Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Try the salad - it's a Killer!

Sorry it's been a while since my last review - with being out of work for a month (now gainfully employed again!) and moving (oye) - it's been a bit cra-cra in the Johnson household! 

But with a new job - downtown - comes new places for the Food Hussy to visit! We are in - as I like to refer to it - the "crotch" of downtown. No idea why I say that - but we're near where all the interstates collide and it is just crotch-like. 

In this area - there are not a lot of restaurants in walking distance - like maybe 3. But that's okay - one is right across the street and is really yummy! It's Deli seven20! Now while their website doesn't seem like much - I do also like their Facebook page because they always have the daily specials there. 

The first day I tried a combo for $8 with a cup of soup and a half-salad. I also got a bag of their homemade chips.

The salad I tried was "The Killer" and it is my favorite! It normally comes with either grilled chicken or tofu - but I asked for portabella mushrooms instead and they were happy to oblige. It comes with 2 dressings - a spicy ranch and salsa. My favorite thing by far about this salad is the roasted corn - it's soooo sweet and just bursts flavor in your mouth. I always get this!

I've tried a couple of the soups - the Fiesta Veggie Bean was just okay. Lacked salt and was too much just a vegetable soup. Meh. The Chicken Chili on the other hand was great! I figured it would be a white chili - but it was a red. Loved it.

The chips are pretty good - they're really well done - so pretty hard and crunchy - thick. Just an fyi - I didn't love them but I did appreciate them - if that makes any sense.


I also tried a sandwich special - it was fine...The "ring dang doo" is pretty popular from what I hear (roast pork loin, smoked gouda, roasted red peppers & sweet chili mayo on focacci). I like that everything is really fresh - but I'm not much of a cold-sandwich person...so I think I'll stick with either a large Killer or a combo with soup & salad. 

Why Should You Go: The price is $8-10 depending on if you get chips/soda/cookie/etc...so it's not cheap - but it's good and feels fairly healthy. Most of all - you can tell it's fresh - which I really like! I don't know that it's worth a trip downtown - but if you're in the P&G/Sawyer Point vicinity - it's a good option. 

I also hear rumblings of a deli/salad bar in the "book building" across the street - I think I'll have to venture over there. The construction workers swear by it and say it's half the price. The girls here say it's not as good. Sounds like a job for the Food Hussy! :-)

And go enter to win a 6 pack of Graeters - if you win - will you send it to my Mom? I can't enter! 


Deli seven20 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giveaway Day!!!! GRAETERS!!!!

While the weather outside is getting frightful (enough rain already - seriously!) - there's one thing that is ALWAYS delightful!


Seriously - who doesn't love some of this decadent goodness? And for those of us in Cincinnati - we can have this deliciousness anytime! But what about our friends and relatives not lucky enough to live here? What are they supposed to do? 

Well - today you can win a SIX PACK OF GRAETERS TO SEND TO THEM! 

That's right - need a unique gift? You can avoid the mall and order the sweetest gift for family & friends at Graeters.com. They have 6 or 12 pint variety packs or you can customize your own! There are 24 flavors including signature chip and limited edition holiday favorites - Cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie and Peppermint Stick! 
And for those non-Cincinnati folks - you can enter too! If you haven't heard of Graeter's - here's a little info! The fourth-generation family-owned company stands apart from the rest having pioneered the French Pot process of making only 2 gallons at a time with all-natural ingredients. End result... a dense, creamy texture and massive dark chocolate chips (more HUNKS than chips!). 

My favorite flavor is the Coconut Chip - but the rest are all amazing and delicious as well! So be sure to enter the giveaway today! You'll get your own 6 pack to send to a friend, relative - or yourself!!! Check one gift off the list with Graeters and the Food Hussy! 


Be sure to leave your comment about which flavor is YOUR favorite and who you want to send this to! As always - be sure to leave your contact information (twitter, email or facebook) and if you tweet the message AND let me know with another comment - you get an extra entry! 


I just entered to win a free 6 pack of @graeters from @foodhussy! I wonder who I will send it to! http://www.thefoodhussy.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway Day: Parkers Blue Ash Tavern

No review today - just something free for you guys! I have a $50 Brunch for Two gift certificate for Parkers Blue Ash Tavern for some lucky Food Hussy Fan!

Photo Courtesy of Parkers Blue Ash Tavern 

The brunch really looks amazing! I mean - you get a free drink (Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Screwdriver or Champagne) to start - which is never a bad thing! Then - the food! Made to order omelets, Belgian waffles, salads, smoked salmon, Tavern Mac & Cheese, bread pudding and so much more! Seriously - you will NOT leave hungry!

Photo Courtesy of Parkers Blue Ash Tavern

Parkers also has four private rooms that can seat 20-60 people - so it's great for holiday parties and special gatherings. The restaurant really is a pretty place - if you haven't been it's worth a visit. 


So it's Giveaway Time!!! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting me know what brunch item sounds the best to you at Parkers and leave your contact info!!!! If you tweet the following - AND leave a separate comment letting me know you did - you'll get an extra entry!


I entered to win Brunch for 2 @ParkersBlueAsh1 from @foodhussy and you can too! www.thefoodhussy.com

Be sure to leave a way to contact you - twitter, email, facebook, something! Otherwise your entry doesn't count.

Thanks and happy brunching!

Congrats also to Jessica for winning the Omaha Steaks $50 Gift Card. More goodies to come!!!




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GIVEAWAY DAY!!!! MooooooooCow!

I'm all about trying new things and getting fun giveaways for my readers - this holiday season I have some GOOD stuff coming up for me and you! 

First up in the Giveaways this holiday season is OMAHA STEAKS! I have long-wondered about this mail-order steak company. They do have physical stores as well - in our area they are in Crestview Hills & Beavercreek. (Giveaway at the end)

Omaha Steaks sent me a sample Ideal Gift Assortment which contained: 

2 (5 oz.) Filet Mignons
2 (5 oz.) Top Sirloin Steaks
4 (4 oz.) Boneless Pork Chops
4 (4 oz.) Omaha Steaks Burgers
4 (5.75 oz.) Stuffed Baked Potatoes
6 inch Chocolate Lovers Cake

Here's a beauty shot of all the awesome things I get to try! Top sirloin, filet mignon, pork chops, burgers, baked potatoes and cake!!! Seriously - we are gonna eat well this holiday season!!!

After opening my cooler of goodness, this is everything I unpacked! I have to say - for gift giving - these guys have it down to a science! Everything comes so well packed and was all still safely frozen when I got home from work. (More than I can say for the time my mother sent me meat for my birthday - yes - seriously!) Everything is boxed individually and vacuum sealed. It's great because you can pop the boxes in your freezer (if you have room) or unpack and repackage to save space. The cake also arrived safe and sound!

They also have an Unconditional Guarantee that you'll love every bite - makes it nice to feel confident in your gift sending to family & friends!

Here's a closeup of the filet mignons...frozen and vacuum sealed!

I decided to cook up the two top sirloin and two burgers tonight. I always make extra since Larry and I both pack our lunches for school/work. I cooked them on a grill pan as the rain didn't really give me much opportunity for outside grilling.  I also decided on very little seasoning - I wanted to taste the quality of the cow and tell you all what I really thought!

I am also always cooking things on the rare side. I hate when steak is overcooked and dry - yucko! I have to say - I did good tonight. This steak was cooked perfectly for my taste!

Speaking of TASTE - how was it? Excellent! 99% of the time I use Worcestershire on steak - but tonight I just had a tiny bit of steak seasoning. It was really great! A lot of times, meat that has been frozen gets a different texture but this didn't! It had that great steak texture but also FLAVOR. I was very happy with the steak!

How would the burgers fare? I cut one in half just to show the juiciness. I put them on the grill pan the same time as the steaks and the steaks were done first. The burgers aren't huge - but they're enough obviously when you add toppings.

I tried these plain - just to really taste the pure beef of the brand. I have to say - these were also great! And I'm not the kind of person to shill cuz I got it for free - if I don't like it - I'll tell you. But these burgers were great! They had the smell of a good burger (like the ones I got from the farms this summer) and the flavor! Again - the flavor of a good burger is so right on! I was really impressed with this burger!

So from the two things I've tried so far I can highly recommend Omaha Steaks for yourself or as a gift for your friends & family! Their site has so many options from Gifts to Overstock to Complete Meals and even more! They have gifts under $50 and free shipping on select packages as well - so there's something for everybody.

And now - to get you started on your holiday gift giving (or receiving) - your chance for a $50 gift card to Omaha Steaks! There are two ways to enter:

1. Comment below with what item you'd like to try from Omaha Steaks or who you'd like to send a gift package to this holiday season.

2. Tweet this message and come back here to let me know you did!

@foodhussy is giving away $50 to @omahasteaks at www.thefoodhussy.com!

BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL OR TWITTER HANDLE IN THE COMMENT SO I CAN NOTIFY YOU!!!! If I can't figure out how to get in touch with you, I toss out your entry. 

I'll be drawing the winner next Monday (and then hosting another giveaway!). 


Monday, November 14, 2011

Recipe: Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken


So how many of you are addicted to Pinterest like I am? I'm OBSESSED! If you're not familiar - it's a site where you have a bunch of images that you like. Any site you're on, you can "pin" an image to one of your boards. Then other people see and repin to their boards and blah blah - sharing! It's a timesuck that I love. 

While sucking my life away - I've also found a lot of great recipes that I want to try! Most of them are on my Food board. One in particular that jumped out at me was one for Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken. The number of crock pot recipes is astounding and I love it! 

This recipe is soooo simple! The thing I love best is that you can use the chicken right from the freezer! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because that's what I had (the recipe calls for breasts). 

Here's the recipe:

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

  • 3 lb. bag of frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle Frank's Wings Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 packet Ranch Dip Mix
  • 2 TBSP butter
  1. Put frozen chicken, wing sauce, and ranch dip mix into crock pot.
  2. Cook on low at least 6 to 7 hours
  3. Using two forks, shred chicken & return to crock pot.
  4. Add butter.
  5. Cook on low for an additional hour.
  6. Enjoy


Here's a shot in the crock pot. So easy! I just filled my crock pot (it's pretty small) with chicken thighs, poured the whole bottle of buffalo sauce on top and then sprinkled the ranch mix on top. Pop the lid on and you're done!


I used the buffalo chicken on sandwiches quite a bit for Larry and I's packed lunches. But - the best find was trying this buffalo chicken on baked potatoes!

QUICK TIP: I've taken to buying baking potatoes and then when I'm sitting around in the evening - I just throw a couple in the oven for an hour. I saw from the folks at America's Test Kitchen to rub the potato in olive oil and salt and then put it right in the oven (no foil) so the skin gets crispy. It's a great time saver and you can put so much stuff on a baked potato! It helps so much when I'm getting our lunches ready in the morning!

So I had baked potatoes ready and decided to pop some of the buffalo chicken on top. Then I packed sour cream in a separate container for topping. I have to say - this was AMAZING! The recipe provides a lot of sauce in the pot along with the chicken - and the sauce with the baked potato - was so delicious.

It was also good on sandwiches of course - but for me - the potatoes were the best!

I hope you try this one and enjoy - and hey - feel free to share your favorite crock pot recipe in the comments! There will be TWO giveaways on tap this week as well!

Enjoy!



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WTF is Up with Dishwasher Tabs????

Okay - what the hell is going on with dishwasher tabs? I used to love these things - no mess, no fuss, drop it in and blam-o! CLEAN DISHES! 

I've read that they have stopped putting phosphates in dishwasher detergent because of pollution - well I want them back - pollution or not! My dishes aren't getting clean and the stupid tabs don't even dissolve!!!! 

I now hand wash my dishes and use the dishwasher as a drying rack. This sucks. 

Here's the evidence of the crapitude: 


That is what was left AFTER the load ran through!!!!! I've tried 3 different brands and it's all the same. With the all liquid ones - I just cut them open and squeeze the stuff into the cup - but it still isn't cleaning for shit. There are lots of folks complaining about the same things online.

I'm going to switch to the traditional liquid and or powder and see if those make a difference - I just have been getting good deals on the tabs. Of course - not a good deal if it doesn't work.


Anybody else having issues?

Here are a couple of articles about the phosphate free detergent and other folks having same problems:

http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2011/03/ask-the-readers-what-happened-to-dishwasher-detergent.html

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132072122/it-s-not-your-fault-your-dishes-are-still-dirty



Product Review: Bertolli Mediterranean Style

As I've mentioned a few times, I've become quite the couponer. So much so, I'll never pay for toothpaste, dental floss or body wash again!  

On one of my coupon trips, I decided to try the new Bertolli Frozen Meals. Most of them contain eggs, but I found one that didn't - the Steak Rigatoni & Portobello Mushrooms.


It's a very simple & quick dinner! I did spray the pan since this one is stainless steel - I hate when stuff sticks. Then dump the bag in and cook for about 10 minutes.

And here you go! It's really creamy and the vegetables taste pretty good for coming from a frozen bag. There was maybe a little too much spinach for my liking - and the steak was just okay. I mean - it's a lot better than some frozen beef in a meal that I've had.

Portion size with these type of meals is usually pretty skimpy - but pair this with a salad or some bread and it fills out the meal pretty well. Larry even liked it! I wasn't too sure he would with all the vegetables but he did! Heather tested, husband approved.

Why Should You Buy? Well, if you're like me and you need some quick go-to meals in the freezer for nights when laundry, litter and dishes take up too much time - then here you go! They're a little pricey for my taste - but combine a decent sale with a coupon and it's worth it. Much better than a frozen entree in a cardboard box.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Samich on the Square!

So I've started the new job - and love it! Yeah MKTG! Yes - back to the world of Cincinnati ad agencies  and I get to work with a good friend - what could be better?

Some of the girls from the new place invited me to lunch - which was SO nice! We headed down to the Square and didn't have much time so we decided on Potbelly.

I've been once and wasn't too excited but when you're the new girl - you just go along with whatever. I like subs that are warmed/toasted so I was okay with it.

The one thing I don't like about Potbelly is that I always feel rushed when I order. I'm just not familiar enough with the menu. The line was HUGE but it moves very quickly and they have someone that comes around and takes your order while in line. We were probably 25 people back when they took our order - pretty amazing that it all works out!

I decided on the original vegetarian (they have a new one but it had yucky feta!). The veg came with mushrooms, swiss, provolone and cheddar cheese - can't really go wrong there!

Why Should You Go? Well if you need a quick lunch and you're near the square - go! I was shocked - we started with the line wound around to the door and still got our food and had time to sit down and eat our lunch and get back to the office! Besides that - my sub was good. That is the "big" - I've long since decided I'd rather have a large sandwich and no chips.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 7, 2011

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Mashed Potatoes (& Pesto Salmon)

I'm back with the November Crazy Cooking Challenge which was Mashed Potatoes! The other option was stuffing - which I kind of wish had won because I have a great recipe - but I'm going to share that soon enough! Now it's time for taters! 

I came across the TasteFood blog and found a recipe that combined sweet and red potatoes! My husband loves sweet potatoes and I love regular - so I thought it might be a good mash up #punintended. 

First you had to start with red potatoes, sweet potatoes and celery root. I had no idea wtf celery root was but luckily they had it at Meijer so I was good to go! When you cut it - it COMPLETELY smells like celery - it was very unique. The celery root is a lot harder than the potatoes so I made sure to chop it into smaller pieces than the potatoes.

After boiling the potatoes (with garlic) until soft, you drain and cool them a bit. I cooled them a bit too long because by the time they were mashed - they were a bit cool. Then I added sour cream, butter and salt. Mash mash mash - my arm was sore. 

 
I then added the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a little more salt - lots of tasting to make it perfect.

It might not be pretty - but it was tasty!! It also makes a LOT of potatoes! 

I also came across a recipe for Pesto Baked Salmon - and it couldn't be easier! Foil + salmon + pesto = done!

So here was dinner - Pesto Baked Salmon and Sweet & Red Potato Mash! I really enjoyed both of them - although I cook the potatoes a little longer and possibly use a mixer to really whip those taters to get a little fluffier.

Recipes:

Sweet & Red Potato Mash


Whole milk Greek style yogurt adds body and creaminess without excess fat to the potatoes. If you prefer extra richness, substitute sour cream for the yogurt. Serves 4-6.
2 pounds red potatoes with skin, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 pound sweet potato, peeled, cut in 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, divided
Salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Sage leaves for garnish
Combine potatoes and celery root in a large pot. Peel and smash 3 garlic cloves. Add to the pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are very soft. Drain. Return to pot and cool slightly. Mince the remaining garlic and add to the potatoes. Add butter and yogurt. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, garnished with chopped sage leaves.

Pesto Baked Salmon


1 pound salmon fillets
1/4 cup pesto - homemade or store bought
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place the salmon skin side down on the foil. Season with salt and pepper and spread the pesto over the top of the fish.
Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, depending on thickness. Be sure not to overcook to prevent dry salmon.
Remove from oven and using a spatula, lift off the salmon from the foil, leaving the skin on the baking sheet. Serve immediately.


Photobucket

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Outback & their Free Steak!

Recently Outback Steakhouse gave away free steaks to a million people! Woohoo! So I got my coupon for a free 6 oz coupon with one side a couple of weeks ago. Before I knew it - the coupon was expiring - so I grabbed a friend and off we went.

I have had a bit of a string of bad luck with steaks and surely wasn't expecting much from Outback - but I went for it. They now offer a choice between:



I went for the wood-fire grilled since that sounded like a much better choice. I opted for a side of broccoli with the steak. As always I chose medium rare for my steak...

The blob on the upper left is a chicken breast I added on for $4 - it was very small and looked dry as all get out - but it was for my husband - so what did I care. (haha)

The steak was cooked PERFECTLY. I cut off the end to show the perfect medium rare - I was impressed. It even had a great flavor. I'm normally the girl that douses steak in Worcestershire sauce (easier to spell than pronounce oddly enough) - but this didn't need it at all!

The 6 oz size with the giveaway was small but when paired with the broccoli and some fries - it was definitely a full meal.

They also have a pretty extensive online ordering system and curbside pickup - which is pretty nice.

Why Should You Go? I was really impressed with the quality of the steak - and I'd recommend the wood-fire grill since it was so perfect! My friend ordered a half-rack of ribs and they also looked great. Surprisingly enough to myself - I will definitely be back to Outback!

Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole for a Crowd!

As I mentioned Monday, I've been all about blogs as of late and after making my Chicken in a Crock Pot - I found a great yummy recipe on Pinterest (don't you LOVE that site!) that called for 2 cups cooked chicken! The Chicken Spaghetti Casserole was too tempting to not make - yeah Recipe Girl

I will say - RecipeGirl's pictures are much better - knowing they were so great - I just took a few. Look at the loads of veges in this recipe! It's also nice because you could change it up based on what your tastes are - this called for celery, mushrooms, onions and peppers but I could easily see using broccoli instead! 

First you just saute the veges for a few minutes until they're tender....

I chopped the leftover chicken from my Chicken in a Crock Pot from the day before...so handy to have!

Beyond the veges & chicken - there's not much left! The recipe did call for 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup - of course I didn't read it close enough and when I went to the store - I only bought 1 can! (Argh!) I decided to substitute the Philadelphia Cooking Creme (Santa Fe flavor) that I got on a recent couponing trip. I figured it was meant to be added in this type of scenario and might add some great flavor! Then there's shredded sharp cheddar in the casserole and shredded jack on top!

You mix together soup, cooking creme and milk - then add it into the sauteed vegetables. Then I added the cheddar cheese to the pan. After that I poured it into this bowl and added the chicken and cooked angel hair pasta.

After that I poured it into a casserole dish and topped it with some shredded jack cheese. Then into the oven for 35 minutes.

It came out cheesy and bubbly!!! I could wait to dig in - then I remembered I forgot to take a picture!

I also cooked up some crescent rolls (don't judge - they're good dammit). It was a delicious dinner. and lunch, and lunch and lunch and dinner and lunch and lunch and lunch.

What am I getting at? This makes a HUGE casserole!!!! If and when I make this again - I will cut the recipe in half. If you have a crowd to feed - make the whole thing. If it's just you and your leftover-picky husband...cut it in half or you'll be eating it for a week!

It's delicious though and I think I might like it better with the mix of cooking creme and cream of mushroom soup! Thanks RecipeGirl! (and as she mentions, you could easily substitute cooked turkey with Thanksgiving leftovers!)


chicken spaghetti casserole

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 35 min

Ingredients:

7 ounces thin spaghetti
1 tablespoon salted butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
Two 10.75-ounce cans 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 cup nonfat milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, but only cook it until it's al dente (you still want a little bite to it). Drain the pasta and set it aside.
3. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery and bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables have softened, 4 to 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix milk and soup until smooth. Add this mixture to the vegetables in the pan. Stir in cheddar cheese. Continue to heat the mixture until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add in chicken, pasta and tabasco, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle Jack cheese on top.
4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly and golden brown.

Tips:

*If you're trying to figure out a serving size for this casserole, simply use a knife to divide the pan into 6 equal servings. There's your serving size (it's pretty substantial)!
*Leftovers of this casserole are great for a couple of days after making it.
*Turn this casserole into a day-after-Thanksgiving meal by adding leftover turkey instead of chicken.