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

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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57 Responses
  1. Emily

    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!!!

  2. Carrian

    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.

  3. Brindi

    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!

  4. Live.Love.Eat

    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.

  5. Natalie

    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…

  6. PheMom

    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.

  7. The Thompson's

    Jenny, got to watch you last night on food network! You were GREAT! Bummed you didn’t walk away with the prize. But your doughnuts look so yummy! It was making me HUNGRY! Way to go!

  8. Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!"

    I stayed up till 1am watching the show! 🙂 You did great, and seemed the most calm and put together from the bunch! My kitchen is too tall for me too, lol.

    Can’t wait to try your recipes!

  9. Jules S

    Jenny! I watched the ultimate recipe showdown yesturday. You did great and I thought your recipe choices were great picks. I think the peach dessert looks amazing. My husband and I love peaches. I definitly thought you should have won. I thought it was strange how the last dessert alone determined if you won or not. Keep up the great recipies, you have great ideas.

  10. The Harris Family Daily Chat

    Jen, it was so fun to watch you on showdown. Avery and Poppy watched it with me. You would have thought you were their mom. Seriously. They have been playing “chef jenny: all morning. Great job!

  11. Marisa

    You were AWESOME on the show!!!! Both of your recipes looked absolutely amazing and delicious! I wished that I could’ve popped one of those donuts into my mouth as I was watching the show! I can’t wait for the recipes!!!

  12. Emily

    Jenny what an awesome pizza recipe! My husband will melt if I make this for him! I can’t wait to see the show! Way to go for entering those contests!

  13. Sara

    Wow…your pizza looks awesome, and the brownies, I want some now!!! Can’t wait to see the show. My sis-in-law recorded it for me. Way to go!!!

  14. Michelle

    You were so good on the show and so confident! It was funny reading your blog and then seeing you on TV, felt like I knew you. Both of your desserts looked delicious!

    I already watched the show, but won’t say anything until you post.

    Can’t wait to see the recipes!

  15. amy

    You were fabulous. So professional, so gracious, and beautiful too! My husband was dying for the peach dessert. Can’t wait to get the recipe.

  16. Girl Japan

    Well done on the Food Network!!! I wish we could see the show here in Tokyo.. ah, what a bloody bummer.

    I am craving brownies in heaps! What is Andes? Could I possibly omit the mint?

    The pizza sounds DELISH!

    Congrats on all!

  17. Katrina

    Just watched the Showdown. You looked great and I’m also not just saying this, but my favorite dessert of the night would be the banana bread donuts. I love all things banana and thought those looked and sound so good!
    What a great, fun opportunity! Can’t wait to see your recipe!

  18. Shannalee

    Just caught you on the show and was totally rooting for you – those peaches looked awesome – and I didn’t even know you had a blog until now. Glad to have found you and can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

  19. Leslie

    Well were just the cutest thing I have ever seen standing on your little block!
    Sorry you didnt get the Grand Prize, but I bet the experience was amazing!!!

  20. Emily

    You did such a great job!!! I’ll bet you had a blast! I’m so jealous.

    It was so cute when you had to get a stool!!

  21. linda

    We are watching the show right now and cheering you on.. My husband can’t wait to try those donuts that you are making.. I will also be trying that pizza soon

  22. Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!"

    Oooh I can’t wait to watch! I love carne asada, this pizza looks yummy, so do those brownies!

    My Niece saw Guy at Disneyland at Christmas time, lucky lucky! He seems so fun!

  23. Brooke

    Awesome as always. I am so going to try the brownies — no wonder I have gained five pounds that I am now running to try and burn off.

    Can’t wait to see the show.

  24. Jamie @ Baldwin Bungalow

    I love Guy – he’s so cool. And I love URS. I’m actually watching the “Comfort Food” one right now. I’ll set the TiVo to record URS tonight. Hope you win! 🙂

  25. penniesonaplatter

    I also just set my DVR… although I’m sure I’ll be home tonight to watch. Just can’t chance it! 🙂

  26. Maggie

    We’ve got our DVR set for tonight! Can’t wait to see the show. Those brownies look amazing too…I am a sucker for brownies. YUM

  27. carol

    I can’t wait for the show tonight Jenny-whether you take top prize or not, you’re a winner to all of your blog followers!!
    This pizza looks SO good-I’ve gotta try it….we love spicy. And your brownies…well….that’s heaven on a plate to me-mint and chocolate….YUM……
    Good luck tonight-you’ll hear us all cheering you on! 🙂

  28. Bob

    That stuff looks so good! I could go for some of that pizza right now, I’m starving.

    Man, I wish I had cable! Hopefully my brother will be able to tape the show tonight. 🙂

  29. Amy

    I need to check my DVR to make sure I don’t miss this! You and your sister are both gorgeous!!!!!! and I can’t wait to try the recipes!

  30. Emily

    I’m ready for the show! Can’t wait to see what you have cookin up!! Congrats on making the show!!

    Those brownies and pizza look delishhh!!

  31. Krista Lou Cook

    Last week I happened across the Ultimate showdown and thought, “Isn’t Picky Palate in this?” I quickly set the TIVO to record tonight’s show. Looking forward to it!

  32. Patsyk

    I’m looking forward to seeing your show tonight!

    Those recipes sound amazing. I think we’ll have to have a pizza night soon.

  33. Barbara Bakes

    How fun that you shared your experience with your sister. I wish I had cable so I could watch. Maybe you’ll post a link to something on the internet I can watch?

  34. Kaitlin

    The pizza and brownies look amazing! I’ve only had steak on pizza once, and after seeing this yummy looking recipe I think it’s time again. I love mint and chocolate, so the brownies are definitely a winner.

    I can’t wait for the show, I set it to DVR a couple of days ago! Go Jenny 🙂

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