Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

My new obsession - Stacy's Multigrain Pita Chips! YUM! Looking for anyway to get them - hummus, plain ~~ then I found this recipe. So far, I've taken it to 3 parties this holiday season. I love how healthy it is & how easy. I loved dipping it with veggies too~~ Try it for your New Years Eve Party!

Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Source: Ellie Kreiger - FoodNetwork

3/4 cup pomegranate juice or 4 teaspoons of pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
Pita Toasts, for serving

Put the pomegranate juice, into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until juice is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool and thicken.

Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Put the walnuts and bread crumbs into a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the reduced pomegranate juice or pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, red peppers, cayenne pepper and cumin and process until smooth. With the processor on add the olive oil in a thin stream. Season with salt, to taste. Sprinkle with cumin and olive oil and serve.

Serve with pita toasts.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Homemade Oreos)

Another Browneyed Baker recipe! And another hit! My husband loved these. He was mad I was taking them to a cookie exchange. Another batch may be on the horizon. The recipe was slightly time consuming but done in stages. Oreo lovers give them a try!

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Homemade Oreos)
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
Yields: About 3 dozen sandwich cookies

IngredientsFor the Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling: (I'd probably double this next time)
½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Garnish: Decorative sugar (optional)


1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half and form each piece into a 6-inch square, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

4. Roll out 1 piece of dough between sheets of parchment paper into a 14×10-inch rectangle (1/8-inch thick). Slide dough in parchment onto a tray and freeze until dough is firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.

5. Cut out as many rounds as possible from first chilled square with a 2-inch fluted or round cutter, reserving and chilling scraps, then quickly transfer cookies to a buttered baking sheet, arranging them ½ inch apart. (If dough becomes too soft, return to freezer until firm.)

6. Sprinkle half of cookies with decorative sugar (if using), then bake cookies until baked through and slightly puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on sheet on rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely (cookies will crisp as they cool).

7. Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps (re-roll only once).

8. To make the filling, beat the butter and shortening together at medium speed until combined and smooth. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Increase the speed to high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until the filling is light and fluffy.

9. To assemble the cookies, pipe a heaping teaspoon of filling onto the flat side of the plain cookies. Top with the sugared cookies to make sandwiches. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Peppermint Bark

I have always wanted to try to make Peppermint Bark. I knew it was easy but for some reason it always intimidated me. Well, I was intimidated for no reason ~ it was easy. And really yummy. I'll probably make every Christmas as it looks really festive ~ and tastes great too. Thanks Browneyed Baker for the recipe ~ and for some tips from my cousin Heather!

Peppermint Bark
Source: Browneyedbaker

1 lb dark chocolate - (1/2 semisweet & 1/2 bittersweet)
1 lb. white chocolate
6 oz. (1 regular package) candy canes, crushed

1. Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Spread (with an offset spatula) in an even layer on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Place in freezer to harden, approximately 30 minutes.
2. Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Spread (with an offset spatula) on top of the dark chocolate layer. Working quickly before the white chocolate set, sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and gently press into the chocolate. Refrigerate until completely hard and set, at least 2 hours.
3. Break into pieces! (I used my meat mallet)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cookies & Cream Cake

Dad's birthday! I wanted to try my hand at a 'fancy' cake. After much searching - I decided on this one. YUM! The vanilla filling ~~ really good!! Put it on the cake quick!! Before being tempted to eat it! This is a great cake that looks fancy for the novice cake maker! This is a great basic chocolate cake recipe.

Cookies & Cream Cake
Source: Annie's Eats

For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the filling:
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped

For the frosting:
½ cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat on low speed until all sugar is incorporated; increase speed to high and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in chopped cookie pieces with a rubber spatula.

To make the frosting, melt the butter in a medium bowl. Stir in the cocoa. Alternately add confectioners’ sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard cake circle. Pipe a ring of the chocolate frosting around the outside edge of the cake. Fill the area inside the ring of frosting with a thick layer of the cookies and cream mixture. Place the second cake layer on top. Frost the sides of the cake layers with chocolate frosting. Pipe a decorative border of the chocolate frosting on top of the cake. Fill the area inside this border with a thick layer of the cookies and cream mixture. Garnish with extra chocolate sandwich cookies and whipped cream if desired.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Got the urge to whip up a batch of cookies to start the week ~~~ I've been holding this recipe.... These turned out great! I shared them with the daycare, work, a friend ~~ rave reviews from all! I have this odd mental thing that adding oatmeal makes them more healthy.... let me go with it!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Source: Love Deliciousness Blog


* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups uncooked regular oats
* Appx 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate mega morsels (we used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
* 1 cup chopped toasted pecans (omitted)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring well. Add oats; stir well. Add to butter mixture; stir until well blended.
4. Gently stir in chocolate morsels and pecans.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until brown around edges. Cool on pan 2-3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

Ben's mom gave me Jane Brody's Good Food Cookbook. It's a nice cookbook because every recipe is just a little healthier. These 'grab & go' muffins are nice for breakfast, with a cup of coffee or even a snack. Less sugar, wheat flour only make it better in my eyes.

Pumpkin Muffins
Source: Jane Brody's Good Food Cookbook

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs (or if you’re trying to lower the cholesterol you can use 1 whole egg and 1 egg white)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
OPTIONAL ADDITIONS: 1/4 cup dark raisins; 1/4 golden raisins; 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, pumpkin, and eggs.

In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Fold this into the pumpkin mixture (dump the dry into the wet all at once and then gently mix) until dry ingredients are just moist. If you decided to include raisins and/or nuts stir them in now.

Butter your muffin tin (will make 12 regular sized or 6 jumbo muffins) and spoon the batter into the muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes. Let muffins cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, and then pull the out to cool completely or enjoy right away.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

OK - my review on this recipe is that it's.... OK. BUT - I see the potential in it ~ hence, why I blog it! I also like the potential for ways to adapt it. I would say give it a try ~ as part of a appetizer type party or even as a main dish with a salad.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
Source: Everyday with Rachel Ray

3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk - I used 1% & it worked fine
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded, about 1 cup
4 oz pepperoni, cut into small cubes - I used turkey
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk & egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni, let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through, then stir in 1 TBSP basil. Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 TBSP basil. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Place baked puffs on a baking sheet and put in the freezer until frozen. Transfer to a storage bag. When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, place puffs on a baking sheet, and bake for 8 - 10 minutes until warm.

IDEAS: bacon, cheddar & scallions; Parmesan, garlic & herb

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

We really have to make pork tenderloin more often in our home. It's so good & so so easy. This recipe came from a little Rachel Ray book "Guy Food". Well Rachel, I'd call this gal food as well. It was really tasty. We served it with green beans and mashed potatoes.

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
Source: Rachel Ray "Guy Food"

(I cut the recipe in 1/2 & only used 1 tenderloin)
4 1/2 pounds pork tenderloins, 2 packages with 2 tenderloins in each package
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, cracked
Steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper - Montreal Steak Seasoning
4 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves stripped and finely chopped (I only had dried herbs on hand - worked fine)
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Trim silver skin or connective tissue off tenderloins with a very sharp thin knife.

Place tender loins on a nonstick cookie sheet with a rim. Coat tenderloins in a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, rubbing vinegar into meat. Drizzle tenderloins with extra-virgin olive oil, just enough to coat. Cut small slits into meat and disperse chunks of cracked garlic cloves into meat. Combine steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and pepper with rosemary and thyme and rub meat with blend. Roast in hot oven 20 minutes.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saucy Mexican Chicken

So, so easy. As the day draws near that I have to return to work... quick & easy meals will be of utmost importance. Here is one that should definetly be added into the rotation! I served this with rice & corn. The chicken could easily be shredded and this would be a tasty topper for some nachos!

Saucy Mexican Chicken
Source: Food & Family Magazine - Holiday 2009

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 small breasts)
1 16oz. jar of chunky salsa
1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar

Cook chicken in a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 4 minutes on each side or until browned on both sides.

Add salsa and beans. Bring to a boil, cover.
Simmer on medium low heat 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

Top with cheese. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chewy Brownies

Brownies from scratch?? Like the chewy kind from the box??? No mixer needed??? Yes! Please!! I love making things from scratch! These are really good! It's so great to know all of the ingredients going into our treats! Made these for our 2nd anniversary as a treat! (Complimented them with peppermint ice cream!!) Thanks to the Brown Eyed Baker blog for sharing this recipe ~~ and thanks to my friend J for testing them first!!

Chewy Brownies
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 24 Brownies

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.

4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

(From Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010 issue)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chicken Pepper Penne

This is a simple, quick weeknight meal..... especially when peppers are in season. My mom used to make this all the time for us ~ I am not sure where she dug it up. I had forgotten about it. Why did I forget to make this all summer?!? I'll put this recipe back into our rotation for sure.

Chicken Pepper Penne

Cook pasta

Cut chicken in slices ~ 4 breasts
Put in skillet sprayed with Pam.
Cook through

1 TBSP garlic, thyme, rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth (can use a whole can)

Cut a green pepper and a red pepper into slices
Add to skillet

16oz. tomato sauce

Simmer for a couple minutes

Blend with pasta

Sprinkle with parsley & parm cheese.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oreo Freakout!

A 40th Birthday called for a special cake/dessert!! Ice cream cake!! A friend made this at work a couple years ago - it stuck in my head ~~ then, when my friend C made something similar recently ~ the idea was reborn! And again, this fits the new mom criteria..... easy & quick to make.

Oreo Freakout!!

1 package Oreo cookies
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened (don't forget "half gallons" of ice cream are smaller now--so you will need a little more than one container
1 jar Hershey's hot fudge sauce (do not HEAT it)
1 large container of Cool Whip

Crush the Oreos (filling, too). Spread a layer of cookies on the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan (about half the crushed cookies). Spread the ice cream on the Oreos (this can be tricky--use your hands!). Spread the fudge sauce on the ice cream. Sprinkle a layer of peanuts on the fudge sauce. Spread Cool Whip on the top. Top with the remaining crushed cookies. Cover and freeze. Keep frozen. ENJOY!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Snack Mix Bars

Another no-bake recipe. Gotta love recipes like this. They were all gone at a recent party. I'd definetely make these again.

Snack Mix Bar
Source: Inn Cuisine.Com

3 cups pretzel sticks (snapped into thirds)
2 & 1/3 cups Wheat Chex
2 cups plain M&M’s (feel free to experiment with the peanut, almond, or dark chocolate varieties too)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer Jif Natural)
5 & 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

In a large mixing bowl, combine pretzels, Wheat Chex and M&M’s. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and peanut butter; add mini marshmallows, cooking and stirring until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour over pretzel mixture; stirring and tossing gently to coat. Press mixture into a greased 13″x9″x2″ baking dish. Cool until firm (away from hot kitchen lights), cut into squares and serve.
Yield: approximately 2 dozen (more or less depending on the size squares you cut)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Emeril's Turkey Meatloaf

We haven't had meatloaf in such a long time!! I've been craving meatloaf. This is one of those recipes I cut out & have had sitting around. I finally got around to it. It's a winner! Even Ben ~ who was making faces at turkey meat, turkey bacon, etc etc ~~ really liked it! I am thinking leftovers will be great as well.

Emeril's Turkey Meatloaf
Source: Emeril

1 tsp vegetable oil
4 oz. turkey bacon, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped - about 1 cup
1 small green pepper, chopped - about 3/4 cup
course salt & pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 rolled oats, not instant
1 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (85% lean)
1 1/4 cups chili sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook bacon stirring until almost crisp, about 4 minutes. Add onion & pepper, season to taste with salt & pepper and cook until vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add oats and evaporated milk. Let cool.

Add turkey, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2 TBSP chili sauce. Stir well to combine. Transfer mixture to a 5X9 loaf pan and smooth top - spray the pan with Pam. Spread remaining chili sauce over the top. Bake until meatloaf is cooked through (an meat thermometer should read 165 in the center) about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan 20 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Butterscotch Cornflake Cookies

My mom used to make these for us. I had forgotten about them until I found a bag of butterscotch chips in the closet. As easy as these cookies are - they are good. Rich but good! This is another good recipe to add to a simplified baking strategy! Try 'em out!

Butterscotch Cornflake Cookies

1 11oz bag butterscotch chips
1 c. peanut butter
5 c. corn flakes ~ crushed a little bit

Melt morsels and peanut butter over low heat. Stir in corn flakes; mix until flakes are well coated. Drop by rounded serving spoons onto a parchment or wax paper covered cookie sheet. Place in refrigerator until solid.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Congo Bars

Two weeks past baby I got the urge to bake. Realizing baking should be different - no mixer & bar cookies sounded like the right idea. A quick search dug up this recipe. Super easy & good! As the little one gets older, I feel so much better with homemade goods for him - hope I can keep it up!!

Congo Bars
Source: Bakerella

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar (Oh my and thank you!)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Stir brown sugar into softened (not melted) butter in another large bowl until butter disappears. You can use the back of your spoon to help incorporate the two together.
Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.
Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.

Note from the recipe:
If the bars aren’t done at 30 minutes and the tops feel like they are getting too brown, then place a sheet of aluminum foil on top and bake a little longer. Use a toothpick to insert and check for doneness before removing from the oven. Also make sure you sifted the dry ingredients and used room temp butter, not melted.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

S'mores Stuffed Brownies

AHH~~ s'mores! Who doesn't love them. Friends were passing around this recipe - I had to try them. They didn't disappoint! I've already made them twice! Thanks to the Picky Palate blog for such great instructions and pictures! So easy and SO good!

S'mores Stuffed Brownies
Source: Picky Palate

Batch Prepared in 8×8 inch baking pan
1 box of your favorite brownie mix
4 1/2 full Graham Crackers
3 1/2 Full size Hershey’s Bars
16 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Line foil into an 8×8 inch baking pan and spray generously with cooking spray. Pour half the brownie batter into lined pan. Layer graham crackers over brownies following Hershey Bars and marshmallows. Pour remaining brownie batter over marshmallows. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes mostly clean from center. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Carefully remove foil and brownies from pan. Peel any foil from away from edges and cut into squares.
12 brownies

Note: Be sure to bake long enough ~ they first time I made these I didn't bake them the full 45 minutes & they didn't set as well.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Broccoli Slaw

Thanks to my healthy friends, Wendell & Katie, for this recipe! I hope to make more often as it takes really good but is also really low cal & low fat. I want to continue to find ways to spruce up Broccoli Slaw. Even Ben will eat it - who proclaims he doesn't like broccoli!

Broccoli Slaw

1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw
3 Stalks of Celery (chopped)
1 Garlic Clove (chopped)
½ Red Bell Pepper

¼ Cup of Splenda
½ tsp of Celery Seed
¼ Cup of Lemon Juice
¼ Cup of White Vinegar

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Orzo Salad

I've become a big fan of orzo! I have an orzo salad I make all the time - I wanted to get another one into the mix. This one fit the bill. I was able to use some of the herbs I've grown & you can pack it full of fresh summer vegetables. Next time I'd probably add some kind of cheese - feta, maybe?? The dressing is good and can be used for a variety of other things.

Orzo Salad
Source:The Kitchen Sink Blog

4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 1/2 cups red, yellow, green peppers
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
About 3/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely.
Toss the orzo with the peppers, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.
Yield: 1 3/4 cups

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Finally an update! Not too much cooking going on around here lately ~~ except for the baby abrewin'! But with morning company coming and my love for all berries, I needed to get back to it!! I found a very simple to throw together recipe for blueberry coffee cake. It turned out great!

Blueberry Coffee Cake

1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (MORE!)
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar (i used brown sugar)
1 tablespoon cold butter

For batter, in a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Combine 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Toss blueberries with remaining flour. Stir blueberries and cream cheese into creamed mixture (batter will be thick). Transfer to a greased 8-in. square baking dish.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter

Thanks to my neighbor, Tricia, for passing on this recipe to me! So, so easy and tastes like a complicated meal you'd get in a fancy Italian restaurant. The longest part of the whole process is boiling the water to boil ravioli. So many different things you can do with this recipe ~ different types of ravioli, add spinach, serve with a salad or veggie ~~ a great base for many possibilities! I halved the recipe as I was only making it for myself.

Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter
Source: Giada De Laurentiis ~ Food Network

18 to 20 ounces store-bought ravioli (cheese, mushroom, or squash) - I used Buitoni whole wheat 4 cheese.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle walnuts and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

The very berry month of May! Notice lots of strawberry recipes?? I love 'em! Almost as much as I love using my Kitchenaide Ice Cream Maker! Anyone with a Kitchenaide must invest in the ice cream attachment. Another easy, eggless recipe!

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
Source: Based on a recipe from Gourmet, August 2009

1 pound of strawberries, hulled and halved
1 ½ cup sugar
¾ tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk

In a large bowl, coarsely mash strawberries with lemon juice, sugar and salt using a potato masher. Let stand, stirring and mashing occasionally, 10 minutes.
Using a ladle, transfer half of the strawberry mixture to blender along with cream and milk and puree till smooth. Return strawberry cream to bowl with rest of strawberries and chill till cold, 3-6 hours.
Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to maker’s directions. This usually takes 25 minutes to 1 hour. (If this is your first attempt at ice cream, give yourself more time to avoid emotional turmoil before a dinner party.) Transfer to an airtight container and place in the back of the freezer to firm up, at least 1 hour.
Makes 1.5 quarts. Keeps in freezer up to 1 week.

Strawberry & Feta Salad

Always looking for good, fresh salad ideas. Strawberries in season - means all things strawberry! The salad part of the recipe can definitely be doubled based upon the amount of dressing. Make for company, a potluck, to take or just for your family any evening! Our mom's enjoyed for mothers day.

Strawberry & Feta Salad

1 cup slivered almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 head romaine lettuce, torn
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the almonds, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
In a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Cover with the dressing mixture, and toss to serve.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookies without the rolling pins, cookie cutters, etc.... Brilliant!! Thanks to my friend Jennifer for sharing this recipe! The recipe can be decorated for many different holidays, events ~ or made just because! Sugar Cookies without all of the fuss!

Sugar Cookie Bars
Source: The Repressed Pastry Chef

1 cup butter; room temp.
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla & mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt & soda & stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan). Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.

1/2 cup butter; room temp
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk
food coloring (if desired)

For frosting combine butter and shortening until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments until combined, then add milk & mix until smooth and spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cookie, then cut into bars.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Simple Sesame Noodles

Thanks to my friend Jennifer for sharing this recipe! A nice easy side side or can be made into the main meal by eating some extra veggies and/or chicken/shrimp. We had it with some grilled pork chops and green beans. This was super easy to make!

Simple Sesame Noodles

12 ounces, fluid Thin Noodles, Cooked And Drained ( I used Udon noodles - I'd probably just use multi grain spaghetti next time)
¼ cups Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
½ teaspoons Hot Chili Oil
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Hot Water
4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with green onions and toss.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bay View Cream Biscuits

A girls trip to a lovely bed & breakfast in Portsmouth, NH led me to this great versatile recipe. And it's SO easy to make... I've used it for breakfast with jelly, strawberry shortcakes or dinner rolls. Each time it fit the bill. And everytime I've made it I have great memories of a great weekend with the girls!

Bay View Cream Biscuits
Source: Portsmouth Harbor Inn & Spa

2C flour
1 Tbs baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 C heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425F
Combine the dry ingredients with a fork. Slowly add the cream stirring constanly. Gather the dough together – if it seems dry add a little more cream.

Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead 4-5 times. Pat the dough into rectangle that is about 1 inch thick. Cut into 12 pieces and place on baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reeses Peanut Butter Egg Cookies

Should you find some extra Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs laying around your house around Easter (practically unfathomable, I know)... Here is a great idea to use them! I ran upon this recipe at Picky Palate. Made enough to enjoy & some to share!

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg Cookies
Source: Picky Palate

2 sticks softened butter

1 Cup packed brown sugar

1 Cup granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons corn syrup

2 large eggs plus 1 egg white

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Cups chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs, 12 total eggs. You can also use regular Reeses Peanut Butter Cups


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer beat the butter, sugars and corn syrup until well combined….light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with the chopped Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs. Mix only until just combined. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until just turning golden around edges. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Eat with tall glass of milk!!

4 dozen cookies

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chicken Pineapple Stir-Fry

Getting a new Pampered Chef pineapple corer gadget sent me on the search with a recipe to use some pineapple! I found a quick, easy dinner. And better yet, a serving is only 4 weight watchers points.

Chicken Pineapple Stir-Fry
Servings: 6

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 TBSP ketchup
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2 inch strips
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 (16 oz.) package stir fry vegetables
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple chucks, drained, reserve 1/4 cup juice (I used the fresh pineapple & white wine instead of wine juice)
hot cooked rice

1. Mix first ingredients with reserved 1/4 cup pineapple juice in small bowl.
2. In large skilet, stir fry chicken in hot oil 5 minutes.
3. Add vegetables, stir-fry 4 more minutes.
4. Stir in pineapple and sauce, heat through.
5. Serve over rice.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oven Baked French Fries

Who doesn't love french fries?? Especially a delicious baked version?! These would be great with any sandwich type meal!

Oven Baked French Fries

1 large baking potato - I used 2
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Cut potato into wedges. Mix olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder together. Coat potatoes with oil/spice mixture and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven.

Rootbeer Pulled Pork

I don't know if I've seen an easier slower cooker recipe. The hardest part was I had to go buy rootbeer! Turned out great! And another version of one of our favorites - pulled pork.

Rootbeer Pulled Pork

Average size pork shoulder or pork butt
Root Beer
Your favorite barbecue sauce

Place pork into crockpot.
Pour in root beer until it just covers the pork.
Cook on low - 7 hours or so - until it shreds easily.
Take pork out of crock pot, pour out the rootbeer - reserving a cup or so if needed to thin sauce out a little bit.
Shred pork and return to the crock pot.
Add in your favorite barbecue sauce, if necessary, thin out with the root beer.

Serve with your favorite buns.

We also served oven baked fries & coleslaw. Got a big thumbs up as a meal from the husband!

Chicken Satay Skewers

In my haste to prepare for guests ~ I forgot to take pics ~ but, throughout an evening, they were all gone. I figured that was testimony enough to blog this recipe. Works great for an appetizer but would also work well for a dinner with some accompaniments.

Chicken Satay Skewers
Source: Everyday Food Martha Stewart

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - 6-8oz. each, thinly sliced lenthwise
(I used way more chicken - maybe 1 1/2 pounds or so & doubled both sauces)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Course salt & ground pepper
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 TBSP rice vinegar
Vegetable oil, for pan

1. In a bowl, toss chicken with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and 1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes. Season with salt & pepper. (I let sit for a hour or so - only because I had the time). Thread each chicken strip lengthwise onto a skewer.

2. Make dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, vinegar, 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes and 2 to 3 tsp. water.

3. Heat grill pan over high. Work in batches, brush pan with oil, and cook chicken until opaque throughout. It took about 8 minutes or so all together - flipping the skewers.

4. Serve skewers with dipping sauce.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

My friend & mama to be JQ nominated my blog for this award. I hope to keep improving and working on the blog. Many thanks JQ~!

Here are the rules for the award:
Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
Copy the award and paste it to your blog.
Tell us 7 interesting facts about yourself.
Nominate 7 bloggers that you love and link to their blog.

Here are my 7 "interesting" facts:

1. I have been a Super Bowl Champ in a fantasy football league.
2. I love making my own bread for Stromboli's.
3. Hines Ward gave me a football during a game.
4. I still talk to my best friend from college almost every day!
5. My husband and I say Hi! to each other at least 25 times (or more a day)!
6. I've never driven a stick shift.
7. My Grandma's was good friends with the family of Jim from 'The Office'.

My cousin, Laura - Along for the Ride
Candice - Magic Everything
Nuelsi - Newlywed Adventures in Pittsburgh
Erica - Simply Satisfying
Molly - That's Life
Dori - The Drive
Jennifer - The Grays in Doha

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hungry Girl Buffalo Chicken Dip

There are 2 recipes. My friend, D, shared this one. Good! Makes you wonder if you ever want to make the full calorie version again?! Easy to make & a perfect appetizer for the Super Bowl!

Hungry Girl Buffalo Chicken Dip
Source: Hungry Girl

- 16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 8-oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
- 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- 2 tbsp low calorie butter ( I used Brummel & Brown)
- 1/2 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Dry Mix

NOTE: If you are feeling lazy, you can use two 9.75oz cans of white chicken meat in water (drained), instead of the grilled chicken, but the taste isn’t nearly as good as using actual grilled chicken breasts.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rub chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Spray a skillet with non-fat cooking spray, and set on med/high heat. Put in chicken breasts, and cook until brown on both sides and meat is cooked through. Once meat is cooked, cut it up into bite sized shredded chunks. Set aside. In a large, oven safe bowl, stir cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in chicken and other remaining ingredients, and mix until thoroughly combined. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until dip has heated all the way through.

Entire recipe makes 12 servings
Serving size is approx 1/2 cup
Each serving = 2 Point Total

I served with celery. Can use the regular dip implements as well!

Friday, February 5, 2010

PIzza Dough

mmmmmm ~~ on a snowy night.... fresh, hot, homemade pizza coming out of the oven. What could be better?! Ben prides himself in his pizza making skills. This is an example. He likes making his own dough - he wanted me to blog this recipe because it's his favorite so far. We are on the search for a good homemade sauce recipe - if anyone has one, let us know!!

Pizza Dough

6 1/2 cups bread flour (we used all-purpose)
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp. salt
100 milliliters olive oil
2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 pinch sugar

Begin by activating yeast by mixing together the water, yeast and sugar and letting sit for about 10 minutes.

Combine flour, salt, olive oil and yeast mixture and stir until a dough begins to form.

Knead dough on a lightly floured board for about 10 - 15 minutes ~ we used our kitchenaide mixer with the dough hook. For about 10 minutes. It will form a dough ball.

Put dough ball into an oiled bowl and let rise for about 2-3 hours or until double in size.

Cut in half (we cut in thirds), form desired shape & top with your favorite pizza toppings! Bake! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Orange Yogurt Cake

Sometimes I run into a recipe that I really want to make pronto. This struck my attention. And it was worth it! Yum! Notice the piece cut off before the picture - It smelled so good baking! This is a delicious, moist, refreshing cake. Do try it!

Orange Yogurt Cake
Source: Baked Perfection Blog

For the cake:

1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
Zest of 3 oranges
1 tsp real vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup melted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour. In a seperate large bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, eggs, orange zest, vanilla extract, salt, and butter. Stir in the yogurt until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, being careful not to over mix.

Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait for 10 minutes and carefully remove to a cooling rack.

For soaking warm cake:

1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

While the cake is cooking, add the orange juice and granulated sugar to a small sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted and the liquid is mainly clear. About 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Place the cooling rack on top of a piece of wax paper. Spoon the mixture over the cake. Allow the cake to finish cooling.

For glazing cooled cake:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons Orange Zest

Mix together powdered sugar and orange juice. Spoon glaze over the top and garnish with orange zest; let the cake set up overnight before serving.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Almond Chicken Salad

Simple chicken salad is something I really enjoy. We had bought some chicken breasts recently that we had in the fridge. We didn't use them right away and I got nervous of freezing them now. So I roasted them with salt & pepper. I shredded them and placed the meat in a freezer bag. A late work night ~ I remembered the chicken & whipped this together. A great dinner & leftovers for lunch!

Almond Chicken Salad
Source: Paula Deen Food Network

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups diced chicken
1 cup finely diced celery
1/3 cup slivered almonds
(I added craisins!)

Combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, and salt and blend well. Toss with chicken, celery and almonds. Serve on bread or crisp lettuce.

Classic Italian Lasagna

Ben has been traveling alot. I asked him what home cooked meal he'd like.... without hesitation Lasagna. We haven't found our go to recipe yet so Giada's looked good to try. Not sure it's our go to but it was good nonetheless. I made some modifications.

Classic Italian Lasagna
Source: Giada De Laurentiis Foodnetwork

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons for the lasagna
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk at room temperature
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
Salt and white pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground chuck beef
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1 pound lasagna sheets, cooked al dente (I used whole grain noodles -I have tried to switch to these exclusively)
2 packs (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Bechamel sauce:
In a 2-quart pot, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When butter has completely melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Continue to simmer and whisk over medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add the nutmeg and tomato sauce. Stir until well combined and check for seasoning. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

In a saute pan, heat extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Brown meat, breaking any large lumps, until it is no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly mix the ricotta and eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Into the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the pasta sheets side by side, covering the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread a layer of all the ricotta mixture and then a layer of all the spinach. Arrange another layer of pasta sheets and spread all the ground beef on top. Sprinkle 1/2 the mozzarella cheese on top of the beef. Spread another 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the final layer of pasta sheets and top with remaining bechamel, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1/4-inch cubes and top lasagna.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place lasagna dish on top, cover and put on the middle rack of the oven and bake until top is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake for about 15 minutes.

My Notes & Alterations:
~I used whole grain lasagna noodles. They worked out great!
~Only used one box of spinach. Ben may've not eaten it if it had too much more!
~I mixed the spinach into the ricotta/egg mixture.
~ The big alternation I made was not using all of the Bechamel sauce. I made WAY too much! Next time I would cut that recipe in half. I was worried about using it all through out. I used the bechamel/simple sauce mixture on the bottom layer & then on top of the first layer of noodles. For the remaining sauce I just used the simple sauce. It turned out like classic lasagna this way. I don't know if I would have trusted it with all the bechamel.

Simple Tomato Sauce
Source: Giada De Laurentiis

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped (I used 2)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 (32 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
4-6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
4 TBSPS unsalted butter, optional

~ In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
~ Add tomatoes, basil and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 TBSP at a time to round out the flavors.
~ Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
~ If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Noodles

Thai/Asian food at home. Trying to get some more of these types thing in my recipe box. I found this recipe from All Recipes.Com. Made a couple alterations to make it more of a meal.

Peanut Noodles

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root (I had jarred ginger)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons hot chile paste (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces Udon noodles (can substitute spaghetti)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

I added a red pepper & 1 lb. chicken breast

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, combine chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, chili paste, and garlic in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter melts and is heated through. Add noodles, and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions and peanuts.

I cut 1 lb. chicken breast in bite size pieces & a red pepper. I sauteed them in peanut oil. Adding them to the sauce/noodles.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken Parm.

This is a good recipe - Thanks to my dear friend Dr. Suz. One afternoon in her kitchen in Boston we cooked up chicken & eggplant parm. As she off the top of her head worked - I wrote it down! This can be used for Chicken Parm, Eggplant Parm or even Chicken Piccata with a little alteration. Chicken Parm is Ben's favorite. With his first week on the road for awhile, a favorite dinner was in order. Oh & it's easy too!

Chicken/Eggplant Parmesan

1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or 1 eggplant (eggplant needs prepped with salt - let sit - wipe off salt)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 TBSP water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4. tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
(for Chicken Piccata 2 TBSP lemon juice ~ for parm - fresh mozzarella, sauce, basil)

Pound chicken breasts about 1/4 inch then. Cut into pieces. I cut 3 breasts into 6 pieces

Mix egg & water in a shallow plate or bowl.

Mix bread crumbs, salt, pepper & garlic powder in a separate shallow plate of bowl.

Heat oil & butter in a skillet.

Coat chicken in flour, Dip into egg mixture, coat with bread crumb mixture.
Place in the skillet. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes. Turning half way through cooking.

For Parm. ~ Cover a baking dish with sauce. Lay the chicken in the sauce. Cover with sauce & then top with cheese. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh basil.

For Piccata ~ Pour lemon juice over chicken in skillet. Serve.

Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

A cookie recipe that requires no more than a bowl and a mixing spoon to prepare?! What could be easier? And the use of oatmeal and whole wheat flour make this one of my go-to cookie recipes.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream by hand:
2 very soft sticks of butter (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter baking)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar

Add 2 eggs and blend.

Add 2 1/2 cups quick oats

Then add:
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat flour - I like the King Arthur brand)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups chocolate chips

Bake 350 for about 10 minutes.
Do not over bake.
Cool on a cooking rack.

Mock Chocolate Eclair

From the recipe box of my mom. This dessert has become a favorite of mine to make for a group or if I am charged with taking a dessert somewhere. It's light, easy to make & delicious. Why don't you give it a try.

Mock Chocolate Eclair

2 wrapped packages of graham crackers
2 packages vanilla instant pudding & pie filling
3 cups skim milk
1/2 8 oz. container of fat-free whipped topping

Layer the bottom of a 13X9X2 inch dish with 1/3 of the graham crackers

In a mixing bowl, beat pudding with milk until thick, let stand. Fold in whipped topping.

Spread 1/2 of pudding on cracker layer.

Add another layer of cracker. Follow with the remainder of the pudding mixture. Top with the remaining crackers

Spread with chocolate icing or a chocolate topping.

Refrigerate. Can do overnight.

We usually make this chocolate topping...
Chocolate Topping

1/4 cup cocoa
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 TBSP margarine

Combine cocoa, sugar and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add vanilla and margarine.
Let cool slightly and poor over top of the graham crackers.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Garlic Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

Extremely cold... single digit January day.... Indulgent mashed potatoes. AHH - does that sound good or what?! I definetly wouldn't use this as my regular mashed potatoes but for special occaisions or extra comfort... why not.

Garlic Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes


2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, washed and quartered
4 cloves garlic
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warm
1 stick cold butter, cut into 9 pats

Place the potatoes and garlic in a large sauce pan. Cover with 1 to 2 inches cold water and season generously with salt. The water should taste like the sea. TASTE IT! If the water is under seasoned at this point it will be hard to have a well seasoned end product. Bring the pot of water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and garlic well and pass through a food-mill or ricer. (I just used a hand potato masher and it worked great). DO NOT use a food processor or blender. It will result in a very sticky and rubbery end product.

While passing the potatoes, bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Once the cream has come to a boil remove from the heat.

While the potatoes are still hot add 1/3 of the cream and butter and stir vigorously into the potatoes. Repeat this process 2 more times until all of the cream and butter has incorporated. Taste the potatoes for seasoning and add salt, if needed. Serve immediately or cover with foil and keep warm in an oven on low heat.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blue Ribbon Chili

We usually make a pretty complicated, many ingredient chili recipe. A cold, cold winter day called for chili but not the one with too many ingredients. We found this recipe on All Recipes.Com. we'd definetly use it again for a quick go to chili. It was good & extremely easy & quick to make.

Blue Ribbon Chili

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
(the only thing we added was about 1/2 lb. of hot italian sausage to kick it up a bit)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.

Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Served with fritos, cheddar cheese & sour cream.