Posted at 9:29 am , on November 20, 2018
For the first time in many years Joe and I will be spending Thanksgiving by ourselves. In years past we always spent the day with Joe’s mom. Our boys would also be there to feast on the traditional turkey and stuffing. This year has been a transitional year, Joe and I moved back to New Mexico about 6 month’s ago. Josh spent a year “down under” for the adventure of a lifetime traveling throughout Australia. He spent 6 month’s working at an observatory near Coonabarabran, which he called his second home. He met so many folks from all over the world and along the way made some lifelong friends. Cameron remains in the Kansas City area and is now part of the management team at Monster Mountain where he continues to share his love of rock climbing indoor and outdoor. He maintains and creates routes for the wall and coaches a group of young climbers that he is so proud of. We have a lot to be thankful for. Josh arrived back in the states on Halloween just in time to pass out candy and stayed with us for the past couple of weeks. He made plans to spend the holiday in California, but before he left for “The Golden State” he wanted us to share a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. I just couldn’t see cooking a turkey with all the side dishes for just the three of us so we cooked up a smaller version that tasted just as good as having a traditional meal. It’s pretty simple and takes way less time to make. We layered slices of toasted artisan bread with baked chicken or (sub turkey breast) layered with stuffing, gravy and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Of course I had to have mashed potatoes and gravy on the side. It is the most delicious meal to make if you want to make a feast for just 2 or 3 people. Also this would be a great way to use any leftovers for those who have a traditional roasted turkey with all the trimmings. Whether you are entertaining for two or want a way to make your leftovers taste just as good as your Thanksgiving meal, give this layered open faced sandwich a try. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Posted at 10:11 am , on December 22, 2017
This cranberry relish is what we fondly refer to as “The Cranberries”. Joe’s mom (Joan) always makes this cranberry relish for the holidays and it’s been a favorite that we’ve enjoyed for many years. Joan always grinds her cranberries but since I don’t have a working grinder I used my food processor to get the same effect. It’s a simple mix of fresh cranberries, an orange, and some sugar. The contrast of sweet cranberry orange flavors really enhances any traditional holiday meal. My favorite thing is leftover roasted turkey or chicken, stuffing with a drizzle of gravy and cranberry relish piled on a toasted slice of crusty artisan bread. Yum, it doesn’t get much better than that!
Posted at 11:08 am , on November 3, 2017
One of my favorite things is cinnamon apples. The aroma of apples cooking in cinnamon sauce is so fragrant throughout the kitchen. It definitely sets the mood of Fall. I made these as a side dish for the smoked ribs that we had last week. They also make a good dessert with a scoop of ice cream on the side. These were made with Honeycrisp apples and brown sugar but I’ve also tried McIntosh apples and granulated sugar. Joe loves the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture but I like the lighter flavor of granulated sugar. Either way you can’t go wrong!
Posted at 9:31 am , on August 15, 2017
Have you ever wondered what to do with those sweet mini peppers that come in assorted colors of red, yellow and orange. They may be small but they pack a lot of flavor, especially when roasted and stuffed full of Monterey Jack and cream cheese. Wrap a thin strip of steak around the stuffed pepper and grill it until the cheeses melt and ooze out like a molten cheese lava. Oh, they are so good!! Some might think they should be served as an appetizer but Joe and I decided they were the main event with a leafy green salad on the side.
Posted at 8:51 am , on May 5, 2017
What goes with almost any Mexican dish . . . Guacamole of course! It’s a favorite for dipping, as well as topping burritos, enchiladas and nachos. And since I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought I’d show you how I make guacamole in a molcajete. Molcajetes are used to crush and grind spices as well as preparing salsas and guacamole. In Mexico they are made from porous basalt volcanic rock, typically round in shape with a bowl in the center supported by 3 legs. The tool used to grind is called tejelote and made from the same material. A molcajete brings out the most amazing aroma by grinding the ingredients into the volcanic stone. There is an earthiness that heightens your senses of smell and taste. By grinding each ingredient you create a layer of flavors that will come together in the most amazing way. Every time I make guacamole in a molcajete I think it’s the best guacamole I’ve ever tasted. . . and then I make it again! Happy Cinco de Mayo!! Continue reading
Posted at 9:43 am , on September 16, 2016
Ya Ya’s Euro Bistro is a restaurant here in KC that has an extensive menu garnishing traditional meals with a European spin. We hadn’t been there in many years but for our anniversary Joe took me to Ya Ya’s for a night out. Before the meal was served they brought out a Baba Ganoush appetizer with soft french bread for dipping that was so tasty. It had a hint of lemon and tasted different than anything we had ever had. We both loved it and asked the waiter what it consisted of. He was happy to share and told us that it was made with roasted eggplant, Greek yogurt, garlic, an herbed olive oil and sprinkled with a spice called Zatar. Most recipes use tahini in their Baba Ganoush which is why this dish tastes so different. I found a recipe online from St. Louis Today for Ya Ya’s famous Baba Ganoush that had the exact ingredients our waiter had listed. I made a run to Tasteful Olive for an olive oil that would give this dish the taste we had experienced at Ya Ya’s. When I explained to them what I was making they suggested Milanese Gremolata, a flavored olive oil consisting of fresh lemon zest, minced garlic, Italian flat leaf parsley and a hint of mint. With the olive oil in hand I walked a couple doors down to Penzey’s where I found Zatar, a spice that is a popular Middle Eastern blend consisting of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt. Roasting the eggplant was a bit time consuming but I have to say my homemade Baba Ganoush came together with the consistency and flavors that we enjoyed at Ya Ya’s. It couldn’t have turned out better! Continue reading
Posted at 9:16 am , on July 1, 2016
Today marks 5 years of An Inspired Cook! I never thought this venture would be so rewarding, but it has truly been a lifesaver for me. I love that my favorite recipes will forever have a place for my kids and family to go to for inspiration and bring back memories of our time together around the kitchen table. I look back on the past 5 years as a labor of love, one that I have enjoyed so much more than I would have ever imagined. I’ve been on an Asian food kick lately, partly because it’s so easy to make especially on these hot summer days when it’s just too darn hot to turn on the oven. These potstickers are so good I made extra to put in the freezer. I found that making fresh potstickers take only a few minutes to prepare and frozen take about 2 to 3 minutes more. What could be better than that! I packaged 18 dumplings per freezer bag and thought we’d have enough for several weeks. Turns out they are more popular than I thought and are just about gone. I guess it’s time to make some more!
Posted at 9:23 am , on June 13, 2016
Josh and I sure do miss the Great Day Cafe! It was one of our favorite places to hang out when we went to Downtown Overland Park. They always had a troubadour playing guitar and singing a folk tune while we ate. It was a quaint little place that served great food and made you feel at home. In the summer we would go to the cafe for a bite to eat after a walk through the Farmers Market or a trip to Penzeys or Tasteful Olive. Sadly the cafe closed it’s doors in October so there will be no more of the daily specials where you could find the best sandwiches, soups and salads. Josh’s favorite side dish was the Quinoa Tabbouleh. They shared their recipe on one of the local morning shows which I found on youtube so now I will share it with you!
Posted at 2:22 pm , on December 1, 2015
Some people believe everything tastes better with bacon. I have to admit I have a weakness for bacon too. Bacon is my go to breakfast meat but it also perks up a salad, adds flavor to soups and makes any sandwich taste better. So when I heard about brown sugar bacon I was intrigued. The sweetness was evident in the brown sugar but I wanted some spice too so I added some chile flakes. It was an amazing combination. Before it all disappeared I saved a few slices for my favorite pasta sauce, a grilled chicken sandwich and a spinach salad.
Posted at 9:01 am , on August 21, 2015
A few weeks ago I spent a few days with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Paula. We’ve been friends since 7th grade but lost contact for a few years when we got married, had our families and lived so far apart. We have since reconnected and found that old friends never lose touch, they just start up where they left off and keep on going. And now we have new memories to build on. During Paula’s visit we cooked some fun meals and ate out to taste some of the local favorites. We didn’t go hungry, that’s for sure! When we were chatting about food she mentioned her favorite roasted corn with a mayo based sauce that is out of this world. It sounded so scrumptious that I started looking up recipes. I found several different variations and came up with a combination that sounded tempting. Thanks Paula for the tip, my family may never go back to butter again!