Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kelly English Steakhouse (Harrah's St. Louis)

Our first of many restaurant reviews

One thing Margy and I love to do is eat out at new restaurants around town, lately we haven't done that because it hasn't been in the budget. But when my mom said she had a comp for the new steakhouse in Harrah's in St. Louis, I jumped at the chance to try out this new trendy steakhouse from a renowned southern chef.  Margy lucked out on this trip as she was out of town on her own little vacation, so for this review it was myself, my mom, sister, and her 6 year old son.  Reservations are encouraged, we had some, so we were seated right away. The decor is modern and open and the menu fits the atmosphere.

Yes this is a steakhouse, but you're not forced to eat steak, the seafood menu items showcase the southern cooking style that would rival any New Orleans restaurant. Prices are reasonable for the quality and portion sizes, we had a comp of $180, and we had 2 appetizers, 3 entrees, 2 sides (for my nephew) and 2 desserts and drinks (which I think we were not charged for our soda and teas.) Our total came to $150 without tip. All entrees come with a salad and 1 side.  Other sides are available for about $5 a piece. One downside was they don't offer a kids menu option, but this is at a casino, so I don't think they expect many kids to come through the door. We got a couple sides for my nephew, and he filled up on sides and bread along with some bites from our plates.  Now to the food: (sorry for the poor quality pictures, my phone takes mediocre pics.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Cake Mix Cookies

Did you know that you could make cookies out of cake mix?  I had no idea! I was super excited when I came home to find a pile of tasty cookies, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.  Honestly, this was the only thing that we did to mark the occasion! 
These cookies turned out just soft enough and just a bit chewy.  They ate like a cookie and tasted like cake... so tasty! 
I'm really excited to get to do these for the other upcoming holidays... pastels for Easter, red, white and blue for July 4th, the possibilities are endless! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Garden- Part 1

We've got a pretty decent size yard for living in the city, so this year, we've decided to plant a garden.  We've had them in previous years, but in the past few years, we've just grown a few herbs and tomatoes in planters because we are lazy to avoid digging up the yard.

Just some of the tasty goodness we'll be growing this year!
So we sat down and decided what we wanted in the garden back in January and started pricing out seeds online and at different stores around town and started researching what we have to do to go from seeds to actual plants with edible produce. Lee laid everything out in Auto CAD. That, my friends, is one of the many reasons I love this guy, I would have just tossed some seeds in the ground and prayed.  He reads the directions and lays things out so all the plants have enough room to grow and look pretty.

Three weeks after planting the seeds.
At the end of February, we started our peppers, some of the herbs and the brussel sprouts.  We had some shelving in the basement and poached a florescent light fixture from another basement room and bought a grow light to fit.  Then we got the seed starters from Home Depot.  Easy as pie!

The brussel sprouts got confused, thought it was the middle of summer, and took off in a week, so we had to pull those back to give everything else a chance!

This summer, we'll be growing lots of vegetables (hopefully) including the habaneros for the Flaming Fido Hot Sauce.  I'm itching to get out there and get started!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jalapeno Poppers

I took these tasty appetizers to a party this weekend. It was the second time I'd brought them to share with my kickball team, the Recess Renegades... this time by special request.  More than one of my teammates weren't able to get these off their minds since our last get together!

As far as party food goes, these are pretty cheap and easy to put together.  Plus, they make you look really tough when you bite into a great big jalapeno pepper.  On the spicy level, you can make them as hot, or not hot as you want, it just all depends on how much of the spicy seeds and membranes you leave in the pepper.  I like mine not so hot, so Lee dug it all out.  Truth be told, this batch could have even been a little spicier and still have been delicious!

Overall, the taste is more sweet than spicy, which is surprising when you're looking at this giant pepper.

WARNING! When you're cutting and handling your peppers, don't be a hero, wear gloves.  We get the nitrile gloves that you can find at the pharmacy.  They will save you a lot of pain later.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gnocchi Nicoise

We’ve been subscribers to the  Food Network Magazine since they started publishing.  One of the very first recipes we tried was their Gnocchi Nicoise.  You can go there for the original recipe, what we have below is the version that it's melded into for us over the years.  

It is probably the most memorable recipe we’ve gotten from the magazine, and one that I beg for at least once a month.  

In the tradition of goulash and chili, you’ll feel the love in the first bite. The potato gnocchi get great big hugs from the ground beef and tomatoes and the carrots, shallots and bacon dance around them.  You add just a little bit of red wine to give them a slow cooked taste without the slow cooking and when you take your first bite you'll feel like you're wrapped in a warm blanket in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter day.

Even better...this is a filling meal that will leave you with plenty of left overs that make great lunches throughout the week. 

By the way... for those of you who, like me, have no idea what Nicoise means, it means “as prepared in Nice.”