Tag Archives: Dinner

Crock Pot Shepard’s Pie

31 Oct

I originally made this Shepard’s Pie a few weeks ago when it was 80 degrees outside and sunny. I post this recipe now when there is snow on the ground and it’s barely in the 40s. Can someone say What.The.Hell.Happened?!?!!!?!

I admit, I’ve lived in New England all my life, and you’d think I would be used to this crazy weather by now, but you know what, I’M NOT. I’m not ready to miss what the ground looks like for the next 6 months. I’m not ready to have to carry 5 extra layers of clothing in order to stay warm while I’m waiting for the T for a half hour. I’m not ready to snuggle under my 80 covers on my bed.

Ok maybe I’m ok with that.

I really should have made this Crock Pot Shepard’s Pie this weekend, and not 4 weeks ago. Ah well. I do have a delicious pot roast happening right now in my Dutch Oven, so at least there is that. This recipe makes A LOT of Shepard’s Pie. Which is great if you need leftovers to last the week. Because it will. It might even last longer than that.

You know what I AM ready for? I’m ready for this cold to GTFO of here. This cold has been kicking my butt these past few weeks, which is the main reason why I haven’t posted….at all this week. I apologize. Guess that’s what happens when you are around a bunch of 4 and 5 years olds all day.

Crock Pot Shepard’s Pie
From Slow Cooker Revolution



  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (I used skim)
  • 2lbs 85% ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 10oz white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  1. Mash bread and milk into a paste in a large bowl using fork. Mix with ground beef, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and mix with hands.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture and cook, breaking up any small pieces, until beef is no longer pink. Transfer to slow cooker
  3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, carrots, tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook until vegetables are soft, 8-10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, then transfer to slow cooker.
  4. Stir heavy cream and soy sauce into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, about 6 hours on low.
  5. Let beef filling settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from the surface. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into a bowl and cover with hot mashed potatoes.



Blogger Dinner At Audobon Circle

16 Sep

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to check out Audubon Circle with a group of amazing bloggers. Audubon Circle is located in the St. Mary’s section of the Brookline/Boston line and I was very excited to try their full menu, as I had only been there one time before with Megan & Kathy and we only sampled the appetizers and beer (they do pitchers! Of GOOD beer!)

For some reason I was not in the mood for any of the beers they had (*Gasp!*) so I went with the acrb tea party – which was tea infused vodka with mint, lemonade & lime. When I get a mixed drink, I always prefer that I DON’T taste the alcohol and this one delivered. I also enjoyed the mint flavor as well.

We decided to go about the menu family style, so we ordered a bunch of appetizers and entrees and shared everything. Like good food bloggers do. I recommended the white bean dip because when I came before, I absolutely devoured this dip. It was smooth and creamy and the accompanying bread was soft and chewy. Yes please.

I’m pretty much never going to say no to a cheese plate, and when this baby landed right in front of me, it was hard to not take it and run. The red pepper jelly that they serve with their cheese plate is A-MAZING. Please, someone give me a vat of that and I am a happy girl. There were 3 cheeses that we tried, one soft, semi soft and hard cheese, which I liked.

I really enjoyed the tomato and burrata salad, served with crispy slices of cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette and some micro greens. Audubon Circle uses fresh, local and in season ingredients as the inspiration for their menu, and the heirloom tomatoes in this salad were full of juiciness and flavor. The creamy burrata was also a nice touch.

Next up was the marinated skirt steak with chimicurri and mango and corn slaw. This was a “meh” in my book. The flavors were nice, but it was a very forgettable dish.

The vegetarian dumplings were also a big hit and had such a pretty presentation. I also enjoyed the sauce that was served alongside the dumplings.

At this point it was time to switch to entrees. the pappardelle bolognese with pecorino romano and garlic toast was my favorite entree of the night. Long flat noodles coated in a delicious bolognese sauce and the garlic toast was covered with LOTS of cheese and was soft and gooey. I forgot to ask if the pasta was made in house, but it certainly tasted like it!

The BBQ shredded chicken with potato salad, house made biscuits and bread and butter pickles was probably my least favorite entree we tried. Not that it wasn’t good, because it was! The biscuits were full of delicious butter flavor, and how can I say no to bread and butter pickles? I can’t. I did not like Audubon Circle’s potato salad. The potatoes were too hard for my liking, I like the potatoes in my salad to be slightly soft, and these were not. The sauce was also not very flavorful.

We also tried the lobster roll, served with chips and slaw. The lobster roll was tasty, but it definitely had more mayo than I personally liked, but the slaw served along side made up for the roll’s shortcomings.

I love me a good ham and cheese sandwich, and Audubon Circle’s version certainly did not disappoint. Made with rosemary ham and muenster cheese, the mustard served on the side made for some nice dipping. I most certainly had seconds of this dish.

Another favorite of mine was the pork schnitzel served with arugula and pickled onion. You can’t really see it in this picture, but the schnitzel was incredibly thin with a perfect brown crust. I was instantly transported back to Germany (well, besides the arugula part). I told the husband about this dish and he was asking me when we were going to visit Audubon Circle.

Another forgettable dish in my book was the salmon served with sweet corn succotash and heirloom tomato. Maybe I’m just over salmon but this dish was pretty mediocre considering I don’t remember much of what it tasted like. I remember liking the succotash, so that’s a plus?

Audubon Circle only has one dessert on its menu, and for good reason, it’s fan-freaking-tastic. Chevre cheesecake with an oreo crumb. In case you’ve forgotten, chevre is goat cheese. And it’s amazing. I’ve never had a goat cheese based cheesecake, but I obviously need to get in the loop, because it is super creamy without being heavy. I hate heavy cheesecakes (I’m looking at YOU Cheesecake Factory!) but this was pretty much the perfect ending to a great meal.

It’s easy to forget Audubon Circle. It’s located in the middle of St. Mary’s and Kenmore, next to a bike shop, but believe me when I say, Audubon Circle is worth the visit!

Audubon Circle Restaurant Bar on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: Dinner at Audubon Circle was provided to me free of charge. I was not asked to review Audubon Circle, so all opinions stated in this review are my own. 

Portuguese Style Clam Chowder

10 Jul

As you may recall, Joe and I went clamming while we were down at the Cape for 4th of July weekend. So, with over 5 dozen clams, one wonders, what to do with all of those CLAMS?!?!

Clams are obviously delicious when they are steamed. Here are a few suggestions on steaming clams.

1. Before steaming your clams, make sure you wash them thoroughly to dislodge any muck or dirt or sand. You may have to change the water a few times. Use a sponge or a brush to get the caked on stuff off.

2. If you are planning on cooking the clams the same day you buy them or collect them, keeping them in fresh water is ok. If you aren’t planning on using them the same day, then make sure you use a salt water solution so they keep fresh.

3. Discard any open clams. Gross.

4. You can steam clams 2 different ways; in the water and above the water. For this particular time we had a gigantic lobster pot with a steamer on top, so we went with above the water.

5. Fill the bottom pot with water and then place the steamer on top. You can place the clams up so you can see when they open, or you can just throw them in there and let them do their thing.

6. Let the water come to a boil before adding the clams. The first time around I let the clams sit above the water before it came to a boil. Nothing wrong with that, but it just took longer.

6. Once the water is boiling, the clams take about 10 minutes or so to open. Make sure they are open fairly wide before taking them out. We had a couple really big clams that only opened partially and we chucked them just to be on the safe side.

7. Once the clams are open, immediately take them out of the steamer. You don’t want to overcook them! Keep adding new clams to the steamer and check them periodically. It was slow goings for a while for me, but after the first batch was done, it went by really fast.

8. Let the clams cool a bit before attempting to shell them. I ended up tearing out most of them with my hands, but you can use a knife as well.

9. DON’T THROW AWAY THE JUICE THAT’S LEFT BEHIND!!!! It’s delicious, and can be used when you make your clam chowder 🙂

I seriously wished I had taken a picture of all the shelled clams, but I was basically a machine at that point, hah.

I love creamy clam chowder. I refuse to count Manhattan Clam Chowder as chowder. It’s soup, and it doesn’t hold a candle next to New England style Clam Chowder. I infused some of my Portuguese roots by adding paprika and some linguica to the pot. Everyone gulped it up, included Joe’s grandfather who ate THREE BOWLS. If that’s not a resounding seal of approval then I don’t know what is.

I little side note: I like to add A LOT of clams to my chowder. It is CLAM chowder after all. There are a lot of places that make their clam chowder and there is hardly any clams, just a lot of potatoes. Bah. So please, do load up on the clams, like I’ve done here. ENJOY!

Portuguese Style Clam Chowder

Adapted from Cooking for Engineers

  • 2-3 cups chopped steamed clams, shells removed (or more, if you are a clam fiend)
  • 2lbs russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 slices fatty hickory smoked bacon
  • 10-15oz clam juice
  • 1.25 cups whole milk
  • 1.25 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 4 links of cooked linguica, chopped
Heat a pot on medium high and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy and remove the bacon but keep the grease. Add the chopped onions and stir until coated and then cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir until the potatoes are covered with the fat then add the flour and mix.
Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are softened.
Add the clams, milk and cream and stir to combine. Add the paprika and linguica and add salt and pepper to taste. Heat through, about an additional 5 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Pan-Roasted Fish Fillet w/ Olive, Almond & Orange Relish

21 Jun

Fish is something I grew up with when I was a kid. Being half Portuguese, I would probably be excommunicated if I didn’t like fish. Especially if that fish was cod or sardines. My Mom makes this killer baked cod with olive oil, potatoes, & onions. I’ve tried making it a few times, and my husband says that my version is pretty tasty as well.

This particular dish left me with some battle wounds. You see, I tend to get a little frazzled in the kitchen. I have my music playing in the background, 4 different pans going, the oven on high, and stuff scattered EVERYWHERE. Sometimes I don’t pay attention. Sometimes I take a pan out of the oven, plop it on top of the oven, go do something else, and FORGET that I JUST took said pan out of the oven, and proceed to grab HOT handle and yelp and run to the bathroom.

All while my husband plays video games.

While it hurt like a b&*tch it wasn’t actually as bad as I thought. And I got my first kitchen battle wound. Guess worse things have happened….

Have you entered for a chance to win a copy of America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking for Two yet?!? Head on over HERE to enter. Remember, you have until 3PM on Wednesday 6/22 to enter!!

Pan Roasted Fish Fillets w. Olive, Almond & Orange Relish
From Cooking for Two 2011 

For the Fish

  • 2 (6-8oz) skinless white fish fillets, 1-1.5″ thick (I used haddock)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Adjust oven to middle position and preheat to 425 degrees. Pat fish dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1/8 tsp sugar evenly over skinned side of each fillet.
Heat oil in 10″ oven safe non-stick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Place fillets in skillet, sugared sides down, and press down lightly to ensure even cooking. Cook until browned 1-1.5 minutes. Using two spatulas, flip fillets and transfer skillet to oven.
Roast fillets until centers are just opaque and register 135 degrees on instant-read thermometer. 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately w/ lemon wedges and relish.
For the Relish
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest plus 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh mint
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Pulse almonds, olives, garlic and orange zest in food processor until nuts and olives are finely chopped, 10-12 pulses. Transfer to bowl and stir in orange juice, olive oil, mint, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and spoon over fish before serving.

A Year in the Making & A Giveaway!

17 Jun

It’s been a pretty good week over here in Beantown.

Boston has officially become Championship City thanks to the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup this week. THANK GOODNESS. I’m not a huge hockey fan by any means, but I’ve been GLUED to this Stanley Cup series and have been washed up in Bruins pride.

This week also marked my ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY! It’s pretty crazy that it’s already been a year. It feels like I’ve only been doing this for a day. I started this blog after I got married because suddenly I didn’t have a wedding to plan anymore and had a BOAT LOAD of free time. With grad school coming in the fall, keeping up with this blog, and life in general, life’s going to get a whole lot busier. And now, because I like bullet points, let’s talk about all the awesome things that has happened because of me starting this little ol’ blog:

  • I’ve met some amazing people. A-MAZING. People that I consider to be my best friends. People I talk to every day now and make my days at work bearabl
  • I’ve become way more confident in my cooking and baking abilities. Granted, I still feel like I have a long way to go, but I’ve grown exponentially as a result of this blog. I was one of those girls that used to be too lazy to take some frozen orange chicken out and make it. Now I make it from scratch. I’m hoping in my next year of blogging I can do more experimenting to create more of my own recipes
  • Most Popular Blog Post: Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts.  Does this surprise anyone, really? I mean, 1 it’s pop tarts, and 2 the recipe is from the Flour Bakery Cookbook. DUH. You people have good taste
  • I never thought that I would be part of such an amazing food blogger community. Even though I have WAY too many blogs on my Reader, I still try very very hard to read all of it because I truly enjoy being part of this community and going to blogger events.
  • My family almost expects me to make something magnificent every time an event happens. I still haven’t decided if this is a good or bad thing
  • I like to giveaway stuff to my readers. One, because sharing is caring and two, it proves that people other than my husband and mom reads this blog.

Which brings me to……

A GIVEAWAY!!! The lovely people over at America’s Test Kitchen provided me with a copy of Cooking for Two 2011 to try out and they have graciously offered me another copy to give to one of my readers!!!!

Let’s face it, a good number of recipes are usually for 4-6 servings of something or other. That is difficult if you are a household of 1 or 2. There are some recipes I make that give us leftovers for DAYS (mainly because again, I’m too lazy to scale it down. It’s the math). What’s great about this book is that it’s perfect for 2 people, or even for 1 person that wants some leftovers for the day.

My favorite section is the dessert section, for reasons that are not so obvious. Many many times I find myself wanting to make a dessert but not wanting to have any leftovers. If I bake a whole cake, I’m most likely going to eat it. Same with pies, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, brownies, WHATEVER. Cooking for Two includes a whole section on desserts for two, in which a smaller pie is made, or only 4 muffins are in a recipe, which drastically cuts down on leftovers, and keeps my waistline intact. I plan on using those recipes as a baseline to create multiple different flavors.

I love this recipe for Linguine with Arugula-Mint Pesto. Most of the ingredients are pretty basic, and I happened to pick up most of those ingredients from the farmer’s market, so the flavors were tripled. This couldn’t be a simpler meal to make, and it took no time at all. While the spaghetti is cooking you could be making the pesto and then all of a sudden BAM, dinner is ready.

So I’m really excited that one of you will be able to get a copy of this amazing cookbook.


To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me what you are looking forward to doing the most this summer, food or non food related. Please make sure to include your email address in the form so I know how to contact you!

Entries will be accepted until Thursday June 23rd @ 3PM. Any comments left AFTER that time will NOT be counted.

Winner will be announced on Friday June 24th.

For EXTRA entries:
– Follow me (@Kitchenmisfit) & America’s Test Kitchen (@TestKitchen) on Twitter and Tweet: I want to win a copy of Cooking for Two thanks to @KitchenMisfit & @TestKitchen http://wp.me/pVDUw-iq and leave a comment saying you did that
– Like Tales from a Kitchen Misfit & America’s Test Kitchen and leave a separate comment stating you did so.



Linguine w/ Arugula-Mint Pesto

Recipe from Cooking for Two 2011

  • 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
  • 4 oz baby arugula
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz cooked linguine, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/4 grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Toast garlic in skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and color of clove deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let garlic cool slightly, then peel and chop.
Process garlic, arugula, mint, walnuts, lemon juice, sugar, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp salt together in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Add pesto and Parmesan to pasta and toss to combine, adjusting sauce consistency with reserved pasta cooking water as desires. Season with salt and serve with extra Parmesan. I also served mine with some fresh heirloom tomatoes I got at the farmer’s market!

Fly Away to San Francisco Part 3

9 Mar

After our lunch at Boudin Bakery we decided to head up to Coit Tower.

But first we had to climb a lot of stairs.

I mean, A LOT of stairs. And people LIVE off of those stairs. I mean, #1, I would LOVE to live there, but I just have to say, how the hell did they MOVE?!?!

But I digress….

When we got to Coit Tower, before getting onto the elevator to the top I noticed a ton of murals on the walls.

Hubby explained to me that the murals were part of the Public Works of Art Project that were commissioned during the Great Depression. Basically, unemployed artists were hired to create these murals. They surround the entire bottom floor of Coit Tower and they were amazing to look at.

After taking the elevator up to the top of Coit Tower, we got a 360 degree view of San Francisco. I have to admit though, I was kind of enthralled by all the change on the outside of the windows.

I noticed that there were a lot of Guatemalan coins, which I thought was amusing. But you don’t want to see pictures of coins now do you?

After all that climbing we decided to head back to M&K’s apartment. We had an early dinner because we were heading to see Avenue Q at the Opera House. By the way, if you haven’t seen Avenue Q, YOU NEED TO SEE IT RIGHT NOW. If you tend to be inappropriate on a daily basis (like I am) then this is right up your alley.

For dinner we decided to stay in the neighborhood and go to Piccino. Piccino is a lovely and small classic Italian pizzeria that feels like a coffee shop. Maybe because when they aren’t a pizzeria they are actually a coffee shop. Huh.

They served their water in a milk bottle and I just couldn’t get over how cute it was.

Depending on where you were sitting in the tiny restaurant you could practically see everything. Since they are mainly a pizzeria the pizza oven dominated. I also noticed that they had a single induction burner which I thought was cool.

We weren’t very hungry so we went with a shared pizza. We got a classic Margherita pizza which was tomato sauce, mozzarella and dried oregano. What seemed to set Piccino apart based on all the reviews I had read is that you have the option of adding egg to your pizza.

Runny, yolky, perfectly soft EGG on pizza. I would like to hug the person that thought of this idea because it totally MADE the pizza. I thought the pizza was great, but there was a little too much tomato sauce and not enough mozzarella. I was also disappointed that there was no basil on the pizza. Other than that, the dough was chewy and crisp and wonderful.

For dessert we shared the special blood orange upside down cake with homemade vanilla bean whipped cream. This.Was.Amazing. The blood orange was sweet, the cake was extremely moist, and the whipped cream tasted like vanilla air. I wanted to eat 3 of these.

Because I wanted to stay awake for the show I ordered some of their coffee which is brewed by Blue Bottle Coffee Company in San Francisco. Coffee is considered the nectar of the gods on the West Coast. I could go on a tangent about how Boston is lacking in great coffee houses but I won’t. Just know that this coffee was some of the best coffee I had ever had.

Piccino is definitely worth the stop if you are in the neighborhood. And whatever you do, ALWAYS order your pizza with an egg.


Piccino on Urbanspoon

Roast Chicken Deliciousness

24 Jun

So I just got finished reading Anthony Bourdain’s sequel to Kitchen ConfidentialMedium Raw. Let’s get something straight here. I freaking *LOVE* Anthony Bourdain. I want to *BE* him. I want *MY* job to be jaunting around the world, eating anything and everything, and then documenting it on TV. And get paid to be kind of an a$$hole in the process.

But I can’t, and I’m not, so I just have to live vicariously through him by reading his books, watching his TV show, and maybe going to his former restaurant Les Halles (Yes, I’ve been there. And I saw Carlos. And I might have been a little giddy about it. Shaddup.)

But I digress. Before Bourdain became a hot shot round-the-world traveler, he was a chef for a very very long time. He talks about how people have forgotten how to cook the basics, and that basically every man, woman and child should at least have some rudimentary skills in the kitchen. At one point, he quotes:

“Everyone should be able to roast a chicken. And they should be able to do it well.”

I think I’ve done good by Anthony, if I do say so myself. Although to be honest, I first became enamored with roast chicken when I saw Ina Garten do it on Barefoot Contessa (Another person I am obsessed with, but let’s leave that for another post shall we?) Roast chicken is great because you can do it a million different ways. Here’s mine

Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 lbs of red bliss potatoes
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 yellow squash
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

First up: Veggies – Cut and chop all your veggies and place in roasting pan. Place a couple of sprigs of dill in the pan as well. Toss liberally with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Mmmmmm, veggies.

Next, the chicken – Remove all the nasty bits inside and wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cut the garlic clove in half as well as the lemon. Shove it all inside the chicken along with another handful of the dill sprigs. Fold it up nicely and tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string and tuck the wings underneath. Take your melted butter and a brush and go to town on the chicken, because that is what gives you the awesomeness that is crunchy skin. Place the chicken (breast side up people!) on top of the veggies, and stick it in the oven for 1.5 hours, or until the juices run clean when you slice into it.

Chicken – Sliced                                  Vegetables – Diced

Once the chicken is finished, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes, covering it with aluminum foil. Then, chop it all up and serve!

Now if only Anthony Bourdain would read this and take me on as his assistant. A girl can dream, right?

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