I’ve fallen in love with the quirky cooking show, Extra Virgin, starring Debi Mazar and her Italian native husband. I recently tried one of their mouth watering recipes, bolognese lasagne with a besciamella sauce. It is divine! I’m going to be upfront with you, it’s a simple yet time consuming recipe. However, one bite and you’ll know it was worth all the effort. The main thing you’ll notice that sets this recipe apart from most, is the lack of cheese. Instead you use a besciamella sauce that is made from butter, flour and milk. It turns what would be an ordinary dish into an extraordinary one!
I followed the recipe as directed, except I omitted the nutmeg simply because I don’t like it. If you need a meal to impress, look no further… Serve it with a simple salad and rustic Italian bread. Of course, don’t forget the vino!
(courtesy of Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar)
I’m sharing one of my secret steak marinades today! That’s right. It’ll be floating in cyber space forever now. I rarely order steak out at a restaurant because I think my version tastes just as good, if not better. My secret ingredient is espresso. It adds a subtle earthy flavor, while tenderizing the steak.
My first choice cut of meat would be a rib eye bone-in. Otherwise, you can choose whatever cut is your favorite, just be sure it is a high quality choice. (no slow cooking beefs)
Marinade: (4 steaks)
- ½ cup espresso (or really strong coffee)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- coarse salt
- fresh ground pepper
- red pepper flakes (optional)
What to do:
- Salt and pepper your steaks generously.
- Mix all the other ingredients together in a shallow pan (like a casserole dish). Place your steaks in the marinade. The longer you let them sit, the better. I usually marinade them 2-6 hours depending on how prepared I was that day. At your halfway point, flip the steaks on their other side in the sauce. Note: If you’re letting them marinade for more than 2 hours, be sure to cover your pan and refrigerate.
- My preferred method of cooking the steaks is on the bbq. Nothing can replicate that unadulterated smoky flavor. If you do not have access to a barbecue, you can use the oven or stove top grill pan.
- It’s very important to let your steaks rest for ten minutes after they’re done cooking. This allows the juices to stay in. I always finish with a little bit of salt right before serving. It melts perfectly into the steaks. (My mouth is watering as I type this!)
How long to cook your steak:
Every barbecue, oven, and stove work differently. These are just general guidelines. Please adjust as necessary. For a 1 inch thick steak, 4 1/2 minutes per side for rare, 6 1/2 minutes per side for medium and 9 minutes per side for well done. The more “give” or “bounce” you feel when pressing into the steak with your finger, the rarer it is. Try not to cut into the steak to check if it’s done. That will provide an escape path for all those wonderful juices.
I love Chinese food but it doesn’t really love me. Okay, sorry TMI… The good news is I found a super healthy and easy beef with broccoli recipe. I just made it the other night and even my “picky” 16 year old son said it was better than any restaurant! It’s a simple dinner that is packed full of flavor. I think I’ve solved your “what’s for dinner?” dilema for today. Find the recipe here.
-Use brown rice to make it extra friendly on your waistline.
-I used a little more soy sauce then the recipe called for.
-Don’t over cook the broccoli for better texture and flavor.
-Double the recipe and have left overs for lunches or dinner the next night. (that’s what I did)
-I don’t love ginger so next time I will cut the amount in half. However I know it’s needed to add the necessary flavor profiles. If you like it, don’t change a thing!
-Use chopsticks to make dinner seem a little extra special/authentic.
-If you want to make this for company, a party or even a picnic, buy cool Chinese boxes and serve the beef with broccoli in them individually. Attach chopsticks and a cookie on top of the box with raffia/twine. You can find a large variety of patterned and different sizes of Chinese boxes at craft stores such as Michaels and party supply stores like Party City.
Mahi Mahi fish tacos!
Sooo delicious and good for you too. A few weeks ago I decided to try to make a healthy version of fish tacos. I was pleasantly surprised at the bold flavors you could get without the fat. So last night I decided to have a few of my friends over and treat them to some mahi mahi tacos. They were a hit! Unless of course they were hiding the tacos in their napkins on their laps, because their plates were licked clean. Recipe here
With summer around the corner, a lot of people are being health conscious to fit into their itsy bitsy polka dotted bikini. Make an appetizer that has healthy options as well. Put out fresh salsa, guacamole and chips. The healthy twist is to put a plate of raw veggies (carrots, radishes, bell pepper, celery) out as well. They can use the veggies in place of the tortilla chips to dip the guacamole and salsa. There are always left over chips at my house, but never one carrot left!
What’s the catch? Here it goes and anybody can do it…Start packing your lunches and start eating dinner at home more. Obviously this concept isn’t new or rocket science. However I promise the money you will save will get you a trip to Hawaii or whatever destination you’re dreaming about. I stumbled across this cool lunch savings calculator (why not use it for dinner too) that opened my eyes to how much I could save by making balanced changes. Below is an example of how I can cut back and save. You will be shocked! This is a must read…
LUNCH- Currently I am eating out 4 lunches a week at $10 a pop. If I just cut that in half (and my brown bag lunches are $3 a pop) to 2 lunches out a week I save $672 a year!
DINNER- Currently I am eating out 3 dinners a week that vary from a quick run to Rubios or a relaxing dinner sipping saki and eating Albacore Special rolls. If I cut that back to eating out just once a week I could pocket, drum roll please… $960.00 a year!
That’s a grand total of $1632.00 of savings a year! Enough to get myself a ticket to Hawaii, stay at a great hotel, rent a car and drink plenty of Mai Tai’s!
Notice this calculated just my own personal savings. The reality is my whole family (3 of us) would do it as well, and our savings would be over $4,000.00. Having gone to Maui this past fall, I can say that is plenty of money for a family of 3 to frolic on the white sands of Hawaii.
You Can Do It-
In order to actually save the money, it would be wise to calculate your monthly savings and actually set it aside by depositing it into your designated vacation savings account. (for example on the last day of each month) Otherwise the money might just get spent somewhere else like going to the movies or buying a cool gift for me. Do whatever works for you, just be sure to do something to put it aside as it’s being saved!
So if you are cutting back due to the economy and are wondering how you are ever going to get to go on vacation again, maybe this could be your solution.We are going to put this to the test. I will give you updates now and then on our progress. More importantly I will give tips and tricks to making great brown bag lunches! No peanut butter and jelly recipes here!! Stay tuned…