Monthly Archives: March 2013

Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing


Remember the Beef Tenderloin Roast with Port Sauce we made a couple of days ago? You did not eat all of it did you? Well if you saved some, we are going to make a steak salad with its leftovers. If you ate it all, you will just have to cook up some more steak. That’s never a problem around this house. Grab some of your favorite greens, thinly slice the beef, slice up some radishes and cucumbers, and maybe slice up some leftover potatoes you might have made with the roast. Make up some of the pickled red onions from the recipe below. Make the horseradish dressing from the recipe you see below. Now, artfully arrange this on some plates and dress it and you have another wonderful meal with that tender and flavorful beef.

Pickled Red Onions


  • 2 cups water

  • 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp sugar

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper


  1. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and water to a boil in a small saucepan.

  2. Remove from heat.

  3. Stir in onion.

  4. Let cool.

  5. Drain before serving.

Horseradish dressing


  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 3 Tbsp prepared horseradish

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

  • 1 tsp honey

  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

  • salt and pepper


  1. Whisk sour cream, horseradish, chives, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl.

  2. Season with salt and pepper.

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Whiskey Bramble


My daughter has brought back another delicious cocktail from Portland, OR. The last time it was the Gin and Ginger. This time it is a Whiskey Bramble from the South Park Seafood Grill and Wine Bar. Of course there can be lots of variations here, but the one below is our favorite. We went all high end with the bourbon and creme de cassis. Just use your favorites. This is a great transition drink from winter to spring. The bourbon and fruit paired with the light taste of the elderflower liqueur makes a delightful springtime whiskey bramble.

Whiskey Bramble


  • 1 1/2 ounce Four Roses Bourbon
  • 1 1/2 ounce Joseph Cartron Creme de Cassis
  • 3/4 ounce St. Germain Elderflower


  1. Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add one cup crushed ice.
  3. Shake it like you mean it.
  4. Strain into a chilled glass of your choice.
  5. Garnish with an orange peel.

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Chicken with Pesto Mushroom Cream Sauce


Nothing says spring like a nice fresh pesto sauce. I love basil, and fresh basil pesto brings a springtime taste to any dish. You can use pre made pesto from the grocery store for this dish, but it really only take a few minutes to make it fresh yourself. Try making your own from this recipe for fresh basil pesto. This is a quick and easy chicken dish that lightens up the earthiness of a mushroom cream sauce with basil pesto. I paired this with fresh green beans some pasta.

Chicken with Pesto Mushroom Cream Sauce


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • salt and pepper

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced thin

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup basil pesto

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice


  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.

  3. Cook chicken until golden brown and just done.

  4. Transfer to 250 degree oven to keep warm.

  5. Add remaining oil to skillet and cook mushrooms until browned.

  6. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant.

  7. Add cream and broth to skillet and bring to boil.

  8. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is thickened.

  9. Off heat, stir in pesto and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

  10. Pour sauce over chicken.

  11. Serve immediately.

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Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup


My daughter is home for the last spring break before she graduates college. She was greeted by the typical wet, heavy spring snow. I was not able to make soup that day as we were running around the slick streets trying to get home. But now it’s Monday and there is still snow on the ground. But of course the bright spring sun is melting it quick. Time to make another soup before summer hits. We had this one with hearty bread and tender young asparagus as a nod to the season.

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup


  • 1 lb Italian Sausage, rolled into 1/2 inch size balls

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 red bell peppers, diced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 8 cups vegetable broth

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped kale

  • 2 cups cheese tortellini

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  • salt and pepper


  1. In a large pot, brown the mini sausage balls until cooked through.

  2. Drain off the grease and place the sausage balls on a plate lined with paper towels.

  3. In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

  4. Add the onion and cook until tender.

  5. Stir in the garlic and cook until browned.

  6. Stir in the red peppers, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes.

  7. Cook until peppers are soft.

  8. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and kale.

  9. Add the cheese tortellini and cook until tortellini is tender.

  10. Stir in the fresh basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  11. Stir in the mini sausage balls and heat until warm.

  12. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

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I finally bought a bottle of Cachaca. With me loving rum and limes, this was a must so I could try the national drink of Brazil. The Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil made with Cachaca, lime, and sugar.Until recently, it was unknown outside of Brazil. But now it is so popular that the International Bartenders Association has designated it an Official Cocktail. It is very simple to make and very refreshing. I can definitely see myself drinking lots of these on the deck this summer.


  • ½ lime cut into quarters
  • 3 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces cachaca
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • Sugar Cane stick


  1. Get an Old Fashioned glass.
  2. Cut the half lime into quarters.
  3. Put the lime into the glass.
  4. Add the sugar.
  5. Muddle thoroughly until sugar is dissolved.
  6. Add the Cachaca and crushed ice.
  7. Stir with sugar cane stick.
  8. Leave in sugar cane as a garnish.


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Greek Salad Dressing Two Ways


Tonight I am making Avgolemono soup, that wonderful lemony, chickeny, greek soup. Last time I used orzo, but this time I am using rice. I am also trying to cook less now that our son is staying out late every night running through dress rehearsals for his school play. This will be good practice for when he graduates in a couple of years and all our kids are out of the house. Yikes! Enough of that talk, it scares me. I am making a greek salad to go along with the soup. To me, greek salad is lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese,  and kalamata olives. The dressing is usually olive oil and red wine vinegar. When I think about greek food, I also think lemons. So, I am also making a very lemony greek dressing too. Try them both!


Greek Salad Dressing Two Ways

Traditional Greek Dressing with Olives


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 whole kalamata olives, small dice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • fresh ground black pepper


  1. Combine olive oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped olives in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together until combined.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. I almost always add a little sugar.

Lemony Greek Salad Dressing


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper


  1. Measure out all ingredients.
  2. Add to a salad dressing container or jar.
  3. Shake it like you mean it.
  4. Dress your salad.

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Skillet Pork Chops and Rice



Here is another skillet recipe. It is always nice to use just one pan when cooking, less to clean up. Of course, here we are using a bowl in the microwave to partially cook the rice, so it is probably cheating. I like finishing the pork chops with the rice as it gives the rice some extra flavor. This is good with some nice quick sauteed vegetables. And….now we are using another pan. Oh well, it still is a quick meal.



Skillet Pork Chops and Rice


  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme


  1. Combine 2 tablespoons butter and parsley in bowl; reserve.
  2. Microwave 1 cup broth and rice in covered large bowl until liquid is absorbed, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Brown chops, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  6. Transfer to plate and tent loosely with foil.
  7. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Cook onion until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  9. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  10. Stir in par cooked rice and remaining 1¼ cups broth and bring to boil.
  11. Return pork chops and any accumulated juices to skillet.
  12. Cover and cook over medium-low heat.
  13. Cook until pork registers 145 degrees and rice is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  14. Serve pork with reserved parsley butter.

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