Friday, March 26, 2010

Johnny Garlic's Grilled Peppered Steak with Cabernet Balsamic Sauce

Krista Kooks Johnny Garlic's Grilled Peppered Steak with Cabernet Balsamic Sauce So, somehow we obtained more wine than we can handle in our household, and I really needed some recipes to use it all up.  I just don’t drink that much wine, although I do enjoy a few sips every now and then.  Most of you already know I’ve made quite a few Guy Fieri recipes lately, also.  This recipe used up a whole cup of wine and allows me to make a really great flank steak.  I was so excited about this recipe, and rightfully so: this steak was absolutely delicious!  We don’t have a grill, so I had to cook these on the stove and used a cast iron skillet.


2 pounds flank steak or tri-tip, cut into 8-ounce pieces
4 tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly cracked
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar


Preheat grill to high heat.

Cut flank steak into 8-ounce portions and lightly tenderize with mallet. Dust with crushed black pepper and kosher salt. Press salt and pepper into steak with the palm of hand. Transfer steaks to a baking dish and place in the refrigerator. Let marinate for 4 to 8 hours.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add extra-virgin olive oil and onions and lightly saute until onions are caramelized. Add garlic and cook until garlic begins to turn brown. Deglaze with wine and balsamic vinegar. Add sugar and let simmer and reduce for 20 to 30 minutes until mixture reduces to 3/4 cup.Krista Kooks Johnny Garlic's Grilled Peppered Steak with Cabernet Balsamic Sauce
Place steaks over a hot grill. Move once on first side to mark the steaks, cook for 5 minutes and flip, again only moving once to mark steak, cook for 4 minutes. Krista Kooks Johnny Garlic's Grilled Peppered Steak with Cabernet Balsamic Sauce When desired doneness is achieved, remove steaks from grill and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
Strain wine mixture and return to heat to reduce for 5 more minutes or until thick syrup is created. Serve with the steaks.
Krista Kooks Johnny Garlic's Grilled Peppered Steak with Cabernet Balsamic Sauce

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tyler Florence’s Sautéed Shrimp

Krista Kooks Tyler Florence Sauteed Shrimp
Well, I think I may have used to many shallots in this recipe as it was hard for me to even taste the shrimp!  That said, less shallots in this recipe would have made this perfect.   It’s really easy to make, too!

Tyler Florence’s Sautéed Shrimp


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup chicken broth
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Put the flour on a plate and season with a healthy amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to combine evenly. Dredge the shrimp in the seasoned flour to coat all sides.

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat until butter stops foaming and just starts to turn a light brown. Add the shrimp, and give it a toss, saute for 5 minutes until the shrimp is firm and there is a crispy coating on the outside. Remove the shrimp to a side plate and cover to keep warm.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the garlic and shallots. Cook and stir for 1 minute until soft. Add the lemon juice and chicken broth, give it a stir and let it cook down for 1 minute to thicken slightly. Put the shrimp back in the pan and coat in the lemon sauce. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Krista KooksTyler Florence Sauteed Shrimp 4

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars

First off, Happy Anniversary to my fabulous sous chef :)  Two years and counting!
Krista Kooks Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars 3Man, I can go from diet friendly to diet enemy in just one post.  Eh well.  Chocolate is my friend and never my enemy; what are you going to do?

These didn’t last long in our 2 person household!  I actually tried to make them SOMEWHAT healthy by using this type of peanut butter: Natural Jif Creamy Peanut Butter.  No trans fat and lots of protein!


1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (11.5-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels, divided


Preheat oven to 350º F.

Beat peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat in flour and salt. Stir in 3/4 cup morsels. Spread into ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.Krista Kooks Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars  5 Sprinkle with remaining morsels. Let stand for 5 minutes or until morsels are shiny; spread evenly. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars 4
I didn’t add chocolate chips on the top as the recipe called for, but I’m sure that would add more to your taste if you wanted to do so.  We liked them as is :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicken Ropa Vieja

Krista Kooks Chicken Ropa Vieja  7 I know a lot of you that follow my blog (or check it every so often) are going to LOVE this one!!!  Gina at Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes posted this recipe earlier this year in January.  Henry and I got to try it earlier this month.  Since it’s a slow cooker/CrockPot recipe, I got to smell this one in the house most of the afternoon, and man it was tantalizing. 

Once the chicken was ready, I shredded it with two forks.  I also prepared some canned black beans with some latin spice as well as the Chipotle Rice to serve the chicken on.  Similar to Gina, I wanted some Chipotle type dinner right at home :)  I, too, love me some Chipotle!

Servings: 4

3 chicken breast halves
1 small onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce
reserved broth
1 tsp cumin, or more to taste (I like a lot)
garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken, onion, tomato, carrot, and 2 cloves of garlic into crock pot. Add water to cover, and set to high for 4 hours until the chicken is tender. Krista Kooks Chicken Ropa Vieja If cooking on the stove, cook on medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Place the chicken into a bowl and shred it into strips using a fork; set aside. Reserve the liquid.

In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in chicken, tomato sauce, white wine, and about 3/4 cup of the reserved broth to create a nice sauce. Season with cumin, garlic powder salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes more adding more broth and seasoning if needed. Makes 4 cups. Krista Kooks Chicken Ropa Vieja  9
So easy for those of you who are gone most of the day working :)  Your family/spouse will love you!
Krista Kooks Chicken Ropa Vieja  5

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Salad Dressing

When the sous chef and I got married 2 years ago (March 22nd is our anniversary!), one of the salad dressings at our wedding was Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette.   Here’s a couple pics from that lovely buffet :)Reception-0062Reception-0064Photo Credit: Exceed Photo

Caterer: Behind the Bash

Venue: Briscoe Manor

While I don’t expect to ever be able to match the delicious dressing the chef made, I did try to make something similar because my sous chef LOVES it!  This recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Salad Dressing was a pretty good one, and I even made it for my in-laws the next time we went to see them.Sun-Dried Tomato Vinagrette Salad 6

It’s somewhat difficult to give you a good picture to accurately represent just how delicious this salad dressing is, but all I can do is try for you :)

Serving Size: About 1 cup

1/2 cup tomato juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
Salt to taste


Put all ingredients in a shaker bottle, and shake well. Drizzle over salad.

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinagrette Salad 2

Friday, March 12, 2010

Turkey Enchilada Casserole


Turkey Enchilada CasseroleTurkey is an ingredient my sous chef is always a fan of me using instead of beef or chicken, if possible.  Thus, Laura’s recipe for Turkey Enchilada Casserole seemed like a fabulous option to try.  I did add some things to her recipe, but it’s been a while since I made it.  Thus, I’m going off of my memory on reciting this recipe :)


1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast (Krista Kooks used closer to a pound)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend

1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies

1 can (20 oz.) red enchilada sauce


12 corn tortillas (6 in. wide)

2 cups shredded reduced-fat jack cheese (8 oz.)

Chopped fresh cilantro


1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, stir turkey, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, Mexican spice blend, Chili powder,  and green chiles until turkey is crumbly and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce. Add salt to taste.

2. Meanwhile, cut tortillas in half. Arrange a fourth of the halves evenly over the bottom of a shallow 3-quart casserole, overlapping to fit. Sprinkle a fourth of the cheese evenly over the tortillas, then top with a third of the turkey mixture and a fourth of the remaining enchilada sauce, spreading each level. Repeat to make two more layers of tortillas, cheese, turkey mixture, and sauce; top with another layer of tortillas and sauce, then cheese.

3. Bake in a 425° regular or convection oven until cheese is melted and casserole is hot in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Turkey Enchilada Casserole 2

We were both very impressed with this recipe, and it definitely has a home-style taste to it.  Hope you enjoy also!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beef Fajita Crescent Braid

Krista Kooks Beef Fajita Crescent Braid 11 Wow, I know I’ve been out of touch for a while, but I can assure you I have still been cooking!  I’m finally sitting down to catch you up on some of the things that have been ‘kooking’ in my kitchen :)

Recently, fajitas were very on sale at our favorite grocery store (HEB), and I cooked the entire package one day for lunch.  Of course I cannot eat several pounds of meat in one meal for myself, so I decided to browse around for a way that I could use up the rest for dinner when my sous chef came home.  While this recipe didn’t call for beef, I decided to adapt it to work for beef.

Beef Fajita Crescent Braid
Adapted from Chicken Fajita Crescent Braid

2 cans (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent rolls
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 to 1/2 pounds of freshly cooked Fajita meat
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green or red bell pepper strips (2x1x1/4 inch)
1/4 cup your favorite salsa 
2 cups shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend (8 oz)
1 egg white, beaten


1. Heat oven to 375°F.  Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray or use a baking stone.

2. In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper strips, chili powder, cumin, mexican spice blend, salt and garlic; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.  Add in freshly cooked fajita meat; cook 1 to 2 minutes longer, making sure vegetables are tender and meat is cooked to your desire.Krista Kooks Beef Fajita Crescent Braid 2 3. Layer each crescent as shown in the picture above on a cookie sheet or baking stone.  Spoon fajita mixture in 4-inch strip lengthwise down center of dough. Top with salsa;  Krista Kooks Beef Fajita Crescent Braid 3sprinkle with cheese. Krista Kooks Beef Fajita Crescent Braid 4Alternately cross strips over filling; press edges to seal. Brush with egg white.Krista Kooks Beef Fajita Crescent Braid 5 4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Krista Kooks Beef Fajita Crescent Braid 7 Cut crosswise into slices. Beef Fajita Crescent Braid 9The sous chef very much enjoyed this recipe!  I think that because this recipe has ingredients he’s a little more accustomed to, he wasn’t so bewildered to eat it :)  I can imagine this would be huge kid favorite especially if you served it around Halloween and called it something ‘Mummy’ like.  Right?!


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