Posts Tagged ‘ cooking ’

Chopped at Home!

The Best Show on Food Network

One of my favorite shows on Food Network is Chopped!  There is nothing like pure competition and the element of surprise that really gets the blood flowing.  I love watching the chefs scramble as they try to figure out what to do with all of the mystery items in the span of 30 minutes.  It is a pure adrenaline rush!

My parents informed me that I was in charge of cooking our Sunday Night meals, since I wanted to make cooking a career one day.  So I thought to myself, this would be the perfect opportunity for me to stop using recipes and start using my resources.  So I created my own version of Chopped at Home!

It would be just like the show except I would be the only one competing.  My mother and father were in charge of picking out the ingredients and giving me a time limit for the meal being made.  It was all very nerve racking and exciting at the same time.  But if want to be a chef one day I knew I had to get over my fears and just have fun.  And That is exactly what I did!

It was finally Sunday and my mother told me to come downstairs to see exactly what I would be working with.  In front of me I had short-ribs, yellow and white corn, spinach and Aborio rice. And I only had two hours to complete everything.  My first plan of action was to inspect the pantry and fridge to see what I could use to accompany my selected items.  Then I decided to figure out what to do with each item.

I knew I could marinate the short-ribs and then slow cook them in the oven and use the corn and spinach as side dishes.  For the short-ribs I made my own little barbecue sauce out of brown sugar, cayenne pepper, mustard, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, a little ketchup and garlic. I had a big hankering for some fried corn, So I took the corn and fried it in a frying pan with a little butter, salt pepper and dried basil.  Then I added a little cream and sugar for an added bit of comfort.  Then I took the spinach and sautéed that in a little garlic infused olive oil and tossed in red pepper flakes for an added kick.  But the thing that was really giving me trouble was the rice.  I didn’t want to serve two starches in one meal.

Sunday Night Dinner

Dinner is Served!

Short-Rib Dinner

Looks almost as good as the pros

Rice Pudding

It tasted just as good as it looked

Then it hit me, use the Aborio rice for a dessert.  I knew I could make soem amazing rice pudding with that rice because it absorbs liquid so well and creates just the right amount of thickness from all of the starch.  So it was decided that I would prepare the rice pudding while the meat was cooking.  The recipe was very simple and took no time at all. (RECIE BELOW) The meal would be ready in no time, I just hoped that they liked it.

The meal ended up being truly amazing (if I say so myself) and Sunday Night Dinner has become a tradition in the Moales family!



Rice Pudding Recipe


3/4 cup of uncooked rice

2 cups of milk

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2/3 cup of raisins (optional)

1 tablespoon of buter

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract


In a saucepan bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil.  Then stir in the rice and turn to simmer for 20 minutes.  In another sauce pan, combine 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups of milk, sugar and salt.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick and creamy.  Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of milk, beaten egg and raisins (optional).  Cook for another two minutes and then remove from heat before adding butter and vanilla.



Blackberry Bliss

At the beginning of the Summer I decided to head to the Blue Ridge Mountains with my friends family for a nice weekend getaway.  I love weekends where all you have to do is lay around and wait for the next meal to be made :).  And this was one of those weekends.  Most of the time we sat around and played cards or tried to put together this puzzle that they had been working on for months.  Then when we really got bored we ATE!

There was a quite bit of food in the house and we made it our personal goals to finish everything in site before the close of the weekend.  My friend Stephanie has two younger sisters, Alexandria and Victoria, that love to cook as much as I do.  The weekend that we went up there the blueberries and blackberries were in full bloom.  So of course you know what that means, it is time to make some homemade jams!

Victoria and Alex decided to take me out one afternoon so that we could collect some fresh berries (illegally) from some bushes around the neighbors houses.  That was an adventure in and of itself.  Then we came back home and gave them a good wash and the girls got right to work.  Fresh Jam is nothing to be afraid of, all it takes are a couple simple items from the pantry and a little time. (RECIPE BELOW)

blackberry picking

The Blackberry Picking Adventure

Collected Blackberries

Some of the cutest little blackberries ever

To make the experience even better the girls also made some homemade popovers that were to die for.  The combination of hot out of the oven popovers with cool blueberry-blackberry jam was like a party in my mouth :).  But the Blackberry Adventure didn’t stop there.

The next morning their mom got up and made one of my favorite desserts of all time, A Fruit Pizza!  Of course the blueberries and blackberries from the previous day were featured on this sugary pie of goodness.  It was yummy in my tummy!  Unfortunately, I am still fighting for the recipe for that one.

fruit pizza fruit pizza
slice of the pie slice of fruit pizza

I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Blueberry and Blackberry Jam


  • 1 lb of fresh Blueberries
  • 1 lb of fresh blackberries
  • 4 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


  1. Mash up both the blueberries and blackberries and put them in a saucepan.  Add in the lemon juice and sugar.
  2. Stir all the ingredients together and cook over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Then bring the heat up to high and stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Let it cook for a couple of mintes until the mixture reaches at least 220 degrees.
  4. Then turn off the heat and pour into a clean jar.  Store in the refrigerator for immediate consumption.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!