Fabulous Red Quinoa Salad

Submitted by the Fabulous Food Fairy

• 1 box of Red Quinoa
• Chicken or Vegetable Stock
• 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped finely
• 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
• 1 bag of frozen sweet corn or 2 ¼ C. of fresh steamed corn
• 1 palm-ful of chili powder (about 2 Tbsp.)
• 1 palm-ful of paprika (about 2 Tbsp.)
• 4-5 dashes of Tabasco Sauce
Make Quinoa according to the package instructions substituting the stock for water.
Meanwhile, cook the corn.
Once it is cooked, mix in all the remaining ingredients and let sit for 20 minutes before serving.



Fabulous Cheeseburgers

Submitted by the Fabulous Food Fairy

• 2 lbs. Ground beef
• 1 packet of Lipton Garlic & Herb Soup Mix
• 2 eggs
• 3 Tbsp. Steak Sauce
• ½ C. Italian Bread Crumbs
Place all ingredients into a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until blended (about 30-45 seconds)
Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.
Form into patties, slightly larger than your palm.
Place on the grill, adding American cheese in the last minute.


Testy about Tests

‘Tis the season for standardized tests. Those of you with school aged children, or those of us that teach them, understand that this is the time of year that schools put kids through the ringer with tedious standardized tests. Whether you are taking the PSSA’s, Terra Nova’s, ACT’s, SAT’s, PSAT’s, Elemeno P’s (just kidding), it is an exhausting endeavour. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to help your student.

First, ensure that they go to bed early and get a good night’s rest. A shower at bedtime may help them to relax and sleep well. Second, discuss any stress that they may be experiencing and keep the week’s schedule simple. We don’t want them focused on friend or family drama. Third, plan stress busting activities for afterschool free time. Surprise them with some new outdoor activities like jump ropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, water guns… Fourth, keep morning routines simple and free from chaos. Pick out cozy clothes the night before and pre-pack their backpack before bedtime. And finally, feed them well.

As your Food Fairy, and resident teacher, I have a few ideas for snacks and breakfast that will boost your learner’s testing energy.


  • eggs– dippy, scrambled, omelets, or Quiche
  • bacon, sausage, or ham
  • oatmeal
  • cheese
  • yogurt with granola
  • pancakes
  • french toast


  • cheese stick
  • peanut butter crackers (be aware of your school’s allergy policy)
  • apple slices
  • granola bar
  • fruit like grapes, berries, or a banana
  • small crackers or pretzels

Foods to Avoid–

  • High sugar foods such as candy, cookies, soda, pies
  • Sugary cereals
  • Any foods that may upset their stomachs– (be wary of fiber bars that may make them have to “go” during testing)
  • caffeinated beverages

Here is a recipe that my daughter has requested for her testing mornings. I plan to make some things ahead so that they just need to be reheated in the morning 🙂 Good luck!!!

Hash Brown Quiche

**adapted from a Paula Deen recipe


  • 3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup cooked sausage crumbles, or bacon crumbles, or diced ham
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the Quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

PS…This is also a favorite in my house for Christmas morning, and dinner on a cold rainy night.




Chicken & Chorizo Pasta Bake

A recipe from the Fabulous Food Fairy.


  • Olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 pkg. Chorizo Sausage, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes (14.5oz.)
  • 1 can of tomato puree (28oz.)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of light cream
  • 1 box of penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 ball of mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes


  • Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes, drain, and set aside
  • In a large skillet, brown chicken in olive oil for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add sausage and peppers and cook for 5-7 minutes more, until chicken is no longer pink inside
  • Remove cooked ingredients from the skillet into a large pasta bowl and set aside
  • Pour tomatoes, tomato puree, minced garlic, and cream to the pan. Simmer on low heat to allow the flavors to blend—about 10 minutes. (season with salt and pepper to taste, or add a dash of sugar if you like it a bit sweet)
  • Toss all of the ingredients in the pasta bowl and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and tuck chunks of mozzarella throughout the warm pasta.

Braised Short Rib & Guinness Potpie

By The Fabulous Food Fairy  in The Fabulous Food Fairy

Guinness Braised Short Ribs


  • For the Filling
  • 4 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves of minced
  • 2 bottles (12 ounces) stout, preferably Guinness (3 cups)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of soy sauce
  • 2 cups of chopped carrots
  • For the Topping
    • 6 medium russet potatoes (3 1/2 pounds)
    • Olive oil, for brushing
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    • ½ cup of chopped fresh parsley


  1. Make the filling: Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge short ribs in flour, coating all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate using kitchen tongs.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add yellow onion to Dutch oven, and cook until golden. Add garlic & sautee for 2 minutes. Return meat to Dutch oven. Add beer and rosemary. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the pot from oven, and add the carrots, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Braise until meat is tender and the carrots are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Shred meat using 2 forks. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer to a 12-inch gratin dish.
  4. Make the topping: Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes, and very thinly slice each (preferably on a mandolin). Arrange potatoes over meat to form tight concentric circles, working around the edge and overlapping each potato by three-quarters. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45-60 min. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet Potato Gratin

  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup of heavy cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a 2 qt. shallow casserole dish or large ceramic pie plate.

  1. Coat dish with oil and sprinkle with garlic.
  2. Cover the bottom of the dish with a single layer of potato slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat until all the potatoes are used.
  3. Pour cream over the potatoes.
  4. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes ( may take longer if your dish is deeper or if the slices are thicker) until the potatoes are tender and the top is browned.
  5. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Spicy Shrimp Linguine

by Tatiana Hobar Williams in The Fabulous Food Fairy
  • Shrimp, peeled and uncooked
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 2 TBSP Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 TBSP Lemon
  • 1 TBSP Parsley
  • 1TBSP Soy Sauce
  • pinch of cayenne (to your taste)

Marinate peeled shrimp in all the above ingredients in a glass dish for about an hour.

Bake in glass dish at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mix with 1 LB of cooked linguine noodles.

Serve with salad and bread or roasted broccoli.



Our Secret Sources

My mom and my sisters are my “go to” people when it comes to cooking and entertaining. We have a bank of “Secret Family Recipes” that are tried and true favorites for various occasions, but I also have come to realize many other sources that influence my cooking.

My husband’s grandmother passed away recently and we have been cleaning out her house. When one family member came across her recipe box and favorite cook books, my mother in law exclaimed, “I bet her sauerbraten recipe is in there!” I was so excited to finally have a hard copy of my favorite recipe from that side of the family!

Could this be the holy grail of recipes?

Unfortunately, it was not there, but I consoled myself with the idea that I could always find a recipe online. And that is when I realized that my generation will change the way future cooks, as well as my own daughters, will build their portfolio of food. We will not only turn to our mothers and sisters, but to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and blogs just like this one.

This week I have repeatedly encountered the power of social media and its impact on food. I will start with the most outlandish conversation I overheard between two women. They were discussing how annoyed they were that Pinterest was becoming so popular because now all of their friends would see their good ideas and secret sources. One of them went as far as bookmarking her favorite posts so she could delete her pins, thus erasing any evidance…REALLY???

A second encounter was when my cousin posted a link from NPR for me to read. In this article, they discuss how social media is influencing cuisine in America , and how our eating habits are impacted by blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other online sources.


So, I guess the most appropriate thing to do is welcome you all to the family, my foodie family, because that is what we are. Feel free to use us as your “go to” people, and I encourage you to share your secret recipes with us.