Sunday, January 16, 2022

Mark Bittman’s Rich Berry Shake

I have an affinity for smoothies, but I normally shy away from them due to all the sugar. Without fail, I've watched cooking shows and videos of people adding servings up servings of fruit and sugar fruit juice to a blender to make a smoothie and deeming it healthy. To each their own I suppose, but if I drank something like that I would be having a major sugar high and then a major sugar crash that left me tired and sluggish for hours. No, thank you!

This is why I like Mark Bittman's shakes. He has a handful of shake recipes in the back of How To Cook Everything that are way healthier than the alternative! Years ago, I made his  Banana-Vanilla Shake  and I bet I've made that recipe 100 times. It is simple, consisting of 1 banana, 1 cup of milk, crushed ice, vanilla, and a tablespoon of so of sugar. It makes 2 shakes and is easily within the realm of normal sugar intake for the day. We absolutely love that one and I highly suggest clicking the link above and giving it a try!

This week I wanted to try my hand at his Rich Berry Shake, so I began by making his sugar syrup the night before. I added some vanilla to the sugar syrup and let it get nice and cold in the fridge overnight
The next morning it was as simple as grabbing some frozen berries and blending them up, straining the the berry mixture through a sieve to remove all the pesky berry seeds, adding the mixture back into the blender with some milk, crushed ice, and sugar syrup and blending it all up. The end result is refreshingly sweet and fruity, with a nice frothy consistency that is reminiscent of a strawberry milkshake, but without all the calories.
Certainly everyone has their own idea of what healthy is and different things work for different people, but I definitely love both this Rich Berry Shake and also the Banana-Vanilla Shake listed above if I'm in the mood for something smoothie-like or milkshake-like, or just something plain sweet. It is a much healthier alternative than ice cream or a traditional smoothie.

 Bittman's Rich Berry Shake

Adapted from How To Cook Everything

by Mark Bittman

Serves 4-6

4 cups strawberries or other berries, cleaned

6 cups milk or a mixture of milk and cream

1 cup, ice (optional)*

sugar syrup, see blow

freshly squeezed lemon juice or vanilla extract to taste

*Note: I added the ice to this recipe because I wanted to have a drink that was froth and semi-frozen. I like how the ice adds some density to the drink without adding calories. 

Puree the berries in a blender and put through a sieve if necessary to remove seeds. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth. You may need to do this in batches; simply divide the ingredients in half and recmobine them for a moment before proceeding to the next step. 

Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more lemon juice, vanilla extract, or sugar syrup if necessary.

Sugar syrup: Combine 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar in a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Store in the refrigerator.





Sunday, January 9, 2022

Ina Garten's Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli {Foodgoals 2022}


I love the fresh start that the new year brings. I like to make all manner of goals, from reading goals to work goals to cooking goals. This year my cooking goals are to continue eating healthy dishes like this Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli with Basmati Rice.

I also have some other food-related goals, such as really delving into some baking (both cakes, pies, and other various baked goods, but also possibly breads). Another goal I'm hoping to explore more is to take make some of my "staple dishes" gluten free so my son can enjoy them. In the past few years, gluten-free options, such as all-in-one flours, have flooded the market and made gluten-free cooking so much more accessible, so I'm really hoping to create more foods that he can enjoy! 

Of course, all of these things are subject to the world around us, such as continuing overwhelming illness, food shortages, and quite simply lack of motivation, but I am hopeful to at least grow in all these areas.

Speaking of motivation, if you want to excel at cooking healthfully, it is very helpful if you to have nutritious ingredients on hand and lots of quick, easy, and healthy recipes up your sleeve. If you can get really good at having the right ingredients and the right methods, then half the battle is already won.

Ina's Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli is one of those recipes. It really couldn't be any easier. Cook up some rice, make a quick teriyaki sauce out of olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, get out a baking sheet, place the salmon on it, pour the sauce over it, bake for a few minutes, add some sliced broccolini or broccoli and roast until cooked to your liking. We're talking beginner level cooking here. Plus, easy clean up!

Plate the salmon with the rice and the broccoli or broccolini and you're all set! Quick, easy, and totally painless, BUT also healthy, delicious and flavorful. The perfect weeknight meal! 

Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli with Basmati Rice


by Ina Garten

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

4 skinless salmon fillets (2 to 2-1/2 pounds total)

salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound broccolini, lower third of stems discarded (*or broccoli)

steamed white basmati rice (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Arrange two racks evenly spaced in the oven.

In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside off the heat.

Arrange the salmon fillets, rounded sides up, in a baking dish just large enough to hold them with a little space in between the fillets. Sprinkle the salmon with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and spoon the soy sauce mixture evenly over the fillets. Roast the salmon for about 12 minutes for rare and 15 minutes for medium, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Meanwhile, prepare the broccolini (or broccoli). Place the broccolini on a sheet pan, drizzle it with 4 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with your hands. Ten minutes before the salmon is done, roast the broccolini on the second oven rack until crisp/tender.

Divide the hot rice between 4 shallow bowls and top each with a salmon fillet and some broccolini. Spoon the sauce from the salmon over the salmon and rice and serve hot.

Steamed Basmati Rice
1 cup white basmati rice, such as Texmati
1-3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the rice, water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy. You may have to pull the pot halfway off the burner to keep a simmer. Fluff with a for and serve hot.

Food Goals @ IHCC

Saturday, January 1, 2022

My Top Five Recipes of 2021!


It may have been the year of slimming things down in the Stirring The Pot kitchen, but the #1 FAVORITE RECIPE OF 2021 does anything but slim things down.

To be fair, 2021 was full of tough times and comfort food was necessary. Ruth Reichl's Fettuccine Alfredo did a perfect job of comforting my family. This is THE BEST recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo I've ever tried and since I stumbled across this recipe, at the end of September, I have made this no less than 25 times.

There is a reason I've made it so many times. First, it requires a simple handful of ingredients that are always on hand: pasta, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, butter, and salt and pepper. I have made this for myself using traditional pasta and I have made this mostly for my 15 year-old son who is gluten free  and it works like magic every single time. If you're ever in doubt how to fill up a 15 year-old boy who works out for hours upon hours and has the hunger of 10 men, try making him some of this fettuccine alfredo. It works like a charm, every. single.time.

I realize this is not healthy in the least, but it is fast and delicious and you can have it ready in the time it takes to boil a pot of pasta. Plus, this is foolproof, every single time!

As always, click on the recipe titles above the picture to be directed to the original post and recipe

Ruth Reichl's Fettuccine Alfredo

Ok, so Ruth's Fettuccine Alfredo was the #1 recipe of 2021 by default, simply because it was THE RECIPE that I cooked on repeat in 2021, but if I had to pick my favorite recipe that I made, and the one that I would make if time wasn't a factor, it would hands down be Ina Garten's Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel. I could tell you a million things about how it is probably THE BEST PASTA DISH I'VE EVER COOKED, and it is, but I will sum it up by saying that I text everyone I know who loves to cook, and some who don't, and told them IF THEY EVER MADE ONE RECIPE I SUGGESTED, IT SHOULD BE THIS ONE! Don't even worry if you don't like fennel! You will in this recipe. Don't skimp on any ingredients. Make it exactly as it is written! You will thank me. It is incredible! Definitely entertaining-worth. Definitely THE DISH to pull out if you want to impress someone.

Ina Garten's Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel

For years and years I wanted to make Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce and I finally got around to it. Guess what? It was love at first bite and now I can see myself making this every fall season. A real favorite, especially that cider cream sauce.

Ruth Reichl's Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce

It's no secret that I love eggs! They are a star ingredient in the Stirring The Pot kitchen. I also love a recipe inspired by the farmer's market and on a trip to the Lexington Farmer's Market I got all kinds of glorious fresh herbs. I always turn to Mark Bittman when I have an ingredient I want to cook with and he came through with his recipe for a Bread Frittata. Now, you know we love potatoes here at Stirring The Pot, but bread is the way to go in a frittata and I learned that lesson when I made this dish! The bread retains its shape so well and really holds up well in the eggs, adding much more texture than potato and also really allowing the herbs to shine. The bread frittata is my new go-to for a quick breakfast. This has become another staple recipe, something akin to a Kitchen Sink Frittata, allowing me to use up all kinds of bits n' bobs of leftover bread, cheese, herbs, meat, and veggies.

Mark Bittman's Herby Bread Frittata

You simply CANNOT have a favorites roundup without a dessert, and Jamie Oliver's Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies are the stuff of dreams!  I mean how can you go wrong with a dense chocolatey brownie with swirls of peanut butter cream and jelly, dotted with raspberries? Heaven. Just total heaven. 

Jamie Oliver's Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies

And that's a wrap, folks. I wish you all a healthy, safe, happy, and DELICIOUS New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Five Brunchmas Dishes!


I had high hopes to make a really special new Brunchmas dish this week, but time got the best of me. I was too busy doing last minute shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, and cooking up non-blog dishes.

So, here is a recap of some of the dishes I think would be Brunchmas-worthy!

Click on the recipe title to be directed to the original post with the recipes!

Ottolenghi's Shakshuka It certainly fits the bill as far as representing all the Christmas colors, right? The red and green and front and center and the dish is healthy, light, fresh, and delicious. Plus, it's gorgeous and can be served family style or individual.

Giada's Breakfast Tart and Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Syrup I made this breakfast tart years ago, but I still remember it fondly. Pancetta, mascarpone, Gruyere, and green onions really make a flavorful taste sensation! Plus, the recipe is kinda perfection! Giada's Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Syrup was a wonderful accompaniment and let's face it....fresh fruit isn't what it's meant to be during the winter months so the honey-lime syrup really brings it all to life!

 Ina's Tri-Berry Oven Pancakes No one really wants to stand by the stove flipping pancakes on Christmas day, so Oven Pancakes or Dutch babies are perfect for Brunchmas! Ina Garten's recipe is the perfect choice for Christmas Day! Serve family-style or individual and have a nice selection of fruits.
Herbed-Baked Eggs These Herbed-Baked Eggs are hands down the easiest way to do any brunch, while also making something that feels special. All you need is a baking dish and some butter and cream. Crack your eggs into the dish and then top with various herbs, cheese, and garlic. These could be personalized to suit all tastes and flavor profiles! Love them!
Winter Citrus Tart w/ Rosemary Whipped Cream  Look no further if you need a special wintery brunch dessert because Curtis Stone's Winter Citrus Tart with Rosemary Whipped Cream is perfect for the holidays! I mean oranges are all the rage at Christmastime, right? They are juicy and delicious and in season! Plus, we decorate with them, we make simmer pots with them and we make desserts and cocktails with them! This is THE PERFECT and easy dessert for your Brunchmas.
Plus, it's worth mentioning that this glorious dessert takes only a mere handful of ingredients: puff pastry, orange marmalade, oranges, cream, and rosemary! It is the epitome of easy, beautiful, and delicious! Everyone will be so impressed!

I hope everyone celebrating had a wonderful and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprint Cookies.


My mom and I used to make a jam thumbprint cookie like this when I very young. I believe ours were rolled in crushed walnuts before placing jam in the center. In truth, I think I like that version the best, both for nostalgia and also for taste, however these are lighter and sweeter and definitely delicious in their own right!

Ina's thumbprint cookies have a shortbread base, which goes over real well with my husband who loves all things shortbread! As mentioned above, Ina also rolls her cookies in coconut flakes before inserting the jam in the center, which really lightens things up from the typical nutty version, and I think creates an altogether different background.

Ina wrote the recipe for both raspberry and apricot jam, but I have a huge variety of jams, jellies, and preserves and with the coconut flavor in mind I wanted to create somewhat of a more tropical version so I chose some mango preserves. That combination was not for my husband, so he wanted to have just plain strawberry for his. I went with some strawberry-rhubarb perserves, but shh....don't tell him and he won't even know.

The dough has to chill and it is somewhat finicky to roll into balls, cracking and what not, but it is not that bad as the warmth of your hands makes the dough balls nice and smooth. They take a quick dip in an egg wash, then a roll in the coconut flakes, then you make an indentation with your finger and insert the jam before baking.

These cookies are light and sweet with just a hint of coconut flavor. I like both the mango and the strawberry-rhubarb flavors, but in my opinion, the mango goes so much better with the coconut. The funny thing is, my husband agreed! He said I could've made them all mango.

I think these would make for a great addition to your holiday cookie collection! So many of  holiday cookies are rich and decadent and these feel like and fruity and refreshing in comparison. These are a wonderful and welcome change.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who are celebrating!


 Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Adapted from Food Network

by Ina Garten

Makes 32

3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 cup suagr

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut

Raspberry and/or apricot jam (or any jam you like)*

Preheat the oven to 350F. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddles attachment (or with an electric mixer because you don't have a paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together (mine didn't, probably because I didn't have the right paddle attachment, but I just used my hands and that worked too). Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1-1/4 inch balls (if you have a scale they should each weight 1 ounce). Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut flakes. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown. Cool and serve.

 Land Of Sweets Theme @ IHCC

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Festive Appetizers For The Holidays!

There are so many wonderful festive holiday appetizers! I had planned to share a new one with you all today, but it just wasn't in the cards. I pulled a muscle in my back earlier in the week and it was starting to improve until Saturday night when the tornadoes wrecked havoc all over Kentucky. I woke up at 2:22 in the morning to sirens blaring and the weatherman shouting that "tornadoes were imminent and spotted nearby, moving a mile a minute." He kept shouting "seek shelter immediately." Well, it put the fear of God in me and let's just say I moved my 46 year old body way too fast, re-injuring my back somewhere in the panic of seeking shelter immediately. I can't even complain about my back though because we are all safe. There are too may who cannot say the same.

So, I will count my blessings and rest my back and share TWO FESTIVE APPETIZERS that I think would make a great addition for any holiday party! First up is Ruth Reichl's Retro Baked Cheddar Olives, followed by Ina Garten's Kielbasa with Mustard Dip. Both dishes would be the hit of any party and both would be great served warm or at room temperature!

Everyone needs some delicious and easy appetizers up their sleeve for the holiday season and these are just the thing. No fuss, no muss. Just make them, serve them, and you're golden! Click on the recipe title to be directed to the recipe!

                                                  Ruth Reichl's Baked Cheddar Olives

A retro appetizer if there ever was one, these Baked Cheddar Olives are unique and addictive! I think they would make the most wonderful festive appetizer for your holiday party. The green olive with the red pimento center brings the colors of the season to the table and baked cheddar coating is just like those cheese crackers everyone loves.These tasty pop-in-your-mouth goodies will be the talk of the party!

If you're in the mood for something a bit more substantial, or something that is rather dip-worthy, then Ina's Kielbasa with Mustard Dip is totally the move! Those savory and flavorful kielbasa nuggets go so well with the zippy mustard dip. It's like a burst of flavor in your mouth! I made these for the first time a little over a year ago and I bet I've made this 15 times since then. These would be a total hit at any get together or party!

Festive Appetizers @ IHCC!

Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Notorious Hot Buttered Rum {{It's Cocktail:30 #2}}


Have you ever drank butter? I haven't. Until today! 

I've always wanted to try the notorious Hot Buttered Rum. It just seems like THE ULTIMATE winter cocktail, both nowadays and way back when. If a drink has that much notoriety then it just has to be good.

I start with some Carta Negra rum, otherwise known as black rum. Black rum is aged in barrels, is darker in color, and some say has deeper, richer flavor. 

Then you need some butter. Yes, you are going to drink butter. Just get over it and try not to think about it. People have been doing it for hundreds of years.

Now, I did some research and there are a couple different methods for making a Hot Buttered Rum. Some melt the butter in a pan with the spices, then add the rum and the water. Others make a butter mixture, place the butter in the bottom of the glass or mug, heat the rum and water in a pan and simply pour it over the butter. I did the latter option, but I really don't see it making a difference in the end. The butter will melt either way. 

Most recipes flavor the butter with sugar or honey, cinnamon, cloves, and sometimes vanilla. I think this is something you can really make your own. Once I saw the addition of vanilla there was simply no turning back. I had to have the vanilla.


I began with about a tablespoon of room temperature butter in a small bowl. I have to admit I was a little queasy thinking about drinking that tablespoon of butter in a drink, but I was committed. I added a pinch of cinnamon, a teaspoon and a half of brown sugar, and some vanilla bean paste to taste. I mixed it up and added it to the bottom of my glass toddy mug. Then I added about 1 cup of water and 1.5 ounces of black rum to a pan and heated it up until it was close to boiling. I poured the rum and water mixture over the butter, stirring with a spoon, and garnished with a cinnamon stick.

I have to admit that at first I wasn't sure, mostly because the rum was very strong. However, I am a total lightweight and pretty soon I started to feel my cheeks heat up and a rather pleasant calm settle over me. I have to admit to really loving this drink. If you're a lightweight like me, one will do!

Just like the Hot Toddy, the Hot Buttered Rum is like a giant hug, warming you up from the inside out. I'm not lying, these types of drinks will really warm a girl up!

I see many Hot Buttered Rums in my future! 

I'm going to give this 4.5/5! I think if I play around with it enough I can get it to a 5/5!



Hot Buttered Rum

Adapted from

by Jamie Oliver

Serves 1

1.5-2 ounces black rum

1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

3 cloves, (optional)*

small knob of butter

pinch of cinnamon, or to taste

vanilla, to taste

cinnamon stick, to garnish

freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

Note: I chose option#2 below.

Option#1: Over a low heat, melt the butter in a pan with the sugar and spices. Turn off the heat and add the rum and stir well. Pour the contents through a sieve into a mug or toddy glass and top with hot water, to taste. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg.

Option#2: Mix up the butter, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small bowl. Using a spoon, gather up the butter and place into the bottom of a mug or toddy glass. Heat the rum and the water (I used 1.5 - 2 ounces rum to 1 cup water). Heat the rum/water to the desired temperature and pour over the butter, into the mug, stirring to combine. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg.