The Cheesecake Addiction

My Life in Food

Archive for the category “Meat”

BBQ in Chiberia

Well hello there, friends!

It is like Celebrity Fit Club over here at Chez Morrell/Dunn-Rankin. CDR and I are trying to get ourselves in shape and so have been working out daily and watching what we eat. The majority of my extended family are on a similar path, so for cousin Mikey’s birthday, I made some low-calorie cupcakes.


Yup. You read right.

All you need is a box of cake mix and 15oz can of pureed pumpkin. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED, FOR SERIOUS.

Spice Cake mix with Pumpkin.

Spice Cake mix with Pumpkin.

Put 'em together.

Put ’em together.

Mix and bake.

For a glaze for these yummy pumpkin spice cupcakes, mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with the juice of 1 lemon.

Just about 120 calories in these bad boys.

Just about 120 calories in these bad boys.

Now, if you live in Chicago, or the mid-west for that matter, you know how flippin’ cold it has been. We awoke to a cozy -11 degrees this morning, and CDR suggested we do something BBQ themed to warm our bones. I was totally down, and we made sure to do an intense to work out before dinner.

We picked up a sirloin tip roast and did something mighty fine to it.

We rubbed it down with a Carolina style BBQ rub.

We rubbed it down with a Carolina style BBQ rub.

Drop it in the pan, which has about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in it. Pop it in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes, then cover it, and let it cook at 225 for 3 hours.

Drop it in the pan, which has about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in it. Pop it in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes, then cover it, and let it cook at 225 for 3 hours.

We also made roasted potatoes, and a broccoli slaw with a lemon-dijon vinaigrette. See:

Buttery potato goodness.

Buttery potato goodness.

Broccoli slaw with pecans and scallions.

Broccoli slaw with pecans and scallions.

And when the timer goes off…

Remove this baby from the oven. Let it rest, while you add tomato paste, garlic, brown sugar and molasses to that juice to make a yummy sauce.

Remove this baby from the oven. Let it rest, while you add tomato paste, garlic, brown sugar and molasses to that juice to make a yummy sauce.

Get your plate ready…

IMG_1607And then garnish with a healthy helping (about 4 oz) of delicious BBQ roast.

Do your thang, Chiberia, and I'll do mine.

Do your thang, Chiberia, and I’ll do mine.

And that’s dinner.

Stay tuned for the Weekly Cocktail tomorrow.







Dinner for 3

BBQ Chipotle and Pumpkin Chicken

Yup. That’s what I ate for dinner tonight. Mom and Dad were coming home late and we each have had a stressful few days, so I thought, “Why not cook again?” So I did.

I got home at 2:30 and immediately went for the crock-pot. I chopped half an onion, two garlic cloves, and the rest of the carrots from last night–3 of them. I put a package of boneless skinless chicken tenderloin in and covered it with a cup and a half of vegetable stock and half a bottle of a hickory smoke BBQ sauce. Salt, pepper, and about half a teaspoon of chipotle powder. I set the pot for 4 hrs, gave it a stir, and let it go.

Meanwhile, I was checking the pantry for something to nice to make for dessert that would go well with these flavors. I found pumpkin puree. Okay. Pumpkin cookies. I found a recipe on the foodnetwork website and went to work. Then I really started thinking.

To me, pumpkin in baked goods never really packs a punch of flavor. It’s a much more delicate taste and we use cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to beef it up. Well, all of those flavors were in the recipe and the first batch came out beautifully. Moist. Then I thought about my Christmas sugar cookies and how for my “flair factor” I add rosemary. Rosemary and squash go wonderfully together, don’t they? They sure do! Now, I only had dry rosemary on hand and it worked out nicely. But I’d prefer it to be fresh.

Pumpkin Rosemary Cookies

Now, in between batches of cookies, I was keeping an eye on that chicken, stirring it now and then. I had half a can of pureed pumpkin left! Should I freeze it? Noooooo. Put it in the crock-pot? YES. In went in and then I added a cinnamon stick for good measure! I let it go for about two more hours before shredding the chicken and adding some black beans (again, yesterday’s leftovers). I served it on a sweet Hawaiian roll with a simple salad.

I re-learned something in the past two days. I’ve been so busy pursuing my other passion–theater–that I’d forgotten about my other–food. I forced myself to slow down, calm down, and take pride in my food. I’m so glad I did!










3 C’s Pork Chops

Hey guys!

I’m not even going to try explaining why I haven’t been writing. Well, I’ve been writing–just not about food. Life is crazy. I feel that I am overbooked, overwhelmed, and over-stimulated. So how’s a crazy girl to calm herself down? She cooks, of course.

Tonight was an “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of night. I had some garlic, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes that needed to be used up and I didn’t feel like putting a whole bunch of work into dinner. A quick look in the freezer and I found two pork chops. I don’t usually enjoy defrosting meat in the microwave, but I went ahead and did it anyway (just 2 minutes). I seasoned them–LIGHTLY– with salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin. YES, cayenne and cumin are two of the three C’s in this recipe. I let the chops hang out while I chopped up 3 HUGE cloves of garlic, 1 red pepper, 2 small carrots, and 2 tomatoes. I also opened, drained, and rinsed a can of black beans.

When my ingredients were ready to go, I heated about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the big dutch oven and when it was screamin’ hot, I put the chops in-seasoned side down to sear them. I dusted the other side with cayenne, cumin, and onion powder. When both sides were seared (about 2-3 minutes a side), I pulled the meat out and set it aside. In went the peppers and carrots and I let those saute a few minutes and then I added tomatoes, salt, and all the garlic. Get ready for garlic aroma heaven! Let those go a minute or two before you add black beans.

Then I saw my 3rd C hiding in the cupboard. Cinnamon sticks. I figured the spice would round out the smoky cayenne and cumin flavors nicely, as well as add an element of seasonal flair. In went one cinnamon stick. I put the meat back in the pot and then added about 3/4 cup red wine (try to add a wine that goes well with those Mexican spices) and 3/4 cup of vegetable broth. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. I garnished with basil and scallion.


Beautiful, right?

My thoughts? It was really good. It was spice-y, fall-y, smokey. I liked the garnish of the scallions and basil, though I can see where the scallions might taste a bit off for some people. Maybe basil and red onions? That sure would be yummy!

Until next time, and hopefully that won’t be too far off.

Mr. B’s Snack Shop

Hello to all and a good morning!

I have a show that moves into tech this week, so chances are cooking will be at another low. But I had a great time with my snow-induced time off. I made chocolate chip cookies  and got a new haircut with Miriam, read for pleasure, and visited Jack in Beloit, Wisconsin where he goes to school.

It was here in Beloit that he introduced me to a local house-turned-diner. If anyone reading this goes to Beloit, or lives there, or is planning a visit, I’d have to say it’s worth it. It is located on the intersection of Broad and Short street. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to share with you, but maybe Jack or a friend of his can do the honors (that’s a hint, honey).

Mostly American fare (chicken strips, wings, burgers, sausage, breakfast fare, etc), Jack had taken me there specifically for the burgers, which he swore were the best burgers in the world (save for mine, of course). I don’t know about them being the best in the world, because there was nothing extraordinary. It was a regular burger with pickles, onions, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, and melted cheddar. So, there was nothing above and beyond on it, but I’d still have to call it perfect none the less. In fact, I usually prefer the traditional burger to one with all the fixins. And the fries I think were perfection. They were crispy, which to me means that they fried them correctly. The oil was at the right temperature, and they were fried for the correct amount of time, so that the oil fried only the outside, rather than seeping into the fry, making them soggy. So, I’m quite content with the enormous meal I ate (the burgers are BIG) and that I spent less than $5 on it.

We finished off our meal with some $0.99 ice cream.  Delicious, Edy’s brand ice cream.

I’ll try to blog about something I cook soon! But I’ve learned that I really shouldn’t promise anything. Happy Superbowl.

Healthy Eating Round II? I think I can, I think I can…

I’m sitting here having just fried up a pound of bacon for a cobb salad my mom is about to make along with some burgers for our Sunday night dinner. A few thoughts come to mind. One, I fucking love bacon. Two, once fried up, a pound of bacon just doesn’t come out too much. Three, I have been a total fat ass all week. Seriously, guys. That cake I made lasted a few days in the house, and I think I ate most of it. And by think, I mean I know I ate most of it. Then on Friday, I made some chocolate chip cookies (recipe on the back of the ghiradelli chocolate chip bag–but really, it’s the same on almost any bag.) and yes, I ate most of those too. Not to mention the two VERY fatty pasta dishes (one a twist on coq au vin, the other a basic tomato sauce), and oh yeah, my red wine-rosemary-garlic burgers with carmelized onions and mushrooms. And swiss cheese. Perhaps this is due to the fact that all week things have seemed to be going my way in terms of friends, family, “that’s what she said” jokes, Shark Week, and my career. And I know that I started eating healthier to feel better, and now I feel better, so I stopped being so healthy. But no longer. Starting tomorrow, because I can’t turn down a dinner of burgers and cobb salad, I begin again.

Back to hard boiled eggs, granola bars, and fruit for snacks. Back to low fat plain yogurt with granola for breakfast, and tuna burgers for lunch. I mean, I ate other things for lunch, but Shark Week has made me realize how little seafood has actually been in my diet this summer–yep, I’m serious about that. If I could sum up this post it would be, “Anna needs to stop being a fatty and eat healthy foods, so now she is going to do and she hopes the readers hold her to it.”

So hold me to this. This week will be hard, but next week I’ll be in Woods Hole so it will be a little easier for me there to be healthy–except for the platters of crackers and artisan cheeses. Oh boy. Am I doomed?

Pulled Pork

Hello, again! Yes, rehearsal has kept me very busy and cooking has been a difficult task to accomplish. This past weekend, though, was spent baking, chopping, and roasting as I helped my aunt prepare for my cousins 8th grade graduation party. We were feeding a lot of people. I never got the final count, but there were about seventy people there…and there are A LOT of leftovers. But I’m not here to tell you about that. Because my rehearsal schedule usually requires me to leave my house around 5:30, I haven’t been able to make dinner. But  yesterday, I saw the crockpot. A crockpot? In the summer? Yes. My mom had taken out a 1 pound pork loin to thaw, and told me to do the rest.

I chopped an onion into a medium dice and put the pork loin on top. Then I added about 16 oz of BBQ sauce (whatever kind you like), and two large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped. Salt and pepper went on top, and before putting on the lid, I added two cups of water. Set the crockpot on low (so that it cooks in 8 hours) and walk away. Come back in 8 hours to shred the pork and then put it on a hamburger bun (or even more delicious: a Hawaiian role). Enjoy.

In other news…hmm…let me think. My summer has been going pretty well. I feel its been tumultuous in the sense that I’ve been having an amazing time, but at times (and mostly this last week) still feel down–for reasons unimportant to blog readers! But in the last few days, I’ve felt a lot better. My summer thus far has included many ridiculous adventures, and it holds the promise for many more. I guess I’m just saying that I’m not going to complain if I spend the next eight weeks soul searching. The good outweighs the bad. 🙂

Culinarily (which, I decided IS a word) speaking, my taste buds are all over the place. I have a feeling the next few days are going to be a foodie’s adventure. Perhaps my music taste lately (light, surf rock) has my mind on the tastes of California, but my cajun spice rub has me dreaming on New Orleans.

Life and Burgers


So, my life has changed a lot in the last week. “On a break” went to “break-up” and that carries with it many emotions–as I’m sure you can all imagine. I’m okay, though. Really. It hurts, but I think this was the “jump” I was talking about a month ago. I love him, and I’ll miss him, but it’s time I find myself. School is almost over…one week left…and then I can breathe a huge sigh of relief. I’ll be uber busy in the next few days finishing up some design projects and preparing for my history final and yada-yada.  But I’m looking forward to cooking again. I mean, yes, I cooked every day for the show and the tech days before opening. I think I’ll be very happy if I never have to scramble an egg again…or handle Polish sausage. But I wasn’t cooking for me or anything that I really liked. Today, though, I reward myself. I made my delicious red wine burgers with rosemary. Un-freakin-believable!

A lot of garlic–four cloves–salt, pepper, olive oil, rosemary, oregano and of course red wine went into a bowl with the ground beef. It sat around about twenty minutes, while on the stove I had two onions carmelizing. Carmelized onions make a burger in my opinion. So sweet, but so savory. So good. Anyway, the burgers–once formed–went under the broiler about eight minutes a side. For the last two minutes on the second side, I had swiss cheese bubble away. I toasted the buns, and put a slice of tomato and arugula on the finished product. When I find my camera cord, I’ll upload a picture.

But until then, back to the final projects.

The Miracle Worker Roast

Hey all!

It’s been a while. The show opened and closed and its been a week now that I’ve had my life back. But I ended up having to make two roasts for the show…

And I’m mighty proud of it.

Back later with updates on my life and food!

An Evening with a Leek Garnish

So, my game plan tonight is to utilize leeks in a steak dinner. The steaks are thick-cut bone in New York Strip steaks. They’re huge, and we’re hoping that three of them will be enough to feed five. Two easily fed three two weeks ago. My plan for them is to sear them in a pan and then bake them until medium-rare (which for my family, probably means mostly rare), but I may go in for the grill. Not sure. For a side dish, I’ve already made a basic caprese salad which is sitting tight in the fridge. I won’t dress it until later. For a sauce/side type thing that’s to go on top of the steak, I’ve decided to saute mushrooms, peppers, and leeks. I mean, I usually use mushrooms and shallots and sometimes I use green peppers, so I think I’m safe. My dilemma is always whether or not to use white or red wine in those sauces. It’s steak, and so red wine always goes better with it, but sometimes I think shallots need a more delicate flavor. We’ll see how it goes.  I”ll be back in a few hours with pictures.


Dinner was delicious. The leeks were a lot like scallions, but a little bit tougher. I sauteéd them with mushrooms and peppers and a splash of red wine and some beef broth from the meat (Dad cut one open without letting it rest! A no-no for meat, a “right on” for the garnish.). I felt fat and satisfied after dinner. My mom made these great sugar cookies (Martha Stewart’s Basic Sugar Cookie Dough recipe) and that was our dessert. Oh, and we ended up grilling the meat completely. So good.

Something Old, Nothing New

This week was really crazy and so I never got around to using something new…okay, okay. That’s not entirely true. The weekend was great. The beau, Jack, came down from school on Friday and stayed through Saturday, which was really fun. We made gourmet veggie sandwiches for lunch and made cupcakes to send back with him and more for my friends later. This was my first stab at this from-scratch recipe and it was delicious. The exciting part?! The recipe is on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder box. If you’re going to make it (and you absolutely should!), remember the boiling water is key! Frost these cupcakes with a chocolate ganache and you’ll be a hero.

Now, tonight, we wanted a comforting meal to round out the week, so we went with the old standby spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs are a secret recipe, but a hint would be to use small pieces of white bread instead of dry bread crumbs. Bake and then finish cooking in the tomato sauce. I went with a basic Italian tomato sauce. Just onions, peppers, and garlic sauteed with fresh tomatoes, and tomato paste with about 28 oz of water. Add fresh basil, dried oregano, some balsamic and whatever you like and you’re good to go!

I promise I’ll use a new ingredient this week. I swear.

Until next time. Big Love is on soon…and I am NOT missing Big Love.

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