Friday, April 30, 2010

Carmelized Leeks and Tomato Pasta

I made up this recipe a few nights ago when all we had in the fridge was a few cheeses, leeks, and some fresh parsley. Enjoy my recipe!

2 leeks
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can drained diced Italian tomatoes (garlic, basil, oregano)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded Fontina, plus extra for garnish
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bags Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles, drained and rinsed thoroughly
Handful black pitted olives
Crumbled bacon

1. Cut off roots, outer leaves and tops from leeks. Cut leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove grit/dirt and cut each half into 1-inch half moon strips.

2. Combine butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-low heat. Add leeks to pan; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar, salt, and pepper; cook 10 minutes, sitrring occasionally.
3. Add tomatoes and garlic powder; cook 8 minutes. Pour contents in a bowl and cover. Cook Shirataki noodles according to directions on package. Drain.
4. Turn heat to low. In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon butter and melt. Sprinkle in one tablespoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, combine the butter and flour so it is a paste. Whisk in 1/4 cup milk until there are no clumps and mixture is smooth.
5. Remove skillet from heat and add cheeses; whisk until sauce is thick, but smooth. Add parsley and oregano. Stir in leeks and tomatoes. Put skillet back on burner over low heat and cook 3 minutes.
6. Add Shirataki noodles to the skillet and stir to combine. Garnish with olives, parsley, and cheeses.

*Note: I used half a bag of egg noodles b/c I only had one bag of Shirataki. Any kind of pasta will work well with this recipe!*

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kelly's Spicy Chicken Dip

Everytime we go to Ohio to visit Mr. Bear's family, his cousin Kelly makes her famous might fine spicy chicken dip. The first time I met her (five years ago!), she kindly handed over her recipe and now I shall share it with you. It is so easy and SO yummy. Let me know if you make it!

Kelly's Spicy Chicken Dip

2 lg cans chunk chicken, drained
2 8oz pkg cream cheese
12 oz Frank's Red Hot
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 cup Ranch dressing
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a baking dish coated with non stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Serve with assorted crackers, tortilla chips, celery, and carrots.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beach Bod Salad

Beach Bod Salad by Samantha Caplan, Certified Health Coach and the creator of Living Beauty
(Also one of my nearest and dearest friends that I hold close to my heart)

Samantha says, "One of the most beautifying of greens is arugula. Just a few of the benefits you'll receive include a cleansing of the skin from the inside out (due to the sulfur content) and a natural protection from the sun (from the beta-carotene)!"

Serves 1 - 2

1 bunch of arugula (depending on how hungry you are; start with 2 cups and go from there)
½ cup of washed mushrooms
½ sliced yellow pepper
¼ cup of walnuts
¼ of a large red onion sliced
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt to taste

Optional - if you want a little sweet, add some raisins or other dried fruit of your choice; craisins, apricots, kiwi, or others

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy!
*Tip - Use up all of your ingredients and make a salad for the next day, too...saves time!

Samantha has more amazingly healthy recipes and GREAT advice on how to have the best outlook on life. Race on over to her website where you can sign up for her free newsletter: Living Beauty

Mrs. Bear's Meataballs

I am glad you all enjoyed my song! As promised, here is my easiest meataball recipe (I have quite a few variations). If you make them - let me know how they turn out!

Mrs. Bear's Meataballs
1 lb ground chuck
1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1 green pepper, finely diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon worchestershire
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, parsley) OR 1/2 tablespoon each spice
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your hands! If the mixture is too dry - add more tomato sauce. If the mixture is too wet - add more bread crumbs.
2. Roll the meatballs into whatever size you need for what you are making - teeny balls for pizza, small balls for sandwiches, large balls for pasta - and place them on a cookie sheet that has a high edge (the meatballs will produce some grease that you do not want dripping all over your oven).
3. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on their size. After the first ten minutes, turn the meatballs around on the cookie sheet so they crisp on all sides. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A song about Meatballs...

I wrote this little ditty on November 20, 2008 for Mr. Bear in honor of my fabulous meatballs....and Kelis and her "Milkshake"...whatever happened to her anyways?

"My meatballs bring Mr. B to the kitchen,
And he’s like
Theres nothin better than yours,
Damn right, they are the best,
I can teach you,
But I’ll have to charge

I know you want it,
The recipe that makes these,
My meatballs are a hit.
They'll make your tummy growl,
The way I cook,
No one can deny….my skills.

La la-la la la,
Warm the oven up.
The meatballs are com-ing"

Do you want my meatball recipe?

Monday, April 26, 2010

A delay...

My tour through the Cape Cod cookbook has been delayed! Upon Mr. Bear's return from a two and a half week business trip, he says he wants to eat healthy for awhile to make up for all of the eating out he had done in the West Coast.

My three pages of recipes are going to be so sad they aren't getting some blog time.

This week we will be eating lots of Gorton's cajun blackened fish... canned northern white beans... and frozen broccoli. Yippee skippee.....

Friday, April 23, 2010

My new favorite cookbook...

The Cape Cod Cookbook by Jerome Ruben

I picked up this gem at the local library last night. Cape Cod means a lot to me... it was my Grandmother's favorite place, my dad's childhood vacation spot, and most importantly...where The Bears got engaged! When I saw this book shoved between some Southern cookbooks on a shelf, I quickly stuffed in into my library bag before anyone could snatch it up (b/c everyone looks Yankee cooking obviously).
  So last night, in good cookbook reviewing fashion, I snuggled up into the corner of the couch with a notebook and pen, prepared to write down some of my favorite recipes. From this list I will choose some recipes to try out, and others to copy into my own personal recipe book for later use. After I realized I had recorded the page numbers of the first 30 recipes, I decided that it was more than likely I was going to love 90% of the 210 recipes the book offered. Mr. Bear is going to be thrilled when he sees this...
I like to make a two week dinner menu before I make my list for the grocery store - I usually have breakfast and lunch suggestions on the menu as well. This weekend I will be making the most delicious menu yet! Obviously it is going to be based on the bestest, most mouth-watering, and financially practical recipes I have found in this incredible cookbook.
 I will most definitely post the winners when the Bear's Two Week Dinner Menu is complete!

Ooo... but wait... there is a Raspberry Breakfast Cake that might have to make an appearance one morning! Perhaps I will be making menus for more than one meal of the day...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I can cook a southern breakfast!

Read about my first Yankee Challege: Big Southern Breakfast here!

 Leave a comment - I want to know what you think of my story! Plus, your comment will automatically be entered as a chance to win a free Hungry Southerner t-shirt!

While I would love to give you the recipes I used for my bacon skillet gravy and buttermilk biscuits... my lips are sealed! Brandon's Mawmaw was kind enough to share her personal recipes with me and I think I need to keep them in the family =0)
If you want to make your own buttermilk biscuits and gravy - I can tell you what you need. Then you'll have to google some recipes and see which you find easiest to follow.
Ex. Paula Deen has a great recipe for Biscuits with Milk Gravy here.

I think you all need to try the first Yankee Challenge - it wasn't as scary as I anticipated, nor was it anything close to being the kitchen disaster I was imagining. My husband LOVED everything that I made (and he is one honest guy when it comes to my cooking). Also, The Hungry Southerner is offering a prize to the reader with the best pictures and story about their experience cooking a big Southern breakfast.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's on my lunch plate...

Canned beets, asparagus cooked in a skillet with garlic salt and spray Pam, walnuts, mixed greens, shredded parmesan, and chicken (marinated in organic ginger soy dressing)

Spinach and Sausage French Bread Boats

Here is another recipe that I made a couple of years ago... These boats were made for Mr. Bear when he was still just my boyfriend - therefore, I don't have any pictures. (Back then I didn't take pictures of my food...).  Spinach and Sausage French Bread Boats are a quick and easy meal one can make to impress a special boy (or girl) in their life. Serve alongside a salad if you are feel frisky.

1 package Italian sausage link (mild or hot)
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 TBSP minced garlic
Non-stick cooking spray
1 bag baby spinach leaves
8oz ricotta cheese
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TSP red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
1 loaf French bread - sliced lengthwise and hollowed out
*don't buy the skinny French baguette... you need a big fat loaf!*

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Remove sausage from casing. Brown in skillet over medium heat. Drain. Add sausage back to the skillet and add onions and garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
3. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Add spinach to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until wilted. Add to bowl with sausage and onion.
4. After mixture cools for 4-5 minutes, add ricotta cheese to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
5. Fill hollowed out bread halves with mixture. Top one pizza with 1/2 seasoning and 1/2 cheese, repeat for other pizza.
6. Bake on pizza stone 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is crisp.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Lime Chicken

I came up with this recipe about three years ago when I saw something similiar in my Cooking Light magazine. I've only made it, and it was for an old friend - we ate it on top of a salad (romaine lettuce, corn, tomatoes). Even though this dish is very sweet, I think the chicken would taste good over rice, or inside of a tortilla with a little bit of lettuce and mexican cheese. I also wonder how it would taste if one added a bit of chipolte seasoning or hot sauce...

3/4 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP lime juice
2 TSP dijon mustard
1 TSP honey mustard
2 TBSP water
1 TSP cornstarch
2 1/2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP lime juice
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 TSP cajun or southwestern seasoning

1. Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch. Add slowly to saucepan. Turn heat to medium and whisk until mixture is thick.
3. Whisk in butter and lime juice. Cook for 3 minutes. Add shredded chicken and seasoning.
4. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve over rice or as the innards of a burrito.

I'd love to hear your comments if anyone decides to make this - or what kinds of variations you may have for my recipe!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Well my friends, I survived my first Yankee Challenge. My pants are a little snug today from the obscene number of buttermilk biscuits I ate - and the bacon gravy I kept sampling (even though I am not supposed to eat that stuff). It was a huge success and my husband was SO proud of me for killing the big southern breakfast assignment on the first try. He told me it's not every day a Yankee can make a good batch of breakfast gravy without first screwing it up a couple of times.

I'd love to show you all the pretty pictures I took of my food, but I am allowing my friends over at The Hungry Southerner to blog about it first. In the meantime, I will leave you with a glorious picture of my beautiful buttermilk biscuits.
Being the true Yankee that I am... I made my biscuits toooo small. Breakfast biscuits are supposed to be BIG and for some reason I grabbed a tiny glass to use to do the cutting.
Next time they will be fatter - I promise!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Hungry Southerner's Yankee Challenge

A friend of a friend contacted me about a month ago about this cooking blog and said he loved what I was doing. He liked my passion for cooking and my dedication to making good food. Soon, with our shared interest in the stuff we put in our tummies, we became foodie friends. He told me about a website he and some fellow foodies were thinking of creating - a website dedicated to southern food and southern food culture - and asked if I wanted to be a part of it: The Hungry Southerner.

Funny thing is that even though I lived in the south (GA & TN) for five years, and am married to the most incredibly gorgeous Tennessean, I am nothing like a southerner. I might have good manners and love college football, but I lack a certain twang and craving for rich food. I don't like fried chicken, sausage gravy, or okra - not because it is yucky, frankly because my stomach can't handle it. 

I am 100% Yankee, born and raised in Connecticut, and hold onto my Nutmeg State heritage like it is a piece of platinum gold. Ask my husband - I used to get mad when people said I was starting to pick up a bit of an accent. I proudly tell anyone I encounter that I am from the North. I LOVE being from New England and everything associated with that particular region of the country involving food - lobster rolls, clam bakes in a handmade stone grill or a hole dug on the beach, New Haven pizza, cookouts (not bbqs), bagels and omelettes for breakfast (not grits), and so on. I am also half Irish/half Italian - and my palette is more drawn towards pastas than a big juicy slab of beef. 

With all of that being said, I asked my friend how I could contribute to THS. He said he thought it would be great if once a month I attempted a southern meal - this attempt in the form of a Yankee Challenge. All I had to do was make the dish, take some pictures, feed someone other than myself, and blog about my experience. I am always up for a challenge, for I think I can follow any kind of recipe, so I quickly and happily accepted my friend's invitation to be a part of The Hungry Southerner.  

I was welcomed to the southern foodie gang with open arms and a sweet intro on the website - Meet the Yankee.  Then I was prompted with my first dare...take on a BIG southern first thought was, "OH BOY....what the heck have I gotten myself into??"

Now you may wonder why I am so nervous after stating that I can cook anything.
I think I can cook anything ....but a southern breakfast...

 The hungry southerner that will be eating my buttermilk biscuits, eggs, thick cut bacon, stone ground grits, and skillet gravy is MY HUSBAND. The man who was raised eating his MawMaw's famous southern breakfast atleast four times a week. From the first Sunday he brought me to her kitchen, on a ginormous farm in Tennessee, he's told me there is no breakfast better than MawMaw's. Her biscuits & gravy, or her fried potatoes and bacon,  no one can compete with her. No one has ever been able to even come close to making anything as delicious as her.

And now I have to cook some of the same things she's known for cooking... and hope that he likes it or I will feel like I've failed my first Yankee Challenge. My husband won't hold back - he will tell me if my gravy is too runny or if my bacon is too soft.

Sunday is the big day... and I'll be posting all about my experience on The Hungry Southerner next week.
 Wish me luck! And follow me on Twitter throughout the challenge...

Because I am sure going to need it...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crab Bruschetta

Inspired by my recent trip to San Francisco - here is my rendition of Crab Bruschetta from the tasty appetizer my husband and I ordered at Pompei's Grotto in Fisherman's Wharf.

(Pompei's Grotto's Crab Bruschetta)

1/2 lb fresh lumb crab meat, picked over for shells
4  roma tomatoes, diced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh shredded parmesan
1 loaf Ciabatta bread - sliced and halved

1. Combine tomatoes, crab, parsley, basil, garlic, Old Bay, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir with a large spoon. Drizzle in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then mix in the parmesan gently.
2. Toast Ciabatta halves under the broiler. Spoon on crab bruschetta and enjoy!

Sad Face

I am so sad that only ONE of my readers left me a comment about a recipe request while I was on the Weat Coast this past weekend visiting my hubs.

Thank you SO much Miss KatiePerk for the blog love!
I will be posting a scrumptious appetizer recipe for you later today. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mrs. Bear is taking a vacation...

Hey fellow foodies... over the next week I will be exploring the West Coast with Mr. Bear - San Francisco to be specific - and while I am away stuffing my face with as much good Californian food as my little bear belly can hold, I need a favor from you...

Send me your recipe requests.
Please? =0)

Mr. Bear is going to be out in California for two weeks, so I am going to have no one to cook for! That means no recipes or food pictures. I would love to spend the time after work when I would normally be cooking for Mr. Bear - searching for the perfect recipe for your cravings!

Click the button on my sidebar to send me an email - or leave me a comment!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You won't be Crabby after you eat these Bundles

The most scrumptious little crab wontons I've ever had. And I made up the recipe all by myself =0)

mini muffin tin
non-stick cooking spray
wonton wrappers
3 green onions, diced
1 large can crabmeat, drained
8 oz whipped cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon each: garlic salt, pepper, salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Combine onions, crabmeat, cream cheese, and all of the seasonings in a mixing bowl.
3. Wet your fingers with water to separate the wonton wrappers. Place the wrapper in a muffin cup. Using a teaspoon, drop a bit of crab mix in the center of the wrapper. Wet your fingers again and twist the top of the wonton closed. Repeat the step for all of the muffin cups.
 (You can brush egg whites on the top of your wontons for a bit of a shine if you want - I did not because we were out of eggs).
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the wontons are crispy and tan.
Enjoy alone, with a squirt of lemon, or a side of your favorite dipping sauce. I bet you won't be able to eat just one of these cheesy crabby bundles of goodness!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easiest Brussel Sprouts EVER

1 bag frozen brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon pepper
Aluminum Foil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to fit on a small cookie sheet. Pour the brussel sprouts on center of the foil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Pull up the sides of the tin foil to make a pouch for the brussel sprouts and seal them in side.
2. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy right out of their pouch or in a big bowl.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mini Mac and Cheese Bites

Source: Photo from YumSugar - Recipe adapted from Food & Wine


1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
Non-stick cooking spray
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 block Velveeta, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons Parmigiano

1.Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.

2. Spray four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

3.In a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes.

4.Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted.

5.Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Fold in the macaroni.

6.Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle Parmigiano on top.

7.Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 min­utes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.