Huevos Rancheros

Con chorizo y papas - un perfecto!

Twisted Tzatziki

Gyros and pizza combined in this twisted classic

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Oct 2, 2015

Butter Crusted Beer Bread

This is easily one of my favorite recipes. Ever since I was little and my mom bought beer bread mix from our neighbor, I've been hooked. When I got older, and actually started consuming beer, and learned how to cook, beer bread was one of the very first recipes I taught myself.

This recipe for beer bread is so incredibly versatile - I've used it as a base for everything from focaccia bread to pizza dough. When appropriately buttered on top, a thick, crunchy crust forms that's perfect for dipping in everything from pasta sauce to soup.

I've also made this bread with everything from beer to Mountain Dew, so if you don't want to use beer, essentially any carbonated drink will do. The basics include flour, sugar, butter, and whatever additional flavorings you'd like to toss in. I used garlic and onion powder myself, but almost any flavor translates well into this bread.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, except for the melted butter, and stir until the flour is completely incorporated.

Then just grease a glass bread pan (aluminum works too!) and pour the melted butter on top. I used the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the loaf, but that's totally up to you and how much of a perfectionist you are when it comes to your beer bread!

Then just pop the bread into the oven at  375 F for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is nice and crusty.

Let the bread set for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven to finish cooking in the center, and then tip it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. If you are impatient, like I am, you can also just cut it right out of the pan. 

Recipe TL;DR:

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45-55 minutes

Makes 1 loaf beer bread


  • 1 can or bottle of beer, or carbonated beverage (12 oz)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder (optional)
  • salt, to taste

Here's How:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine all of the ingredients except for the melted butter. Stir until a thick, sticky dough forms.
  2. Grease a bread pan. Dump the dough into the pan, then pour the melted butter on top.
  3. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the top is browned and a thick, crunchy crust has formed. A toothpick inserted in the center of the bread will come out clean when the bread is fully cooked.
  4. Let the bread rest for a few minutes in the pan before flipping out the bread onto a cooling rack. For best cutting results, let the bread cool for 10-20 minutes. Serve with a saucy seafood dish or soup, and enjoy!


Omelette Burger - Breakfast for Dinner

This recipe comes to you after three failed attempts at making a perfect omelette. The good thing about omelettes is if you mess them up, you still have some pretty tasty scrambled eggs. We've been on a 'breakfast-for-dinner' kick lately, mostly because I've been super lazy and breakfast is easy, and partially because we are headed out of the country on vacation and I didn't want any leftovers going bad in the fridge while we were away.

This recipe calls for a combination of chorizo and ground beef for the patty, and an English muffin for the buns. I bought mine fresh from our local market, but if you have a hard time finding fresh made muffins, a simple packaged sourdough English muffin will work just the same.

Start by combining the salt, pepper, brown sugar, beef and chorizo together to form two small patties, ones that are just larger than the base of the English muffin, since they will shrink a little when they cook. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through in the center.

While the patties are cooking, toss the veggies into a pan with a touch of oil. I used peppers, garlic, and red onions in mine, but definitely feel free to use your favorite combination of omelette fillings! The most important thing to remember here is not to use too many vegetables or else the omelette will get too heavy to flip (and this is usually how you'll end up with scrambled eggs). Ideally, you'll want about 4-5 tablespoons of veggies.

Whisk together the eggs, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and salt and pepper until light and fluffy. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan with the peppers and onions, and be sure to coat the bottom of the pan again, or else your omelette will stick!

After my previous failed attempts at creating this recipe, I remembered I had this omelette pan my boyfriend's parents had given me to try out. 

And again, after an initial disaster of an omelette (which Nick ate willingly as scrambled eggs) I finally managed to get it just right.

Take care to cook the omelette all the way through, regardless of the method you use to cook it. The firmer the omelette, the easier it will stay together when you cut it.

I used a mason jar lid to cut mine into circles, but an upside down cup or cookie cutter works just as well, as long as the omelette circles are about the size of the English muffin. No worries, the remaining omelette was definitely consumed, it just wasn't pretty enough to photograph.

Finally, assemble the omelette burger! I topped mine with avocado and ketchup and some spicy Havarti cheese. Nick topped his with tomatoes and cheddar. No matter how you top it, it's sure to be delicious (and leftovers for breakfast - kill two meals with one cooking sesh)!

Recipe TL;DR:

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Makes ~2 omelette burgers


  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 lb spicy chorizo or breakfast sausage
  • 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red, orange, yellow, green peppers
  • 2 tablespoons cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 English muffins
  • 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for sauteing 
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • favorite cheese, for topping 
  • Optional toppings: ketchup, mustard, avocados, tomatoes - whatever you like to eat on a burger!

Here's How:

  1. Combine the chorizo and beef with the brown sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sear the burger patties on each side in a skillet over medium high heat, until cooked through, or about 3-4 minutes per side. When no longer pink in the center, remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2. In a separate pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and add the chopped veggies. Sautee until the onions are translucent and the peppers are beginning to brown.
  3. While the patties and veggies are cooking, whisk together 3 of the eggs, half of the sour cream, half of the heavy whipping cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Beat until fluffy.
  4. Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the pan with the veggies and make sure there aren't any 'dry spots' on the pan. Pour in the whisked egg mix, over the top of the veggies.
  5. Let the egg cook for 1-2 minutes, pushing the sides up occasionally to let the uncooked egg to come in contact with the hot pan. Cook another 2-3 minutes When the top of the omelette has only a few 'wet spots' on top, flip the omelette. Continue to cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the omelette is cooked through.
  6. Move the omelette to a cutting board and use a mason jar ring to cut 3 evenly sized circles out of the omelette. Separate the English muffin into two pieces. 
  7. Arrange the cuts of the omelette on top of the burger patty, and sandwich between the English muffin slices. Top with your favorite burger toppings, and enjoy!


Sep 27, 2015

Coffee and Cream Cookies

I only recently discovered the amazingness that is coffee. Ever since Nick's parent bought us a Keurig for our first Christmas together, I've been hooked. I've only recently began exploring coffee flavors in desserts, such as my mochaccino chip cupcakes or my dark chocolate espresso two-ingredient ice cream. Next coffee inspired dessert on the list: cookies!

While I'm still relatively new to the coffee scene, I definitely am never one to take my coffee black. I generally opt for a splash of French vanilla half-and-half or similar sweetened creamer. For this recipe, I also wanted to represent the cookie as the 'coffee' to a 'creamer' icing.

Begin by stirring the instant coffee into the flour along with the baking soda. Use a stand mixer to beat together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. 

Once light and fluffy, add the egg. When the egg is completely incorporated, add in the cocoa powder, then the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until a thick dough forms.

Create balls of dough by rolling the dough between the palms of your hands. Arrange the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Use your thumb or the back of an ice cream scoop to create divots in the center of each cookie. 

Bake at 350°F for 7-8 minutes. When the cookies have puffed up and are just starting to crack, remove them from the oven and press the back of a ice cream scoop or spoon into the center of each cookie to define the divot in the middle. 

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, create the icing by combining the room temperature butter with the half-and-half. Add the whipping cream and whip on high speed with a hand mixer until the icing is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar until the icing has thickened to the consistency of toothpaste.

Put the creamer icing into a large plastic icing piping bag or use a spoon to fill the cavity of each cookie. Place a few chocolate covered espresso beans on the top of each cookie, if desired. Then just eat and enjoy the caffeinated cookies!

Recipe TL;DR:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 7-8 minutes

Makes ~2 dozen cookies


  • 2 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 2 sticks butter (one for the cookies, one for the icing), room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons coffee creamer
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)

Here's How:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a stand mixer to beat together the white sugar, brown sugar, and one stick of butter at room temperature butter. Add in the egg. Mix until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and coffee extract to the creamed butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, instant coffee, and baking soda. Slowly add the flour into the mixing bowl, a few tablespoons at a time.
  3. When a thick cookie dough has formed, roll the dough into small 1" round balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Press your thumb or the back of a spoon or ice cream scoop into the center of each cookie. 
  4. Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the same spoon into the divots in each cookie. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling  rack to cool completely.
  5. While the cookies are cooling, use a hand mixer to whisk together the rest of the room temperature butter with the coffee creamer and heavy whipping cream. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, as needed, until the icing reaches a toothpaste-like consistency.
  6. Put the icing in a piping bag or use a spoon to fill the centers of each cookie. Place the chocolate covered espresso beans into the icing. Chill or serve room temperature. Enjoy!


Sep 23, 2015

Spicy Beer Cheese Soup - 20 Minute Recipes

Today is officially the first day of fall - that means soup season!! We don't frequently dine on soup in our household, but when we do, it's always delicious and most often based on a fictional character.

And now that it's finally fall, the only thing that truly works against the cold is a solid soup. Fortunately, this simple recipe for beer cheese soup will warm you from the inside out. Most importantly, it's ready in minutes!

A spicy soup is always a good soup, in my opinion, so I used pepperjack and buffalo flavored cheeses and then mellowed down the spiciness with heavy whipping cream. I decided to use Jackie O's chomolugma honey nut brown ale for my beer base as well, not only because it adds a rich, almost nutty taste to the soup, but also because it comes from the greatest place on Earth: Athens, Ohio. You can use whatever kind of beer you prefer, however.

Begin by bringing your cheeses to room temperature, then cutting the cheese (ha!) into evenly sized cubes.

Then in a soup pan, melt some butter over medium high heat. Add the celery, carrots, peas, garlic, and shallot to the pan. Stir occasionally as the pieces being to brown.

Next gently stir in the flour until all of the vegetables are coated. Then quickly add the chicken broth and stir until the flour has dissolved. 

Let the soup base simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the heavy whipping cream and cubed cheese. Stir for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted into the soup. If the cheese is already at room temperature, it should melt fairly fast.

Once the cheese is completely stirred into the soup, add the can of beer slowly or else you'll risk foaming over the top of the soup. Stir a few times then let simmer for about 5 minutes and reduce the heat to low.

The soup will thicken the longer it stands, so serve it right away with some focaccia bread croutons and freshly grated white cheddar cheese.  

Recipe TL;DR:

Makes ~1 quart of soup

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 8 oz pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 4-6 oz buffalo wing cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 can (12 oz) can Jackie O's Chomolungma Honey Nut Brown Ale
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas & carrots
  • 1/4 cup celery, celery
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • croutons (optional)
  • additional white cheddar cheese, for topping (optional)

Here's How:

  1. Bring the cheeses to room temperature. Cube the cheeses into roughly evenly sized pieces.
  2. Melt half of the butter in a soup pan. Add the peas, carrots, garlic, celery, and chopped shallot and sauté until just beginning to brown. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, followed by the flour - 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir until the vegetables are covered.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the pan. Stir until the flour is dissolved and a thick soup base has formed. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium heat and add the heavy whipping cream. Then add the cheese, a few cubes at a time, to the base. Continue to stir until the cheese has completely melted into the soup.
  5. Slowly pour in the beer, stirring to incorporate. Take care not to pour to fast and create foam that might overflow. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. The soup will begin to thicken as it cools. Serve right away with croutons and freshly grated white cheddar cheese. Enjoy and stay warm!


Heritage Rosemary & Honey Chicken

When it comes to my heritage, you'd find a healthy mix of Irish-Scottish-Germanish in my blood. And with my mother's maiden name of "Simpson" and my father's last name of "Berger" it's pretty hard to argue that we came from anywhere else. The only problem with my 'heritage' is that apparently no one in my immediate line of ancestry got the cooking gene - I was adopted into the family at birth, so I know I didn't get it from any of them!

In fact, this challenge was especially difficult because my family, unlike many others, doesn't exactly embrace our heritage as something that is super important - occasionally at Christmas we'll have sausage and kielbasa alongside the rest of the Christmas feast, but it's never been something the meal is specially about. After doing some research on traditional Scottish, Irish, and German foods, I decided to go with a simple and rustic sweet citrus and herb chicken breast that could be enjoyed regardless of where we say we hail from.

Begin by searing the chicken breasts on both sides until they are nice and browned. Then remove them from the pan and place in a covered roasting dish. Leave the dripping from the chicken in the pan to help form the sauce.

I merely whisked together the honey, lemon, and rosemary, then poured the sauce into the pan with a touch of extra butter and brought to a simmer.

While the sauce is thickening, arrange pierogies in the roasting dish alongside the chicken. I didn't make mine from scratch, unfortunately, but I definitely plan on tackling my own pieorgi recipe sometime in the future, so be on the lookout! When the sauce has thickened up some, pour it over the chicken and pierogies, then pop the roasting dish, covered, into the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

The best part about this dish is that it's so simple, it's pretty difficult to mess it up. So if anyone in my immediate family is looking to embrace their inner heritage, try this dish out!

Recipe TL;DR:

Makes 2 chicken breasts
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 5 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons butter (2 tbsp + 2 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • frozen pierogies (optional)

Here's How:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter until just browning. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet with the butter and sear on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side, until browned.
  2. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place into a roasting dish. Arrange the pierogies around the chicken breasts.
  3. Without cleaning the skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk together the honey, lemon, garlic and rosemary. Pour the mix into the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let the sauce thicken for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken and pierogies. Cover the roasting dish and place into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
  5. Serve right away alongside the pierogies and enjoy!


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