Archive for the ‘Cooking at Home’ Category

Football — Meaty Marinara Sauce 

The excitement is starting!  Football season kicks off this weekend with Pop Warner scrimmages and High School practices and preseason games!   To create a great, hardy meal for your family with little effort, get your crock pot out and let’s make some Meaty Marinara Sauce!                                                                 

Ingredients to throw into the Crock:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 pound Ground Beef (already cooked and seasoned with salt and garlic powder)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dash of Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregeno
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 3 large Garlic Cloves (skins removed, finely chopped)
  • 3 (14-oz.) cans of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (or whatever you have)

 Set the Crock on low and let slow cook for 6-8 hours.

When ready to serve, take out the bay leaf, boil up some of your favorite pasta, throw a quick salad together and dinner will be ready for you and your family after practice (and, oooooohhh, your house will smell GOOD!)   EnJOY!

Go Titans!  and EnJOY!

xo  Christie (Team Momster)

It’s Friday!  Farmers Market Day in Rancho Santa Margarita!  1:00pm-6:00pm  Get there early before the cold rain (and snow!) comes!

A healthy recipe to think about making while you’re there is the refreshing and very healthy Pomegrante Lime Iced-Tea.







  • 4 tea bags, steeped with 4 cups hot water
  • 4 limes, cut up in quarters
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pomegranate juice and seeds
  • ice cubes


  • In a pitcher, pour in the tea and let cool.
  • In a bowl, place the limes and sugar and mash together.  Pour lime sugar mixture into the pitcher.
  • Add a splash of pomegranate juice and place in the refrigerator.
  • When chilled, use a strainer to catch the limes, and pour into glasses with some ice.  Add a few pomegranate seeds and enJOY!

FYI:  Pomegranate Nutrition:

  • vitamin C, potassium, tannins, anti-oxidants
  • fiber in the seeds
  • can help reduce chances of prostate cancer, diabetes, lymphoma, common cold and coronary heart disease, just to name a few!

FYI:  Lime Nutrition:

  • vitamin C, vitamin A, a bit of calcium and iron

Famers Market – Fresh Lemonade! (so easy!)


  • 1 cup sugar (fine granuals are best)
  • 6 large Meyer lemons, seeded and juiced
  • 5 cups of water, divided into 1 cup and 4 cups
  • 1 tablespoon organic maple syrup, optional
  • mint leaves, optional






  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil.  Sir occasionally until sugar dissolves completely and turns into a syrup.  Let cool.
  2. In a large pitcher/jar, stir in the syrup, unstrained lemon juice, maple syrup and 4 cups of cold water together.
  3. Chill in the fridge or serve over ice.  Add mint for an edible decoration.



BBQ Pull-Apart-Pork Manwich

This was such a hit at our Super Bowl-in-Texas party with the teenagers — so easy, and so flavorful.  The night before game day, you can start marinating the pork roast, and by kick off the next day, your meal will be done and the house will smell soooo good ! 



Dry Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne

4 pound shoulder pork roast

1 Gallon-size plastic bag

Liquid Flavor:

  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

6 of your favorite hamburger buns

BBQ Sauce (see recipe after directions)


Preheat oven to 330 degrees F.

Mix the dry rub ingredients in a gallon-size  plastic bag.  Place the pork roast in the bag and  massage the dry rub all around the roast, covering evenly.  Refrigerate overnight or for at least a couple hours.

In a large Dutch oven, combine liquid ingredients and the garlic powder.  Place pork in the Dutch oven and tightly cover with aluminum foil then the lid.  Roast for 4 hours or until pork is tender and shreds easily.  Every hour or so, spoon  the liquid flavor over the roast.  Set your timer for 4 hours.  Start your BBQ Sauce (see below).

Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle.  Shred the pork with a fork into bite size pieces.          (Smell that?!   Mmmmmmm……..)

Serve on hamburger buns topped with BBQ sauce.  Side dish options:  cole slaw, potatoe salad, macaroni salad, green salad

Left Overs?!

Oh, this turned out so good!  My husband and son loved this combination:

  • 1 box of “New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice” (like Zatarain’s brand), cooked
  • Turkey Sausage (like Hillshire Farms, or your favorite), 1/4″ slices


After cooking the rice and beans, based on the directions, add the sausage and the left over Pull-Apart-Pork and wa la!  Dinner is served!  This could be great for a Mardi Gras celebration too!


BBQ Sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups of ketchup

1/2½ cup water

1/3  cup Worcestershire sauce

2  tablespoons liquid smoke

2  tablespoons cider vinegar

1/3  cup firmly packed brown sugar

BBQ Sauce Directions:

In a medium sauce pan , melt the butter over a medium heat.  Add the chopped onions and cook about 5 minutes.  Into the pan, add ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, vinegar, and brown sugar.  Bring contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes.  Sauce will thicken and taste great on the Pull-Apart-Pork Manwich!

Left Overs?!

Add to you kids’ turkey sandwiches the next day or a plate of meatballs!

EnJOY your family, friends and football fans with this one!

xo Christie Lynch xo

Chocolate Rum Cake


My friends, Beth and Vivienne, both shared their rum cake recipes with me and after pleasing many people, I got creative and kicked the recipe up a notch by making it a Chocolate Rum Cake.  Some people still prefer the original rum cake recipe (yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding), but those who have tried the chocolate, agree it’s quite sinful in nature. J


     Cake Mixture

½ cup chopped candied pecans (optional)

(1)        18-ounce package chocolate cake mix (Duncan Hines)

(1)        3-ounce package chocolate instant pudding

½ cup light rum (like Bacardi)

½ cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

4 eggs


Rum Glaze

1 ½ cup sugar

1 ½ sticks of butter

¼ cup rum

¼ cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour bundt pan.  Put nuts on the bottom.  In a medium bowl, combine dry cake mix and dry pudding and mix well.  In a large mixing bowl, beat rum, water, oil, and eggs.  Add dry Cake Mixture to rum mixture and beat for 2 minutes.  Pour into bundt pan and set timer for 50 minutes and bake. 


In the meantime, put Rum Glaze ingredients in a medium sauce pan and let sit during the 50 minutes.  When the timer goes off, leave the cake in the oven another 10 minutes and heat the Rum Glaze to a soft boil. 


Remove cake from the oven and immediately, yet slowly, pour hot glaze over cake.  Cool in pan for about 45 minutes and turn out.  Serve warm or cooled with whipped cream.  You can also sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake and set a flower in the middle for presentation.   


Unique Cake Pans

Another fun idea, especially for Valentine’s Day,Baby or Wedding Shower, is to get a cake pan with unique bite-size cakes (like in the shape of hearts or flowers — William Sonoma has beautiful bite-size cake designs as well as unique cup cake and other fun cake pans – check them out at under “Bakeware”).  Share your little chocolate delights with your loved ones, teachers, neighbors, guests, etc.  The cake mix goes a long way with the bite-size cake pan.  So rich, unique and very impressive!



xo Christie Lynch xo

Happy Boeuf Bourguignon!

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Cooking at Home

I’m going to start off with sharing the wonderful experience of making Ina Garten’s version of hearty Boeuf Bourguignon from her “Barefoot In Paris” cookbook.  I learned that not only was Ina and her husband, Jeffrey, government workers (like Julia Childs and her husband, AND Julie from the movie “Julie and Julia”) who couldn’t wait to get home and cook French food, but I also learned how therapeutic cooking really can be.  Truly it can be a chore or very good for the soul – I pray you feel the latter.  

Ina said,

 “I never really liked beef bourguignon.  After cooking for three hours, the meat was stringy and dry and the vegetables were overcooked.  So, I tried to solve the problem and came up with a delicious stew that cooks in an hour and a half.  The good news is that it’s even better the second day, so it’s great for entertaining.”

I appreciate Ina’s changes to her recipe, because last night, it turned out FABULOUS! 

At the Dinner Table, my boys, instead of using tasty, fresh, “country bread” (as Ina calls it), they preferred cheap, white hamburger buns from Costco.  One kid just ate the bread.  My husband appreciated it, at least I think he did, because I did notice the kick under the table to the boys knees, to which they all exclaimed at the same time, “Yeah, Mom, this is good/really good/amazing/yeah/yeah/blah/blah.”  What is it with kids taste buds.  Are they so used to American processed crap that they don’t appreciate real flavor?!?!?  Sheesh…

Always Share:  I have the perfect family in mind who will benefit from the second-day flavor absorption.  I’m going to buy some fresh “country bread” for them, make a nice salad and let them heat-up bowls of Beouf Bourguignon.  I still have some extra thyme leaves… I want to make it again!  Maybe for the football crowd on my couch on Sunday…

Ina, I appreciate it and I know my friends will too!  🙂  Check out Ina’s “Barefoot In Paris” cookbook or see one of her segments on the Food Network.

Let me know your experience!

Bon Apetit!

Again, thank you Ina Garten, for your wonderful recipe in your “Barefoot In Paris” cookbook for Lemon Chicken (with Croutons)!

I woke up early this morning to have some quiet time, then ease into the morning by making the boys’ lunches.  I, again, made a mess of the kitchen (but boy will they be happy looking in their lunch bags today!) 🙂 and my refrigerator was full from my Costco run yesterday.  I pulled a chicken out, with Melida Lee in mind (from the radio) who make a “Blasted Chicken” which sounded pretty good and basic (450 degrees, 3 lb chicken, salt & pepper, in for 45 minutes, and wala!).  Ina, on the other hand, has a Lemon Chicken with Crouton recipe that I chose to make (425 degrees, onions and lemons, salt & pepper).  Easy.  And my house smelled fabulous by the time a friend arrived at 9:00am!  (I always like to have the house smell good.)  And, wala, 1/2 of dinner is made! 

By the way, I didn’t make the croutons.  As Edna Mo from the “Incredibles” says, “Don’t make me fat, darhling.”