Marin Joe’s Special

Forever ago, I was watching one of my Food Network shows when Tyler Florence introduced me to one of the best things he’s ever eaten:  The Marin Joe’s Special from Marin Joe’s in Corte Madera, CA.

He's sexy and he knows it!

He’s sexy and he knows it!

Seeing as I won’t be traveling to Corte Madera, CA anytime soon, I decided I had to try this one out myself.  It sounded so easy… “Hamburger, Spinach, Eggs”.  Three things I love to eat.

My grand idea of trying out my first recipe as seen on “Best Thing…” was spoiled when I told Dave the three simple starring ingredients.  What I got back was a different simple three words, “That. Sounds. Disgusting.”, and put the recipe back in my book of hundreds.  I forgot about good ole Marin Joe’s until one night during our “Lets not go food shopping and save money” week.  I had ground beef… a huge bag of spinach… and we always have a plethora of eggs.  Perfect.

And would you have guessed… Dave ended up loving it?  We both did!

This is an awesome recipe packed with protein from the beef and eggs and it even includes your veggies too!

Before you’re turned off by the eggs just like Dave was, let me reassure you, this doesn’t turn out to be scrambled eggs on top of a hamburger.  The eggs are mixed into the ground beef and turn into more of a thickener.  Eggs combine all of the other ingredients together and make it just deliciously rich.  Seriously, try it.

Marin Joe’s Special


1lb Lean Ground Beef 

1/2 Onion, thinly sliced

1 clove of Garlic, thinly sliced or crushed

1 Jalapeno, seeded and sliced

1 bag Baby Spinach (or more!  I had a giant bag so I used a ton)

3 Eggs

1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese


1.  Add ground beef to a large saute pan.  Chop into small pieces as it cooks.  Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  Saute with the grease from the ground beef.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.  

2.  Once the beef is cooked through, pile on the raw spinach.  Mix into the meat and heat while stirring until the spinach becomes slightly wilted.  

3.  Stir the eggs together in a small bowl.  Once the spinach is slightly wilted, add the eggs to the pan.  Stir constantly until the eggs are completely mixed in and no longer runny.  If you stir it constantly- it won’t turn into scrambled eggs 🙂

4.  Serve in a bowl and top with Parmesan cheese.  

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Marin Joe’s Restaurant

Ground beef is sauteed and chopped up with the onion, garlic, jalapeno with salt and pepper.

Ground beef is sauteed and chopped up with the onion, garlic, jalapeno with salt and pepper.

I told you, I love spinach! This was during the time we had a giant 3lb bag from the Italian Market, so I def. used more than a normal 5oz bag.

I told you, I love spinach! This was during the time we had a giant 3lb bag from the Italian Market, so I def. used more than a normal 5oz bag.

Stir the spinach until it becomes slightly wilted, and then add the eggs.

Stir the spinach until it becomes slightly wilted, and then add the eggs.

In go the eggs!  Don't be afraid :)

In go the eggs! Don’t be afraid 🙂

Anything topped with fresh parm is okay in my book...

Anything topped with fresh parm is okay in my book…

See how good this looks?!  It was the perfect speedy dinner after a long run in the neighborhood.  And I do have to say, I can very much appreciate a one-pan dinner every once in a while!

Take a bite!

Take a bite!

Take a peek at these other recipes I’ve tried from the Food Network:

Blue Cheese n Spinach Orzo from Robert Irvine

Blue Cheese n Spinach Orzo from Robert Irvine

BBQ Deviled Eggs from the Neely's

BBQ Deviled Eggs from the Neely’s

Chicken in Peanut Sauce from Mexican Made Easy

Chicken in Peanut Sauce from Mexican Made Easy



BBQ Deviled Eggs

I’m so super excited to brag and announce that this delish recipe was chosen as a Host Favorite (TWICE!) for this week’s Daily Dish Foodie Friends Friday!  TWO big Thank You’s to Ericka & Cindy for choosing my recipe 🙂

Foodie Friends Friday



Is anyone hosting an Oscars Party this weekend?  I am so excited to see who’s going to win this year.  Typically, I have very strong hopes for one movie or actor in each catagory… only having seen one or two a year.  This year is different.  I am SO excited!  I cannot figure out who to root for.

I really enjoyed Django, loved Zero Dark Thirty, and am nearly obsessed with Silver Linings.  AH!  Bradley Cooper AND Jennifer Lawrence?  LOVE THEM!

Anyway, I am sharing with you a recipe that would be perfect for a little appetizer for an Oscars Party… or any party really!  I made these for my superbowl party, and they were a huge hit.  I think I ate three of them myself too… whoops!

BBQ Deviled Eggs

Recipe adapted from:  The Neelys


12 Hard Boiled Eggs

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil Mayo

4 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce

2 Tablespoons BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s… my fav)

Salt, Pepper, Chives, and Smoked Paprika


1.  Carefully slice the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks putting them in a mixing bowl and place the whites on a plate.  Mash the yolks with a fork and add the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper, mixing together.  Taste and season accordingly.

2.  Put the filling in a ziplock bag and seal.  Cut a small hole in the bottom corner.  Fill the holes in the egg whites with the mixture from the bag.  Top with Chives and Smoked Paprika (use regular if that’s all you have, but Smoked Paprika would be a GREAT addition to your spice cabinet if you don’t… and you can get it at TJ’s for $1.99)

I happen to think this is like, the best picture I've ever taken on here!

I happen to think this is like, the best picture I’ve ever taken on here!

I will probably never use my normal Deviled Eggs recipe ever again.  The flavors in this recipe are SO amazing and work so well with the eggs.  You can taste the BBQ sauce AND the mustard, and even the zing from the hot sauce.  The Smoked Paprika puts the final touch.  YUM!

So a side note about this recipe… it originally called for half the amount of eggs. I was expecting about 20 people for our superbowl party, so I decided to double it.  Thank god I did.  Despite following the strict perfect-hard-boiled eggs rules, my eggs were a NIGHTMARE!  They took me about a half hour to peel and were a huge pain in the ass.  I ended up ripping into the whites on a few of them.  UGH!  So, needless to say, I was happy to have made extra… and used the “rejects” for egg salad 🙂

This recipe can be found at this week’s Foodie Friends Friday!!

Foodie Friends Friday

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

Oh HI friends…. it’s been a while.

While I meant to post these babies just in time for Valentine’s Day… that just never happened… so you’re getting them now!  I mean really, who doesn’t love Red Velvet ANYDAY!?  There’s no rule saying you can only eat it for V-Day.  Am I right?

Beautiful flowers from my Valentine!

Beautiful flowers from my Valentine!

Dave and I went to the Circus for Valentine's Day!

Dave and I went to the Circus for Valentine’s Day!

It was so much fun... I loved the poodles and the elephants.

It was so much fun… I loved the poodles and the elephants.


I actually searched far and wide for the perfect cookies to make the boys for Valentine’s Day.  Everything I found was either too chocolately or just too complicated.  After stumbling across a semi-homemade Paula Deen recipe for which I only had to buy ONE thing at the grocery store… I knew I found a winner.

I do have to mention the color of my hands after rolling the dough… OMG!  It looked like I was experiencing some disgusting type of Stigmata.  So, make sure you keep your hands to yourself and wear your apron for this recipe!

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

Adapted from Paula Deen


1 (8-ounce) brick Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 stick Butter, at room temperature
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist Red Velvet Cake Mix (unprepared!)
Powdered Sugar, for dusting


1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment or silpat.  

2.  With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the egg, and then the vanilla extract and beat.  Add in the cake mix and beat.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for two hours (this makes it easier to roll the batter into cookie balls!).

3.  Put about 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl or plate.  Roll the chilled batter into Tablespoon sized balls.  Roll them into the powdered sugar, covering the ball.  Place on the cookie sheets.

4.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Cool completely as they will still be super soft and gooey.  Once they are cool sprinkle with the leftover powdered sugar.  

Rich red cookie batter

Rich red cookie batter

Into the sugar it goes

Into the sugar it goes

I love using Silpat, especially because mine is pretty purple :)

I love using Silpat, especially because mine is pretty purple 🙂

Cookies are done!  YUM!  Now if only we could ALL wait until they were cool to dig in (yeah right)

Cookies are done! YUM! Now if only we could ALL wait until they were cool to dig in (yeah right)

We really enjoyed these cookies!  Next time, I’d like to make them but top them with some cream cheese frosting or glaze and sprinkles.  How pretty would that be?

The cookies indeed, as Paula mentioned… SUPER gooey and melty and delicious.

photo 5 (4)

This recipe can be found at this week’s Foodie Friends Friday!!

Foodie Friends Friday


I LOVE New Orleans.  Love love love.  Dave and I traveled there a few years ago on a mini-vacation during Halloween.  I don’t think I’ve ever gained so much weight in such a short period of time.  We walked everywhere, exploring and of course eating (and drinking) our way through the city.

In honor of one of my favorite cities and to celebrate Mardi Gras, I cooked up a pretty sweet Jambalaya recipe on Fat Tuesday.  I think this is one of my best ones yet!

The recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Kicked-Up Jambalaya” from way back when in 2000.  I was really excited because he included the recipe to make his Cajun Seasoning… and I actually even had all of the ingredients!  I made a whole batch and have a little baggie of leftovers for another time.  YUM BAM!

And please, let the records show that I was an Emeril fan long before his “Emeril Live” show even aired its pilot.  My Aunt and I used to watch “The Essence of Emeril” and “Molto Mario” when I’d sleepover back in the late 90’s.  How is this the first recipe of either of their’s for me to try?!

Let’s kick this up a notch and get started… 


Recipe adapted from Emeril’s Kicked Up Jambalaya

Serves: 6-8


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Emeril’s Creole seasoning (See below)
4 Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts (1 pkg)
14oz Andouille Sausage, cut into slices
2 cups chopped Onion (1 large)
1 cup chopped Celery
1 cup chopped Red Bell Pepper
2 Tablespoons minced Garlic
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Thyme
1 (14oz) can Diced Tomatoes, partially drained
6 cups Water
2 cups Uncooked Brown Bismati Rice (Quick Cook)
Salt & Pepper
1 cup chopped Green Onions
1/2 cup chopped Parsley


1.  In a large Dutch Oven, heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium-high heat.  Cut Chicken into 1-inch strips or pieces and season with the Emeril Creole seasoning.  Saute until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove and set aside, reserving oil and all the good juices in the dutch oven.

2.  Add sausage and cook for a few minutes.  Remove and set aside.

3.  Add Onion, Celery, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Bay Leaves, Cayenne and Thyme and cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until the veggies have softened.

4.  Add the can of Diced Tomatoes and Water to the pot.  Season with a pinch of Salt and Pepper.  Simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.

5.  Add uncooked Rice to the pot, stir well and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for another 10-15 minutes (Check at 10).  Most of the liquid should be evaporated and cooked into the rice at this point.  Add in the Sausage, Chicken, another sprinkle of Emeril Creole Seasoning, Green Onions, and Parsley.  Cover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Let sit off of the heat for 10 minutes before serving.  Remove Bay Leaves.  Garnish with extra Green Onions and Parsley.

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning
2.5 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of each:  Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, Dried Thyme
Mix in a bowl and reserve leftovers… add it on top of chicken, seafood, or even popcorn!
Emeril's Creole Seasoning... you can make it with the recipe here or buy it in the grocery store

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning… you can make it with the recipe here or buy it in the grocery store

A new skill I learned while I was visiting my friends in Fort Wayne, IN!  Bob taught me how to cut a Bell Pepper in one swoop!  YAY!

A new skill I learned while I was visiting my friends in Fort Wayne, IN! Bob taught me how to cut a Bell Pepper in one swoop! YAY!

Before adding the liquids

Before adding the liquids

I could NOT believe how much liquid was soaked up by the time I opened up the lid.  I love parsley and green onions... mmm!

I could NOT believe how much liquid was soaked up by the time I opened up the lid. I love parsley and green onions… mmm!

I realize this recipe has a lot of ingredients.  But read over… it really isn’t that bad!  You can use the veggies for other recipes if you don’t already have them in the house.  You can also use Shrimp instead of the Chicken if you’d like and any type of rice too!  The Jambalaya is just so flavorful without being overly spicy.  If you wanted it to have an extra kick… add some Cayenne.

I was nervous to try my first Emeril Recipe but this one was super simple and SO delicious.  The best part is that you will probably have leftovers like I did… and it only got better after being reheated.  BAM!
Delicious Jambalaya!

Delicious Jambalaya!

50 Shades of Paninis & Taters

I don’t even know where to start with these??  As I’m just finishing up my “to-Cook Book”, there’s no way I can add FIFTY new Panini Recipes & FIFTY new Mashed Potato Recipes.  But they all look so good!

I’ve re-discovered the Food Network as a resource for new recipes.  Oh how I’ve missed you, Giada & Alton.  One thing I love about the Food Network’s website is they do these super overwhelming lists where they start with one topic:  Paninis in one today and Mashed Potatoes in the other.  They will give you a basic recipe for that item, and then a plethora of options to make that one simple food more exciting.  These ideas are never too complicated and so many of them have me wondering, “why didn’t I think of that?!”.  

Instead of writing up an entire recipe in my book for these and taking up even more space, I’m saving them here.  I promise you and myself I will try one… or two… or all?  Check it out!

Food Network’s 50 Panini Recipes

Start with:

In a panini press: Preheat the press. Add your sandwich and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

On the stove: Preheat a skillet with butter or oil to medium low. Add your sandwich, then press a heavy pan on top to weigh it down. Cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side.





Food Network’s 50 Mashed Potato Recipes

Start with:

1. Classic 
Cover 2 pounds whole russet or Yukon gold potatoes with cold salted water; simmer 45 minutes. Drain, peel and mash with 1/2 to 1 stick butter. Add 1 cup hot milk, and salt and pepper; mash until smooth and fluffy.

Seriously… drooling…


Crabcake Mac and Cheese

Guess what?  This rockin’ recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday, a great blogging linky party… check it out!

Happy Friday, everyone.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today!  I have had this recipe on the back burner for almost a year now, and I finally got a chance to whip it up.  This Mac and Cheese isn’t your typical Shells and Velveeta.  It’s Crabcake Mac and Cheese.  It’s a Rachael Ray recipe that combines all of your typical crabcake ingredients with a delicious cheesy sauce and pasta.

Dave helped me make this complicated recipe this past Saturday.  While it did take a lot longer than my normal recipes, we had a lot of fun making it.  I put a college football game on in the kitchen for him, and it was so nice for me to have the helping hand and company.

Before I tell you the ingredients, let me warn you:  do not get overwhelmed by the number of ingredients or steps in this recipe.  Nothing is difficult, it just takes a few steps.  Rachael even suggests that you make the pasta up until the last few steps ahead of time, and then you can finish it off closer to gametime!  … so make sure you block out some time for this one, it will be soooooo worth it!

Crabcake Mac and Cheese

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Rachael Ray

Makes:  4-6 Servings (I think mine made like 10… seriously)


1lb Pasta (I used Gemelli because it’s so pretty!)

2 Tablespoons EVOO (in honor of Rach)

6 Tablespoons Butter, divided

4 ribs Celery

1 Onion, medium

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced (or 3 cloves)

1 Bay Leaf

2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest

1 lb Premium Crab Meat “special” (Rachael suggests 3/4lb Lump but it was super expensive.  Mine was still expensive though, I got it next to the seafood section)

1 1/2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

1/2 Tablespoon Old Bay Blackening Seasoning

3 Tablespoons Flour

2 1/2 Cups Skim Milk

1 Tablespoon Honey Dijon Mustard

1 + Cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (1 block Cabot with some leftover, shredded)

1 + Cup Gruyere Cheese (or swiss, again, shredded with some leftovers)

3 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs

1 Handful Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (or grated if thats all you have)

Nutmeg, to taste

Salt & Pepper, to taste


1.  Cook the pasta in salted water for 3-4 minutes.  Yes, it will be super-undercooked.  That’s what you want!  Cool in the pot of water and then drain.  Put it in a large bowl.

2.  Chop the Celery, Onion, and Red Pepper.

3.  In a Medium Saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons of EVOO and 1 Tablespoon of Butter over medium high heat.  Add the Veggies, Garlic, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Lemon Zest, Salt and Pepper.  Cook until tender while stirring, about 8 minutes or so.

4.  Add the Crabmeat to the veggie mixture and season with Old Bay (to taste… I used a little extra).  Stir and then remove from the heat.

5.  In a medium saucepot, melt 3 Tablespoons of Butter over low heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk.  Bring to a bubble.  Make sure you stir it or it will burn the bottom of your pot!  Season with Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg.  Cook for a new minutes until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

6.  Add the Mustard and the Cheddar and Gruyere Cheeses.  Stir in a “figure 8” motion until all of the cheese is melted in and well incorporated.

7.  Add the Veggie and Crab mixture to the bowl of pasta.  Add the sauce too, and stir.  At this point, you can put into a casserole dish or individual ramekins and refrigerate until you are ready.  If not, put it in your desired dish and preheat your oven to 375!

8.  Next, melt 2 Tablespoons of Butter in a small skillet over low heat.  Add 3 Tablespoons of Hot Sauce.  Warm the sauce and add the Panko Bread Crumbs, tossing to evenly coat the crumbs in the sauce.  Cool for a few minutes.  Add the chopped Parsley and 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese into the crumb mixture.  Top the Mac and Cheese with the crumb mixture (only if you’re baking right away**).

9.  If you are using individual crocks or ramekins, arrange them on a baking sheet to catch any drips.  Otherwise, stick the casserole dish in the oven.  Bake until heated through with the following times:

Cooking immediately:  10-15 minutes

Cooking from refrigeration:  40-45 minutes **Add the bread crumbs onto the top within the last 10 minutes of baking**

WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!  Okay I warned you it was long, but seriously just read it… you’ll be fine!  And check out these pictures, they’re mouth watering!

I thought all of the veggies chopped were so pretty! Thanks Dave!

Sauteed Veggies

I had to show you the Gemelli! I have a thing for pasta shapes…

Makin’ my sauce! Pre-Cheese.

Here we are, ready to be topped with crumbs and go in the oven.

Ta-Da!!! Baked and crisped topping to perfection.

Like, Oh my gosh.  This stuff is great!  It was a big hit with Dave, my sister, and I.  I brought some leftovers into work too, and my co-workers went crazy.  While this recipe might take you longer than your normal weeknight dinner, you should totally try it… I promise it will be worth your time.  The crab meat can also get expensive, but you can taste it in every single bite… and with all the leftovers you’ll have, you’ll be eating it all week!

PS I love this page!  If you share your love for adorable pasta shapes with me, check it out!

THANK YOU RACHAEL RAY, for yet another freakin’ awesome recipe!  You rockkkkk!

Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace, Philadelphia

Rant #2:  Wifi.  What the F?  Why does it never ever work?  I always roll my eyes at work when the gym-goers complain to my co-workers and sometimes myself about our Wifi… here’s how it always goes:

Q:  What’s the password?  A:  There is none.

Q:  Why can’t I connect?  A:  I have no idea, I’m not an IT person.

Q:  Well, how can we fix it?  A:  You can shut the F up because I DON’T KNOW!

 Okay, so I would obviously never talk that way… but that’s how it goes in my head.  Well, I’m sitting here after dropping Dave off to coach hockey at World Café Live in University City Philly.  This is the closest and first place that came up on my Yelp when I searched “wifi”, and of course… their Wifi DOES NOT WORK.  WTF!  Here, I think I’m going to get a ton of stuff done since I’m stuck here, I lug my laptop to and from work, I order a beer (more on that later), get all plugged in and set up… for it to not work!  UGH!  So what happens?  I ask my server.  Here’s how it goes:

Q:  What’s the Wifi name here?  A:  World Café Life.  No password.

Q:  Hm, well I can’t find it, why can’t I connect?  A:  Um… I don’t really know

Q:  Is there any way to fix it?  A:  Um… I don’t really know…

 HA.  Of course.  I’m sure she was thinking the same thing I do at work.  I decided to stop bothering her and get some other stuff done (writing all of my blog posts on Word Documents with NO research capabilities or Facebook distractions… this could be a good idea after all).  And, not to mention, I tried my very first Samuel Adams Octoberfest Beer… omg.  I like it.  Yay!


If you didn’t believe that I drank Oktoberfest beer. 🙂 I really liked it!

One restaurant I’ve been itching to try for a few years now is Bobby’s BurgerPalace.  This is Bobby Flay’s burger joint in (again) University City Philly, where the smarty-pants Penn students hang out.  While I didn’t feel smarter eating here, I sure as hell felt satisfied!

Looooove him! Especially his role as himself dating Mrs. Ari in Entourage 🙂

Dave and I tried out Bobby’s Burgers with my friend Sam and all three of us ordered a Burger and Fries.  Okay, so we definitely should not have all gotten fries.  They were way too big, but they were so good.  OMG.  Sam ordered the Sweet Potato fries and a Burger with Avocado Relish, Goat Cheese, and some kind of Meyer Lemon Honey Mustard.  Wow.

Her burger looks ridic. It was.

Both the boyfriend and I picked the Dallas Burger which was Spice Crusted and served with Cole Slaw, Monterey Jack Cheese, BBQ Sauce, and Pickles.  Wow.  The spice crusting of the burger was awesome and super flavorful.

WOW, almost forgot to mention, um… my burger was “crunchified”.  If you watch Food Network, you probably know what this means.  Yup, my burger had POTATO CHIPS smushed on top between the burger and the bun.  It was so. Good.  Wow.

There she is! My Crunchified Dallas Burger

This burger is crunchified!!!

The most exciting thing about BBP would have to be the the different sauces available at your fingertips, ready to smother your burger and fries.  There was your regular Ketchup and Yellow Mustard, of course… but there was also a “Burger Sauce”, a green bottle called “Hot Sauce” and two others too.  I am a big big fan of sauces, so I loved this part, of picking which bite to eat with which sauce.  For this reason and this reason only, I would order a regular burger next time instead of having the extra spices on there with the Dallas Burger.

MMM ready for another delicious bite!

The verdict:
I really liked Bobby’s BurgerPalace.  I’d like to say that I would come back in a flash, but in all reality, who can eat an entire serving of fries and a crunchified burger more than once or twice a year?  I can’t!  Although I probably won’t be back any time soon (just because of my fat-girl-guilt) you should totally go.  It’s delish.