The Ridiculousness of Roasting

27 May

Roasting is a ridiculously long way to cook but usually very simple since you can just set it and forget it for the most part. The ridiculous part is finding the right recipe for the right cut of beef so it turns out flavorful, not to dry and not too tough.

Unfortunately, it seems like most beef roasts are only supposed to be cooked to medium or medium rare. I happen to prefer my meat well done or at least medium well. Basically, no traces of the fact that my meal was once alive, kicking, breathing, walking around and what not.

I have been doing a lot of meal panning based on what meats are on sale lately so I have been roasting different cuts of beef and trying to find the perfect recipe. For some reason I never seem to have the right ingredients so this time I used a recipe as a guide and tried to wing it! I found the recipe for Roast Eye of Round With Marsala Wine Marinade 3 ways and thought I had a winner! It was the right cut of beef and I had most of the ingredients on hand except the Marsala wine. My plan was to substitute it with a Burgundy cooking wine. when I finally went to marinate the roast I decided I wanted to use a different recipe that was specific to Burgundy since it is what I had on hand. I poured the Burgundy in the pot to follow the directions of another recipe (we’ll have to try later) only to find that the Burgundy cooking wine had gone bad. I looked through the cabinet for Burgundy or a Marsala to no avail. Finally, I gave up and used a sherry cooking wine for the Eye of Round With Marsala Wine 3 Ways recipe. I also used Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper to replace the lemon rind and pepper in the recipe. It looked great marinating!

I followed the standard method which required searing the roast on all sides after marinating for a few hours.

Then it was seared… #eyeofroundroast #beef #roasting #food #foodie #r2r #1sttime

A post shared by recipe2reality (@recipe2reality) on

The recipe says to place it back in the dish but doesn’t specify what to do with the marinade. I chose to dunk the roast and make sure it was all covered in the leftover marinade. Then I added some extra garlic on top (because I’m a garlic junky) along with some other bits of seasoning I scooped out of the marinade.

I placed the pan back in the preheated oven (with the marinade) and cooked it for the recommended amount of time.

Isn’t she a beauty! I made baked potatoes, popcorn shrimp and a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot veggie mix. It was a very filling dinner even though I skipped the baked potato.

I will definitely be trying this recipe again with Marsala. I’m assuming the marinade was supposed to be used as a sauce once it was done cooking but it was so juicy I didn’t think about it. I did wind up eating most of mine with A1 Steak sauce since I’m just not a big fan of roast. What is your go to family pleasing roast recipe? This was good but I’m still trying to find mine.

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What’s good, isn’t always good for you

23 May

Every now and then my husband has a craving for something I don’t make very often that he really likes. Like most of the population its usually something that isn’t good for you. This time it was ribs.
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I obliged because he says I make the best ribs. Who can say no to that! My rib success is not my own however. All the credit goes to Tony Roma’s and a book I picked up awhile back called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes.

So this is how the story goes, I am one of the millions addicted to Candy Crush, if you haven’t played it yet go now! What are you waiting for?

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Anyways… the point of my tangent was I spent time playing Candy Crush when I should have been making the barbecue sauce to marinate the ribs overnight so he could enjoy them for dinner today. I was so tired I didn’t want to spend another hour in the kitchen. I really just wanted to go to sleep. However, I finally got the sauce made wrapped them in foil and stuck them in the refrigerator at 1 am so they could at least marinate for around 12 hours. That’s love and procrastination at work!

Here’s how they looked just before grilling, slathered in sauce…20130522-193757.jpg
The fun part of this story is that lately my husband has been learning about all the food items I have been telling him to avoid for years. This is what he sent me this afternoon http://dreamhealer.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/processed-meats-declared-too-dangerous-for-human-consumption. Then he tells me we should only eat fish and chicken which I have been saying for years now! I love him and want to keep him around and healthy for years to come, so I’m glad he’s finally come to this conclusion. I just wish it was before I invested so much time, money and energy into making a meal I can’t even eat. Hopefully we will be having more healthy meals as time goes on.

By the way, in case you didn’t know those tasty black lines we make when we grill our food are also carcinogenic.

If you still want to make these ribs here’s a link to the recipe that I found online. It tells you how to make the sauce. In the book Todd Wilbur gives excellent detailed instructions on marinating, slow cooking and grilling these presumably tasty ribs. I had never made ribs before this recipe so I found it very useful. You may be able to find it somewhere else on line I haven’t searched for it personally since I already have the book. Happy grilling (in moderation)!

Be careful what you eat…

A Hot Mess

21 May

Where there’s smoke there’s fire and in my case when it comes to grilling a whole lot of it!!!

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That looks amazing doesn’t it! Well unfortunately it didn’t taste like much thanks to two big no nos.

1. You should never commit to making a recipe until you have read it thoroughly.

2. I should never follow a recipe that doesn’t give clear and exact measurements.

Needless to say the recipe sounds amazing and I will attempt it again but with the right ingredients. I’ll also take my time and follow the directions since I was in a rush this time and didn’t. Hopefully it will make a difference because this recipe sounds delicious.

Experimenting With Marinades

16 May

Chicken Salad for lunch! Yum! I’m trying to treat my body right and get back to eating healthier so I tried to make a salad similar to Burger Kings Chicken, Apple, Cranberry Salad (from memory and my memory forgot a few details like apples).

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Doesn’t it look delicious! Well I’ve eaten it several times and it is definitely delicious! I am not any good at making recipes but here are the details of what I did. I covered the chicken breasts in Newman’s Own Lite Raspberry Walnut dressing and let them sit for about an hour. I poked them a few times with a fork just to make sure they had fully defrosted. They hadn’t so I defrosted them a few more seconds in the microwave. I set my George Foreman grill to 350 and let it heat up. I sprinkled a bit of sea salt and pepper on top of the chicken still in the marinade. Then once the grill was ready I put them on and sprinkled the other side with some sea salt and pepper.

This was my first time marinating chicken in salad dressing and I wanted to make sure they didn’t come out dry and flavorless. I just barely finished checking out a section in The Science of Good Cooking on marinating which is why I chose to add some salt.
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I grilled them on the George Fireman grill for six minutes. Then I flipped them (for aesthetic purposes) and grilled for 6 more minutes. They were very juicy!

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Next I sliced them up and set up a build your own salad buffet at the dinner table only I forgot about the apples and we don’t eat a lot of cheese around here. We used romaine hearts and the most delicious croutons ever because I wanted a bit of crunch. After the first bite I remembered that I usually add pecans to my salad at Burger King not croutons but it was still delicious! What are you eating today?

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Cheap Therapy

13 May

Wow! I never realized blogging could be a form of therapy until now. A very cheap form of therapy at that. I have been really sick all week and kind of dreading the weekend. I was dreading Mother’s Day so much this year that I typed out my top complaints about the holiday to see if anyone else felt the same way.

As I was typing it out I really was trying to figure out what had brought me to this point because I didn’t recall actually hating this holiday 10 or so years ago. A lot has changed in those ten years so at first I thought maybe I had blocked it out since I try not to hold on to the bad parts of life. But that’s not the case because I had a few instances I could remember like my grandmother not answering her door one Mother’s Day and driving around looking for a Sunday brunch in a new town. They were both disappointing Mother’s Day events but I was obviously still trying to make the best out of a crappy situation.

Finally, it dawned on me! I enjoyed most of my early Mother’s Days as a new mom with my extended family at church. I spent a lot of time at church driving 30 minutes or more to get there often twice a week depending on where I lived at the time. I loved my church and I loved my church family! I was there every Sunday and Wednesday rain or shine. Even when I was driving a clunker and had to fill it up with a bottle of oil to get home after each service. I miss you guys! Much love!!!

Regardless of what anyone says about church and religion it definitely got me through some rough patches in life with poise and grace. We have moved several times and several miles away from the church I was lead to and fell in love with back in college. Unfortunately, like your first love no one else compares. I have tried going to other churches, bonding with new friends, making new extended family but nothing seems to fit. Am I blocking these relationships on purpose because I have no desire to find someone new and close the door on the past or is the missing link just missing and irreplaceable…

Happy Mother’s Day blah, blah, blah

12 May

Once upon a time Mother’s Day was an exciting fanciful time. It consisted of spending time with all the lovely women in my extended family and a delicious brunch.

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Then something happened, I’m not sure what but suddenly and inexplicably it sucked. Well maybe not suddenly. I’m sure it has been a slow but gradual boil like cooking a frog but I realize the water is hot now and I want out!!!

First of all I have been sick every Mother’s Day for multiple years in a row now (I’m so sick of being sick). That ruins my mood from the beginning because when my family asks what I want to do on what is supposed to be my special day as the matriarch all I want to do is stay in bed all day and have someone take care of me for a change. Boring, and no one takes you seriously when you ask for that (believe me I’ve tried).

The next thing that bugs me is it’s supposed to be my special day, moms spend most of their lives planning, instructing and directing can’t someone else orchestrate things for one day?

If you really have to ask the only thing on my list of things to do on Mother’s Day is go to a delicious brunch like I did with my mom when I was a little kid. Relax and enjoy some time with my family.

Now achieving this simple request has been quite a hurtle the last few years because first of all I never think of it until Mother’s Day gets here! Secondly, my kids are kids… I wish they could find away to not get themselves in trouble and get along with each other just for one day. The odds are against me though with five kids someone’s always liable to screw things up for everyone else involved. I don’t think there is a single thing all 7 of us agree on except that we like sushi (or rolls to be exact)! I wish there was a Benihana near by!

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Then just like Valentine’s Day and Christmas there’s this whole forced, coerced part that I hate!!! I mean really hate. If I want to get somebody something to show them how much I love and care for them that’s great. If I happen to stumble across the perfect gift for someone that’s great. However, when you are forced to go through a shopping list worth of people and try to match a gift to each of them so their feelings won’t be hurt and they won’t think poorly of you I have a problem. I have my mom, step-mom, mother-in-law…the list goes on and on from there. I’m glad I have such wonderful women still alive and in my life to honor but it would be better if I didn’t feel like I had to. Maybe it’s just me, I’m a little jaded I guess since I wasn’t raised with a lot of gift giving. This is how I feel about all holidays that are tied to gift giving (except my birthday of course😉).

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I really love my mother. She is an amazing woman and as I grow older I respect and understand the choices she has had to make throughout her life. I may not agree with them but I understand them. She was a single mother and did the best she could. I have always had a hard time finding the right card for her. They don’t exactly have one that says “roses are red, your house is so clean, I really just wish you weren’t so mean…” or “thanks for all the turmoil it makes me appreciate peace even more” or how about “you’re not the best but you’re my mom and I love you for it keep on keeping on”. Ha, ha! I suppose I’m being a bit harsh but that’s definitely how I felt as a teenager and for many years after that. Even if those kinds of cards did exist I don’t think anyone should purchase them but buying your mom a Mother’s Day card that praises her for being the best most holy thing on earth is a bit of a stretch when you don’t really feel that way. This makes finding a card for my mom take forever! Where do you find a Mother’s day card for your stepmom? How do you make sure she doesn’t get a nicer card then your actual mom even if she’s a lot easier to get along with. Then there are the in-laws and other extended family members. What if you haven’t really connected? You get along you’re nice to each other but you don’t feel connected. As the designated gift giver of the household how do you figure out what to get for these obligatory gifts? I finally got smart and started making electronic “cards” mostly pictures of the kids who wouldn’t appreciate that! At least I don’t feel like I’m waisting money or sending anyone useless junk.

However, I’m usually done with Mother’s Day before it even gets here… Am I the only one or can I join an anti-Mother’s Day group just like the single people on Valentine’s Day and go have a pressure free good time!

The Easy Way Out!

12 May

Omaha Steaks have snuck their way into my life. The weirdest part is we don’t really eat the steaks from Omaha Steaks. However, my family loves the steak fries, the chicken strips and tonight’s star Omaha Steaks Chicken Fried Steaks!

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I don’t know how many times I’ve attempted to make chicken fried steak but there have been a few and they have all been unsuccessful. Omaha Steaks has solved the problem of my inability to follow a chicken fried steak recipe. I have officially given up thanks to them. This happens to be the only frozen food my family eats happily. So today when hubby was craving a man sized meal and I had a fridge full of leftovers he didn’t want I took the easy way out. These lovely little Omaha Steaks chicken fried steak delights take about 24 minutes in the oven. While they were cooking I whipped up a package of country gravy (another item I’ve given up hope on ever being able to make from scratch), veggies and potatoes. Nothing fancy but a very filing meal for one. I had the rest of that Chilli’s Margarita Grilled Chicken, delish!

What a difference black beans make…

11 May

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Wowsas! What a difference black beans make… and pico de gallo, and following directions. LOL

As some of you may know a few days ago I was very excited about trying a copycat recipe for Chilli’s Margarita Grilled Chicken because I love it so much! Well needless to say it did not go well. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to grilling it I was starving and pressed for time. I forgot to make the pico de gallo and I just opened a can of black beans. Then rushed off to get a kid from her music lesson. I came home to an unimpressed family and a bunch of leftover chicken. I ate mine hurriedly and slapped a spoonful of salsa on top in an attempt to add some pizzaz to the flavorless dish. Don’t make this mistake! The next day for lunch I realized I also had a copycat recipe for Chilli’s black beans and wondered why I didn’t use it the night before especially since I wanted to make my family love black beans as much as I do. I made some pico de gallo and the Chilli’s copycat black bean recipe to go along with my leftover chicken. Wow! It was ten times better! Just for good measure I took a couple of chicken breasts and marinated them to grill while I made tonight’s dinner so I could try it all done right together. I followed the Chilli’s copycat recipe for Margarita Grilled Chicken again which is really very simple (I don’t know how I managed to mess it up the first time). I absolutely loved it! Now it’s been awhile since I’ve been to Chilli’s and I’m sure it’s probably missing something but its definitely going in the rotation. Except for the time involved in making pico de gallo it is a very simple meal to make. We almost always need or want pico de gallo anyways so I don’t mind. Have you tried this recipe or the dish at Chilli’s?

Chilli’s Margarita Chicken

6 May

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My mouth is salivating just thinking about tonight’s dinner. Awhile back I discovered black beans and I am obsessed with them. Gradually, I have been pulling my family into the fold but they are still pretty reluctant to eat them. I am really hoping this recipe will help change things!

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Chilli’s but every time I consider going out to dinner this is the dish I think of, Margarita Grilled Chicken from the lighter choices menu. I assumed it would be difficult to make so I’ve been happy just getting to order it every now and then. However, the other day as I was browsing through recipes on food.com using my Mealboard app when I came upon a copycat Chilli’s Margarita Grilled Chicken recipe by accident! It was amazingly quite simple. It’s been marinating and I’m going throw it on the grill now! Wish me luck!

A Lighter Version of Artichoke Spinach Dip

19 Jul

My husband and my eldest love artichoke spinach dip. I refused to buy it in the jar for years due to all the unnecessary ingredients. I told my oldest for almost a year that I would make some for her. Then I purchased Top Secret Recipes which happened to have a recipe for Olive Garden’s Spinach Artichoke dip. I made it and they loved it! A little too much it was very time consuming to prepare. Cooking the spinach and what not. I tried using the vita mix and the magic bullet to speed up the process but they ruined the consistency and the texture. Then I decided there was way too much fat in the Olive Gardens Spinach Artichoke Recipe so I tried the Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe from Skinny Taste.

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It looks amazing but the missing fat was probably what gave the dip the flavor my family was looking for. I can’t describe it myself since its not something I ate. I didn’t tell them it was supposed to be healthier until after they gave me confused looks of bewilderment. I’m going to assume the mayo, Greek yogurt and Parmigiano Reggiano have to be of the correct flavor to boost this dish up to the level of Olive Garden’s which is based on a block of cream cheese and a whole lot of Parmesan. I may give it another go someday using different brands of cheese etc but for now I must stick with the Top Secret Recipes Olive Garden version and only serve it on occasion. Luckily, I found quite a few other recipes on the Skinny Taste site that I have been able to use! What’s your favorite Skinny Taste recipe?

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