Doubly Happy at the Double Tree & On the Bone Princeton

Double Tree Hotel – You’ll be doubly happy!
By: Katie DeVito
Follow me on Twitter @kdevito

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Princeton Chamber of Commerce Trade Show. As I walked out the door I said to my husband, maybe I’ll win a raffle (although I never have). I had a great time at the trade show and during the Tweet Up they held a raffle. My name was the first name called and I won an overnight stay at the Double Tree Hotel Princeton and $100 gift certificate for On the Bone (the restaurant attached to the Double Tree).

Our one-year wedding anniversary was soon approaching. What a perfect opportunity to experience the newly renovated Double Tree and check out On the Bone steakhouse. I booked our reservation and anxiously awaited our Princeton staycation.

When we arrived at the Double Tree, we were pleasantly surprised by the lobby décor. We heard they recently renovated the hotel, but had no idea it would be so trendy chic. Juan Soto greeted us at the front desk. He was also the Front Office Manager on duty as well as the General Hotel Manager for the evening. When you think customer service doesn’t exist anymore… head over to see Juan at the Double Tree. He was fabulous!

We got our keys and headed up to our Parlor Suite room. We walked in and the room had not yet been cleaned. I immediately picked up the phone to call the front desk, while it was ringing, someone was knocking on our door, and it was Juan. He apologized for the inconvenience and moved us across the hall. We settled in and made ourselves some Wolfgang Puck coffee and relaxed in our Parlor Suite. The suite consists of a living area with a couch, table to eat, and TV. The bathroom is great, and even includes tons of Neutrogena products. Even special facial moisturizer with SPF 15. How great is that? The bedroom was beautiful, it also included a TV, a really cool alarm clock and a leather bench to sit and put shoes on at. I can’t tell you how comfortable the bed and pillows were. Apparently guests can even purchase them if they so chose. That should tell you just how comfy it is.

We took a nice long nap and then got ready for our anniversary dinner at On the Bone Steakhouse, which is attached to the Double Tree. We walked up and gave our name to the hostess but told her that we were going to sit at the bar for a cocktail first. Nick the bartender made me a killer extra dirty Grey Goose martini and my husband had his signature Johnny Walker Black.  The bar was packed!

We went back up to the hostess after our drinks to be seated. The décor in On the Bone is very stylish and trendy. As soon as we sat down I noticed that the menu and silverware all had the same silver imprinted design. The people next to us over heard me say that it all matched and they said they go there all the time and never noticed. We ended up chatting with them and go to On the Bone almost once a week for their American Kobe Beef Burgers; they love them and say they have the best in the area.

Our server Caitlin came over to take our order. We ordered two glasses of Cabernet, a shrimp and chorizo sausage dish as our appetizer, a 6oz. filet mignon and the On the Bone filet mignon. The shrimp and chorizo sausage app was great and plated with a drizzle of a BBQ/Chipotle sauce and a lime mousse. Both of our entrees were cooked to perfection. I ordered the 6oz. filet mignon, which came with fresh vegetables, and I ordered loaded baked potato. With all the fixins of course! Is there any other way? My husband had the On the Bone filet mignon, which is exactly that, on the bone, with their vegetables and french fries. Most of the restaurants dishes are served “on the bone” hence their name. As many of you foodies out there know, when meat/poultry etc. are left on the bone it adds a lot more flavor to the dish. We were both completely satisfied and stuffed with our meal. But it was our anniversary so we had to divulge in some dessert. It was the right thing to do. We ordered a slice of their chocolate cake.

After dinner we went back to our room and were greeted by 2 small plates of dessert, champagne and a note from Juan. What a nice way to end the evening!

I woke up the next morning very relaxed, I loved their bedding. We truly enjoyed our stay at the Double Tree Princeton and will recommend it to out of town guests.

A week or so later we headed back to On the Bone after a Clarence Clemons book signing to try out their Kobe burgers. They were out of this world and they come with killer onion rings. I think we are going to be regulars at On the Bone.

Perfect Penne Gorgonzola with Chicken

The hubs and I are a little partial to alfredo, especially my roasted garlic alfredo. However, we both love gorgonzola, so I thought let’s try something new. This dish is “off the hook” or ridiculously good.

 

Here’s the dish:

 

What’cha need:

1 pkg. penne pasta

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 large garlic clove minced

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup chicken broth

5 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (optional)

 

Cook pasta according to package. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in the olive oil. Once browned a bit, add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Add the broth and loosen up any brown bits. Add cream. Cook til sauce is slightly thickened (it doesn’t get that thick) and chicken is fully cooked. Stir in the gorgonzola cheese, salt and pepper. Cook til cheese just melts.

 

Drain pasta. Put pasta in a dish, pour some tasty sauce over it. Add some parmigiano-reggiano if you want and dig in.

 

This dish is super easy and super tasty. It’s definitely a repeat meal.

 

ps. The hubs loved it too!

It’s Not Just Texas Chili

After years of experimenting with a wide array of chili recipes from books, websites and word of mouth, I am proud to say my search for the perfect chili has ended. All thanks to a little wedding gift I received called “Bride & Groom: First and Forever Cookbook” by Mary Corpening Barber & Sara Corpening Whiteford. I’ve been talking it up for a while now, so I figured I should pass along this killer recipe to all my friends.

If you are like me and prefer a more soupy chili rather than one that’s totally chunky and has no sauce… you’re search too has ended. This chili recipe is so unbelievably flavorful and feeds an army. Ok maybe not an army but it will totally feed a Boy Scout troop, no doubt.

I typically make my chili in the morning or early afternoon and let it sit so that the flavors develop even more. Before I’m going to serve it, I just heat it up for a few.

Here’s the dish on Texas Chili:

Whatcha Need:

1 Tbs. Bacon Grease or Vegetable Oil

2 Medium Yellow Onions, chopped

3 Tbs. Chopped Garlic

3 Tbs. Chili Powder

2 Tbs. Paprika

1 Tbs. Cumin

2 Tsp. Dried Oregano

1 lb. Ground Beef Chuck

1 lb. Italian Sausage Links, removed from casings and crumbled

2 Tsp. Kosher Salt, plus more as needed

2 cans (28 oz, each) Crushed Tomato Puree

1 can (15 oz.) Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 oz.) BBQ Baked Beans, drained

1 Tbs. Minced Canned Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce, plus more as needed

Heat the bacon grease (or vegetable oil) in an 8 quart heavy bottomed stockpot over medium heat. (I always use vegetable oil.) Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined. Add the ground chuck, sausage and 1 tsp. of the kosher salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the meat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Adjust the seasonings with more kosher salt or chipotle chiles if necessary (I add a bit more of the chiles).

Serve the chili with some of these fixin’s:

Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Chopped Green Onion

Sour Cream

Crumbled Corn Chips/Tortilla Chips

Red Pepper Flakes

Chopped Jalapeno Chiles

Cornbread

This recipe is so tasty that you really don’t need any fixin’s at all, but it does make a lot. So if your not making this for a big crowd, you will have tons of leftovers and might want to switch things up a bit by adding some of the fixin’s for your leftovers.

I like it best with some shredded cheddar (my hubby prefers no fixins) and we either dip tortilla chips in it or eat it with some cornbread.

This is a great dish to bring to a World Series Party, Superbowl Party or to a Potluck Dinner. We like to have it on a cold rainy “stay inside” weekend while watching shows we DVR’d during the week, movies or re-runs of our fave 80’s shows.

 

Enjoy and let me know what you think. I’m certain that your search for the “perfect” chili has now ended.

 

Do you follow me on Twitter? @kdevito

Where do I begin?

I mentioned in my previous post, that I have decided to write a cook book. Why not, right? I’m currently unemployed and have lots of free time. I LOVE cooking and am good at it. So where do I begin?

Last Thursday I had my mom over for dinner. She loved the Pasta with Pepperoni! I told her of my interest in writing a cook book. She thought it was a good idea and said I should reach out to my cousin (a few times removed) Bob. Bob has written a number of books and they have been published. I also learn that he is not the only published writer in my family. So apparently its in my genes to do this. Besides the fact that I share a birthday with Julia Child. I have writing in my genes. Thank goodness my mom’s cooking isn’t in my genes (hi mom).

First thing Friday morning I emailed my cousin Bob. Letting him know what my plans are for writing a cook book, what his thoughts were, advice he had and of course… where do I begin? Bob wrote me back right away with lots of wonderful advice. He highly suggested that I purchase the most recent edition of the Writer’s Market. It lists publishing companies, informs you how to write queries and much more.

Lucky for me, I was already heading to the mall Saturday to try on a pair of Kenneth Cole 925 shoes. Rumor was that they are the most comfortable shoes in the world, and everyone believes what they see on Good Morning America. Needless to say, the shoes fit horribly. The salesman said oh they stretch out and then they are really comfortable. Ok, no thank you. I ran over to Barnes & Noble and picked up the 2010 edition of the Writer’s Market so I can begin this project.

I’m very excited to begin. I have lots of ideas already and have been compiling some information already. Haven’t started the book yet though. I reached out to a number of publishing companies and magazines inquiring about who I can contact to pitch a cook book idea to, as well as any freelance editor of contributing writer positions. I received a few responses. Sent out a few resumes. Plus I received some detailed information for what to do once I have gotten a bit further with my book.

I’m very excited about my project and hope you will stay with me along the way.

Pepperoni Marinara Sauce

Everyone has their own spin on a marinara sauce. It’s all about what your preference is. I prefer pepperoni in mine. It adds a nice spicy kick to the sauce plus the pepperoni is just tasty. My recipe is based loosely off my mother-in-law’s recipe.

Here’s the dish:

olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves

28 oz. tomato puree (I prefer Tuttorosso)

pepperoni stick

Italian seasoning to taste

oregano to taste

crushed red pepper flakes to taste

salt & pepper to taste

I start off with a hot pan and drizzle some olive oil in it. I then mince the garlic and let it brown a bit in the pan. I cut up the pepperoni stick in chunks and add it to the pan. Let the pepperoni brown up but be careful not to burn the garlic. Add your tomato puree and seasonings and stir. Cook on low heat for at least 2 hours.

Before your ready to eat, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.

Nick is making me mention this:

I always keep the can of tomato puree near the stove filled halfway with water and keep my spoon in it. Nick’s mother does this, his nana did it, everyone has done it. Neither one of us has any idea what the reasoning behind it is. However, I will continue to do it. If you know the reason, let me know.

Enjoy!

Beef Brisket with BBQ Sauce

I thought for sure I had blogged about this before but apparently I haven’t. I absolutely love my Better Homes & Garden Cookbook!

This is not the first nor will it be the last time I make the Beef Brisket recipe from this book. Not only is it so easy, it is very tasty. Plus, it tastes even better the next day. You can make this dish and pair it with a side or we like to put it on potato rolls and eat it as a sandwich.

I follow everything in this recipe to a tee except for the cayenne pepper. Who doesn’t love a crock pot? Enjoy!

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/beef/beef-brisket-with-barbecue-sauce/

Puttanesca Pasta

Recently I bought Luigi Vitelli Tomato Puree and there was a recipe on the side for Puttanesca Pasta. So I made it last night for the first time and it was a success. Both Nick and I really enjoyed this meal and I paired it with Pillsbury Garlic Rolls. You can use any type of pasta you would like, I happened to use Rigatoni since that is what I had in my cupboard.

Here’s the dish on how to make it:

Serves 4

3 or 4 Garlic Cloves (smashed)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 can (28oz.) Luigi Vitelli Tomato Puree

2 Tblsp Capers

4 Tblsp Black coarsely chopped (Gaeta or Kalamata type preferred)

10 sprigs fresh parsley (minced)

salt to taste

crushed red pepper to taste

Saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Remove garlic. Add capers and black olives and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, parsley, salt and crushed red pepper and cook over a high flame for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I used 4 garlic cloves and used a jar of inexpensive kalamata olives. Don’t forget to remove the pits from the olives before you chop them. This is a very easy meal to make and very tasty. Enjoy!

In Love With Gnocchi Alfredo

Not only is this dish delightful on your pocket it is so incredibly delicious and easy to make. Tonight I made Gnocchi Alfredo for dinner. A recipe I got from the magazine Taste of Home. The magazine is filled with tons of great recipes, many of which are very affordable.

Both Nick and I loved this meal. Nick says its up there with my Garlic Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken Cutlets. So I know it’s good.  I will say it is very filling so make sure you have lots of room in your belly.

Here’s the dish:

Prep Time: 20 mins.

Makes 5 servings

2 lbs. frozen potato gnocchi

3 Tbsps. butter

1 Tbsp., plus 1 1/2 tsp. flour

1 – 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Dash ground nutmeg

1/2 lb. sliced baby portabello mushrooms

Minced fresh parsley, optional

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cool and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the stir in cheese and nutmeg until blended. Keep warm.

Drain gnocchi. In a large heavy skillet, cook remaining butter over medium heat until golden brown (do not burn). Add mushrooms and gnocchi. Cook and stir 4-5 minutes or until gnocchi are lightly browned and mushrooms are tender. Serve with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Some addendum’s I made to the recipe… I used heavy cream instead of milk. Since we are not big fan of mushrooms, I did not use them. I also did not use parsley on the top of the pasta. I typically grate some extra cheese to put on top of the plated pasta. It did need a bit of salt and pepper as well as some extra cheese. I would leave that up to the individual because it is personal taste.

Let me know if you make this meal, I would love to hear your feedback.

Sausage and Peppers and Onions Oh My!

Tonight’s dinner is Nick’s moms recipe for sausage, peppers and onions. It was so easy to make and very tasty. Needless to say we ate ALL of it.

Ingredients:

Italian Sausage

1 Onion

1 Green Pepper

Olive Oil

Good Seasons Zesty Italian dry seasoning packet

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 (or 400 depending on your oven). In one casserole dish place your sausages and fill it up about half way with water. I used Italian Chicken Sausages. Slice the onion and green pepper. In another casserole dish combine the onion and green pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and half a packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian dry seasoning. Cook  side by side for 45 minutes.

When timer goes off take both dishes out. Place sausages on a plate and let cool for a few minutes. Add about half of the water that was in the sausage to the dish with the peppers and onions. Once the sausages are cool enough to touch, cut them into pieces. Put the pieces of sausage and the remainder of the Italian seasoning packet in with the peppers and onion. Stir it all up, making sure to scrap up any pieces stuck to the bottom of the dish. Put back in oven for another 30 minutes. Grab a Kaiser or Italian roll and ENJOY!

Unfortunately I did not make enough for any leftovers. Next time I will plan on using 2 packages of sausages, 2 peppers and 2 onions. This is also a great dish to make and carry in either a crock-pot or casserole dish and bring to a party. Who doesn’t love sausage, peppers and onions?

It’s been a while – Katie’s Kitchen

It’s been a while since I last posted and I have been receiving a number of requests to continue with my blog. So here it goes…

Last night I made a PHENOMENAL meal… Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta, courtesy of the Food Network’s website. To view the recipe visit:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chicken-piccata-recipe/index.html

The recipe was so easy and extremely tasty. It will definitely be a repeat offender. Nick absolutely loved it as well. It is very lemony and tart so if you are not a fan of lemons, this is not for you.

I made a couple adjustments to the recipe.  I purchase my chicken breasts from BJ’s and buy the package that continues 4 breasts in a pack individually sealed. So I make all the chicken in each packet for my meals. It seems to be enough for the two of us for dinner and yet allows for leftovers for next days lunch. Since the I purchase skinless, boneless thin sliced breasts, I did not need to butterfly or cut in half. I also cooked all 4 chicken breasts in one large pan so I did not need to repeat the process of olive oil and unsalted butter. In addition, I did not add fresh parsley as garnish since Nick is not a big fan.

I decided to pair the chicken piccata with angel hair pasta since I have seen that done in a lot of restaurants. The angel hair pasta cooks quicker than most pastas and makes a lot. I reccomend only making half a box of pasta. I placed a decent size onto the middle of the plate, with the chicken piccata on top, followed by some remaining sauce.

I would say it did take about 30 minutes to complete this meal from start to finish. It’s definately worth it! Thanks Giada!