Stuffed Poblano Peppers

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 12 oz al fresco Chipotle Chorizo
  • 1/2 cup roasted tomato salsa
  • Queso Fresco

Well happy Friday to everyone! Im so glad that today is finally here since this has felt like the week that wont end. AND its actually starting to warm up, which makes me even happier. Today I have a more unique post for you as it combines two of my favorite things: Mexican food and stuffed peppers. Ive paired up al fresco chorizo with poblano peppers for a spicy and flavorful combination. This was my first time trying chorizo and this is the perfect application for a sausage such as this.

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Wash and remove the tops and seeds from the poblano peppers and then slice them in half.

Remove the casings from the sausage and chop them into small chunks. Combine the sausage and the rice in a bowl and toss to mix well. Divide the mixture evenly amongst the pepper halves and then place them snuggly in a baking dish. Place enough water in the bottom of the pan to just cover the bottom. This will create some steam to cook the peppers properly. Cover and bake the peppers for 30 minutes.

Remove the peppers from the oven and top them with the salsa and cheese and serve.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers via @foodnfocusStuffed Poblano Peppers via @foodnfocus

Lemon & White Chocolate Mousse Pound Cake Stacks

  • 1 loaf Sara Lee pound cake
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 2/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 3.5-ounce bar white chocolate, finely chopped

Hooray! Its Friday. And we have cake to celebrate. Pound cake! Were you aware that National Pound Cake Day is coming up on Monday, March 4th? Well it is and to celebrate Ive crafted something delicious out of a buttery loaf of Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake. While Im in love with this recipe, Im also in love with a more traditional spin of a slice of pound cake topped with berries and whipped cream. Ok, now Im hungry. Before I get to my creation, a little housekeeping first!

First: Theres an exciting contest going on over at Sara Lee in honor of National Pound Cake Day where you can create your own dessert using their pound cake. AND you can win a $500 Visa gift card and dessert for a year. Holy smokes! Grab a loaf this weekend, create your treat and enter!

Second: Theres a giveaway today! Sara Lee has so graciously offered up a $50 Visa gift card and 2 Sara Lee dessert coupons for one of my lucky readers today! Be sure to read through the entire post for details on how to win! (Giveaway is now closed)

pound cake

Now lets get to that beautiful buttery cake…

Lets start with the lemon mousse. In a metal bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel and salt and stir well to combine. Place the metal bowl over a pot of simmering water and continue to stir and cook until the mixture thickens. The temperature should reach 160 and then you can remove the bowl from the water. Allow the mousse to cool.

Now for the white chocolate mousse. Combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup of cream in a separate metal bowl and place over the simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate softens and is nearly melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Put the bowl to the side and allow it to cool.

Beat the remaining cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Divide the cream amongst the 2 mousse bowls, 1 cup at a time, and fold into the mousse. Place the bowls in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.

pound cake

Now for that cake. I chose to make this dish bite-sized but if you wanted to leave the slices whole you can layer them that way as well. I sliced 3/4 thick slices of the pound cake and then used a small circle cutter to cut 2 circles out of each slice. Layer one piece of cake on a plate and top with a spoonful of the lemon mousse. Top the mousse with a second slice of cake and then top with a spoonful of the white chocolate mousse. You can sprinkle the top of your cakes with white chocolate shavings or berries and serve!

And now for todays giveaway!! (Giveaway is now closed)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

pound cake

Grilled Spicy Rum Wings

I’m not sure if you’re aware or not but there is a really big football game on Sunday. Really the only thing that I am looking forward to is Lady Gaga’s performance. And the food. Oh the food. I already have my dips and snacks picked out and am hoping that my cats are willing to serve everything to me on Sunday. Which I know won’t happen, but a girl can dream. The one thing that I have been dying to make on Sunday are my Grilled Spicy Rum Wings!

I’m teaming up with my friends at Litehouse Foods today to bring you this delicious wing recipe, because let’s face it, every good wing needs a good dipping sauce! Are you a fan of blue cheese or ranch dressing? I’m more of a ranch for my wings, but lucky for you they feature both delicious dressings!

Head on over to the Living Litehouse blog to get the recipe for Grilled Spicy Rum Wings and chime in below with your favorite dipping sauce!

Grilled Spicy Rum Wings

Classic Broccoli Salad

Is anyone as happy as I am that its a 3-day weekend? Do you have any big plans for Memorial Day? I know that its a big cookout weekend and for me, its my birthday weekend! Perhaps Ill celebrate with some cake.

I know for sure Ill be celebrating with a big batch of my favorite summer salad: Classic Broccoli Salad. If at any time this dish is being served, Im the first in line for a giant scoop. Im showcasing this summer favorite today over on the Living Litehouse blog so be sure to head over and get the recipe if youre looking for a last minute side dish this weekend. It will not disappoint.

Do you have any fun plans for this 3-day weekend?

Classic Broccoli Salad

Matzo Ball Soup

Alright, first things first. No, I am not Jewish but honestly, who doesnt love a good bowl of matzo ball soup?

One of my favorite places to visit in New York City is Katzs Deli. This place has been open since 1888 and since then has welcomed many patrons and famous people. This is also where I had my first tasty bowl of matzo ball soup. After 125 years, Katzs has certainly perfected the recipe. And if youre really hungry, I suggest a bowl of matzo ball soup with a corned beef sandwich. Okay, now Im hungry!

So again, while Im not Jewish this is a great meal to serve during Passover happening this week. Its also a great meal for when its 30 degrees and snowing in the middle of April. Can you believe the weather weve been having! I am including the recipe for the stock along with this post but I wanted a speedier meal so I used stock purchased at the store. (Shame on me.) I also wanted to point out that you should plan enough time to make the matzo balls because they do require 2 hours 24 hours in the refrigerator to allow the dough to set up. So while I thought I could speed things up with pre-made stock, the whole dough thing really brought me back down.

So here it is, enjoy!

Matzo Ball Soup

Author: Food n Focus
Serves: 6
  • For the broth:
  • 1 3 -to-4-pound chicken
  • 3 stalks celery, halved
  • 2 medium carrots, halved
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 5 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 sprigs dill
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • For the matzo balls:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons grated shallot or onion, squeezed dry
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill, plus small sprigs for topping
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • Kosher salt
  1. Make the broth: Put the chicken, celery, carrots, onion, tomatoes, parsley, dill, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cloves and 2 teaspoons salt in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook, skimming off the foam occasionally, 3 hours. Strain, discarding the solids. Let cool until the fat rises to the surface. (The broth can be made up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.) Skim off the fat, reserving 2 tablespoons fat for the matzo balls.
  2. Make the matzo balls: Whisk the eggs and reserved chicken-broth fat in a bowl. Stir in the shallot, garlic, lemon zest, ginger, dill, parsley, matzo meal, 14 cup of the prepared broth and 134 teaspoons salt. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls with damp hands. Cover and chill until ready to cook, up to 8 hours.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the matzo balls and reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer; cover and cook until the balls are tender, 35 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the prepared broth. Drain the matzo balls and serve in the warm broth. Top with dill.

Matzo Ball Soup

Holiday Parties Featuring Sartori Cheese

To piggyback on Friday’s post about my love for Wisconsin products, I thought I’d bring another one of my favorite products again to start out the week! If you follow me on Facebook then you know I am pretty obsessed with a good cheese plate. (I often post my favorite cheese plates.) Sartori Cheese makes some of my absolute favorite flavored cheeses, which are also perfect for holiday parties! They even make a peppermint cheese!

So let’s run through the components of a perfect cheese display:

  • Choose 2-3 cheeses. I typically go with a couple of hard cheeses mixed in with a soft cheese. Try different flavors to make sure you’re pleasing all of your guests!
  • Add in a nut. Cashews are my favorite but almonds work well with cheese too.
  • Crackers or bread are a must! Keep the flavors simple so that the cheese flavor isn’t covered up.
  • Add in a fruit spread. Go for fig!
  • Round it out with some dark chocolate. Don’t go cheap!
  • Oh yah, and always pair with wine.

There you go! Follow those rules and I guarantee that your party guests will assume you’re a cheese plate pro!

And now for the giveaway! Contest is now closed!

Today’s giveaway is a quick and easy one! Visit the Sartori website and in the comments below, tell me which of their cheeses you would most like to try. I’ll choose 1 winner to receive a Sartori Cheese BellaVitano Gift Basket!

Holiday Parties Featuring Sartori Cheese |

Salisbury Steak

  • 3/4 pound ground turkey breast
  • 3/4 pound ground round
  • 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Madeira wine or dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed French onion soup

Happy Friday! I just wanted to quickly remind everyone that my giveaway is still going on! You have the chance to win a $25 Roundys gift card and a thermal lunch tote from Thirty One! Be sure to head over and comment to enter before Sunday.

That being said, its fall. Its time for comfort foods. As a kid I recall being served On-Cor salisbury steaks, which was almost a fancy version of TV dinner. I know that there are tons of people out there that know what Im talking about! This is a great comfort food and Cooking Light has made it over! The flavor is great and there are only 210 calories per serving. You can even make them into little oval patties if it brings you back to your childhood.

Combine together the ground turkey and beef, breadcrumbs and egg whites. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into 1/2 inch patties. Spray a large pan with cooking spray and place the patties into the pan. Allow 3 minutes to cook per side before removing them from the pan and setting them off to the side.

Add into the pan the water, tomato paste, cooking wine, Worcestershire, black pepper and the condensed soup. Stir together until it is well mixed and bring to a boil, now add the patties back into the pan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes and then remove the cover and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 more minutes.

I served these with a combination of roast carrots and potatoes to complete the meal. Let me know what you think!

carrots & potatoes

salisbury steak

Celebrating #POPtober with OXO and The Container Store

I am going to admit now that I have a love/hate relationship with organization. I love to be organized but hate getting it done. And when it does get done, it doesn’t stay organized.

When I moved earlier this year many things just got put away temporarily so that I could clear the boxes out of my kitchen. The temporary ‘organization’ turned permanent when I never made the effort to go back and organize. I’ve been battling with unorganized cabinets for months, moving everything in circles when I need to get 1 thing out of any of my cabinets. The biggest problem is that I have deep cabinets so I often forget what I even have inside of them.

Celebrating #POPtober with OXO and The Container Store

I was really excited with OXO approached me to participate in their #POPtober Challenge along with The Container Store. When I received the box filled with POP Containers and POP Cereal Dispensers I was eager to dig into an organization project. See below for how ugly my cabinets were looking. How could I even find anything in them?! (No, seriously.)

Celebrating #POPtober with OXO and The Container Store

One of my favorite things about the POP Containers is that the lids are flat and perfect for stacking. The button on the top of the containers presses in to secure and create an airtight closure on the container, ensuring that there won’t be any spills. The tops and bottoms of the containers fit together snug like puzzle pieces. I also enjoyed the variety of square and rectangle shapes and sizes that were offered in the containers. They allowed me to fill larger containers with things like flour and sugar and smaller containers with leftover chocolate chips and bread crumbs. Look below for how much better my cabinets look!

Celebrating #POPtober with OXO and The Container Store

POP Containers can be found nationwide at The Container Store or on their website. Check out my wish list on Pinterest below for the things that I want to help me finish organizing my kitchen!

Follow Food n’ Focus’s board OXO Oranigzation on Pinterest.

So here’s where you have a chance to get organized: All of my readers can enter to win a prize pack worth $500, including your choice of OXO Storage & Organization tools (up to $250), as well as a $250 elfa gift card. The giveaway will run from Monday, October 13 – Friday, October 31. Head over to Facebook now to enter for your chance to win!

Celebrating #POPtober with OXO and The Container Store

Philly Cheesesteak Showdown

The Philly cheesesteak has dated back to the early 1930s and it was only now that Ive actually gotten to try one. I was in Philadelphia last week for work and got wind of the Pats vs. Genos rivalry on 9th and Passyunk in South Philadelphia. I had some time when I got there and when I was leaving to give them both a try to figure out who I felt had the better bite.

Pats King of Steaks was founded by Pat Olivieri in 1930. Genos Steaks was founded in 1966 by Joey Vento who just passed away in 2011. Pats has claimed to have invented the cheesesteak back in 1930 by crafting the sandwich on his hot dog grill. It was only years later that the signature Cheez Whiz was added.

So here came the competition: Cheesesteak with onion and Whiz. (Youve gotta be quick to order and know what you want because they really rush you through this process.).

I started with Pats….They serve up their cheesesteak made with a chopped meat and more of a sauteed onion on a crispier french roll. I felt like there was a good ratio of onions on the sandwich and a good amount of cheese. The bread was a tad crispy for my liking but I ate the entire foot-long sandwich right up. The restaurant itself is a bit more of a hole-in-the-wall and seems a bit more original in the styling. Looks dumpy but the food is delicious.

Then came Genos. (Mind you that I didnt eat these both in one day.) The big difference here is that they slice their meat (vs chopped) and the onions are cubed and slightly less sauteed. The bread is a bit softer as well. I felt as though the sandwich was greasier and there were too many onions on it. I did prefer the softer bread. The overall feel of Genos is a bit more commercialized and the restaurant seemed cleaner.

And the winner is…(drum roll, please)

Pats! Definitely the King of Steaks. I would highly recommend doing your own taste-test if youre ever in the Philadelphia area. Do you have a favorite cheesesteak spot?



Day 7: Holiday Baked Brie & Giveaway

So I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that hasn’t finished their Christmas shopping. I really didn’t have that many people to buy for this year but there are just a few gifts still lingers. Most importantly, a gift for my husband! Or gifts. We decided this year that we would set a budget and just fill each others stockings. We have to spend $100 to the penny. Ant ideas of gifts for the guy who doesn’t want anything?

Moving on…;. It’s no secret that I’m a total cheesemonger. Last night I literally went home and ate cheese (and wine) for dinner. One of my favorite cheeses is brie. I like it at room temperature spread onto bread or crackers. It’s like eating butter, but more delicious! I also really love baked brie. Baked brie + nuts + honey = amazing.

Holiday Baked Brie

Which brings me to today’s super easy appetizer post. If you’re in a bind and you need to whip something together, this is the recipe for you. And seriously, everyone will love you for bringing this to the party. And yes, you can eat it with crackers or bread but my favorite way to eat it is with apple wedges. And to make this appetizer even simpler, I just grab a bag of Crunch Pak apple slices and call it a day. No coring. No Slicing. So simple.

Crunch Pak has a lot other fun and healthy snacks too. My husband loves their Foodles, which are a fun pack of apples, pretzels and cheese. I’ve tried to get him to take them to work before but he’s too embarrassed of the Mickey Mouse shaped packaging.

Today’s giveaway is a fun prize package of Crunch Pak products and a super cute wine picnic tote. You can tote around your brie, wine and apple slices and enjoy a nice little picnic. Good luck!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Holiday Baked Brie
Author: April | Food n’ Focus
Serves: 10-12
  • 1 sheet Puffy Pastry
  • 1 round brie cheese (8-12 ounces)
  • ¼ cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg white
  • flour
  • Crunch Pak Apple Slices, bread, crackers
  1. Warm the oven to 400°F: Place an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside, or bake your brie in a pie plate.
  2. Dust your counter with a small amount of flour. Unwrap your puff pastry and place it on the counter. Rub your rolling pin with a little flour and roll the puff pastry until it measures roughly 11 inches by 11 inches.
  3. Place the round of brie in the middle of the pastry. Top with the pecans and then drizzle on the honey. Fold the corners over the brie, forming a neat package. Use your hand to gently press the edges against the brie and neaten up the sides.
  4. Transfer the wrapped brie to the baking sheet or pie plate. If the pastry has warmed and is no longer cool to the touch at this point, place the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to bake and serve.
  5. Brush the pastry all over with the egg white. Be sure to get the sides and around the folds. Try not to let the egg puddle under the brie.
  6. Bake the brie until the pastry is deep golden-brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes: This gives the hot cheese time to firm up a little. Cut into the brie early and most of it will gush right out.
  8. Use the parchment paper to transfer the brie to a serving plate. If you baked it in a pie plate, serve straight from the plate, but double check that the plate has cooled enough to handle.
  9. Serve warm: Arrange apples, sliced baguette or crackers around the brie and serve while warm.

Holiday Baked Brie