and canned tomatoes.  Stir to combine.  Add chili flakes to taste.

4.  Drain pasta, and put back in pot.  Add meat and tomato sauce to pasta, stir to combine.  Add freshly grated parmesan (or the parmesan from a container), remove from heat, and serve.

And just for your edification, here’s my one of my favorite pictures of Michael Symon:

That’s right, the man has a tattoo that says “Got Pork”.  🙂