what’s cooking?

I spent quite a few hours in the kitchen Monday night and figured I’d share some of the deliciousness that I cooked up.

First up was Monday (and Tuesday) night’s dinner. Creamy Caprese Pasta from How Sweet Eats. I’ve made this a few times, but Keith and I really cut back on our pasta consumption so I haven’t made it in a while. I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes from my CSA so I decided it was time to make it again. It couldn’t be easier and I barely glance at the recipe anymore.



You start by chopping up your tomatoes, I usually just halve them, julienne your basil, and drain your mozzerella. In the past I’ve used a big ball of mozzerella but l think these pearls are so much cuter and zero work. I think the recipe calls for 4oz of cheese, but I always use 8, because c’mooooooooon.



Since Keith is now power lifter extraordinaire, I knew he’d want some protein so I cooked up a few (chicken) sausages and added them. I was tempted just to stop there and eat it like that.

The next step calls for adding 1c of tomato sauce and 1/3 cup heavy cream and tossing. I don’t usually have heavy cream and don’t buy it for that small of an amount so I just use some milk. Skim, 2% whatever is in the fridge.

Then you bake it for 20-30 minutes. Her recipe doesn’t say to but I think you should cover in foil while you bake. Each time I’ve made it, I haven’t and the top noodles get a little too dry. It doesn’t look nearly as amazing once it is all done, but it is pretty great.


I actually forgot to take a picture until it was all pyrex-ed up and ready for the fridge and it doesn’t look too appetizing, haha. It looked a bit better on the plate. Next time I’d add more than 2 links of sausage. Keith actually requested I add chicken, but since I like sausage better, maybe I’ll do both! Oh, it also begs to be served with garlic bread. Any excuse for garlic bread.


I also had two eggplants in the fridge that I needed to use, so I made these eggplant parmesan boats from Skinnytaste for my lunch. Again, forgot to take any pictures, but here is an iphone snap at my desk yesterday. It was really good! I might be sick of them after 4 days in a row, but I am looking forward to lunch today!


And my third culinary creation actually wasn’t finished until yesterday because I decided to tackle beef jerky. I read up about making it in the oven and it seemed pretty easy. Since I have a beef jerky addiction, I wanted to try out making it myself since it is so stupidly expensive.

So Monday I got a flank steak and popped it in the freezer while I cooked everything else. As the pasta was finishing up in the oven, I pulled it out and sliced it thin. Mixed up a marinade and threw it and the meat in a zilpoc to get to know one another for a day.

Avert your eyes, vegetarians.



Yesterday when I got home from work, I turned my oven as low as it could go (170), pulled out the oven rack and got to laying out the meat. It was pretty messy. Also the grates in my oven are pretty wide so there was a small amount of strips I couldn’t use because they were too small.


(It was at this point that I found my kitchen faucet totally detached itself from the sink. I didn’t like it anyways, it’s way too low/probably 30 years old, so I am using this as an excuse to buy a nice new one this weekend, yay!)

The recipe I was following said to line the bottom of your oven with foil, but the foil I JUST bought has magically disappeared, so I just put my largest cookie sheets below the jerky to catch drips.

Then I just cracked the oven door with a wooden spoon and let it go to town for 4.5 hours. The recipe said anywhere from 2-6 hours so I kept checking (and also had to go to bed at some point), so 4.5 seemed good for mine.


It said to let it cool/dry for 24 hours before you package, but you could eat it immediately. Well, I tried a piece…and wasn’t too thrilled. I figured maybe just because it was warm. Tried another piece this morning and it was better, but I’m still not thrilled. The marinade I used contained soy sauce and that’s pretty much the only thing you can taste. It might be an acquired taste, so I will keep snacking away on it and try a different marinade next time.

My 2# flank steak was 16.00 and I had everything else on hand so it was quite a bit cheaper than store bought. Not as delicious, but I guess I’ll work on that.

(If I’m going to play foodblogger, I really need to pull out my real camera instead of the iphone. Sorry, won’t happen again!)

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  1. I clicked the link cause I saw the jerky and I skipped right to that section, haha.

    I started my preliminary jerky research and apparently you want to use eye of round for the best jerky meat. I don’t know how much of a pain it was to cut it like you did, but a butcher will do it for a small fee. That’s what I plan on doing since we go to a butcher pretty often. I did read about the way you cooked it and most people believe that using a dehydrator yields a better jerky.

    • I asked the lady at the meat market I sometimes go to and she said you can pretty much use any meat, she said the recipe probably called for flank steak because of the size. Cutting it really wasn’t an issue! The time in the freezer helped, it took me maybe 5 minutes to cut it up. The only hard part was the last few slices where I didn’t have much to hold onto. I’ll look into eye of round next time, although that’s a lot thicker so that probably would be a pain to cut.

      I read that the oven should go down to 140, but 170 would work, I wanted to try out the oven first to see how it went, but if I can find/create a better marinade, I plan on looking into a dehydrator. I didn’t want to throw down a bunch of money if it was an epic failure.

      All told, I think it worked out pretty well, minus the overwhelming soy sauce taste. I read that you could do a simple marinade by doing 1 part BBQ sauce, 2 parts water. I probably should have tried that first, but I was really trying to do a honey glazed.

  1. 2013 / age 27 | jellyjars

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