Though I've eaten at Fleming's a number of times before, a few newer features have made this my new favorite place to grab a steak.

First, there are features we all love about Fleming's.  It's classy and chic.  The decor is stellar.  The staff is professional and friendly.  The seating is so much more comfortable than many restaurants in Richmond mostly because you're not sitting on your neighbor's lap the whole time.  Though I've always found it to be on the noisier side, I always feel like a million bucks when I'm there.  

However, most can't go too often because it's expensive.  For a filet mignon, expect to pay $40 and this will not come with sides.  However, Fleming's now offers small plates for about half of this.  Not only is this much cheaper, but it allows you to try more than you normally would. 

First, my husband and I split the Lobster Tempura, fried lobster served with a soy ginger sauce and an apple jicama salad for $22.50.  While I'm not a fan of fried foods, this was delicious and the sauce paired very nicely with the meat of the lobster.  We each got a nice portion of lobster and for what we had, I think it was very nicely priced. 
For my entree, I ordered the filet mignon skewers which were served with a gorganzola bacon fondue and a tomato and mozzarella salad all for less than $18. My husband said he didn't want to order this because "they'll just overcook the steak."  He was wrong!  Trust Fleming's to always cook your steak perfectly.  The meat nearly melted in my mouth.  The sauce was unbelievably rich and decadent. I could only take a few drops over the meat but it was fabulous.  And it was just enough meat for me.
My husband had the sliced filet mignon over shiitake risotto for $18.50.  It was presented beautifully - it almost looked like sushi.  The cook was perfect and my husband said he loved the flavors of the dish.  

There you have it: surf and turf for two for $60.
Finally, Fleming's now offers 100 wines by the glass.  The list is extensive and is logically organized so it's easy to quickly find what you're looking for.  They also offer wine flights so that you can pair 2 oz of wine with each plate you order if you're feeling adventurous.  I think this just makes for a fun date.  Note that there is not a flat fee for the flight,  so if you order a taste of an $18 glass of wine, you will pay 1/3 for it.  But if you stick to some of the cheaper glasses you can try three for a reasonable price (and maybe go for it and try that $18 glass of bubbly you wouldn't normally order). :-)
I had such a nice time at Fleming's.  As I said earlier, I think we are going to have to turn this into a regular date night spot.  Fleming's just knows how to treat you right in a beautiful environment and with the small plates and wines by the glass/flight, we can have a fun and affordable date a little more often.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon
This is a great holiday dessert if you want a taste of pumpkin but don't necessarily want to make a pumpkin pie which really isn't my favorite dessert.  This is very rich and decadent.  Feel free to use reduced fat cream cheese. Use a food processor to reduce the gingersnaps to crumbs - this is so much more efficient than smashing the heck out of them with a rolling pin (though not as therapeutic).  The ice cream recipe is not the one that comes with the ice cream maker I have though I found it on the Cusinart website.  It is the BEST vanilla ice cream I have ever tasted.  It would make a wonderful base for whatever you wanted to add to it (e.g. cookie dough, your favorite candy, etc). 
Source: Rachael Ray Mag
  • 1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 packages  ( 8 oz. each) cream cheese at room temperature

  • 3 eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees . Grease an 8-inch springform pan. In a medium bowl, stir together the gingersnap crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and the butter. Press the mixture over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees .
  2. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice; beat until combined. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
  3. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet and pour the filling into the shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake for 1 hour longer. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door ajar for 2 1/2 hours. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate uncovered until thoroughly chilled, at least 10 hours or up to 2 days.
  4. Remove the side of the pan and let sit at room temperature for an hour. To serve, cut the cheesecake into wedges with a sharp knife thats been dipped in hot water and wiped clean after each cut. Serve the cheesecake slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Lindsey's hints for better ice cream:
1. The bowl has to be completely frozen.  No exceptions.  If your freezer can't do it, turn the setting to colder.  I keep mine in the freezer at all times in a gigantic zip lock bag to keep out freezer burn.  As soon as the bowl comes out of the freezer, you have to start using it.  Move it!
2. The mixture has to be almost frozen itself.  Try to put it in the freezer for a few hours until a little slushy.
3. The vanilla extract has to be alcohol free because alcohol is like antifreeze.  I buy this at Trader Joes.  Also, add this during the last five minutes of churning.
4. Try covering the ice cream maker with a dish towel to keep the temperature low.

This is one of the best bread doughs I've ever worked with.  It's also a versatile recipe.  The instructions below will make 12 cloverleaf rolls.  You may also try dividing it into thirds and making 27 small rolls by forming it into 9 balls per pie pan.  Finally, it would be a great dough for cinnamon rolls and crescent rolls! Perfect for holiday potlucks - everybody loves fresh bread made from scratch.  My mom's secret for rising bread: place the bowl/pan on a heating pad on low and cover with a clean dish towel.  Works every time :-)

  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 1/2 cup warm milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

  • 1/3 cup white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

  1. Proof yeast for ten minutes.  Add all ingredients to stand mixer and mix for about 1 minute.  Then switch to dough hook and knead on low until a ball of dough forms.  Place in greased bowl and allow to rise for two hours.
  2. Punch dough down and form into 36 balls.  Place 3 balls into each cup of a prepared cupcake pan.  Allow to rise for one more hour.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden.
Whipped Honey Butter

Whip one stick of salted butter with 1/4 cup of honey on medium high for about 5 minutes.  Transfer to pretty ramekins.
Okay fine.  I admit I have added a few too many butternut squash recipes lately.  BUT!  This is one of my very favorite recipes and I think it makes a fabulous Thanksgiving side. It has sixteen cups of spinach in addition to a whole winter squash!  
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
  • 3/4 - 2pounds butternut squash
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 16 cups fresh spinach
  • cup half-and-half or light cream
  • tablespoon cornstarch
  • cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche*

1. Preheat oven to 425 degree F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside. Peel the squash. Slice to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove seeds from slices and halve large slices. Arrange slices in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Remove. Increase oven temperature to 475 degree F.

2. Meanwhile in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven cook the spinach in lightly salted boiling water, half at a time, for 1 minute or until wilted. Drain and cool slightly; squeeze out excess liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach; set aside. In a medium saucepan combine half-and-half and cornstarch; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in spinach; spread mixture in bottom of prepared dish. Arrange squash over spinach mixture.

3. In a small bowl stir together Parmesan cheese and creme fraiche. Spread mixture over squash in dish. Bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender and topping is lightly browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

from the test kitchen
  • To make your own creme fraiche, in small bowl stir together 1/4 cup whipping cream (not ultrapasteurized) and 1/4 cup dairy sour cream. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours or until mixture thickens. When thickened, cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving time or up to 48 hours. Stir before serving.
These pancakes feature the best spices and flavors of the season.  They are so sweet, you can skip the syrup.
Source: Real Simple
  1. Combine the pancake mix, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, molasses, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk just to combine. Let the batter rest according to the pancake-mix label directions (or for 5 minutes if you make your own mix). 
  2. While waiting, gently toss the pears in a bowl with the brown sugar; set aside.
  3. Place a nonstick griddle or skillet coated with oil, butter, or cooking spray over medium-high heat. Spoon or pour about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle. Turn when bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look cooked. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. Serve the pancakes with the sliced pears and a dollop of the vanilla yogurt.
     This recipe makes 8-10 pancakes.
Here are two more sides I tried from Rachael Ray's Thanksgiving magazine.  They are delicious, easy, and a little different; sure to impress!
Root Vegetable Bread Salad
  • 1 loaf  (8 oz) crusty french or italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

  • 2/3 cup EVOO

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 pound carrots - peeled, halved lengthwise and cut on an angle 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 pound parsnips - peeled, halved lengthwise and cut on an angle 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with 1/3 cup EVOO and 3/4 tsp. salt; spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, using the same large bowl, combine the carrots, parsnips and onion; toss with the remaining 1/3 cup EVOO and 3/4 tsp. salt. Spread the vegetables in an even layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Roast the vegetables, flipping them and switching the pans halfway through, until tender and slightly browned at the edges, about 25 minutes.
  3. Transfer the vegetables and any pan juices to the large bowl; toss with the toasted bread cubes. Add the lemon juice and parsley, toss again, then season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spiced Butternut Squash
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus more if needed

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • coarse salt

  • 3 pounds butternut squash - peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . in a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp. EVoo, the brown sugar, cinnamon, paprika and 1 tsp. salt. Divide the squash between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle the spice mixture evenly over the squash; toss to coat. (The squash should be lightly coated. if the spices are clumping up, add a little more EVoo and toss again.) Spread the squash out in an even layer; bake until the edges are browned, rotating the pans halfway through cooking, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the squash to a serving dish. Top with chives.
A delicious way to use that leftover turkey!
  • Leftover turkey meat chopped into pieces
  • 8 slices of bread 
  • 1 wheel of brie cut into four slices
  • 1/2 can of cranberry sauce 
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter 

1. Heat a panini press, grill pan, or frying pan.  
2. Spread a few tablespoons of cranberry sauce on four slices of bread.  Top with turkey and then the brie.
3. With a pastry brush, spread butter over the other four slices of bread and then place them butter side down onto the cooking surface.  Top with the other slices of bread and then spread remaining butter onto their tops.
4. Heat until the brie starts to melt. 

Makes four sandwiches.
A nice side dish for fall/Thanksgiving.
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp sherry vinegar

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons EVOO

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets, stems cut on an angle 1/4-inch thick

  • salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, 14 cup hot water and 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar. Let stand until the water is cooled and the cranberries are slightly plumped. [Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.]
  2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, drizzle with 112 tsp. EVOO and sprinkle with the sugar; toss well. Let cool. [Make ahead: Seal in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.]
  3. Fill a 6-qt. pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain well and pat dry, then coarsely chop. [Make ahead: Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding.]
  4. Pour the cranberries and their juices over the broccoli. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. EVOO and 1 tsp. vinegar; toss well. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the walnuts on top. Serve at room temperature.
Why not?  Every time I roast a turkey I wonder why people don't just eat them year round.  Think about it - it's a healthy white meat that's affordable and delicious.  For just my husband and and me, I roasted a 4.5 pound breast and was finished with the whole meal in 2 hours from start to finish (and I was on the couch for the vast majority of it).  This is also a great way to practice menu ideas for the big day (just do a little downsizing).  And of course there will be leftovers!
I'm an average turkey cooker but here are my three big tips.  No matter what you do, you can't add any extra moisture to your bird.  Inject it with butter, rub oil under the skin, blah blah, whatever.  Your job is to keep the moisture that's already there...
1) Roast it breast side down for most of the cook and flip it over only when it's 2/3 of the way done.
2) Let it rest.  For God's sake.  LET IT REST.  Bake or roast those sides AFTER it's done to resist carving your beautiful bird too early and losing all that juice.
3) And this is controversial ..don't salt it!  That's right.  You heard me.  Salt dries out meat..  Don't salt it until the end. 
Herb Butter Turkey
Source: Rachel Ray Mag

  • 1 fresh or thawed frozen turkey (about 12 lbs)

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 onion, quartered

  • 10 sprigs parsley

  • 1 lemon, halved

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 4 ounce stick  butter
  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees .  Season the main cavity of the bird with pepper; stuff with the onion pieces and 7 parsley sprigs. Squeeze the lemon all over the skin, then stuff the lemon halves inside the cavity. using kitchen twine, tie the legs together at their ends. Tuck the wings behind the back of the turkey if desired. Place the turkey in the roasting pan. Pour 1 cup chicken broth into the bottom of the pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat, then remove from the heat. Finely chop the leaves from the remaining 3 parsley sprigs. Stir into the butter. using a pastry brush, brush the turkey with the butter. Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 45 minutes. Brush with more butter and roast for an additional 45 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees . Brush the turkey with more butter and continue to roast for about 30 minutes more, until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. Transfer the turkey to a carving board with a moat and cover loosely with foil. let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Source: Rachel Ray Mag

  • 5 pounds sweet potatoes

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup milk, warmed

  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork and place in a baking pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat; stir in the maple syrup. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. Whip potatoes with a mixer or mash with potato masher.  Add the butter, s