Monthly Archives: December 2011

Contest 8 winner announced!

I hope everyone had a great holiday 🙂

It’s time to announce the winner of Cleaver Contest 8….whom was drawn randomly out of a soup bowl this morning by my darling sleepy eyed husband! Can’t get any more random than that.

The winner of the creme brulee set is…………………


Please send your mailing address to

Hope everyone has a very Happy New Years and stay tuned for the next Cleaver Contest

Singing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver



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Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry

Chinese cooking is my favorite…When I was a little girl I used to watch “Yan Can Cook” on t.v. and was so enthralled with the man, that I decided (at the age of 7) that I needed to teach myself how to cook! Chinese food will always have a special place in my heart…as will Martin Yan.

This isn’t a fancy dish, it’s just good……AND SPICY!  By removing some of the peppers you can adjust it to the heat level ya like 🙂


4 boneless skinless chicken breast


4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons Mirin

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 teaspoons cornstarch


4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Mirin

2 teaspoons sugar


2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

16 dried red chinese chilis

4 teaspoons minced garlic

2 carrots

2 bunches scallions

about 8 tablespoons oil for wok

1 cup peanuts

toasted sesame seeds

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Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake

As my son’s birthday approached, I asked him what he wanted for his special dinner and dessert. It’s a well-loved tradition in our home…..If it’s your birthday you get to pick dinner and dessert!

My son, who’s turning 17, looked at me and said, “Mom….I wanna give you a Challenge! I want Kung Pao Cashew Chicken and a Cheesecake that tastes like a Strawberry Margarita!!”

Our eyes locked, both of us with our hands hovering over our six-shooters, waiting to see who would draw first……

Ok ok….it was not THAT suspenseful, however I accepted the challenge with a very LARGE dose of competition streaming through my veins. He REALLY thinks he can stump me?? Oh contraire…..

So over the last week, I thought about what makes a great margarita and the many flavors that people expect to be there. I needed lime, salt, strawberry, and of course tequila…Now how to mix this all into a cheesecake?

I decided to tweak my standard graham cracker crust by removing the cinnamon and sugar I typically put in it, and threw in some lime zest and coarse ground sea salt. That took care of the salted margarita rim flavor 🙂

Adding strawberry puree to the cheesecake batter AND creating a swirled strawberry top created a heavenly strawberry flavor while still allowing the other more subtle flavors peek through.

I tossed some margarita mix and tequila into the cheesecake batter and crossed my fingers as it baked. I must admit, I surprised even myself on this one!

This is DEFINITELY NOT your standard cheesecake, and it DEFINITELY takes a little work….but if you want a FANCY SCHMANTZEE dessert that is SURE to wow your guests…give it a try 🙂

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Cast Iron Frittata

Starring….{drumroll} THE MEAT 🙂

If you’ve made “The Meat” (recipe is posted under Pork), this is a great time to use some of it….if not, feel free to substitute another kind of meat.

This is one of those meals often referred to as “thingy” or “surprise”….you know, when ya don’t know precisely what to call it?

It’s an oniony, meaty and cheesy pan of goodness that I THINK falls magnificently under the frittata category, but you can call it whatever tickles your fancy!


handful of shredded or chopped cooked meat (I measure by handfulls…it’s just how I roll)

1/3 of an onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

4 eggs, beaten

shredded cheddar

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle.

Grab a small cast iron skillet ( I believe mine is about 6 1/2 “) and melt the butter on the stovetop. Add the onions and allow them to soften slightly over medium heat. Swirl the pan slightly to coat in butter.

After the onions have softened, toss in the shredded or chopped meat and cook until meat is warmed.

Shake the skillet to make sure the meat and onions form an even layer across the bottom. Add the eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Set the pan in the preheated oven and allow to bake for about ten minutes, the total cooking time will depend on the size of your pan, but the edges of the egg will begin pulling away from the pan and will become slightly golden.

Sprinkle with a handful of shredded cheddar and put it back in the oven until cheese is melted.

Remove the pan from the oven and run a knife around the edge to make sure the egg is not sticking. I give mine a little shake for good measure. Put a plate on top and quickly invert the frittata onto the plate.

You can adorn yours any way ya like….for me, I add a dollop of sour cream and salsa to the top.

I’d love to tell you that I share this….that my husband and I enjoy a slice of this together over morning coffee and conversation. I WOULD LOVE to tell you that!

But I can’t…it would be wrong to NOT tell you that I devoured the entire frittata in the picture above. I DID and I’m not ashamed (although when my kids woke up and asked where the food was from the website…ya there was a twinge of guilt)

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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Meatball Marinara

Have you ever had ONE bite of something and you knew right then that it was something special…That’s the way I feel about this dish, it just makes your insides happy (if that makes sense?)

Now this is NOT the meatball marinara that you get from sandwich shops…this is something Oh So Much More 🙂

This is another recipe that I love my mini ( 6″ ) cast iron skillets for, however any oven safe skillet or small casserole will work just fine. There’s just something about the rustic look of cast iron that thrills me every time.

Let’s get started with the ingredients….

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Shredded Pork aka “The Meat”

Why do I call it “The Meat” you ask?

In a home full of boys (rather large ones at that) it’s all about the skimpy dishes need apply here! I am constantly on the lookout for sales on large chunks of meat. My favorite is Pork shoulder or butt….I buy it in sizes no smaller than 15 lbs.

So, when I cook this large hunk o’ meat…for days I hear

“Mom, do we have any of THE MEAT left??”

I cook it all at once, in a blend of special seasonings (KFC ain’t got nothin on this) and use the resulting shredded meat to make several different meals. So if you find a great deal on some pork, feel free to follow these directions…I will be posting numerous ways to utilize “THE MEAT” in the next coming days 🙂

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Salmon with Mustard Cream Crust

How do you make the most tender and moist salmon ever?

Well……You soak it for a couple of hours in Vodka of course! (totally normal right?)

This whole she-bang started with the salmon filet my husband put in the fridge….Now what to do with it hmmmm?

I removed all the pin bones and cut the filets into serving size portions

Now here’s where it gets a little crazy….hike yer’ britches up and follow me!

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Dark Rum Banana Bread

This all started with a craving for banana flambe….It quickly turned into something oh so much more!

After a “sobering” discussion with some of my facebook followers, we came up with names like Monkey Head Banana Bread, Boozey Banana Bread, Bahama Banana Bread, Breathalizer Banana Bread and Jamaican Me Crazy Bread…..

Whatever you decide to call it….JUST CALL IT the next recipe you’re going to try 🙂

I will confess to eating/tasting much of the rummy banana mixture before it even made it into the bread and then laughed as I remembered that bread soaks up alcohol…IT’S A WIN WIN WIN!

Alrighty, enough “Monkey” Business….let’s get baking!

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Irish Cream Christmas Coffee

I will rename this New Years Coffee, and then Easter Coffee, and just might ice it and call it a Summer Cooler Coffee….I just might be addicted 🙂

I woke up to gale force winds and rain today, which have melted the “feet” of snow we HAD, and put me in the mood for a nice warm drink.

I decided to play around a bit and see where imagination took me….(not always a pleasant outcome)

What I ended up with is my new favorite splurge drink!  The following recipe makes enough for 1 LARGE glass or can be split in two…I wouldn’t share it, I would double the recipe but that’s just me!

Here‘s what I did…….

Pour 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee into a large glass

Add 4 teaspoons of Irish Cream

Then add 6 teaspoons of Disorono, or other amaretto flavored liquor

Stir to combine and top with a GINORMOUS amount of whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies

Now dive on in and giggle as you surface with a fantastic whipped cream mustache…..Annnd REPEAT 🙂

My camera is now sporting several gooey spots…. where peppermint candy covered fingers attempted to capture this mah-velous drink before I drank it all! It’s due for a cleaning anywho, and smells delightfully of peppermint when I hold it up to my eyes!

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver


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Maple Cranberry Cookies

I’m indecisive…most the time, well maybe all the time?

It’s why I can’t leave recipes alone! But THAT is how some of my best creations come about 🙂 I’ve been playing with this recipe for years and I think I’m FINALLY going to leave it alone. (won’t swear to that)


2 cups dried cranberries

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon maple extract

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)

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