Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Just a quick little post to share another tasty dish with you all.  :)  I first tried this yummy breakfast about a month ago thanks, again, to PW.  It was fairly easy to whip up, and the fact that I could make it ahead of time and then just pop them in the oven (as many as I needed) and have them ready in 5-10 minutes was a huge plus for me!

English muffins, eggs, bacon, cheese, garlic powder, mayo, dijon, worcestershire....strange combination?  Maybe.  Delicious?  Absolutely!  My entire family got the opportunity to enjoy....

Make-Ahead Muffin Melts

PW's photo spread of these beauties was enough for me but wowee, once I tasted them, I was hooked.  I'm not a big mustard person but the dijon was just the flavor these babies needed.  Ree is absolutely can't leave it out.  They just wouldn't be the same! 

Here's my one sad shot from my iPhone...haha...enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

If I Had My Little Way...

...I'd eat peaches everyday...ok enough with the song lyrics.  It's just stuck in my head now.  *sigh*

Ok so I have one more delicious peach recipe that I could resist sharing with all of you.  Again, I have to give credit to my sis for finding this one.  (She's the brains in this operation, let's be honest.) Leave it to Real Simple to come up with a recipe this easy and it!

Peach Crisp Recipe (from Real Simple)

The only thing I did differently was that I omitted the almonds.  And really, I only did that because I just happened to have everything else I needed for this recipe and didn't feel like making a trip to the grocery store just for almonds.  It was amazing without them!

People, make this recipe.  Just do it.  You'll thank me later.  :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Peaches Come From a Can...

...they were put there by a man, in a factory downtown. (Thank you POTUSA)

Been promising to share more peach recipes so even though it's not peach week anymore (remember it's just like shark week only...nevermind...that's getting old) I have a couple more to share so I hope you're ready for them!  I promise to make it quick. :)  Lucky for you, this one even has pictures with it!  (Just another little something to make sure your mouth is watering!)

I found this recipe for peach pie on  It's a new website to me but after tasting the results of this pie (it was so good I made another one the following week) I will definitely be back for more.

Peach Pie Recipe with Fresh Peaches (by

First, let me be honest and say I skipped making my own crust...again.  One of these days I'll do it but lately I've just been in one of those moods to speed things up so I grabbed a couple Schnucks brand refrigerated crusts that you roll out into your pie pan and are ready to go.  Fantastic folks.

Oh yes, I promised goes!

So first you mix together sliced peaches, flour, sugar, cinnamon (or nutmeg...or both!) and some lemon juice.  I could probably eat it just like this.  Maybe not....

Then spoon it into the crust, toss another crust on top, and use a fork to seal the two crusts together, just like this!

Then you can trim off the excess with a sharp knife.  Do you have any idea how hard it was to get this shot?  Major balancing act.  Next time, I use the tripod and the timer function on the camera...sheesh.

Almost ready for the oven...

But first you have to baste it with a little milk.  I used skim cause that's what I have at my house.  Any would be fine.

Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top and cut some vents in the tip crust.

Pop it in the oven and VOILA it magivally changes into a different pie pan! really, this was the second one I made (told you I made two) just so I could show off my new pie pan. :)  Isn't it purdy?

Oh buddy.

Don't mind if I do...

Hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spice Things Up...With Peaches!

It's still Peach Week (just like Shark Week but tastier!) and today I decided to share a recipe that my hubby and I tried last week as we slowly finished off our crop of peaches from Eckert's.  Sure, I have been slaving over a toasty oven making delicious peach desserts for the past couple weeks since we went peach picking but this time I decided to trade in the oven for the quesadilla maker.

That's right folks, peach quesadillas!  When I first saw this recipe in this month's Cooking Light, I questioned it.  Then I remembered, hello, peach salsa, why wouldn't that flavor work in a quesadilla?!  Here's the recipe for Cooking Light's Pepper Jack, Chicken, and Peach Quesadillas.   I would have loved to try this recipe just as it is written but I didn't have any pepper jack cheese or cilantro (and then I got sidetracked and completely forgot to make the honey sour cream...holy smokes I can't wait to try that!)  So in true Lauren's Leftovers style, I made it up. 

Lauren's Peachy-Keen Quesadillas (inspired by Cooking Light)

6 small flour tortillas
1 large, ripe (but firm) peach
2 chicken breasts (of the boneless, skinless variety)
2 Tbls. Homemade Gourmet Chicken Enchilada Soup Seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grill chicken breasts on a Foreman Grill or grill pan.  When cooked through, sprinkle each chicken breast with 1/2 Tbls. of seasoning, turn over, and sprinkle the rest of the seasoning.  Slice into thin strips (or you can use two forks to "pull" your chicken) and set aside momentarily.  Peel and slice peach thinly.  Place one tortilla on quesadilla maker surface, sprinkle cheese on top, add a layer of chicken, then a single layer of peach slices.  Place another tortilla on top and close quesadilla maker for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining tortillas, chicken, and peaches. 

These were simple, quick, and delicious!  Remember you can improvise with any tasty recipe you find if you don't have all the ingredients.  Experimentation is the name of the game!  Not sure where to start?  Find a recipe you love or a food you like to eat and then think about the flavors involved and go from there!  I can't guarantee you'll get a winner every time but starting with something simple, like this quesadilla recipe, is a great place to get started!  Good luck and happy eating!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Peach Week!

It's peach week on Lauren's Leftovers!  Just like Shark Week only it doesn't make you afraid to go swimming in the ocean.  ;) 

I just love peach season.  There's something irresistable about a perfectly ripe peach...though these gems are better eaten alone so no one else has to hear you slurping or see you with peach juice running down your I right or am I right?  But beyond just tearing into one of these golden beauties, there are so many amazingly delicious things (read: desserts) you can make with them!  First, don't forget about last year's peach post featuring a chilled peach pie...mmm.  But never fear, I have plenty of other peachy keen wonderful recipes to share this year!  Case in point...

The Lady and Sons Peach Cobbler

This was a recipe of Paula Deen's that my sister said she was gonna make, but I beat her to it.  ;)  Hubby loved it.  Gobbled it up.  It has a little bit of a different texture to the "crust" and mine didn't seem to raise up through the fruit like Paula promised (I swear I didn't stir it!) but it sure did taste good.  Here see a few pics of me making it!

First you melt the butter in the 9x13 pan in the oven. 
Be careful not to start this before you're ready or the butter will begin to brown.

If you're using fresh peaches like I did, follow Paula's directions closely for preparing them and creating the delicious syrup that comes with cooking them in the sugary water.

Get your batter all mixed up.  You don't need to use a stand mixer but I was worried mine was feeling neglected lately and we can't have that.

Next, take the dish out of the oven and pour the batter into the butter.  Try saying that 5 times fast.  No stirring at this point!

Then spoon the peaches on top and pour the syrup over the entire thing.  Don't forget to sprinkle cinnamon on top!  And remember...NO stirring!

Pop it in the oven and let it do it's thing!

Isn't that beautiful?!  You can kind of see the "crust" coming up in a few places.  I guess I just expected it to do that in a more dramatic fashion.  I like dramatics.

Don't mind if I do. ;)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Freebie Friday: Tax Free Edition

It's Tax Free weekend in Missouri!  Woohoo!  You know what that state tax on clothing purchases under $100, school supply purchases, and computers and some other electronics.  Get all the details here.

But beyond just taking a tax holiday this weekend, Sam's Club is waiving it's member fees for the weekend!  That's right, even if you're not a Sam's member, you too can get a ridiculous amount of avocados, ground beef, or ranch dressing for a ridiculously low price this weekend!  ;)  So head on over to Sam's...there's sure to be a crowd but it'll be worth it when you don't have to buy toilet paper for the next year, right?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Joy of Baking Pound Cake

Ah the Joy of Baking...literally.  How I love to turn your (digital) pages and know that every recipe in you is sure to be delicious.  *sigh*  No wonder, then, that I turned to them when I needed to whip up a pound cake to pour all that compote over (see yesterday's post)!  Now Joy of Baking strays from the traditional 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter (1 pound of pound cake got its name) but the product is absolutely divine.  Still uses all four original ingredients but with a splash of milk, some vanilla, baking powder, salt, and a lot of love (gag gag...sorry...couldn't help myself).

Joy of Baking Pound Cake

This recipe beats the store bought kind hands down (sorry Sara Lee) and my husband looks forward to the next time I decide to make one. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Berry Season Draws to a Close

Quick!  Quick!  Get to your local grocer, farmer's market, Eckert's, anywhere and buy berries!  They are still in season (well most of them anyway) and can be found ripe and relatively cheap this time of year.  When you get must try this!

Berry Compote (from

2 1/2 cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, get to pick!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

Bring 1  1/2 cups berries, sugar, and water to a boil and simmer over medium heat until berries burst or begin to mush. (Blueberries will burst, others will mush.)  Be sure to stir frequently to avoid burning.  Add remaining berries and continue simmering until compote begins to coat the spoon.  About an additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm over ice cream or pound cake (see tomorrow's post!) or chill to serve later (warm it up, it's better that way!)

You can also try this over pancakes...mmm...pancakes...

Monday, August 2, 2010

More "inspired" picnic food

So last week I wrote a post about some delicious Pesto Chicken Wraps...remember those bad boys?  Yep.  I thought so.  Well on that same "inspired picnics" link, #91 (on page 5) caught my eye.  For the record--I was never a fan of pasta salad until recent years.  Even more important to note is that I have only ever made pasta salad from a mix or bought it at the deli counter at my local Schnuck's because their Taco Pasta Salad is amazing.  Lastly, I now whole-heartedly disagree with the writer's statement that pasta salads are no good.  Boo on that.  Yes, some pasta salads are no good.  No, pasta salads in general are not no good (whoa too many negatives).  I supposed everyone is entitled to their opinion but come just made pasta salad, don't try to call it something else because you like to stick your nose up at pasta salad...I digress (again!!!) 

So I took his lead and whipped up a simple pasta salad, yes, it's a PASTA SALAD!!  Simple being the keyword here...anyone can do this and adjust anything to their own taste.  It's totally up to you!

Easy Pasta Salad

10 oz. rotini pasta, cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained
12 grape tomatoes (b/c grape tomatoes are cheaper than cherry tomatoes...go figure) quartered and seeded
4 oz. cubed mozzerella (small cubes...think half of bite-sized or smaller)
1-4oz. can sliced black olives, drained
2 Tbls. EVOO (if it looks dry, add a little more)
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine and chill until ready to serve.  So easy, makes you wanna slap yo mama! (Anyone else ever heard that commercial on the radio?  It makes me crazy but gets stuck in my head all the time.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?)

Like I said before, you can pretty much put anything you like/have in this pasta salad and can't go wrong.  Ok, so maybe not that jar of peanut butter that's in your pantry...then you would be going seriously wrong...seriously!  Enjoy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Lauren's Leftovers!!

That's right folks!  It's my birthday!  Well, the blog's...mine is about 6 months away and I would like a cast iron skillet and the pasta attachment set for my Kitchenaid mixer...but I digress. (I do that a lot, don't I?)  Anyway, to celebrate the birth of this blog one year ago today, I thought it would be fitting to share this Freebie Friday treat with you so you can get pampered on and around YOUR birthday!  Special thanks to my sis for sharing! (I swear she gets more shout outs on this blog...sheesh)

The Frugal Girls have an entire list of birthday/birthday week freebies available across the country!  You could spend an entire afternoon signing up for these things, seriously, and I plan to.  Might even be worth a trip to Memphis to use the $30 Benihana gift certificate...roadtrip anyone??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pesto: The Trilogy

Pesto is more than just great on pasta...have you tried it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps?  Case in point: this guy right here!
Pesto Chicken Rolls

Check out number 2 on the list (Should be #1 in my opinion, even though I fully realize that this is in no way a ranking system, it just feels right.)  These were super easy to make and were SO delicious!  My hubby and I took them to an outdoor concert and then, lucky us, had plenty for lunch the next day too!  They would be great for a trip to the wineries...mmm...wineries.  Note to self :: when it cools down, we must go to the wineries.

Try them.  Today. (or tomorrow...or never, whatever floats your boat)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So last week I promised more ways to use your pesto...sorry I'm just getting around to sharing some now!  Enjoy this super easy homemade pesto mac 'n cheese! (Just for you Megan!)

Lauren's Pesto Mac (& Cheese!)

You will need:
1 recipe Velveeta Down Home Mac & Cheese (minus Ritz crackers, plus breadcrumbs...heehee)
1 cup (or more) of the delicious pesto you already made

The trick is, before you pour the mac & cheese into the 8x8 or 9x9 casserole dish, put a little pesto at the bottom.  Then pour only half of the mac & cheese on top, followed by more pesto, followed by the rest of the mac & cheese, then the rest of the pesto!  Don't forget to top with cheddar cheese and the breadcrumb mixture and don't stir it!  The pesto will work its way around as it bakes, trust me. 

A few days after I made this, I went to lunch with some girlfriends at Cheese-ology in the Loop (an all mac & cheese restaurant...oh buddy!)  Turns out they have a pesto mac too!  I decided to try The Hill (provel, salsiccia, marinara...mmmm) but it was tempting to see how similar our pesto macs are!  The Mediterranean and the Bacon, Bacon were also calling my name...I guess that means I'm just gonna have to go back!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pesto Platform

Sorry to be away so long folks!  It's been a busy summer but I'm back and have so much to catch you up on!  I wanna start with my simple pesto recipe that I will build off of for the rest of this week.  If you like pesto, you'll love these recipes!  Let's get started!

So I had a TON of basil ready to go in my garden a couple weeks ago so I decided it was time to harvest and put it to good use...just enough for a great big batch of pesto!  My pesto calls for walnuts and pine nuts but if you would prefer a walnut free version, there are plenty of others out there to choose from!

Perfect Pesto

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 Tbls. minced garlic (more if you like)
5 cups fresh basil leaves
pinch of salt
generous amount of fresh ground black pepper (I said generous, not crazy)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups EVOO (I went for the full 1 1/2 for this batch)
1 cup parmesan cheese

Process nuts and garlic in your food processor before adding basil, salt, and pepper and continuing to process.  Slowly add in oil through the processor's spout while the processor is on for perfect blending.  Once all oil is incorporated, add cheese and process one last time!  (If you have a mini-prep processor, you'll be happy to know this whole batch will fit if you add your basil in two additions.  You'll also want to add your oil in about three separate additions since you have to stop the processor to add.)

Serve immediately over pasta or store in the fridge for a week or two with a thin film of oil on top (it will create one for itself in time but it never hurts to add a little drizzle once you have it in its storage container.) 

Next up...more ways to use your pesto!  Stay tuned! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Freebie Friday 6/18/10

Groupon!  Do you subscribe to groupon yet?  If you don't, you should, and let me tell you why.

1.  Great deals in St. Louis!  (That really is the one and only reason...who doesn't love a great deal?)

Case in's Groupon deal.  (You better go sign up quick if you want to take advantage of this one!)  Today you can purchase a $30 gift certificate to Portabella restaurant in Clayton (see my review here) for only $13!!  That's 57% off!  Gotta love deals like that!

Groupon is more than just food!  I also took advantage of a sweet 50% off Cardinals tickets deal they had earlier this week and will be heading to my first game of the season in a couple weeks for half the it.  Seriously, sign up, it's worth it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rosemary Skewers--Thank You Ree!

Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman), what will you come up with next?!  Actually, I already know the answer cause I just saw today's blog post and am already trying to figure out when I'm gonna have time to make it...heehee...don't worry, I'll post it when I make it.  For now, you can check out PW's blog (excuse is hardly just a blog) for yourself.  Her posts are always infinitely better than mine anyway. :)

Where was I?  Ah yes, so last week I stumbled across PW's (read:  P Dub) tweet (that's right folks, I tweet...are you following @STLleftovers on twitter yet???) telling me that I MUST make these for my next party.  Well, dinner party tonight at a friend's house and I'm in charge of the appetizer...sounds like it's time to obey PW's orders!

Now I realize I just included the link to Ree's rundown of the rosemary skewers but I have included just a touch more detail via photo (one really) so I thought I'd share my go at it as well.  Enjoy!

Rosemary Skewers  (from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

Stalks of fresh rosemary (I think I used 12)
fresh mozzarella cheese (8 oz worked for 12 skewers)
marinated artichoke hearts, drained (small jar...not canned)
black or kalamata olives, drained (I used medium black olives)
salami, sliced thin and folded into fourths (or pepperoni folded in half...I chose pepperoni)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
fresh ground black pepper (lots!)
sprinkle of ground thyme

In honor of Ree here's my "cast of characters" minus salt, pepper, and thyme...they are shy.

Note the store bought rosemary...I also used some straight from my own herb garden but was too afraid I would use it all so I supplemented with organic...small price to pay not to destroy my rosemary in one go.

Ok so first you need to strip your rosemary stalks of all but about an inch at the top...

I'm now realizing that I'm going to have to make rosemary focaccia again since I have all this rosemary stripped...oh darn.  Mom, looks like you're getting some focaccia after all!

Step 2:  Use rosemary stalk as a skewer and put all your tasty items on in whatever order you choose.

This very special skewer is for my hubby.  :) 
See, even on girls' night he benefits.

When you have all your skewers made...(tada!) can whip up the "dressing" to top it with.  Mix oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and thyme in a bowl and whip em up until emulsified.  I just used a fork real quick.  Piece of cake...or mozzerella...whatever.

See?  Easy.  Then drizzle it all over your tasty skewers and voila!  A delicious summer treat all ready for the fridge.  I made mine the morning of but you can even assemble a day ahead and refrigerate...the rosemary flavor will REALLY come through if you leave them overnight.  I'm hoping 6-7 hours will be enough for me.

Look at those beauties.  It was very hard for me not to sample one just yet (don't olives have eyes? I think they were lookin' at me.) but I'm waiting as patiently as I can to have one...or ten if the other girls aren't fast dinner club tonight!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ask Lauren is Back!

Wow this "Ask Lauren" is so far overdue it's not even funny...well, maybe a little bit funny.  Ok, not really.  Anyway, a friend and colleague of mine (Hi Jennifer!) gave me a recipe for focaccia months long ago that I can't even remember when it was anymore.  Her problem:  baking with yeast.  It can be tricky, and I've definitely had my flops (literally) with it in the past, but there is a secret to making sure your bread recipes will turn out everytime. 

First secret...don't use a packet of yeast that has been sitting in your pantry forever.  Yes, it can go bad.  Not sure if your yeast is good?  Proof it!  (see below)

Second secret...water temperature while "proofing" the yeast.  Proofing is when you "prove" that the yeast is still active before you prove it with a loaf of bread that refuses to rise.  Follow your recipe (most call for proofing but don't call it proofing...did you follow that?) but basically you will be using very warm (usually between 100 and 120 degrees) water and sugar (amounts vary by recipe) which you will mix together and then pour the yeast on top.  Wait 10 minutes and see if your yeast bubbles.  Bubbles=good yeast, continue with your recipe.  No bubbles=bad yeast, try again with a fresh packet.  No bubbles could also indicate that your water was too hot (killed the yeast) or too cool (didn't activate it) so use a candy thermometer to test your water temp if you think that might be the problem.  (Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the proofing process...this is what happens when I get excited while baking...sigh.) we go...focaccia!!  (The recipe just called it focaccia (low-fat) but I'm jazzin' it up a bit...)

Rosemary Parmesan Focaccia

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 Tbls. chopped fresh or 1 Tbls. dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
1 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. salt1 pkg. regular or quick active dry yeast (I used Hodgson Mill fast rise active dry yeast packets)
3 Tbls. olive or vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
1 cup very warm water (120 degrees)
2 Tbls. olive or vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Step 1:  Break out your sweet candy apple red Kitchen Aid mixer (don't have one? a hand mixer works too) and mix 1 cup of the flour, rosemary, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.  Add 3 Tbls of oil and warm water.  (This is when you could choose to proof your yeast.  Instead of putting all ingredients together, mix water and sugar in a separate bowl and pour yeast over top, let stand 10 minutes, when bubbly you know it's good and can pour the whole mixture in with the other ingredients.)

Step 2:  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed (I used dough hook on speed 2) for 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently.  Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is soft and leaves sides of bowl.

Step 3:  Place dough on lightly floured surface.  Knead 5-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.  Or, if you're lazy like me, using the dough hook again, leave it in your mixer for another 5 minutes, adding just a touch of flour.  Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening (I used cooking spray), turning dough to grease all sides.  Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until almost double.  Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

Note:  Great trick for rising dough...turn your oven on set to 400 degrees for 1 minute.  Turn oven off, place bowl with dough (covered) in oven and close the door.  This is a perfect environment for rising.  Just don't forget to turn the oven off after just one minute!!

Step 4:  Grease 2 cookie sheets or 12-inch pizza pans with small amount of oil (or cooking spray in my case).  Gently push fist into dough to deflate.  Divide dough in half.  Shape each half into a flattened 10-inch round on a cookie sheet. 

Cover loosely with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until double.

Step 6:  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Gently make depressions about 2 inches apart in dough with fingers.

Carefully brush with 2 Tbls. oil; sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 

Serve warm or cool.

Look at that beautiful focaccia!  Mmmmm...we had some that night with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and parmesan cheese for dipping. 

I also gave a loaf to my sister (I called it Birthday Focaccia for her...haha!) and she made a sandwich with it.  Tomato, cucumber, and a little garden veggie cream cheese...oh yumm.

Give it a shot folks...baking with yeast really can be very rewarding! :)  Happy baking!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Top Five "Frozen Treat" Locations

Summer is's time for ice cream! (and other related frozen treats!)

Here they Top Five Frozen Treat Locations!

5.  Cold Stone Creamery
4.  Oberweis
3.  Silky's (formerly Lix)
2.  Fritz's Frozen Custard

And my Number One favorite frozen treat location...not a big surprise here...

1.  Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

Notice the top three are all custard joints...that's all thanks to my wonderful husband and his custard addiction.  If it was up to him we would live right behind Ted Drewes, right honey?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Freebie Friday Birthday Edition

No, it's not my birthday...not even close.  But I thought now would be a great time to share an awesome link I found that has a national listing of all the places you can go that will give you free food on or around your birthday!  Now, this is by no means a complete list (Iggy's gives you a free entree on your birthday if you sign up for their birthday club at the restaurant) but it's a great start to at least see which national chains have yummies to offer!

Check out Mr. Cheap Stuff to see the list!

And remember to check out STL Meal Deals to see the birthday deals at many other local favorites!

I wonder if any restaurants give freebies for half birthdays.....

Monday, May 31, 2010

End of the Blogathon

Well folks, this post brings us to the end of the blogathon.  While I've had a lot of fun blogging everyday this month, I'm ready for a little break!  Enjoy this follow-up recipe to yesterday's homemade gnocchi recipe while I take a step back from the blog for just a bit.  I picked out an extra rich one to keep you full while I'm away. ;)

Gnocchi in Fontina Sauce

Enjoy!  I'm sure I'll be back on Friday with another edition of Freebie Friday!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Make Your Own Gnocchi

Last week I posted a very simple gnocchi recipe just to get you, and myself, started.  This weekend, I did a little digging and found this recipe (with a 5 star rating no less) to make your own gnocchi from scratch!  Wowee!  If you have some time like I am going to over the next couple weeks (schoooooool's out for summer!) maybe you'd like to whip up a batch!

Check out this Food Network recipe by Michael Chiarello for potato gnocchi!

I promise to post with pictures when I make it...and I can't wait to get a potato ricer!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Top Five Things to Grill

It's Memorial Day weekend!  Will you be grilling this weekend?  Maybe this will give you some ideas...

5.  pork steaks...a St. Louis phenomenon
4.  cheeseburgers...though if you remember from last week I prefer the cheddar spread ;)
3.  mixed veggies...I love my veggie grill basket!  Peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, baby corn...mmm
2.  salmon

And my number 1 item to grill....

1.  Ribs!

Nobody grills ribs better than my dad.  Seriously, I dare you to try but I promise you will be defeated.  :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Freebie Friday continues...

I'll keep it short and simple...this week's "freebie" isn't actually free but it's still a great deal you should know about!

Check out for great deals on dining in your area!  Occasionally they will sell "gift certificates" for up to 80% off (or more!) at your favorite places to eat!  Just can get a $25 gift certificate for just $2!!  The catch...there's usually a minimum purchase requirement ($35 or $50) so be sure to read the fine print before you purchase!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Big Oops

Have you ever had an oops in the kitchen followed by a great recovery?  I heard a fantastic story from a coworker today about having some blueberry muffins that didn't turn out.  She crumbled them up on a cookie sheet and put them back in the oven to bake a little longer.  The end result..."blueberry crumble."  Her family loved it!

I love stuff like this...unfortunately for me, my disasters are usually flat out disasters...far beyond saving.  I'd love to hear about yours!  Leave a comment here if it has ever happened to you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sage...a little green?

So a couple weeks ago I finally got around to paying a visit to Sage in the Soulard/Benton Park area.  It's right by the AB Brewery, in case you are unfamiliar with the area.  I had been hearing some really great things about Sage so I had been meaning to give it a shot. 

I brought along a good friend (Hi Erin!) and made a reservation for 8:15 on a Friday night.  (Reservations are prefered at Sage.)  We arrived just a bit early and decided to get a glass of wine at the bar...which took forever.  A worker, who I presumed was a bartender since she was behind the bar, came close enough for me to get her attention so I asked for a couple glasses of wine.  Her response, "I don't bartend."  And she finished what she was doing and walked away.  No nudge to the other two bartenders or anything to acknowledge us.  Kinda weird.  So our table was ready right around 8:15 so that was great.  It's a pretty small place with about 20 (or less) tables in the main dining wonder reservations are preferred!  There are a couple tables in the bar that are open seating but don't count on getting one unless you are getting there early. 

By the time our server came over we had already decided what we wanted to eat so we placed our orders right away.  An hour and 15 minutes later (9:30) we got our food.  In the meantime, our server had come by to apologize several times saying they had a very large party upstairs (aha...must be a private room).  We were given some bread to hold us over (a good thing with how late it was) and Erin was given a "complimentary" glass of wine (we were definitely charged for it on the bill).  Interesting.  Dinner came and was decent but nothing that wowed me.  I have a feeling the very long wait for the food played a part in that though.  I had the Boursin Sun-dried Tomato and Proscuitto Stuffed Chicken Breast and Erin had the Pecan Encrusted Boneless Pork Chop.

When we were finished, our server (who really was very polite and apologetic about the whole ordeal...I do have to give him credit for that) came with the bill and gave us 50% off for being so nice about the tardiness of our meal.  I think that was more than generous so it pretty much made up for the wait!  He also commented that we would have to come back on a less busy night to get the full effect.  I'm not sure how to determine what night that would be since the place is so small but I plan to give it another go.  Maybe this time around I will bring the hubster with me. :) 

Have you been to Sage?  What was your experience?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's a Brookie?

Is it a cookie?  Sort of.  Is it a brownie?  Kinda.  Is it delicious?  YES!!!

I'm sure many of you have now checked out some of the other blogs I follow (located in the side bar) but Bakerella is seriously one of my favorites.  I still don't think I could ever be as talented or crafty as she is when it comes to baked goods...I have yet to get a batch of cake pops to look anything like hers...but I try.

I couldn't pass up this opportunity to point out one of her more recent posts introducing "Congo Bars."  I had never heard of such a thing but after reading through many of the comments (and eating some...again thanks to my sister) I'm realizing that they really are very similar to a blondie brownie...only better.  My guess is that it's the pound of brown sugar ( entire pound) that makes them oh so yummy.  I love her ideas for additional mix-ins...I think white chocolate chips and mini M&Ms would be divine.  Can't wait to whip up a batch for myself!  I'm not sharing either!  ;)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Sides Part 2

If there's one thing I've said at least a dozen times on this blog, it's that adding more cheese is never a bad thing.  This side dish is another perfect example of that but it is taken to another level when you add bacon.  Bacon...yes...another ingredient you can never have too much of.  Ok maybe not quite like cheese but you get the idea.  ;)  If you're a carb lover like me...this recipe is sure to be a big hit.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad by Rachael Ray

Even if you aren't a big fan of traditional potato salads (I'm not) this is a side you should try!  Have any great "go-to" summer sides you make for every bbq?  I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer Sides

Just got back from a bbq at my sister's house and she had a delicious side that I really enjoyed!  (Let's be honest...the entire meal was awesome so look out for a few more recipes from it later this week!)  Luckily, I heard her mention that it was an Oprah recipe so it was super easy for me to look up and find.  Check out this recipe for Sweet Corn Salad with Black Beans, Scallions, and's sure to please!

Stay tuned for another summer side dish tomorrow...loaded baked potato salad!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Top Five Burger Toppings

Haha...well we went to Growler's Pub Thursday night and I was craving a burger (imagine that) which now has me thinking about things I like to top my burgers with...

5.  a toasted bun...I rarely do this at home but it can make a good burger great in a heartbeat!
4.  fried onions
3.  barbeque sauce...the smokier, the better
2.  bacon...crispy bacon

And my number one burger topping is...

1.  cheddar cheese spread (just like at Tucker's Place...major yum)

Can you even imagine a burger with all of these toppings together?  My mouth just started watering...must be getting close to lunch...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Freebie Friday!

Welcome to the first edition of "Freebie Friday!"  I'll take this opportunity each week to set you up with a great food deal I have heard about whether it happens to be something free or deeply discounted!  Exciting no?

This week's "freebie" is.....(brought to you by my sis!)

Check out the Modesto website to become a "Modesto Amigo" and receive a free tapas the next time you visit!  Remember you can also visit the bar area M-F from 5-7 for happy hour (Tuesday it's all night!)

Wanna hear about more great deals and freebies everyday?  Check out STL Meal Deals!  You can even follow her on twitter (STLMealDeals)...tell her Lauren's Leftovers sent you! :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Red, White, and....Pasta!

Bet you thought I was gonna say "blue."  :)

Last night I had thawed a couple turkey brats (a new discovery at Schnucks) but I wasn't really feelin cooking them on the grill...strange, I know.  Even after having Italian Tortellini Soup on Monday and gnocchi on Tuesday, I was ready for pasta last night.  (I really need to get off this carb kick.)  I wanted something different so I took inventory of the refrigerator and came up with this oh-so-tasty pasta dish!

Red and White Pasta with Turkey Sausage

2 turkey sausage links (I used turkey brats but really you could use any sort of sausage or turkey sausage)
1/2 lb. shell pasta

Cook sausage links through in pan with EVOO (just a couple times around the pan with it.)  I sliced mine up just before it was finished cooking and through it back in the pan to finish up so it wasn't too done on the outside before being done on the inside.  Boil a pot of water and cook pasta while you make the sauces.

Red Sauce

1/2 shallot, chopped
1/2 jar Schnucks chunky garden veggie sauce
red pepper flakes, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste

In the same pan you cooked the sausage in, add a little more EVOO if needed and the shallot.  Cook about 2 minutes, until soft.  Add sauce, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning and turn heat to low to simmer.  Add sausage to this sauce for the last minute or so before topping the pasta.

White Sauce

1/2 stick butter
minced garlic (I used about 1/2 tsp I would guess)
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pepper, to taste
California onion powder, to taste

Melt butter in a pan and add garlic.  Add cream and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Add pepper and onion powder and stir.  Add cheese just before serving to thicken. 

To plate, scoop desired amount of pasta into a shallow bowl.  Top with white sauce.  Top with red sauce and sausage.  Top the whole thing of with fresh grated parmesan cheese if you have it.  (or just use a little extra from the shaker)  Enjoy with some crusty bread!

The hubby and I really enjoyed this one so I'll have to make it again sometime!  Check it out!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Never Pokey Gnocchi

So last night I had a dinner dilemma (aka...I forgot to thaw anything...oops).  I had had a similar problem the night before but was able to redeem myself with the last batch of the Italian Tortellini Soup in the freezer.  Instant dinner.  Glorious.  However, my freezer is now lacking in the "instant dinner" department.  In fact, it's just plain lacking in general.  Schnucks trip anyone? 

Where was I?  Ah dinner.  Well I at least had enough sense to buy a jar of Schnucks Chunky Garden Pasta Sauce the last time I was at the store so I figured a little pasta with marinara was in order.  Until I opened the cabinet that hold the pasta and realized I had a package of fresh potato gnocchi!  I've never made gnocchi before but the package recipe said to just top with sauce and parmesan cheese...done and done.  Now you know me, of course I had to doctor up the sauce a bit with some Italian seasonings, but after letting that simmer on the stove for a few minutes and popping some rolls in the oven, the gnocchi only took about 3 minutes in a pot of boiling water to be ready!  How cool is that?  Top with sauce and parm and serve.  No dinner to dinner in less than 10 minutes.  Gotta love a meal like that! 

Now I'm on the hunt for more gnocchi recipes...I have a feeling this is gonna be good! :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crab Cakes!

Here are two of the recipes I received in response to the crab cake post over the weekend...hope you enjoy them!  I plan to!  Special thanks to my mother-in-law for sharing these!

Crab Cake Appetizer

1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup crab meat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed
2 Tbls. chopped green onions
1 pkg (1.9 oz) frozen mini phyllo tart shells

Combine cream cheese, crab meat, and green onions in a bowl.  Place phyllo shells on an ungreased cookie sheet and fill each with 1 Tbls. crab mixture.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until heated through.  Makes 15.

Crab Cakes

1 can (6oz) crab meat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbls. melted butter
1 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. mayo
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Shape into 4 patties.  Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Bake on a greased baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Still Waiting for Summer

Anybody else wondering where all the awesome weather we had in April went?  We were on the verge of summer and now we're back in the grips of spring again.  Hopefully this will help hold you over...


2 cans of beer (Bud Light or Bud Select work great)
8 oz. tequila
1 can frozen limeade concentrate
Lime wedges or slices
margarita salt

Mix beer, tequila, limeade, and ice in a pitcher.  Rim glasses with salt, pour beergarita and garnish with lime wedge or slice.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Enchiladas...Step by Step

I promised I'd give you a step-by-step tutorial for these bad boys and I'm a lady of my word.  Enjoy!
So here goes...garlic, green onions, and butter simmering away.  Piece of cake, no?
Then you add your tomato sauce (remember to use 2 cans!), spices, salt, and sugar...ah yes, and the chiles.
Fifteen minutes of simmering will make quite a mess if you don't have a splatter guard ready to go.
Mmmmm...cheese.  Hard not to eat straight out of the bowl.  Save it for the enchiladas!  It will be worth it, trust me on this one, k?
Next, dip your tortillas in the sauce.  Careful, you have to work fast cause it's hot, hot, hot!
Flip it over and dip the other side too.  Anybody else's mouths watering yet?  I thought so.

Oops...I forgot to take a picture of mixing the chicken and sour cream.  Use your imagination...put the chicken in a bowl and mix in about 4 oz. of sour cream.  Stir with a spoon.  You get the idea.
Then you can put some chicken down the center of your tortilla (it's actually easier to roll if you put it closer to one side or the other.)
Then add the cheese...feel free to be generous.  I've never had a dish where more cheese was a bad thing and this is definitely not the exception to the rule!
Line em up in a pan...I squeezed 10 into my 9x13 pan.
Mix remaining sour cream with remaining sauce (I ended up only using 8 oz. of sour cream total...4 oz. mixed with the chicken and 4 oz. in the sauce.)  Pour sauce over enchiladas in the pan.
More cheese!  See...told you more cheese is always good!  Then 30-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

I really hope that if you are an enchilada lover you will try this recipe.  It is by far my favorite...I would probably eat them every week if I could.  Yumm!  I'd love to hear how they turn out for you!