Superbowl Sunday Food: Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms



Can a man stand tall and proud when he’s hunching over to pull out baked stuffed mushrooms for him and his boyfriend to enjoy on a Sunday night while waiting to watch the one-hour premiere of Kirstie Alley’s Big Life? (I’ll leave out references to the powder blue oven mitt I got for Christmas). Two days later, I still am unsure of my answer to that question and would like to pass until the next round, Wink. I will say, however that there was not one bit of stuffed shroom left anywhere in my home within twenty minutes of turning down the oven and presenting them to a most-surprised and delighted MG. One might argue that it’s nearly impossible for anything to taste bad when slathered in a mixture of heated cream cheese, bacon, parmesan and Worcestershire sauce, but I would like to think that my ever-mounting kitchen skills had something to do with these coming out as awesome as they did.

I’m still not the biggest fan of the shroom, but the zesty aroma will make them hard to refuse. A definite must-bring to any pot-luck party. Just make sure your host has available oven space to cook them just before putting them out. (Geez, I sound like Martha Stewart! I’m tossing that powder blue oven mitt the minute I get home!)
Recipe for Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Superbowl Sunday Food: Prosciutto Pepper Puffs

Here’s a simple twist on the recipe for crab puffs I posted a while back to accomodate those heathens who dislike crab. There were more of them out there then I originally realized – my mother and father being two of them – so out with the crustacea and in with a hot and zesty one-two punch of prosciutto and serrano pepper that’ll keep these babies flying into your mouth faster than you can keep count. And being as light and mouth-watering as they are, you won’t want to keep count.

Recipe for Prosciutto Pepper Puffs

Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese


Once you start showing off what you’ve managed to learn to make in the kitchen (say, on a blog for example), you have to take a certain level of responsiblity when friends and family start making certain food assumptions about what you’ll prepare for them when you invite them over. I became accutely aware of that fact earlier this week when my friend Travis asked what I was going to be serving at my weekly LOST viewing party and dinner:

Travis: “What are you making tonight, Gary?”
Me: “I’m making this amazing jalapeno popper mac and cheese.”
Travis:  “Cool… what else?
Me:  “What do you mean what else?
Travis:  “I mean… what else are you making to go with it?  And what, no dessert?”

I guess my days of gliding by with spaghetti and meatballs served on plastic plates I stole from my college dining commons are over, but I’ll happily leave that era in my past. MG often reminds me of my typical day’s food rundown from our first year or so of dating. I don’t recall, but apparently I lived exclusively on Hot Pockets, McDonalds and Tombstone frozen pizzas. I’m guessing MG is happy I’ve left those days behind as well.

On to the mad mac and cheese recipe I found over at Let’s Cook.

Continue reading “Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese” »

Superbowl Sunday Food: Three (or Four) Cheese Mac and Cheese with Herbs

There’s some serious cheese going on here, folks.  You need to be warned… I mean truly warned.  Take a good look at the photo below and ask yourself, “Do I have the fortitude to take on this recipe?”  All of the cheese in the photo below was grated  and melted into a mere 12 ounces of penne rigate to create the finished product.  You’ve been told.

And it doesn’t stop there.  There’s also butter!  There’s also bacon!  There’s also the fat from the bacon! There’s also white flour.  There’s also fresh sage, parsley, oregano and rosemary.  Some of that counts as vegetables, right?

Am I leaving anything out.  Oh yeah!  I accidentally doubled the amount of butter required by the recipe.  Oops!  I swear, it was unintentional.  And guess what, it totally didn’t ruin the meal!  Who’d have thought it?

I started preparing this at about 8:00 in the evening.  I started eating it at about 9.  By about 10, I was speaking in tongues and levitating three feet off the floor

The recipe can be found at StephenCooks.com, so send your thank you cards and/or the pants you are about to no longer be able to fit into his direction, not mine.  I didn’t come up with this.  I merely used it on a lonely Wednesday night to fill a hole in my heart.  Cheese is really the best way to overcome such things, don’t you think?

So take a read below for how to get ‘er done, and then head to the store for the ingredients you’re missing, because if you have this much cheese just sitting around your house already, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be spending your time reading blog posts.

Recipe for Super Bowl Style Mac and Cheese

Pizza and a Movie #3: Texas BBQ Chicken Pizza with Prosciutto and The Black Scorpion (1957)

The Black Scorpion centers on a misunderstood prehistoric creature who is accidentally freed from his underground cave by a volcanic eruption and proceeds to roam all of Mexico in search of friendship and understanding.

Unfortunately, he is unable to find it, so instead he decides to slash his way through thousands of locals, demolish infrastructure, and create economic chaos in an attempt to weaken the peso.

Click here for the Recipe!

Pizza and a Movie #1: Greek Pizza with Pancetta and Hitchcock’s Stage Fright (1950)



If you don’t start dramatically prancing around your living room before recklessly tossing your body onto the nearest piece of open furniture while crooning in the lustiest, huskiest voice you can muster after watching Marlene Dietrich perform “The Laziest Gal in Town,” smack dab in the middle of Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright (video below), then switch the movie off immediately.

Stage Fright clearly has nothing to offer you.  Stick with Psycho.

For months now, MG and I have regularly observed a Friday night tradition of homemade pizza and movie-watching at Chez Tv Food and Drink.  It’s become such a ritual that I generally start mentally nominating film contenders and potential pizza toppings as early as the Wednesday before.  All the necessary ingredients are in-house by Thursday night, and if the selected film can’t be found via DVR search or on the living room shelves, an expedition to local DVD retailers is commissioned until the required title is smoked out and bagged.

And all of that happens before I even get to the cleaning of the house.  The living room must be in perfect order. Throw pillows appropriately placed.  Stray books, sneakers, and electronic gear stowed away.  Aquarium cleaned and filled.  Glass tabletops free of all smudges and rings.  Curtains opened so the lights from the balcony candles are able to reflect their charm into the window panes.  Ipod turned on to the “Cocktail Hour” playlist featuring over 500 of my favorite lounge tunes, exotica, and Bond soundtracks.

And my OCD goes double for the kitchen.  Countertops must be scrubbed down and free of any unnecessary appliances. Dirty dishes are washed, dried and put away. Cutting boards set out along with all appropriate knives and the rolling pin for the pizza dough.  By the time MG arrives from work, I have the entirety of that night’s pizza built and ready to hit the oven.  Then together we count three, hoist up the pie via the slice of parchment paper underneath, and transport it onto the pizza stone, which has been heating in the oven at 500°F for no less than thirty minutes.  Once the oven door is kicked closed, I make our drinks and we head to the living room to discuss the day for the next 12-18 minutes until it’s time to slice up our dinner, kill the lights, and start our movie.

Pizza and a Movie night – hardly a new concept, though I don’t know if anyone in the history of Pizza and Movie Nights has taken it as seriously as I do.

Click here for the Recipe!

Three (or Four) Cheese Mac and Cheese with Herbs

Coming home from producing our show’s Cinco de Mayo episode, I decided to celebrate all things queso!

There’s some serious cheese going on here, folks.  You need to be warned… I mean truly warned.  Take a good look at the photo below and ask yourself, “Do I have the fortitude to take on this recipe?”  All of the cheese in the photo below was grated  and melted into a mere 12 ounces of penne rigate to create the finished product.  You’ve been told.
And it doesn’t stop there.  There’s also butter!  There’s also bacon!  There’s also the fat from the bacon! There’s also white flour.  There’s also fresh sage, parsley, oregano and rosemary.  Some of that counts as vegetables, right?

Am I leaving anything out.  Oh yeah!  I accidentally doubled the amount of butter required by the recipe.  Oops!  I swear, it was unintentional.  And guess what, it totally didn’t ruin the meal!  Who’d have thought it?

I started preparing this at about 8:00 in the evening.  I started eating it at about 9.  By about 10, I was speaking in tongues and levitating three feet off the floor

The recipe can be found at StephenCooks.com, so send your thank you cards and/or the pants you are about to no longer be able to fit into his direction, not mine.  I didn’t come up with this.  I merely used it on a lonely Wednesday night to fill a hole in my heart.  Cheese is really the best way to overcome such things, don’t you think?

So take a read below for how to get ‘er done, and then head to the store for the ingredients you’re missing, because if you have this much cheese just sitting around your house already, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be spending your time reading blog posts.

Continue reading “Three (or Four) Cheese Mac and Cheese with Herbs” »

Cheese and Tomato Sausage Bake



I’m leaving for a weekend in San Francisco in less than 24 hours. Very excited about it. Sadly, I picked the weekend of the Los Angeles Grilled Cheese International to leave town. Wish I could do both, but truthfully, I am a man who rarely wants for cheese. Witness this lovely dish that was cobbled together with leftovers and the perishables I’m racing to eradicate from my kitchen before I leave for the weekend. Kinda hard to look away from these pics, isn’t it?

Truth be told, the top pic is currently my desktop photo. You think it looks good 500 pixels wide? You should see it at 2500 pixels wide!

This dish is fantastic straight from the pan, or packed in a pita (consider it a Classy Hot Pocket). It also goes great over some slightly tosated sourdough or ciabatta bread lightly scraped with a garlic clove.

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Chicken with Rustic Mustard Cream Sauce



Rosemary has long been considered the herb of remembrance, often associated with and used at both weddings and funerals. Sprigs were thrown into freshly-dug graves for centuries in Europe in honor of the memory of the deceased. Shakespeare even references its symbolism in Hamlet:

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts. “

Rosemary is also one of the most effective spices to include in a recipe when your goal is to alert your neighbors to the fact that you’re making something for dinner that is leaps and bounds beyond whatever little handful of drizzle, grubs and flakes they’re re-heating in a plastic bag over a rusty old pot.  And here, we have a simple little recipe that sounds far more complicated than it is, but more than delivers on flavor.

Continue reading “Chicken with Rustic Mustard Cream Sauce” »