Friday, September 27, 2013

Chicken Soup to Warm a Heated Soul

Now that Fall has arrived, this is a great soup recipe that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I actually made this for myself one night because I wasn't feeling that great.  This soup is great for any occasion.. A starter before a meal, weekday family night dinner, Friday night dinner date meal in front of a fire or a "just because" dinner to provide comfort.. It warms the soul.  :)

Herb Chicken Noodle Soup

1.5# raw chicken small to medium breasts
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup

1-1/2 cup chopped carrots
2/3 cup chopped red onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup dried small pasta shells (regular or gluten free)
1/2 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives

In medium stock pot add raw chicken and fill with water to cover chicken by an 3-4 inches. Bring to a boil and add garlic, salt, thyme, parsley and vinegar.  Cover with lid, lower heat to medium and continue to cook for 35-40 minutes on a low boil. Turn off heat and remove chicken. Set chicken on cutting board. Take two forks and shred chicken. Turn heat back on to medium high and allow liquid to come to a boil. Add carrots, red onions, celery, pasta, peas and lower heat to medium-low. Add ketchup and incorporate together. Cook for 20 minutes and add shredded chicken back to pot. Incorporate together and cook for another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to your taste. Add chives and turn off heat. Serve with crusty bread or pita.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sultry Salted Caramel Milkshake Martini

Well this should get your taste buds going after a long day of work or a Friday celebration with the ladies. Try my sultry salted caramel milkshake martini. This will ease all your pain away!

Salted Caramel Milkshake Martini –

1 cup Ice

1/2 cup melted vanilla ice cream, gelato or soy ice cream

2 shots Frangelico

2 shots Gran Marnier

Splash vodka or vanilla vodka

¼ cup milk or soy milk

1 tablespoon caramel sauce

Caramel  Sauce and sea salt, for rim of glass

Garnish w/chocolate shavings

In a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients except for chocolate shavings.

Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.  Take caramel sauce and pour a little bit onto a small plate. On another plate add sea salt. Take martini glass and coat the entire rim with caramel sauce. Than coat with the sea salt. Pour cocktail mixture in glass and garnish with chocolate shavings if desired. Enjoy responsibly! J  


She Cooks She Scores Cookbook - Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and

Cheesecake in a Jar

What, Cheesecake in a jar? What is this, Honey Boo Boo?  Oh know, it's the latest and greatest trend in desserts. They are putting everything imaginable in a mason jar and that's the hottest thing right now.  I recently had an event at one of my favorite Chocolate shops, "Let them Eat Chocolate" to promote my cookbook and introduce a few of my latest recipes. I came up with this little gem, "No Bake Lemonade Blueberry Cheesecake" in a mason jar. Who would of thought that a mason jar would be a popular vessel to house desserts? I have even seen these little bad boys in some of the highest end restaurants recently. Everything from pates, cakes, pies,  granola parfaits, tartlets, to salads. Its a genius idea whoever thought of this. It's a great idea to do for your next dinner party. Serve a variety of desserts in small, baby mason jars and everyone can pick and choose what type flavor they want.  I recently went to Home Good and got 12 baby mason jars for $20.00 which wasn't too bad for downtown Chicago.  Also, I always see them in grocery stores.
So, just think mason jars aren't just for your moonshine anymore!  Try out my Lemonade Blueberry cheesecake!  You will love it.  "What What"!!

Mason Jar No bake lemonade blueberry cheesecakes
4oz cream cheese
¾ cup cool whip, thawed
¼ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 lemon, squeezed
2/3 cup chopped dates
½ cup cashews
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pinch Cinnamon
Fresh blueberries
2 cups Vanilla Ice Cream, melted
In medium bowl add cream cheese, thawed cool whip, sugar, lemon juice and heavy cream. Blend with whisk until smooth. Set aside in fridge.
In food processor or blender, add dates, cashews, sugar, melted butter and cinnamon. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated and mixture is semi smooth.
Take regular sized mason jars and in layers start with crust mixture and sprinkle some of the crust ingredients on the bottom, about ¼ - 1/3 cup.  Add cheesecake mixture on top of crust, about ¼ - 1/3 cup. Layer blueberries on top. Drizzle over melted ice cream, about 1/ 4-1/3 cup. Repeat until you reach the top.  Garnish with a little lemon zest.
Refrigerate jars for a few hours before serving, to firm up.

Monday, September 16, 2013

This will get your taste buds going!

Just finished a very simple, Basil Hummus. Great on sandwiches, dippin your veggies, crackers, and grilled chicken. Hope my date will enjoy this tonight! mmmmmm I will find out.. ;)

1-15oz can chick peas, drained
1/2 cup whole basil leaves, stems removed
1 small garlic clove...
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to your taste

In food processor, blend all ingredients except for olive oil. As processor is on, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season to taste w/ salt and pepper. Enjoy

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Beef and Guinness Meat Pie

I made this rich beefy goodness for a Recipe contest, sponsored by Fonterra Dairy products. Their products are New Zealand based products and marketing them in the US. The folks at Fonterra gave me a kit filled with their amazing products. Rich, decadent cheeses from triple crème blue cheese, aged Cheddar, and a silky smooth mild mozzarella cheese. Also, they included some Chef's culinary cream which is a super thick cream that has the consistency of sour cream.  I have never seen anything like it. This cream takes the time and error out of the kitchen when making something in hurry. Like a nice cheese sauce; you get a pan smoking hot, add the chef's culinary cream, add your shredded cheddar and voila instant mac and cheese sauce!  It's truly amazing! And it tastes so good!

This recipe was inspired by the land of New Zealand. I wanted to make a recipe that New Zealand folks enjoy and was something that was a . Meat pies are a very popular item and there are so many variations. New Zealand has a lot of British influence and I decided to make a heartier meat pie with Guinness Beer.  Meat pies are an everyday staple of the New Zealand culture and are a comfort food for any occasion.   Great on a weekday night at a local pub or a high end restaurant paired with a nice glass of Oaky Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or a light Syrah.

Beef and Guinness Meat Pie
Puff Pastry Dough - see recipe below or store bought works

12oz beef, sliced into thin strips
1/3 cup AP Flour
¼ cup olive oil
½ white onion, chopped fine
1 leek, top and root removed, chopped fine
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
½ cup carrots, half moon shape
½ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons worschershire sauce
½ cup chicken stock
2/3 cup Guinness beer
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

In medium sized bowl add AP flour. Coat beef in flour and shake off excess. Put all floured meat onto clean plate. Heat large sauté pan with olive oil on high heat. Once pan is very hot, add meat in small batches, you don’t want to over crowd pan. Lower heat to medium high, work in batches and brown on both sides. Remove meat and set aside on clean plate.  In same pan on medium high heat add leeks, onions and garlic. Stir up brown bites on bottom. Sauté for 5 – 7 minutes. Add carrots, peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste, worschershire sauce and incorporate all ingredients together. Let cook for 5-7 minutes. Add chicken stock, Guinness beer, herbs and vinegar. Make sure all ingredients are well mixed together and incorporated. Let cook for 7 – 9 minutes and than add chef’s cream. Make sure there are no lumps and everything is blended together. Add butter and shut off heat. Allow to cool completely.
Divide cooled stew among ramekin bowls (they won't be completely full). Roll out pastry dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Trim edges and cut dough into quarters. Stir together egg and water and brush a 1-inch border of egg wash around each square. Invert 1 square over each bowl and drape, pressing sides lightly to help adhere. Brush pastry tops with some of remaining egg wash and freeze 15 minutes to thoroughly chill dough.
(If you buy the store bought dough, just follow the same instruction above for rolling out the dough)
Bake pies in preheated shallow baking pan until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake 5 minutes more to fully cook dough.

Puff Pastry Dough
1- 1/4 cup All purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
7-9 tablespoon ice water
Sift together flour and salt into a chilled large metal bowl. Set a grater in flour mixture and coarsely grate frozen butter into flour, gently lifting flour and tossing to coat butter.
Drizzle 5 tablespoons ice water evenly over flour mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.
Test mixture by gently squeezing a small handful: When it has the proper texture, it will hold together without crumbling apart. If necessary, add another tablespoon water, stirring until just incorporated and testing again. (If you overwork mixture or add too much water, pastry will be tough.)
Gather mixture together and form into a 5-inch square, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 30 minutes. (Dough will be lumpy and streaky.)
Roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 15- by- 8-inch rectangle. Arrange dough with a short side nearest you, then fold dough into thirds like a letter: bottom third up and top third down over dough. Rewrap dough and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Arrange dough with a short side nearest you on a floured surface and repeat rolling out, folding, and chilling 2 more times. Brush off any excess flour, then wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.




Saturday, September 7, 2013

Creamy Honey Bourbon Bacon Sauce

Now I hope you all are sitting down for this recipe, because when you taste this you will literally pass out because it is that good!  This recipe can be used on just about anything. Beef is probably you're best protein. But it's also good on Chicken, Turkey, Pork and Fish.

I came up with this recipe on a whim and tomorrow it will be featured at the Chicago Bears season home opener. I am sponsoring a luxury tailgate event and hopefully will win the crowd over with this recipe!

Get ready to get your socks knocked off your feet when you make this recipe!

Creamy Honey Bourbon Bacon Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1# bacon strips, slightly frozen, cut into bite sized pieces

½ yellow onion, chopped small pieces

1 teaspoon chopped garlic, fresh

½ cup red onions, chopped small pieces

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup chicken stock

¼ cup bourbon

¼ cup light beer

2/3 cup hot heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper


In large saute pan, heat olive oil on high heat. Add chopped yellow onions and garlic; cook for 6- 8 minutes. Lower heat to medium high. Add chopped bacon and cook until brown and crispy.  Turn off heat, and with metal slotted spoon, remove bacon and onions onto plate with paper towels. Drain off bacon fat into small glass bowl and leave 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in pan.  Turn heat back onto high and add red onions. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and lower heat to medium-high. Add back to pan, bacon and white onion mixture.  Cook for 5 – 6 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, honey and incorporate together.  Add chicken stock, beer, bourbon and incorporate together. In small sauce pan, heat heavy cream until boiling; turn off heat. Add hot heavy cream and butter to bacon mixture and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes before serving over your favorite protein.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

A little bit of this, A little bit of that

I spent a week in Amish land, Shippensburg, PA. I was training a handful of Chefs for my day job and boy that was an experience being there. For one, I can say those people in that community, are some of the nicest people around. I am so fascinated by the Amish, thanks to those crazy reality shows. #Amishmafia is one of them; I am so hooked and think I have a Amish crush on Levi.. lol Kind of crazy, but true. Being from Chicago, it's all about survival. You have to drive fast, have a edge to you, and keep up with the fast pace life of the City, or you will be eaten alive. Going to towns like Shippensburg and Harrisburg, really makes me miss the simple things in life. Life does move a little slower and that's ok. People actually wish you well and total strangers smile and say hello. Which is unheard of in bigger cities… The second day of my training, one of the director from the account knew my obsession with the Amish and asked if I wanted to go tour Shippensburg. Before he could finish his sentence I said, "Um, ya! I'm so in". We jumped into my chocolate shiny brown rental car and I raced out of the account like a crazy Chicago driver. As we crested over each rolling hill, the scenery looked like a painting. Lush green grass, shiny silos, black and white cows hanging out on the hillside, Amish kids on their push bikes, Amish buggies and horses galore. For me it was a surreal experience; I was able to see how the Amish lived and catch a glimpse into their inside world. As Corey told me to make a right into this small gravel parking lot, it was a small, unassuming, gray, plain store. He told me this was an Amish market and a lot of them came here to get some of their everyday essentials. Everything was in clear bags, black and white labels. From flavored powdered Jello, pretzels, cereals, pasta, flour, chips, Amish homemade products and they even has some gluten free items.. I had to control myself from not buying the entire store. As we made our way out of there, I only left with a few authentic Amish products; Lime Pickles and Chow Chow. If you have never heard of Chow Chow, its a combination of mixed veggies, watermelon rind, sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard seasoning. A lot of the Amish pickled their vegetables, to keep them preserved longer and hold them through the winter months. I HIGHLY recommend anyone trying some Chow Chow.. Mix with pasta and toss with some parm.. yum yum. Or top a salad, toss with cooked potatoes and toss in a little mayo.. The options are endless.

As my trip came to an end and I headed back to the windy city on cloud nine about my Amish experience, I encountered a flight like never before. You know what makes for an interesting, heart-pounding flight when the pilot is speaking over the intercom and all of a sudden, out of know where the plane drops 500 feet, tips to the left and the pilot screams in shear terror,, but doesn't skip a beat and continues on talking in a calm voice after the fact... #gladtobealive
As my whole philosophy is that you can cook with what you have on hand. I got home from my trip, tired and not wanting to eat another salad, I decided to make some pasta. I remember that I had froze some fresh pureed tomatoes and had some pesto sauce left over. I defrosted the tomatoes and pesto. In a saute pan, I heated olive oil on high and added fresh garlic. Add the tomatoes, pesto, red wine, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and oregano. I chopped up some pepperoni and added some fresh chopped red onions and let the simmer for 20 minutes.
As I cooked and drained my pasta, I tossed in the finished sauce and voila, dinner is served.


This and That Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh garlic, chopped

1-1/2 cups fresh red tomatoes, pureed (or can stewed tomatoes)

1/4 cup pesto sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 cup red wine

2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup chopped Pepporoni

1/4 cup chopped red onions

In medium sauce pan, heat olive oil on high heat. Add chopped garlic, lower heat to medium high and cook for a few minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients, incorporate together and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Serve over pasta of your choice.