Cookbook Reviews

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits: Make Your Own Limoncello, Grand Marnier, Bailey's, and 152 Other Innovative Flavor Combinations by Andrew Schloss

Book: Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits: Make Your Own Limoncello, Grand Marnier, Bailey's, and 152 Other Innovative Flavor Combinations
Author: Andrew Schloss
Narrator (if applicable): N/A

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: A collection of really simple recipes for making unique liquors and spirits, as well as drinks utilizing them. 
My rating: 5 Stars
My opinion: I loved this book!! These recipes were so unique and FRESH. Utilizing fresh fruits, veggies, spices and herbs, the author expertly offered instructions that any novice mixologist could accomplish. This book wouldn't be limited to the novice mixologist though. Consumers pay some big bucks for commercially prepared liqueurs that are present in this book. Liqueurs that can just as easily be prepared at home with a little bit of time and preparation.  

Yes, it is another one on my cookbooks to purchase list.

Another absolute winner from Storey Publishing known for their unique line of cookbooks.

Source:  Storey Publishing
Would I recommend? : Already have.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon

My sister gave me this recipe about 20 years ago and it remains one of my all-time favorite ways to eat spaghetti. Loaded down with bacon, the noodles pick up that flavor. It is then partnered with the creaminess of eggs and half/half. Needless to say, it is also loaded down with fat and calories, so I no longer have it that often. When I do, it is a real treat.

One of the most important things to remember about this dish is that the eggs must be stirred into very hot spaghetti. I will even have a small flame going under the pan because I tend to be a bit more paranoid than the average cook regarding uncooked eggs. I have substituted whole milk for the half/half; however, I have found that I really enjoy the half/half more.

I partner with commercial Caesar salad and garlic bread and I have dinner in less than half and hour. 

So, on that we go!:


1 lb thick cut bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 t. jarred garlic
1 T. olive oil
16 oz spaghetti
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup half/half or more, as desired for creaminess


1) In a large pot, combine bacon, olive oil, garlic and onion. Fry until bacon is slightly crisp and onion is translucent. Be very careful regarding burning garlic.

2) Boil pasta, as directed on box. Return to pan and turn on small flame under pan. Add eggs and stir to coat. Add contents of bacon pan and toss until well blended.

3)  Add half/half and stir/toss until well blended.

Jenny's Cuban Style Slow Cooker Chicken Fricassee

Is it a stew? Is it a soup? How about a little bit of both?

I must admit that it was the crock pot and Cuban flair that had me looking twice at this recipe. I am not shy about how much I love Latin inspired cooking. This recipe screamed rib sticking simplicity and it didn't fail to deliver. Loaded down with veggies and the chicken thighs, as well as the seasonings, my house smelled WONDERFUL when I walked in that night.

I didn't remove the skin from my chicken thighs until I was ready to serve it. When I make this the next time, I will be sure to do so. It was just a tad more "greasier" than what I would have liked. I partnered with corn bread for the perfect meal.


1 large onion, chopped
3 t. jarred garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
8 new potatoes, quartered
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 large leaf fresh sage
2 lbs chicken thighs
salt/pepper to taste


1) Place chicken thighs in crock pot.

2) Combine onion, garlic, green peppers and potatoes in a large bowl. Add tomato sauce, wine, cuming and sage. Stir until well blended. Pour over chicken.

3) Cook on low for 8 hours. Ladle into bowl and serve with corn bread.

Keep It Clean Tilapia with Yellow Rice

I have seen this recipe frequently, but most recently, on 3 Boys and a Dog. Although, it was on my mind to check it out, when it popped up there, it went to the top of my recipe list. I can't believe I waited so long to try this rockin' recipe. Pat even had 2 servings WITH NO COMPLAINTS! This was so simple to make, I couldn't stand it. I partnered it with yellow rice, which follows the fish recipe.

So, here we go!:


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
4 Tilapia fillets, thawed


1) Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line your baking sheet with PARCHMENT paper. Very important to use the paper vs. tin foil which will have the fish stick to it.

2) In a medium bowl combine olive oil, garlic and seasonings.

3) Dip each filet into the seasoning and place it on the baking sheet.

4) Pour any remaining seasoning over the filets on the sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven.

5) Bake for 10 -12 minutes until fish flakes easily.

Yellow Rice


1 14.5 oz can chicken broth.
1 cup rice
1 t. Tumeric


1) In a 2 cup measuring cup, pour in broth. Add water to equal 2 cups and pour into a sauce pan.

2) Add rice and Tumeric.

3) Simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Do not boil.

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Pot Roast-Stephanie O'Dea

Followed the Pub and Grub for even the shortest amount of time and you know what a HUGE Stephanie O'Dea fan I am. Her crock pot foods are unusual, fun and family friendly.

She just had a new cookbook come out that is specifically been dedicated to dinner recipes and it is rockin'. I have had a blast taste testing the best recipes for Pub and Grub followers. Haven't tried her cookbooks, I encourage you to do so.

One such recipe is her Sweet and Sour Pot Roast, which was a really unique blend. Now, Stephanie recommended serving it with mashed potatoes or baked potatoes. I chose to do rice as I felt that it would have too heavy to partner it with the potatoes. Also, the rice complemented the juices from the roast perfectly. On that note, I had some leftover mashed potatoes that my husband used up with them and he said that they were just as good.

So, here we go!:


4 lb beef rump or chuck roast
2 onions sliced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes UNDRAINED
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (I used light and it was fine)
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, diced or 2 t. jarred garlic


1) Place rump roast and onions in crock pot.

2) In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic. Pour over roast/onions.

3) Cook on low for 8 hours or until the meat has "relaxed and begun to lose shape."

Pumpkin Crunch

Several of my Facebook friends are notorious for posting recipes on their profiles. Now, I have to say that NONE of these recipes are low-fat. Not a one!! When my friend Lisa posted this recipe I thought three things. First, was that I had all of the ingredients. Next, this would be a perfect recipe for Bette Lee Crosby's Midweek Mixers. Finally, this is another really simple Thanksgiving dessert that can be made a day ahead of time. In fact, I would recommend it. 

Now, a note...the original recipe simply calls for butter. The people I had taste test my recipes, as well as myself, noted that they could taste the salt in the butter which really gave it an off salty taste periodically. I would call for UNSALTED butter.

My taste testers LOVED this recipe. It had a cookie type of topping versus a pie crust taste. I topped with whipped cream and some pumpkin pie spice. 

So, here we go!:


1 15 ounce can pumpkin pie filling
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1.5 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1.5 t. cinnamon
1 box YELLOW cake mix
2 sticks (1 cup) UNSALTED butter


1) Prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Beat until well-blended. Pour into prepare pan. 

3) Top mixture with the dry cake mix.

4) Melt the two sticks of butter and pour over dry cake mix.

5) Bake in oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely. As I stated in my note above, refrigerate for one day ahead of serving.