Sunday, June 24, 2012

Recipe #177: Bierocks

The other day, I was looking for a good recipe for burger (which you can see became #176), but as I was looking, stumbled across something called a bierock (or, runza).  This beef, onion, and cabbage-filled dough treat was apparently created by the Russians, adopted by the Germans, and brought to America.  Intrigued by both the ingredients and the German history, I had to try it.  Sort of a high-quality Hot Pocket...

SO, as usual, I hunted for a good recipe.  Most of them involved using dough (made from scratch, or frozen), but then I found a recipe that used crescent rolls.  It had good reviews, so I happily bought the ingredients listed.

Fast forward to tonight.  It dawned on me VERY quickly that the one pound of ground beef, whole onion, and half a head of cabbage would absolutely in no way fit into ONE tube of crescent rolls, no matter how I tried.  Miffed, I sent Nick to the store at the end of our street to pick up more crescent rolls.  How could I have been so stupid?  Immediately I became skeptical of the rest of the recipe.

Then there was the issue with the super vague instructions, which left me fighting with really thin sheets of raw dough and how to assemble the giant mess this was becoming.  Nick returned victorious (he HATES shopping) with more dough for me, and I promptly sent him away in case I felt like having a melt-down.  I don't deal well with all-out recipe disasters, especially if it was something I was really looking forward to making.... and ESPECIALLY if I'm already hungry.

I made a huge messy lump of a... something.... it looked horrible.  Tried another way- only marginally better. Eventually, I just decided to use the scored triangles in the dough and just put a little meat into each triangle and roll it up like a regular crescent roll.  This was proving to be more aesthetically pleasing, and I could feel my blood pressure return to normal.

I put them in the oven and hoped for the best.  The results were actually surprisingly good.  The buttery rolls went well with the beef, onion, and cabbage, and Nick went back for seconds (always a good sign).  Since I made them into little rolls instead of something the size of a Hot Pocket, we agreed they might make better appetizers than a whole meal, but we're both fat dumb and happy now.  Crisis averted.

Just a tip:  if you find a recipe on a website that's made up of users posting recipes rather than, say, Food Network or something sponsored, read it carefully and also read the reviews.  Not every one will be a culinary masterpiece if followed exactly.

So here are some pictures, followed by MY version of the recipe, which, I promise, will result in some cute little rolls with tasty filling.

As you can see on the right, it took a bit before I decided to just make them into small rolls.  Nick ate the two big disasters, though.  They all taste the same- I'm just picky about making them LOOK pretty for my blog!

Delicious result.  Looks like a proper mini bierock!

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt (more or less, to taste)
1/2 head cabbage
3-4 tubes refrigerated Crescent rolls

Brown beef with onion and garlic; drain. Thinly slice the cabbage, as you would for cole slaw. Add it to the drained beef.  Heat through and allow the cabbage to soften a little.  Season with salt, to taste.
Using crescent roll dough, place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on the wide end of the scored triangle, then roll towards the narrow end, bringing the wide corners in and pinching to seal as much as possible.
Place pinched side down on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, or until brown.

Recipe #176: Delicious Burgers

I wanted to make some burgers on the grill for my friends, and I didn't want them to be bland and boring.  I found this recipe on and it's a keeper!!


  • 2 pounds extra-lean ground beef (I used 1lb 97/3, 1lb 85/15)
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce  (this doesn't make the burgers spicy- just adds flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (I used 1/2 cup of bread brumbs)


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium high heat and lightly oil grate.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, onion soup mix, egg, hot sauce and oats. Shape into 6 patties.
  3. Grill patties over medium high heat for 10 to 20 minutes, or to desired doneness.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Recipe #175 Pasta With Corn

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when Food Network's picture of this recipe stopped me dead and had me drooling.  Right away I collected the recipe and made plans to pick up the ingredients for dinner.  It was everything I hoped for!  Nick had seconds, too.  The tomatoes are so juicy and it's so fresh.  The original recipe called for pappardelle pasta, but the store didn't have it.  Instead, I used whole grain linguine, which is healthier anyways.


  • Kosher salt
  • 2 ears corn, shucked (I used 3 ears- I like corn!)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups grape tomatoes (I used two of those packaged pints)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
  • 12 ounces pappardelle pasta (I used whole grain linguine)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for topping
  • Torn basil, for topping


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs, reserving the boiling water. Let the corn cool slightly, then cut off the kernels.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle in the corn water as the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the chicken broth and corn kernels to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
Add the pasta to the skillet; add the scallions, parmesan, the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine, adding the reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Top with more parmesan and basil.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recipe #174: Grilled Veggie Sandwich

Delicious.  The cheese totally makes this one- don't skip it!  I cooked everything longer than the recipe said, and put my veggies in a grill veggie basket.  So hearty, you don't even notice that there's no meat!  The feta cheese came in sizeable chunks that didn't easily melt on the grill, but the hot veggies made the cheese soft and warm anyways.

After I took this picture, I smashed the two halves together in a giant, delicious, messy sandwich!


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced red bell peppers
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 (4-x6-inch) focaccia bread pieces, split horizontally  (I was only able to get ciabatta)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the grill for high heat.
  3. Brush vegetables with olive oil on each side. Brush grate with oil. Place bell peppers and zucchini closest to the middle of the grill, and set onion and squash pieces around them. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes. The peppers may take a bit longer. Remove from grill, and set aside.
  4. Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on the cut sides of the bread, and sprinkle each one with feta cheese. Place on the grill cheese side up, and cover with lid for 2 to 3 minutes. This will warm the bread, and slightly melt the cheese. Watch carefully so the bottoms don't burn. Remove from grill, and layer with the vegetables. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Recipe #173: Chicken and Bean Burrito

Here's another good one from Cooking Light... you'll need a knife and fork for these filling burritos.  The recipe says it serves 2, but it could easily feed three or four.  We each had one burrito and that was plenty!


  • 3/4 pound
     chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 1/2 cup prechopped onion 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil 
  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • garlic clove, minced
  • (10-inch) flour tortillas (or more...)
  • 1 ounce preshredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo (I used salsa)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream 
  1. Preparation

  2. 1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl; toss well.
  3. 2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken mixture; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Add beans and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring frequently. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas. Top each burrito with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up each burrito jelly-roll fashion.
  4. 3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat both sides of burritos evenly with cooking spray. Place burritos in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Cut burritos in half. Top with pico de gallo and sour cream.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recipe #172: Grilled Artichokes.

This recipe has rendered me speechless.  A big thank you to my co-blogger Tom, who sent me this recipe.  I had already bought some artichokes and was planning on steaming them, but then this recipe came along, as well as a nice day for grilling.  The result:  something I can't stop drooling over, hours after I ate my share.


  • 2 to 4 large globe artichokes
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, and thyme
  • Salt


1 Place chopped herbs in a small bowl, cover with olive oil. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds (or heat oil and herbs on the stove top until warm). Let the herbs seep in the warm olive oil while you prepare the artichokes.
2 Prepare a large pot with an inch of water at the bottom and a steamer rack. Prepare the artichokes. Have lemon wedges ready. If you want a nice presentation, use scissors to snip away the pointy tips of the artichoke leaves. As you trim the artichokes, rub the cut areas with juice from the lemon wedges to prevent the artichokes from turning brown from oxidation. Use a vegetable peeler to cut away the thick outer layer of the artichoke stems. Trim the stems to 2 inches from the base of the artichoke. Cut off and discard the top 1/2 inch of the artichokes. Cut the artichokes in half. Use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the fuzzy chokes and the small inner artichoke leaves. Rub lemon juice all over the inside and exposed cut areas of the artichokes.
3 Heat the water in the large pot with a steamer rack on high. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium high and place the artichoke halves, cut side down on the steam rack. Cover. Steam for 20 minutes (less of more, depending on the size of the artichokes), until you can easily pull off the outer leaves, and you can pierce the heart easily with a knife. The artichokes can be just a tiny bit less cooked than would be typically perfect for steamed artichokes, as you will be cooking them further on the grill.
4 Prepare your grill for direct, high heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the artichoke all over with the herb infused oil. Sprinkle all over with salt. Place the artichoke halves cut-side-down on the grill grates. Cover, and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, until you have nice grill mark on the cut sides of the artichokes.
To serve, sprinkle the cut sides with more lemon juice. Serve alone or with mayonnaise, remoulade, or aioli.  (I just melted down a stick of butter in the microwave.)

I love my grill!

Definitely fans of this recipe...

(Thank you to

Monday, June 11, 2012

Recipe #169, 170, 171: Seared Scallops & Herb Butter Sauce, with Orzo, and Roasted Green Beans

Deliciousness from Cooking Light magazine.  My scallops aren't very browned because I used more oil than I needed to and not a cast iron skillet, but they were still very tasty.  While I made the sauce, I kept the cooked beans in the oven (turned off) and the cooked orzo covered, and everything stayed hot.  I LOVED the shallots with the beans- they took on the flavor of the fried onions you can buy in cans at the store.


  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives divided
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided 
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


  1. 1. Prepare orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Return to pan; stir in 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 tablespoon chives, olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Keep warm.
  2. 2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; coat scallops with cooking spray. Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm.
  3. 3. Combine wine, shallots, and vinegar in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid reduces to 1 tablespoon. Reduce heat to low. Add butter cubes, 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until butter is fully incorporated. Stir in 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 tablespoon chives, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Serve scallops with sauce and orzo.
  4. For beans:   Preheat oven to 450°. Combine beans, shallots, olive oil, and kosher salt on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast at 450° for 10 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Recipe #168: Piña Coladas Revamped

I think this is my first drink on this blog.  I saw this while looking for recipes to try in my latest issue of Cooking Light magazine, and it just sounded too good to NOT try.  This version of the drink is a LOT healthier than the typical/original version, and definitely doesn't skimp on flavor.  Check it out:

• 425 calories per drink
• 9.4 grams total fat
• 8.8 grams saturated fat

• 158 calories per drink
• 1.2 grams total fat
• 1 gram saturated fat

Note:  The recipe made this much drink, plus about a cup more.


  • 2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  • (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 2 1/2 cups ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup gold rum (such as Bacardi Gold) (we used Captain Morgan spiced rum 'cause we already had it)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar  (we used honey instead)
  • fresh pineapple slices

  1. 1. Combine 2 cups coconut and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil), about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  2. 2. Arrange pineapple in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze at least 1 hour or until firm.
  3. 3. Strain coconut mixture through a sieve over a medium bowl, pressing coconut with the back of a spoon to remove as much milk as possible. Discard solids.
  4. 4. Combine pineapple, ice cubes, rum, juice, and agave nectar in a blender; process mixture until smooth. Add milk mixture, and process until smooth. Serve with pineapple slices.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Recipe #167: Hawaiian Grilled Chicken

I almost oven-roasted yet another pick of the chick the other day, but since the weather was fantastic, I decided to look for a recipe to grill these 2 breasts, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks.  I already had all of the ingredients on-hand, luckily, and I'm really glad I decided to do this- everything was so tender!  My only change is that next time I marinate, I'm going to put some of the marinade under the skin of the chicken.  Some of the flavor is lost to your taste buds if you don't eat the skin, which we normally don't.


1package "pick of the chick" chicken, or one whole chicken cut into pieces
(this is two thighs, two drumsticks, two breasts, but you could mix and match)
3/4cup pineapple juice
3tablespoons peanut oil
2tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot  (I used powder)
1tablespoon brown sugar
2cloves garlic, minced
1/2teaspoon cracked red pepper
1/2teaspoon salt


  1. Place chicken in shallow bowl.
  2. In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour marinade over chicken, turning to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or longer.
  3. Prepare lightly greased grill for cooking.
  4. Drain chicken; discard marinade. Place chicken on grill 6 to 8 inches from heat source, allowing 20 to 30 minutes for breasts and thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 170°F. and 30 to 40 minutes for thighs and drumsticks and thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 180°F., turning occasionally.  (I kept everything on for 30 minutes)