Tuesday, May 28, 2013


my life looks a little like this right now...

as you can see...we're moving right now.

and life is a bit hectic....

i'll be back soon with lots of delicious posts, when i can locate all my kitchen appliances once again.

hope you all had a fabulous memorial day weekend. 

happy tuesday!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blue Cheese, Bacon & Caramelized Onion Burgers

I absolutely love grilling in the spring and summer!

If you ask me, EVERYTHING tastes better on the grill. 

So I am super excited that Spring is here and that the weather has been so beautiful here in Portland that we've been able to bust out the grill on multiple occasions now. 

Husband and I whipped up a batch of Blue Cheese, Bacon & Caramelized Onion burgers this past weekend, and they are, hands down, the BEST burger I've ever made in my entire life. 

That's a bold statement. 

But it's so true. 

All of the flavors in this burger are so intense, but they come together so beautifully, and as soon as you bite into one, you'll know exactly what I mean. 

So do yourself a favor and make these this weekend. 

I promise you....it's a good idea. 

Blue Cheese, Bacon & Caramelized Onion Burgers

Makes 6 burgers

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 egg

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Divide meat into 6 sections (about 1/4 lb each) and make patties. Set aside. Turn on your BBQ to heat up!

Caramelized Onions
1 tbsp butter
1 sweet onion, sliced
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat and add sliced onions. Saute onions, moving them around in the pan, until they turn a nice dark caramel color, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Cook up some bacon....I like mine extra crispy!! 

Grill patties 5 minutes per side, or until well done. Spread dijon mustard and a little mayo on your rolls and top rolls with caramalized onions, bacon slices and your burger patties. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Multnomah Falls

Husband and I have lived in Portland for almost a year now. 


That's crazy!

And, we've talked about visiting Multnomah Falls, pretty much every weekend since we've moved. 

Well, I'm happy to report, we finally made the day trip out there!

It was such a beautiful day. 

And the falls...

Well, they're just as breathtaking in person as they appear in pictures. 

So of course, I took more pictures (like there aren't enough already out there, right?) 

And here they are: 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Re-Created "Cowboy Ciao" Chopped Salad

When I went to Arizona to visit husband, we ate a lot of food. 

But one of my favorite meals ever, was a chopped salad called "The Stetson Chopped" from Cowboy Ciao in Old Town Scottsdale

The combination of flavors was amazing. This salad is so good, that in place of the ingredients listed on the menu, it's simply a quote from a customer that reads "I love that chopped salad so much that I put it on my screen saver!”

It's seriously that good.

The grilled chicken (the original comes with salmon, but I'm not a fish person), roasted corn, Israeli couscous, tomatoes and a blend of pumpkin seeds, asiago cheese and dried black currants, was an explosion of flavors so good, that I literally could have eaten that salad for every single meal while I was there. 

Needless to say...I have been CRAVING that salad. 

So I set out to recreate it with a little help from searching the internet. 

I love the internet. 

You can find EVERYTHING On it. 

I digress. 

I switched up a few of the ingredients, but the combination is, I think, just as good. 
I also lightened up the pesto buttermilk dressing by making it with greek yogurt instead of mayo, and if you ask me it tastes just as good, if not better, with half the calories! 


So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, you need this salad in your life. 
Trust me. 

This recipe is for a large salad, so if you're making it for you, or maybe you and someone else, make sure to pair down the recipes. 


Re-Created "Cowboy Ciao" Chopped Salad
2 heads romaine lettuce, torn
1 c chicken
1 c cooked couscous
1 c oven roasted corn
4 or 5 small tomatoes

1/4 c dried cranberries or craisins
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c pepitas

Buttermilk Pesto Dressing
1/2 c pesto
1/4 onion, diced
1 c plain greek yogurt
1 c buttermilk
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Mix in a blender and chill.

Place lettuce in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the cranberries, parmesan and pepitas. 

Distribute each chopped ingredient in wide lines lengthwise across the top of the salad. 

Pour the dressing over the top, toss and serve!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!!

To all you mom's out there!

But most importantly, to my mom. 
Photo by Ifong Chen
She's kind of the greatest. 

And also, my big sister, Amy. 

And last but not least, my mother-in-law!

Photo by Ifong Chen

I hope one day, I'll be as good of a mom as the three of you are!

I love you!

Happy Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chicken Mushroom Marsala

This is one of my favorite recipes ever. 

Ask husband. 

Of all the chicken recipes I make (and trust me there's a lot of them), I think I make this the most.

It's easy. Which I like. 

It tastes really really good. Which I really really like. 

And it's a one pot/pan kind of meal. Which husband really really  likes. (You know because he usually gets dish duty). 

So, it goes without saying that I probably should have posted this a lot earlier, but I should probably do a lot of things in a more timely manner.

But I don't. 

Oh well.  

Make this for someone you love this weekend (like maybe mom...hint hint)

And Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there, but especially to my mama...

She's kind of the greatest!

Wish we could be there to celebrate you!

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala
from Smitten Kitchen

3 chicken breasts
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, sliced thin
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup Marsala Wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet heat oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown chicken in 2 batches, transferring with tongs to a large plate as browned.

Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and sauté onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until Marsala is almost evaporated. Add broth and chicken with any juices that have accumulated on plate and simmer, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter.

Simmer mushroom sauce until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until butter is just incorporated. Spoon mushroom sauce around chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

 Is it weird that I'm kind of in love with brussel sprouts? 
Seriously, you guys!

They get such a bad rep, but they're so good!

And when covered in cheese and bread crumbs....

Well, they're even better! 

I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I found this little brussel sprout recipe, and it's still one of my favorite brussel sprout recipes, but this is giving it a run for it's money. 

Try it out. I swear you'll become a brussel sprout lover too!

Brussel Sprouts Gratin
Adapted from Food Network

2 tbsp butter
Kosher salt
1 lb Brussels sprouts,outer leaves and stems removed
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 c nonfat milk
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a 2-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain the Brussels sprouts and coarsely chop. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and toss salt and pepper to taste, then spread out evenly. Pour the cream on top, sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs and dot with the butter pieces.

Bake the gratin until bubbly and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mini Strawberry Crisps

So I bought some mini ramekins from Williams Sonoma over the weekend. 
And I could not wait to put them to work!

Which, luckily for you, means I have the perfect Mother's Day dessert idea for you for this coming weekend!

Oh, and since husband (aka professional taste-tester) is home now, I'm back in the kitchen, 
cooking up a storm!

Now, to get to the good stuff...

Mini Strawberry Crisps! 

These are so easy to make and so delicious and refreshing that they are the perfect treat to "treat" your mom to for Mother's Day.

And since they're "mini" and filled with fruit...technically they're good for you, right?

That's my story and I'm stickin to it ;0)

Happy Monday folks!

Mini Strawberry Crisps
Makes 8 mini strawberry crisps using ramekins

1/2 c oats
1/2 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 c thinly sliced fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together oatmeal, flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter or margarine until crumbly.
In another bowl, mix strawberries and white sugar together.

Line up your ramekins and spread half the crumb mixture on bottom of each ramekin.
Cover with strawberries and spread remaining crumb mixture over top.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In the Woods

Anybody up for a little murder mystery this May? 


Good, because I am!

May's Book of the Month is In the Woods by Tana French. 

I'm hoping that this book is as good as last months...

Because, I loved The Birth of Venus and would recommend that book to anyone and everyone. 


Go read it now. 

Thanks Amy for a great recommendation!!

A little side note...

I know that my food blog has been a lot less about food and a lot more about life, but with husband away, and only me to cook for, it seemed a little silly to make fancy schmanzy dinners just for me. 

So basically, I've been eating a lot of scrambled eggs over here, which is not exactly blog-worthy. 

Don't worry...

Husband is officially back for good tomorrow so the cooking will start right back up again!

Happy Wednesday folks!