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Marinated Rack of Lamb

When I was younger and we had lamb, it was usually prepared with plenty of garlic, mint, and olive oil. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized lamb could taste amazing; just like most other meat. If you know what combinations to use and a marinade or sauce, you can create a masterpiece. Please enjoy the following recipe for marinated rack of lamb.

Marinade Ingredients

herbs and garlic on frenched lamb chops on a brown plate
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp each cracked black pepper and sea salt
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh garlic

Lamb Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
  • one 2 1/2 lbs frenched rack of lamb
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 c each white wine and chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp thyme
frenched lamb chops cooking in a square copper pan

Instructions for Marinade

  • First, combine olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, pepper, sea salt, and garlic in small bowl; and mix.
  • Next, arrange frenched rack of lamb on platter. Then pour marinade over rack of lamb. Make sure rack of lamb is covered with marinade on all sides.
  • And let the rack of lamb sit at room temperature in marinade for 30 minutes.

Putting the Marinated Rack of Lamb Together

  • First, preheat oven to 400°.
  • Second, in a medium oven-proof skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil till hot. Then add the rack of lamb to skillet fat side down. And cook over med-hi heat till brown, ~ 3 mins.
  • Next, turn lamb fat side up, and cook 2 mins more. At that point, transfer the skillet to the oven, and roast rack of lamb ~ 20 minutes until thermometer inserted in the center of meat reads 125° for medium rare.
  • After that, transfer lamb to a carving board and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Further, discard the fat in the skillet. And add 2 tsps of olive oil, green onions, and cook till softened, ~ 2 minutes.
  • Then add wine and simmer till reduced by half, ~ 2 minutes. Combine broth, bringing to a simmer.
  • Remove skillet from heat. Additionally, stir in mustards and thyme. Moreover, season with salt and pepper.
  • Carve the lamb into chops and arrange onto plates. Finally, spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve with your favorite sides.
sliced Frenched lamb chops on a brown plate

So, this recipe is actually a fusion of 2 separate lamb recipes. I took the marinade from this one and some ingredients from this other, and combined them. But just click on those links, if you want to try them in their unadulterated versions.

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Best Recipe for Beef Fajitas

My family and I love Mexican and Tex-Mex food. In fact, when I’m the one cooking, either of those are predominantly what I cook. The food is easy to make, yummy, and satisfying. So, one day I was looking for a beef fajita recipe online. Thus, I stumbled upon one via The Pioneer Woman site, circa 10 years ago. However, being me, I’ve made some tweaks. And I’ve been making it my way since. Please enjoy this best recipe for beef fajitas.

Ingredients for Beef Fajitas:

cut up stew meat on a turquoise plate
  • 1 1/2 lbs of stew meat, cut up into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/6 c lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp each, cumin and chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp each, red pepper flakes and black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Truvia or 1/2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 each of onion, red and yellow bell peppers, sliced
  • warmed flour tortillas
  • crumbled quest for topping
  • and guacamole
cut up beef, bell peppers, and onions marinating in a turquoise bowl

When I first made this, I adhered to most of the original ingredients, except the meat. Rather than stew meat, the foundational ingredient for the beef was flank steak. In addition, I followed the measurement sizes for the ingredient list. Though, I discovered that there was entirely too much liquid, making it almost greasy. Consequently, I halved the majority of the measurements for the ingredients. Here’s the original recipe, if you’re interested.

Recipe for Beef Fajitas Instructions:

cut up beef, and bell peppers cooking on the stove in a square copper pan
  • First, combine the first 10 ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl. And refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Next, after 2 hours, add mixture to a 4 quart stove top cook pan. Then cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Put lid on, and lower temperature to medium low, and cook for ~ 17 – 20 minutes.
  • Finally, remove from heat. And with a slotted spoon, serve on warm flour tortillas, and top with cheese and guacamole.
top down view of fajitas filled with cut up beef, bell peppers, cheese, and guacamole on a white plate

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Recipe for Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Garlic

There are many tricks to making Brussel sprouts palatable. But I haven’t tried them all. However, once I tried the one below, it’s been my go-to for difficult flavored veggies. Thus, this recipe for sautéed Brussel sprouts with garlic is a great base for many vegetables. Plus, it’s easy to make. And you could also incorporate it with different additions, if you want. Try it and see if you don’t like it.

Ingredients for Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Garlic:

clear casserole dish of halved Brussel sprouts
  • 2 lb package of pre-washed Brussel sprouts
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • ~ 2 tbsp each avocado oil and salted butter
  • and ~ 1/2 – 1 tsp garlic salt

Recipe for Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Instructions:

square copper pan of sautéed Brussel sprouts
  • First, cut the Brussel sprouts in half lengthwise before placing in a microwave safe casserole dish.
  • Next, add 2 tbsp of water to Brussel sprouts, cover with plastic wrap, and steam in microwave for 5 – 6 minutes.
  • Then, before turning stove on medium heat, add avocado oil and butter in the pan. After draining water from Brussel sprouts, place those in pan as well.
  • At that point, sprinkle fresh minced garlic and garlic salt over Brussel sprouts. And stir.
  • Continue stirring occasionally. Further, cook for only 5-10 minutes, depending on how firm or soft you want them to be.
  • Finally, remove from heat, and serve with your favorite meal.
top down view of chicken and Brussel sprouts on a white plate

So, you might be wondering where I got this particular recipe. Well, as it happens, a friend Hannah’s (20 year old daughter), made a different vegetable, and seasoned it in this way. Therefore, I thought, why not Brussel sprouts? And the rest is history…

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Steak with Balsamic Sauce

In my opinion, not much can compare to steak accompanied with a sauce from scratch. I’m not sure why, but I think it goes back to a prime rib dinner that featured red wine sauce. Since then, prime rib has been our traditional Christmas dinner for over 20 years. In addition, whenever I cook steak, I include some type of gravy, marinade, or glaze. Furthermore, the following recipe is another one I found almost 20 years ago. But it features balsamic vinegar mixed with butter. So, please enjoy this recipe for steak with balsamic sauce.

Ingredients for steak with balsamic sauce

2 raw ribeye steaks in packaging
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • 4 ribeye steaks, at least 1/2 inch thick each
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions for steak with balsamic sauce

2 salted raw ribeyes in square copper pan
  • First, bountifully salt both sides of the steaks with the pink Himalayan salt.
  • Next, melt ~ 2 tbsp of butter in a square pan over med-medium high heat. (I use Copper Chef, thus I always use med heat.) Before butter is completely melted, add the steaks and sear until the bottoms are crusted brown, ~ 4 minutes. Then flip to the other side. And sear another 4 minutes for medium rare, or 130-135°, or longer to desired doneness. Remove the steaks from pan and place on serving plate.
  • Further, add the diced green onion to the pan and cook ~ 30 seconds. After this, pour in the vinegar, and lower the temperature to med-low. **And cook the liquid for a couple of minutes, during which there will be a reduction in volume, but not by much.
  • Next, turn off the heat, swirl in the remaining butter, and season with black pepper to taste.
  • Then add the steaks back into the pan, drizzling the balsamic sauce over the steaks.
  • Finally, serve with a vegetable and maybe a side of rice or potatoes.
2 pan-fried ribeye steaks on floral plate

**A note from above: On similar recipes you might find that the sauce is supposed to reduce to 2 tbsp. However, I like to reserve most of the sauce for the steak, because it’s so tasty.

dark sauce in square copper pan
This is about the amount of liquid I reserve.

Difference between sauces and marinades

If you’ve ever tasted steak drizzled with homemade gravy, then you know there’s a marked distinction. However, there are marinades to infuse meat with flavor as well. While marinades are used before cooking, gravy or sauces are used after the meat has been cooked. Besides adding flavor, marinades help tenderize meat as well.

Also, if you’re interested in the original recipe, I couldn’t find it on the internet. However, I’ve had the actual cookbook for as long as I’ve been married. And even though it likely isn’t in print anymore, you might find a copy online. Plus, it has a lot of other great recipes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed it. Please post a comment, share it, and don’t forget it follow!

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Red Velvet Heart Shape Cake

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I decided to make a red velvet heart shape cake. Walmart has an array of Valentine’s Day baking goods for sale lately, including the Bundt cake pan I got. While I didn’t necessarily need a new pan, I really enjoy cooking and trying out new things. In addition, my family appreciates it too.

This was the first time I’ve made a Bundt cake in a long time. Even though I have other Bundt pans, I just haven’t used them in a while. Although I intended on it. But I would forget I had the pans and use another. Or make a different kind of cake. However, when I saw the heart shape pan, I just had to have it. And I didn’t put off using it.

Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix with heart shape Bundt cake pan and measuring spoons

So you might be wondering if you can even use a Bundt pan for a regular red velvet cake. Or any other type of cake for that matter. And the answer is yes. Though, make sure you have the right amount of batter for the size pan.

How to Figure out the Batter

In another post, I shared a link to Wilton’s blog, where there’s a chart for how much batter to add to various cake pan sizes. Additionally it gives cooking times. So with most cake pans, measure the pan’s length and depth. But this cake is a Bundt cake. And not just any Bundt cake, a heart shape Bundt cake.

So if you don’t know this, find out the size of your Bundt pan by measuring how much water it holds. Although, don’t fill any cake pan to the top, because it will overflow! For this recipe, it’s a Wilton Bundt pan, and it holds approximately 4 cups of water.

The general rule for filling Bundt cakes is to leave ~ 1 inch of clearance from the top of the batter to the top of the pan. However, that’s based on the size of the pan. And it’s recommended to only fill small Bundt pans, < 10 inches in length, half full. With that being said, I filled my heart shape pan 2/3 full, like I do with my muffins and cupcakes, and it didn’t overflow.

unfrosted red velvet heart shape cake

Red Velvet Heart Shape Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Red Velvet Cake mix
  • 1 c buttermilk or *buttermilk substitute*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3.4 oz package of instant chocolate pudding
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • and a handful of lightly floured semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • a few fresh strawberries, de-stemmed and washed

*If, like me, you don’t have buttermilk when you want to make red velvet cake, then here’s a very simple buttermilk substitute. Add 1 tbsp of distilled vinegar to 1 cup of milk; let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken.

pink frosting in a bowl with beaters

Red Velvet Heart Cake Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. And very generously spray your heart shape Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix the first 8 ingredients on low speed until moistened. Then beat on medium speed for ~ 2 minutes.
  • Next, pour ~ 3 full measuring cups into your prepared Bundt pan. And bake on the center rack in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for no more than 15 minutes. Then invert cake onto a plate or serving platter, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • Frost with your favorite pink Buttercream or whipped cream frosting. I made a whipped cream frosting and added a few drops of red food coloring to it. Then I filled the hole with the fresh strawberries.
red velvet cake and 3 fresh strawberries on a white plate

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Best Feature of Egg Cookers

Even with higher prices, eggs are a staple in most homes. Considering they can be cooked in various ways, eggs are also used in desserts and sides. But not everyone has time to make a nutritious breakfast via the stove or oven before starting their day. Thus, technology made a way with the egg cooker. Continue reading for basic characteristics of, and the best feature of egg cookers.

Perhaps you’re familiar with egg cookers. Well, up till this past Christmas I’m not sure I ever heard of them. But now I can’t imagine not having one. Why did it take so long for me to learn about egg cookers? And how did I find out about them? Likely I didn’t know about them, because I have a very small kitchen. And any extra appliances added make it that much smaller. In addition, my husband gifted me an egg cooker this past Christmas.

But before moving on to the best feature egg cookers have, I’m going to spend a couple of minutes going over some key information electric egg cookers share.

Aspects of Electric Egg Cookers

multiple parts of white and turquoise small kitchen appliance on white background

Egg cookers have been around for a long time, ca 1920s. Since then, they’ve been through many changes. And there are electric egg cookers that range in capacity from 4 to 14 eggs. Plus, they come in an array of colors. Also, you can choose metal or plastic ones. And they even have BPA-free plastic as well. Additionally, they vary in cost, anywhere from $10 to over $100, depending on the bells and whistles you choose.

Moreover, electric egg cookers are able to cook eggs in at least 3 different styles: hard-boiled, poached, and omelettes. Although, the omelettes are on the small side in my opinion. And some egg cookers even cook vegetables. In addition, egg cookers work by utilizing steam from the water that’s added to the cooker. Further, they beep to let you know when your eggs are done, ~7-15 minutes. Also, some even include automatic shut-off. Though, mine does not.

Since I’ve provided some general info regarding most egg cookers, I’ll briefly continue in more detail about my own: the Greenlife Qwik egg cooker.

My Electric Egg Cooker: GreenLife Qwik Egg Cooker

2 poached eggs on slice of toast facing a sliced of cheese on another piece of toast on a white plate

This nifty little machine, at 6.34″H x 6.30″W x 7.17″D, easily fits in a cupboard or the pantry. Because I don’t have a big kitchen, or a ton of counter space, the size is a plus for me. And it has a 28 inch long cord. Also, my egg cooker is turquoise. However, they come in red and pink as well. Though, pink is currently out of stock.

With this particular brand, we can boil 7 eggs at a time. Or make 2 omelettes or 2 poached eggs. In addition, it has a one switch design: on and off. And a clear lid to see the eggs while they’re cooking. Furthermore, all removable parts are BPA-free and dishwasher safe.

Using the Greenlife Qwik egg cooker is very simple. Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes for the eggs to be done. And I suspect we’re using less electricity using the egg cooker than when we use the stove; it simply doesn’t generate as much heat.

Best Feature of Egg Cookers

top view of turquoise, white and clear egg cooker with brown eggs steaming

One of the things I enjoy about our electric egg cooker is the consistency of the eggs. For example, every time we use the egg cooker in any capacity, the eggs are always perfect. But I suppose that’s because they’re in a controlled environment in a way.

Moreover I like that it’s small, and can be put out of the way. When you have a small kitchen without a lot of counter space, this is essential to extra appliances and gadgets.

Nevertheless, my favorite part about our egg cooker is that our boiled, farm fresh, eggs peel easy every time. Every. Single. Time. Therefore, we don’t have to wait a certain amount of time to cook them. Likewise we don’t have to perform any tricks. Given that egg cookers use steam to cook eggs in the same way that I recommended in a past post, it makes sense. Although, it’s much faster with the electric egg cooker than the stove. Thus, this was a complete game changer for me on work days.

In Summary

digital sketch of math symbols with the plus sign highlighted in the center
Digital Art, Courtesy of Sarah Smith

Egg cookers come in an assortment of sizes and colors. And you can find one from almost any price-point. Plus, they have a lot of benefits, which include cooking eggs easier and better. But, if you enjoy hardboiled eggs, the best feature of egg cookers is that boiled, farm fresh, eggs peel easy.

What’s your favorite part about of an egg cooker, provided you have one or have used one?

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Recipe for Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

There are many things to add to banana bread: carrots, raisins, peanut butter, or dates. But the first time I made a recipe for banana bread with chocolate chips was around 10 years ago. And I think the first time I tried banana bread with chocolate chips was when working in Dallas. However I prefer the following recipe, which is also made with coconut, and the one I made a decade ago.

Ingredients for Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips:

  • 1/2 c chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 c plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 stick (1/2 c) of butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp each, baking soda and salt
  • 1 tsp each, ground nutmeg and ginger
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 c coarsely chopped nuts (I used pistachios)
  • and 1/2 c shredded coconut
baking batter with different ingredients in a light blue bowl

Instructions for Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips:

  • First, preheat the oven to 350°, and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Next, using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Then add the egg and beat till light and fluffy. Next, beat in the vanilla.
  • Further, in another bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and spices together. Then add them alternately with the mashed banana, mixing well after each addition.
  • Next, mix in the nuts, coconut, and yogurt with chocolate chips. Then pour evenly into the prepared pan.
  • And bake the bread until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, ~ 1 hour. Then cool in the pan 30 minutes, and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Finally, serve at room temperature.
loaf of bread in a brown glass loaf pan

Banana bread is great to eat alone, or as an addition to eggs. What do you like to put in your banana bread? Your comments are appreciated.

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Recipe for Vegetable Omelette

Since eggs are some of the healthiest foods available, you can eat them virtually any time. Plus, there are plenty of ways to prepare them, like this recipe for vegetable omelette. It’s stuffed with bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and shredded cheese.

Make this for breakfast or brunch. Or instead, like us, have it for dinner.

Ingredients for Vegetable Omelette

spinach, mushrooms, and other vegetables sautéing in a pan
  • 3 or 4 eggs per omelette
  • 2 to 3 tbsp butter per omelette
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 each, yellow onion and green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 to 3 c baby spinach
  • 4 oz can mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 c shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • and salt and pepper

Instructions for Vegetable Omelette

eggs cooking in a pan
  • First, add olive oil in frying pan, and then add the peppers and onions. Top with Italian seasoning.
  • Next, once vegetables soften add mushrooms and spinach, stirring until spinach wilted.
  • Then beat eggs in a bowl, and heat another skillet over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and beat some more.
  • Next, melt some butter in heated pan, thoroughly coating pan. Add a little more butter before pouring beaten eggs into hot pan. And wait until almost cooked through before adding the sautéed vegetables and cheese.
  • Then, with a spatula, fold over twice; you may have to use two spatulas to do this part. And let it heat through for about a minute before removing to a plate.
  • Finally, enjoy!

If you couldn’t fold the omelette over twice, no worries. A lot of people just fold it in half. Further, if you wanted to add meat to this recipe, by all means, do so. Recipes are for mixing up and adding your own flair. But if you made this, what did you think? Do you have a favorite omelette recipe? Your comments are appreciated.

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Doctored Up Carrot Cake Mix

We celebrated Hannah’s birthday recently. Plus, she moved out, since she’ll be attending college in the Fall. So I wanted to try a doctored up carrot cake mix. And it was the best cake mix with add-ins so far.

I used carrots, of course. And I added in flaked coconut, raisins, chopped nuts, crushed pineapple and spices. Please enjoy.

Doctored Up Carrot Cake Mix Ingredients:

dry ingredients in a light blue mixing bowl
  • 2 boxes Carrot Cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 c melted butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 c shredded coconut
  • 8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3/4 c raisins
  • 1 1/2 c chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • and 1 pkg of vanilla pudding

Carrot Cake Mix Instructions:

cake batter with shredded carrots in a light blue mixing bowl

Preheat oven to 350°, and spray your pans with nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively you could grease and flour them.

  • First, combine your dry ingredients (cake mixes, flour, salt, and spices) in a mixing bowl.
  • Next, add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter. And mix on medium speed for ~ 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  • Then fold in shredded carrots, coconut, nuts, and drained pineapple.
  • This makes ~ 8 cups of batter, which you’ll then pour into your prepared pans. And bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes. Check at 50 minutes, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool completely before turning out and frosting with either cream cheese frosting, cream cheese whipping cream frosting, or even a buttercream frosting.
  • And finally, serve and enjoy.
white frosted two layer cake on a cake stand

This is a great cake to have really any time. But with all of the extra ingredients to the cake mix, it’s almost like homemade. If you made this, what did you think? Your comments are appreciated.

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Egg Burritos

Egg burritos can be very diverse. You can make them with beans, pork, or chicken. And you can top them with a variety of choices. However this recipe is really quite simple. Although, you can spruce it up if you want to. But it tastes quite good on its own.

Ingredients for Egg Burritos

8 cracked eggs in metal bowl
  • 8 eggs
  • ~ 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 La Tortilla Factory light flour tortillas
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp salted butter
  • ~ 3-5 oz queso fresco cheese
  • 2-3 oz of guacamole

Instructions for Burritos

beaten eggs with spices and cream in a metal bowl and whisk
  • First, beat eggs in bowl; add whipping cream and beat some more. Then beat in salt and pepper.
  • Next, melt 1-2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp more of butter just before pouring egg mixture.
  • Then scramble eggs till light and fluffy. Add cheese before eggs are completely done.
  • Remove pan from heat. And microwave the tortillas, and then assemble burritos; top with guacamole.
scrambled eggs and white cheese in a frying pan on stove

Thank you for reading this post. If you made this recipe, please let me know what you thought.

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