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Some Smokin’ Valentine’s Day Recipes and Ultimate Recipe Showdown!

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Well, tonight is the anticipated night my “dessert” show is on Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown season 2. It’s always nerve wracking to see how it gets edited and if I make a complete fool of myself! I got to compete with my good friend Camilla from Enlightned Cooking and I also got to meet Lisa Roman and Dennis Deel who were wonderful to compete with. It should make for an entertaining show! I’ll share my recipes after the show airs tonight!


Now, onto some fabulous Valentines Day recipes….Let’s start with the pizza. It is smoky, beefy and and queso cheesy! Trust me, the man in your life will love this. Ok, everyone will love it. You can adjust the heat by the amount of adobo sauce you add, if you like it spicy add more. How it is written now, is very mild for my man (he’s a bit of a spice baby). The time it takes to marinate the meat is totally worth it. Make it again for some carne asada tacos that will knock your socks off.

Smoky Queso Carne Asada Pizza

Carne Asada Marinade

2 lbs skirt steak or other thin steak

½ Cup extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 Tablespoons lime juice

3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Smoky Queso Sauce

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 Cup, milk (I used whole, but I’m sure a low-fat would be just fine)

1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 Teaspoons adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)

½ Cup of your favorite mild salsa

A batch of your favorite pizza dough (I LOVE the whole wheat pizza dough from Fresh and Easy or Trader Joes. It’s cheap too!)

2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ Cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves

1. Place all carne asada ingredients into a large ziplock bag. Seal and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.

2. Preheat indoor or outdoor grill. Remove steak from marinade and grill for about 2 minutes per side. It’s quick since the beef is so thin. Transfer to a plate to cool for a couple minutes. Once all beef has been grilled, slice steak into thin strips and set aside.

3. To prepare the smoky queso sauce, melt the butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in milk whisking constantly until smooth. Increase heat while whisking until mixture comes to a low boil. Once starts to boil, reduce heat to low and stir in cheddar cheese until smooth. Stir in adobo sauce and salsa.

4. Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Spread out pizza dough onto pizza pan of choice. I’ve also used a square baking sheet for a square pizza that works great too. Pre-bake for 8 minutes and remove. Spread queso sauce over dough, then layer beef over cheese. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before cutting into wedges. Right before serving top with fresh chopped cilantro leaves.

Yield, 8 slices


Now for the brownies. I can’t say enough about these chocolaty, chewy minty brownies. I played around with a recipe from King Arthur that was terrific! I even liked these better the next day in some ice cream all mixed up. Drool. No matter how you decide to enjoy them, your sweetheart will love them too!

The Ultimate Chewy Crème de Mint Brownies!

(adapted from King Arthur Flour recipe)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

¾ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hersheys)

2 Cups granulated sugar

1 Cup flour

3 eggs

¼ Cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Cup Andes Thin Mint baking chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. (I Love my calphalon 8×8 inch square cake pan for these) Place butter, cocoa powder, sugar, flour, eggs, oil, vanilla and ½ Cup baking chips into a large mixing bowl; stir to combined. Pour into prepared pan then sprinkle remaining ½ Cup mint chips and bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center. Let cool for 3-4 hours or overnight before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Yield, 9 bars


Fun Times At The Ultimate Recipe Showdown Season 2

Kim and I stealing a photo with Guy Fierri. He was so cool!


I’ll see you all soon with my recipes from the show and more comfort food dinners!

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  1. 51
    PheMom says:

    Your doughnuts sure looked and sounded “slammin’ ” to me. I will definitely be making them as soon as I can. Even though you didn’t take first you looked so cool and collected that it was a blast to watch you compete.

  2. 52
    Natalie says:

    You did fantastic!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂
    You made it on my menu! lol
    I bet that was such an exciting experience, I have a feeling that it’s definatly not the last TV experience either…

  3. 53
    Live.Love.Eat says:

    This carne asada pizza looks incredible. Love it!!! And I got to see 14 minutes of the show and was so mad when it turned off. I think we were taping too many shows and someone hit the wrong button when we changed the channel.

  4. 54
    Brindi says:

    Congrats on the great showing on URS! We were only able to catch the second part (I made my husband watch with me.) We agreed that your peaches looked divine! They had good things to say. Eagerly waiting for you to share your recipes!

  5. 55
    Carrian says:

    The brownies look delicious!! I can’t wait to try them in the next few weeks! We thought you did wonderful last night. It’s an amazing opportunity, win or lose. Winning would still be wonderful though!!! We can’t wait to try the peaches when Utah starts bringing them into the store.

  6. 56
    Anonymous says:

    Oooh I wish I could see Guy. He is so cool. Is he as funny in person as he is on his shows?

  7. 57
    Emily says:

    I was watching food network the other day, and saw you on the show! You did SO great! The doughnuts look amazing – and it looked like the judges really enjoyed them too! You really almost won – sooo cool!! WTG Jenny!!!

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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!



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