Search

Kat Eats

Tag

foodies

Easy(!!) Crockpot Meat Sauce

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love eating out of convenience.

Anything that’s fast and easy to make earns huge points in my book. Which leads me to a simple, easy thing you can make any night of the week.

Meat sauce!

IMG_4785Here’s what I used:

-Leftover ground beef I had in the freezer (about a half pound to a pound’s worth)

-Herbs/spices (garlic herb zesty seasoning from Kroger, oregano, parsley)

-Jar of plain tomato sauce

-Pasta

Here’s how I did it:

-Turned up my crockpot to high, put a liner in it.

-In a frying pan with a small amount of oil, turn your stove burner up to medium heat. Add ground beef and add herbs/spices to your liking (I added parsley).

-Cook until brown

-While that’s going, pour your jar of tomato sauce into your crockpot and add herbs/spices to your liking (I added the garlic herb seasoning and oregano).

-Pour beef into your crockpot and stir it all around

-Cook for 1-2 hours on high

-Cook up your pasta

-Serve

—–

What are some easy quick fix meals you make at home?! Please let me know by commenting below!

Cool Article of the Week – 9/11-9/14

IMG_4608

This cool article of the week I just found today via my Facebook news feed.

It’s from one of my favorite foodie sources, The Daily Meal.

Have you been to your state’s fair? Did you have any fun foods-you-only-get-at-the-fair-once-a-year?

I moved to Ohio from New York, and have had the pleasure of attending the Great New York State Fair twice. My favorite parts: the food, and the wine tent.

Yes, there’s a huge tent, full of local wineries. Samples. Yum. (#ILoveWine)

So the following article is for you state fair lovers.

It’s titled “America’s 50 Most Outrageously Insane State Fair Foods.”

There’s an article and a complete slideshow with pictures for you to browse through.

Here’s a link to the article

And here’s what I’d love to try on the list  (without saying which state it’s from):

-Salad on a Stick: Salad that’s easy to eat and easily accessible? I’m in!

-Shrimp Corn Dog: It sounds like Fried Shrimp, except a corn dog instead of fried shrimp batter. YUM!

-Fried Pickles and Chocolate: The salty and sweet combo sounds intriguing, and the flavors likely balance each other out. That way, you can have your chocolate fix while having your fried savory fix. Mmm!

-Viking on a Stick: A DEEP FRIED MEATBALL. AMEN. 🙂

-Deep Fried S’mores: This sounds heavenly.

-Deep Fried Bubblegum: Well, it’s not actually bubblegum. But it sounds really tasty.

Deep Fried Goo Goo’s: Never heard of these until I read this article…It’s a chocolatey cluster deep fried. Chocoholics, rejoice 🙂

-Hot Beef Sundae: I actually saw something similar to this at a fair near me recently (the picture is above). It sounds SO good: roast beef, mashed potatoes, cheese, cherry tomato.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough on a Stick: Woah. I love deep fried Oreos, but this sounds like heaven too…. A fried ball of chocolate chip cookie. Wow.

Spaghetti Ice Cream: I’ve seen this in Syracuse before at Peter’s Polar Parlor. It sounds fantastic: a whimsical ice cream sundae. Mmm.

-Fried Jelly Beans: It sounds like it would be extra sweet, but it also sounds like it would likely be fruity, crispy and delish.

-Do-e-Oreo: I want you to go to the article and read what this is. Sounds sweet tooth approved. Sign me up!

-Pancake Burger: Oh. My. Gosh. A huge fluffy pancake for a bun. Om. Nom. Nom.

 

Weigh in: Which ones off the list would you try from the article? Comment below!

SWEET TREATS: Buckeye Brownies

One of the first things I heard about when I moved here to Ohio was this:

Buckeyes.

I knew of the sports team, but what I didn’t discover until I was physically here in Ohio   were the chocolatey peanut butter desserts sold here.

Here’s an instance of a Buckeye foodie discovery I had while out and about.

I go to one of the local supermarkets here (Dorothy Lane Market), and am browsing around one of the cases of desserts. I’m seeing all of these Killer Brownies it makes (that could be a whole other post by the way: these are these thick, moist brownies with gooey delicious layers in the middle), and then lo and behind I see a Buckeye.

Thinking about it now, here’s something coincidental about this.

The size of the buckeye I tried there, at least circumference wise, is the size of an O you form with your hand. O for Ohio! Eyyy! 🙂

If you haven’t tried a Buckeye before, it’s a peanut butter ball covered in chocolate just enough so the peanut butter is still sticking out.

It looks just like the nut that comes off of a Buckeye tree.

The other night I was thinking about something I could bake (and surprise!) for a dear coworker whose last day was Monday. She is moving away from Ohio, and so I went to Pinterest for some inspiration.

I love baking brownies. While browsing for brownie ideas, I by chance came across this recipe.: (thank you My Patchwork Quilt!)

Buckeye Brownies

19 1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. plus 6 T. butter, softened and divided
8 oz. jar creamy peanut butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare and bake brownie mix in greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan according to pkg. directions. Let cool.

Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 c. butter, and peanut butter in a bowl.

Mix well (I used electric mixer) and spread over cooled brownies.

Chill for 1 hour.

Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Spread over brownies.

Let cool; cut into squares.

Makes 2-3 dozen.

I modified the recipe just a tad: I used a brownie box mix that wasn’t 19 1/2 oz (honestly, I couldn’t find one that big!), so I used an 18 oz box.

Another thing I did that’s different from the recipe: the brownie box I got didn’t have the cooking time for the brownie pan that was required in the recipe (9 x 13), so I played with the timing with my trick below.

With any brownie or cake, what you want to do to tell it is done is to stick something in the middle of it (normally I’d go for toothpicks, but since I don’t have any right now, I used a fork). If it comes out clean, your baked good is done, if it comes out with dough stuck to it, you need to cook it some more. This is when you keep a close eye on the oven, these final minutes.

IMG_3803 IMG_3800

Another modification I did was I added more chocolate chips instead of just 6 ounces (because I ran out when it was just 6 ounces), and added some more butter in when I added the extra chocolate.

A good trick for melting ANY chocolate (and thank you Culinary Arts class in high school for this tip), is to melt it in a double boiler (pictures above), not just in the saucepan alone. That way, there is no chance of your chocolate burning. A double boiler is when you boil a pot of water (or in this case, I put it to medium heat), and put a bowl on top with the chocolate in it, and melt it / stir it up that way.

Another thing I did was I chilled the brownies overnight in the fridge after putting the melted chocolate on top.

Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!
Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!

Now I’ll admit, it was a little hard to cut them today, but I will tell you, these brownies are SUPER delicious, chocolatey, fudgy and moist. I especially loved the chocolate with the fluffy peanut butter frosting/filling concoction in the middle. My now former coworker enjoyed them too, which I am so glad about :). I made them especially to remind her of home before she leaves for another coast :).

I officially really really really love Buckeyes :).

Enjoy!

Cool Article of the Week — 7/13-7/20

This week,  it isn’t exactly an “article” per se that struck me as my cool article of the week.

But it’s an intriguing thought that caught my eye, to spread into the foodie-sphere.

It’s a tweet that comes from an awesome radio morning show based in Long Island:
 Dana & Jeffrey in the Morning.

Tweet from Dana & Jeffrey!
Tweet from Dana & Jeffrey!

Isn’t it amazing how packaging for food in general has transformed itself over the years? Yes, we can thank technology for how the packaging of the one of the left compares to the one on the right. But the one on the left versus the one on the right, there are clear differences. I actually really love that the left one you can see the cookies in the packaging.

Dana & Jeffery raise a great question for the #foodies out there.

The tweet flashes me back to the Oreo commercials in the 1990s.

I’m also flashing back to when Oreo would put out collector cookie tins in the 90’s too. Myself and my family would put the cookies in there at Christmas time, as it had a cute picture of Santa Claus on it (but well, we would use that tin during the year too, Christmas all year!).

Flashing forward to this decade….and Oreo celebrated its 100th birthday last year, and now  there are so many types of Oreo’s for us all to split in half , lick the cream, put it back together and dunk it in milk then eat it.

Bottom line: I will always love Oreo’s.

And thank you, Dana & Jeffrey for the awesome reminder!

Your tweet is donned my cool article of this week.

Do you love Oreo’s? Join the conversation below!

LONG ISLAND : When music and food come together

The Next Level Band. Photo credit: http://www.gigmasters.com/Live-Band/The-Next-Level-Band/

If there’s something I say everyday, it’s that music connects.

To me, it connects people in ways words alone can’t.

Besides being a foodie (and constant tweeter/Facebooker!), I am a singer. You will find me constantly listening to music, piecing out the little things in music I love, such as when a song resolves itself.

On Facebook back in February, I learned of the passing of a truly talented, wonderful Long Island female singer.

When I heard the news, I was shocked. My mind immediately goes back to that one and only time I met her. The night I found out, I texted my friend who I went with, Alyssa, and we were both stunned.

You may remember in November of 2011 I blogged about going to Tequila Jacks in Port Jefferson village and loving the experience. Besides the food and tropical drinks, the music sealed the deal for me.

A husband and wife musical group, The Next Level Band was playing the night I went with my friend Alyssa, and while we waited for our table, I heard this woman, La Dawn Parris, singing Reggae/Calypso versions of top 40 hits while her husband, Tyrone, played the instruments (and sang some songs too!). I was mesmerized by this group, but especially La Dawn. I didn’t even introduce myself yet and found myself singing along while she was singing, and she noticed too, and smiled at me. It was a blast. La Dawn would even dance with the listeners dancing in the bar.

At the end of said night, I walked right up to La Dawn and introduced myself. I told her she has an amazing voice, how the band is awesome, and I hope to see them again soon. I took one of their cards and we were invited to come back the week after.

Well, it’s been over a year and a half later. And I STILL haven’t been back to Tequila Jacks. Not because I didn’t want to go back. I really have no excuse.

Life happens.

But, if there’s something that constantly amazes me about this beautiful life we all live, it’s how people come in and out of your life, sometimes very quickly.

So I say this. Cherish and live in your life’s moments.

While I only met La Dawn once and didn’t know anything about her beside the fact she’s an amazing singer and her warmth and positive energy glowed the time I saw her —

honestly —

that’s all I needed to know. In that moment. And now.

Rest in peace, La Dawn Parris.

Through my love of food and love of music, I met you once. I heard your song.

Your music moved me, and I will remember that for the rest of my life.

Here is just a snippet of her singing that night.

National Pizza Month — Your Stories (Part 1)

Courtesy of grubgrade.com

Happy National Pizza Month!

To celebrate… I will be sharing your stories on my blog about your memories of great pizza.

And here’s the first! From one of my friends, Maegan:

Best pizza story has to be the first time my bf and I cooked a meal together… it was pizza. Fresh dough, fresh ingredients. We made a BBQ chicken pizza with great sauce and goat cheese. It was perfection!!

 

Doesn’t that pizza sound incredible? It’s truly amazing how pizza making is more than just two people together making a pizza, it’s an amazing memory.

I look forward to hearing (and sharing!) more of your pizza stories on here! And if you have any pictures/videos of you eating/making pizza, I would love to share them too!

Happy Pizza Month!

 

(PS, I definitely ate pizza today…It was “John’s Favorite” from Papa John’s with extra sauce….Incredible! I loved the mix of the crispy pepperoni, the meaty, tender sausage and the herbs and spices on top of the cheese!)

Kat

SYRACUSE — One Iron-Chef-style of a Birthday Dinner at KOTO

Photo courtesy of goodtimeznow.com

KOTO Syracuse Japanese Steakhouse — Hibachi & Sushi Bar

2841 Erie Blvd. East
Syracuse, NY 13224

Hours:

Mon-Thu 11am-3pm, 4:30pm-10pm
Fri 11am-3pm, 4:30pm-11pm
Sat 12pm-3pm, 3pm-11pm
Sun 12pm-10pm

Happy Hour :
Monday – Thursday 4:30 to 6:30
(at the bar only)

Phone#: 315.445.KOTO (5686)

—-

“It’s party time!” Our hibachi chef David said to our table last Thursday after cooking our meal.

He chopped bright green zucchini into tiny cubes and with his silver spatulas, aimed one at a time at the seven happy mouths around the table.

“One…. two…. three!”

The cubes flew in the air, landing in some of our mouths on the first try, and some, it took an extra time (or two).

David has good aim.

It was my birthday last Thursday. While I had a combined birthday party with another friend on Saturday, I wanted to do something on my actual birthday with one of my friends that I knew would be a fun time.

I thought of KOTO on Erie Blvd. I hadn’t been to this fairly-new restaurant all year, and now was the perfect opportunity to seize the moment and try it.

When I entered the restaurant with my friend Alicia, we were both wowed at the beauty and décor of the restaurant. At the center of the foyer is a beautiful waterfall fountain. Later in the night I discovered there were fish swimming around in the pool below the fountain: beautiful orange, white and black speckled fish.

The parking lot was packed, and when I have driven by it before, it always seemed to be that way. Fortunately, our wait time was only just a few minutes.

We were led to a big square table with two other groups: a family of three and two very nice girls who looked around my age.

After ordering a glass of smooth, rich malbec (a delicious red wine I recommend to you all) it was time to study the menu.

This menu is extensive, friends. There were three huge pages of anything from appetizers such as jalepeno fried shrimp, sushi rolls such as the Erie Blvd. roll (1/2 salmon, 1/2 tuna and avocado topped with crab meat), and on the back page in the left hand corner on the bottom, was what I was looking for: hibachi!

Hibachi is one of my favorite culinary experiences. Not only for the amazing fresh food cooked in front of you, but for the “show” like experience itself.

Last Thursday flashed me back to watching episodes of Iron Chef on Food Network.

The chef comes out, has a certain amount of time with you to cook beautiful, fresh dishes.

David came out with his big cart full of goodies: the meat/fish/veggies/rice/etc. stacked on big silver trays, the colored unmarked ketchup-type bottles of sauces, the special gadgets for later on in the show.

He started our experience by going around the room and repeating what we ordered. He had a great memory. When he got to the younger boy at the end of the table, he completely went wild.

“You ordered CHICKENNNNNNNNN! CHICKENNNNNNNNNNNN!! Bawk bawk bawk bawk bawk!” David said in a high pitched voice.

One thing I’ll admit before I tell you more about the show: it made me nervous that I didn’t notice any overhead fans above each of the hibachi tables. There were a ton of hibachi tables throughout the restaurant, and they each had a little faucet attached to them on the side (in case of fire, I assume). However, every other hibachi place I have been to in my life thus far has had some sort of ventilation above each table. Was it hidden and I didn’t see it? I was really expecting a lot more visible ventilation.

David first had a little tossing-the-spatulas show for us. He rolled them behind his back, throwing them very close to our face and catching them right back. As soon as he drew a smiley face with sake on the grill and lit it on fire (HUGE flames in front of our eyes, making me think about ventilation again), it was really time for the food magic show.

Alicia and I both got the salad to start, which was different than any other salad I’ve had at a Japanese restaurant. Most times I have had an iceberg salad with a bright orange colored tangy ginger dressing. This one was large mixed leafy greens and romaine with a very creamy ginger dressing. While the dressing was full of that strong ginger tang, the creaminess actually balanced the dressing and went very well with the mixed greens.

The rice was put on the griddle and David swirled it around with his spatulas. He tossed an egg in the air and caught it with his spatula several times. The egg quickly fell to the griddle and somehow, David managed to pick up the shell with his fork-like utensil without a single chard of shell in the fried rice. Bravo.

By this time David had already handed out two sauce-trays to us. One was specifically called “YUMMY  YUMMY” sauce (with David’s huge grin to go with it). That was a creamy orange-colored sauce, that tasted like spicy mayo you get at sushi restaurants but with a twang to it. The other sauce was a brown, sweet ginger sauce that was very light to the taste. It went well not only with the fried rice, but was a great dipping sauce for the luscious fried sweet potato sushi-roll Alicia and I ordered as our appetizer.

Since I have been to several hibachi places over the years, I had a feeling as to what was coming next: the onion volcano. If you haven’t seen an onion volcano it is a very simple procedure. David took rings of an onion and built a volcano-looking structure with the biggest ring as the base, building it up to the smallest ring on top. David sprayed a ton of sake in the volcano and set it on fire.

Again, I was thinking about ventilation. The huge flames coming out of the volcano turned into piping smoke, which David then pulled out another thing I’ve seen at many Japanese restaurants: the boy-toy. This is a doll of a boy where if you push it down, water comes out of it. Everyone usually laughs at this, and for some reason I was dying laughing by then. David turned to me and really started cracking up:

“Ohhhhh you must reallyyyyy be enjoying this huh!” David said.

“OH YES,” I said while still dying of laughter.

The show started to die down a bit after this. Once he started cooking up the meat and fish for us at the table, besides watching him cook with such precision, there wasn’t as much to see. He doused everything with several sauces and spices, that again, were unmarked.

Regardless, my meal was fantastic. The vegetables, served on my plate first, were tender, juicy and filled with that teriyaki/sake flavor in every bite.

I’m a huge fan of the fried rice at hibachi restaurants because it is fresh-made and has more of an airy taste versus the heavier taste and texture at Chinese restaurants. Last Thursday’s fried rice was incredibly flavorful of soy sauce, and with the fresh-cooked egg in it, really made the dish.

However, it really was my meat and fish that stole the show for me. I ordered filet mignon, cooked medium, and it came out perfect. It was tender, juicy, and had several sweet yet spicy flavors mixed into it. It was a balanced taste, which I appreciated. I also ordered salmon, which had a subtle caramelized crunch to it, yet melted in my mouth. It had a sweet teriyaki flavor to it, yet there were also crunchy sesame seeds on top of the salmon, adding to the balance of flavors.

But just when I thought the show was over, the show had just begun. The zucchini cubes went flying in our mouths first. But then the real show started for the over 21 crowd.

David lifted the clear sake squirt bottle above his head.

“Sakeeeeee!” he said.

While there was one person under 21 at the table, it turned into quite the sake party. David aimed the clear squirt bottle at each of our mouths. We were drenched by the end of it.

The man sitting at the table had so much sake in his mouth from David’s spraying that the sake was literally foaming out of his mouth.

When he got to me, he sprayed so much in my mouth that when I bent my head down a little bit to close my mouth, sake not only drenched my shirt, pants and face, but went in my eye. My eye burned for a few seconds, but I tried to laugh that off.

All of the girls at the table were squealing and screaming at David’s sake squirting. I think he was trying to go for a record with each of us as to how much sake we could possibly consume in our mouths.

Yes, despite the drenching, it was a fun time. But yet, the party was still not over.

For $6 you can get the “birthday” package, which includes tempura ice cream with a candle on it, the staff singing to you and a souvenir picture.

The staff came around to me and made me get up out of my seat.

Then they told me to “shake, my booty, shake, shake my booty.”

I love to dance, so I did shake it in front of the entire restaurant.

The staff sang a song to me about getting old and my face turning red and counting on down “Happy Birthday to You!”

The tempura ice cream was delicious: all I could taste was the rich, fried batter with the chocolate sauce on top. The ice cream looked yellow. While I’m assuming it was vanilla, it was one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had.

Next time I go there, I am really going to look harder for ventilation above me, though. While the restaurant had very high ceilings, I really felt there should have been some more visible fans.

My birthday was filled with love, happiness and culinary experiences I’ll never forget.

Thanks, KOTO, for making my birthday very special and for reminding me of the importance a single amazing food experience can mean to a person, regardless of how drenched you get from some sake.

SYRACUSE — Midnight Snack: Sauteed Mushrooms

I got home about a half hour ago and I kept thinking about what to eat for a little midnight snack. I love anything chocolate-related, but tonight I raided my fridge and found a beautiful package of mixed mushrooms that I bought at Wegmans.

At the Wegmans in DeWitt, N.Y. there is a section right as you walk into the produce area that has chopped veggies in plastic-wrapped packages. The one I got, “Mushroom Blend,” was $3.70 and included white mushrooms, Portabello mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms.

After first rinsing them in a colander with water, I sauteed the mushrooms in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and balsamic vinegar on the stove for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

The balsamic gets soaked into the mushrooms for a delicious, tangy yet sweet taste. Each mushroom has its own distinct flavors: the white having a fluffy, lighter taste than the meaty, fleshy Portabello’s. The shiitakes have a tangier taste.

If you’re looking for something different at midnight, please try this too and tell me what you think! It’s an under $5 snack too, and you’re getting a serving (or two) of your daily vegetables. Yummy!

SYRACUSE — Funk ‘N Waffles

FUNK ‘N WAFFLES.

727 S. Crouse Ave. Suite 8. Syracuse, NY 13210

(315) 477-9700

Hi everyone!

Today myself, my friend Alicia, her boyfriend David and our friend Mia went to Funk ‘N Waffles to have some YUMMY waffles for lunch!

Please watch the video above as I tell you the story of our adventure of sweet & savory waffles!

Waffles to definitely try while there:

Bacon, Brie, Basil : Crispy bacon, melted brie, fresh basil served with a side of jam, $7.99

Brownie Waffle Sundae: Home made brownie batter, 2 scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sause. Serves 1-4 people, $7.49

Falafel Waffle: Baked falafel toppel with Israeli salad and homemade tahini, $7.49 // half size: $4.99

Earth, Wind, Fire: Whole-wheat walnut w/Bananas & Honey, $5.99

Tuesday Heartbreak: Whole-wheat w/Strawberries & Bananas, $6.99

YUM!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑