Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

We love these thick, satisfying cookies as humble as peanut butter cookies but not as crumbly. Dried cranberries provide a slightly tart counterpoint to the macadamia nuts' richness. The dough is somewhat sticky; chilling it briefly makes handling easier.

Yield: 30 servings (serving size: 1 cookie)
2/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375°.

Place nuts in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. Combine macadamia butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add vanilla and egg; beat well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and ground nutmeg, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined (mixture will be very thick). Stir in chopped cranberries. Chill 10 minutes.

Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Lightly press each ball into sugar; place each ball, sugar side up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork. Dip the fork in water; gently press the top of each cookie again to form a crisscross pattern. Place 15 cookies on each of 2 baking sheets.

Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time, at 375° for 9 minutes or until golden. Remove cookies from pan; cool on a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining cookies.

Nutritional Information
76 (30% from fat)
2.5g (sat 0.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.1g)

Broccoli and Gruyere Au Gratin~Lisa Esplin fr. 'Real Simple'

Serves 8
Hands-On Time: 15m
Total Time: 1hr 00m
2 large bunches broccoli, roughly chopped (about 12 cups)
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups grated Gruyere (8 ounces)
kosher salt and black pepper
Heat oven to 375° F. Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and fit with a steamer basket (or fill a large pot with ½ inch of water). Bring to a simmer. Place the broccoli in the steamer basket, cover, and steam until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes (do not let it darken). Whisk in the milk and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss with the broccoli.
Transfer the broccoli mixture to a shallow 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese. Bake until bubbling and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
By Kate Merker, November 2009

Fish Tacos with Lime Cilantro Crema

Cumin, coriander, and paprika lend these fish tacos a delightfully warm, smoky flavor. They're the perfect foundation for the zippy sour cream sauce. For an appealing variation, substitute peeled medium shrimp for the snapper or romaine in place of cabbage.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets
Cooking spray
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cabbage
Preheat oven to 425°.

To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.

Nutritional Information
394 (14% from fat)
6.3g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.5g,poly 1.5g)
Lisa Bell, Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2006

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

Find potato starch in the supermarket baking aisle. Use lemon rind and fresh lemon juice in place of the lime for a variation.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 cupcake)
Cooking spray
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2/3 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4.75 ounces powdered sugar, sifted (about 1 1/3 cups)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cupcakes, place 2 muffin cup liners in each of 12 muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

4. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (mixture will be the consistency of damp sand). Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in coconut and vanilla.

5. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool in pan 2 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

6. To prepare frosting, combine 3 tablespoons butter and next 3 ingredients (through juice) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating just until smooth. Spread about 2 1/2 teaspoons frosting onto each cupcake.

Nutritional Information
5.6g (sat 3.4g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.3g)
Kathleen Kanen, Cooking Light, MAY 2009

Coconut Lemon Snowballs~MyRecipes.Com

Lemon and coconut add a new twist to the traditional wedding cookie. Don't be shy when rolling these in powdered sugar--the more powdered sugar, the bigger the snowball!

Prep: 25 min.; Cook: 20 min. per batch; Other: 35 min.

Gift idea; Make ahead

Yield: 2 dozen
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and extracts, beating well. Add flour, lemon rind, and salt, beating until combined. Stir in coconut. Cover and chill dough 30 minutes.

Shape dough into generous 1" balls; place 1" apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden on bottom, but pale on top. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool 5 minutes.

Place 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar in a bowl, and roll warm cookies in powdered sugar, coating well. Cool cookies completely on wire racks. Roll cooled cookies in powdered sugar again, coating well.

Christmas with Southern Living, Oxmoor House, DECEMBER 2007

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

I got this recipe here and every time we have it, we are like mmm, mmm, mmm! As she suggested, we tried it with Provolone, but actually preferred it when we tried mozzarella cheese.

7-8 garden tomatoes (if you don't have garden tomatoes, I would suggest using 1 large can of crushed tomatoes and 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes)
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 small can tomato sauce
3 chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c. Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices Provolone cheese (or mozzarella, but we had Provolone on hand so that's what we used and it was amazing!)
1 lb. spaghetti

If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel them and mash them with a potato masher in a medium-sized bowl. Add salt and pepper, set aside. Heat a little vegetable oil in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic. When onions are clear, add the smashed tomatoes. Add basil, oregano, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a good rolling simmer. Add tomato sauce (to thicken it up a little bit). It still may seem a little watery, but trust me, it thickens up quite a bit after it simmers. Reduce heat a little and simmer uncovered for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.

About 20 minutes prior to serving. Put chicken in a Ziploc bag and add beaten egg and garlic. Smash all the air out of the bag, seal tightly, then work the the chicken around a little bit so it is covered in egg.

On a plate or pie pan, combine bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Heat some oil on medium heat in another large skillet. Remove chicken from egg mixture and press into the bread crumbs. When covered in bread crumbs, add the chicken to the oil and cook for about 1 minute on each side. Place chicken on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375-degrees for about 12 minutes or until no longer pink. In the meantime, cook spaghetti to al dente. Remove chicken from oven, add 2 slices of cheese per chicken breast, then return to the oven for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Layer spaghetti, sauce, and chicken on a plate, garnish with parsley, then serve!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I found both of these recipes in a Glamour magazine that someone so kindly left behind for me on the airplane coming home from Cali for Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law made a fantastic green bean and cashew recipe last year for Thanksgiving and I saw both these recipes and have a huge bag of potatoes for $1.99. So I cooked both last night and was supremely impressed that they were delicious and healthy! I paired them with the premarinated salmon from Sam's Club (love it).

Coconut Green Beans

  • 2 Tbs. Canola oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. cashew pieces
  • 4 whole dried red chilies (I only put three in and it wasn't in the least bit spicey, so next time I will try 4).
  • 1 1/2 lbs. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Salt, to taste
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add cashews and chilies. Once the cashews are toasted, add green beans and stir. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut and salt. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes while stirring. When green beans are cooked through but still crisp, remove from heat. Serves 4 to 6.

Roasted Potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs. small new potatoes (I used regular Idaho and it was still yummy.)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (I used 2/3 Tbsp. dried, still yummy.)
  • 1/8 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, ground (I used regular salt.)
In a deep sacepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the potatoes and, as soon as you can handle them, cut them into quarters. Lay the potatoes in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. (I cut them before I cooked them so they would cook faster.)Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together oil, rosemary, balsamic and cayenne. Toss potatoes in dressing, gently so you don't break the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Lately I have found some really great bread recipes. Seasonal and non-seasonal. So enjoy!

My mom recently went to see my sister in Indi and then came here for my other sister's bday and while at each location, she educated Lisa and me on the easiest, yummiest bread!!

  • 2 cups of luke warm water
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 3 Tbs. sugar, honey or other sweetener of your preference
  • 2 Tbs. yeast
  • 2 Tbs. dough enhancer
  • 2 Tbs. vital wheat gluten
  • 3 Tbs. oil
Mix all of the above ingredients together, then add 2 cups of bread flour. I use 2 cups of whoel wheat flour here and then bread flour for the 2-4 cups. Mix until combined. I Then add 2-4 cups of flour just until barely tacky (the consistency will be just slightly sticky but not stick to your counter or anything). Knead on high for 5 minutes. Divide dough in half and form loaves. A few pointers on this if you are like me and have always had a difficult time with bread or rolls:
First, get the dough into a rectangular shape and then pull each side under kneading by hand to make sure to get all the bubbles out. Then when you think all the bubbles are out, form into a rectangle and pinch the bottom of the loaf together along the middle. Spray cooking spray on 2 bread pans and flip the loaf over coating the loaf in the cooking spray. Put loaf right side up and pinch underneath if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise. For white bread, let rise about an inch above the pan. For wheat bread, let rise until it is the desired height. Cook at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Remove when top of bread is browned. My oven is hotter than most so I cook it at about 390 for 15 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before you let it out of the pan. You may need to slightly pull a knife through the sides in case it sticks.

I have yet to try it, but my mom said you can also had powdered milk to get even more nutrition in.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

I made this into muffin tops and wrapped them and the zucchini bread in plastic wrap and froze them. Delish.

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil (the person I got this recipe from substituted 1/2 cup of applesauce. I substituted a whole cup of applesauce and completely omitted the oil and it turned out great.)

  • 4 eggs

  • 2/3 cup water

  • 1 large (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I substitute about half of this with whole wheat flour. )

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

I added chocolate chips into some of the muffin tops and it was really good, really good without too.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.

  3. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice and cinnamon.

  4. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.

  5. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Zucchini Bread/Muffins
I got this recipe from here.

1 large zucchini
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil or applesauce (again, here, I used applesauce.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I also add a little nutmeg, ginger, and cloves)

3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and set aside. Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (to yield 1 3/4 cups); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Into a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in grated zucchini. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack, then reinvert, top side up. Cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Snickerdoodle Pie

I found this recipe in a recent magazine. My husband LOVES snickerdoodle cookies, so I just had to try this pie and make it for him! It is SUPER easy and very yummy!! If I can make it and have it turn out, you can definitely make it!! It turns out to be a custard type pie. Enjoy!!

  • 1 Flaky Pie Crust (or I just used a pre-made large graham cracker crust and it was still really good!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Make and cool pie crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set the rack in the lower third of oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and set in on the oven rack while oven preheats. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, egg yolks, flour, vanilla, salt and 1 cup sugar. Pour into chilled pie crust. In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon and 1 Tbsp sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over custard. Set pie on preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Without opening oven, reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake 20 more minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Cool in refrigerator. Serve cold.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Low Fat Pumpkin Mousse

For those of you craving pumpkin this time of year and want something easy to make, here is a recipe for you!

1 15oz can pumpkin pie filling
3 cups milk
1 small box sugar-free instant vanilla pudding
1 small box sugar-free instant butterscotch pudding
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1cup cool whip

Mix milk and pudding powder together. Then add pumpkin and pumpkin spice. Fold in cool whip and refrigerate for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Option: Right before serving, I have even mixed in teddy grahams. It tastes like pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BBQ Rub-Roasted Chicken

I know - this was way ambitious for me. I saw it on Cooking For Real and it looked soooo good, I had to try it. I have never roasted a chicken so this was new for me. I bought a cheap meat thermometer at the grocery store ($4) and I only used a 3.5-lb. chicken, however, it still worked. I only halved the brine and about 3/4 of the rub. There weren't that many drippings so I actually put water at the bottom of my pan. I also did not have a roasting pan, so I took off the top of a broiler pan and put a wire rack in. This was probably the best roasted chicken I have ever had, storebought, restaurant, whatever. The rub didn't stay on the chicken that well on top either, so don't be frustrated with that. Another side note, she made this because she was craving Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles in LA. I will take a pic next time so you will really want to make it. The thing is, when you take it out and turn the oven up to 450 degrees and brine it all over, it creates this incredible glaze crust on top. I am a dark meat girl, but the white meat was incredibly moist because you put the butter rub underneath the skin. Anyways, I'll stop now... ENJOY! WE CERTAINLY DID!

For the brine:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 lemon juiced and halves reserved
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (7 to 8 pound) whole roaster chicken


BBQ Rub, recipe follows, divided 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature In a bowl large enough to fit the chicken, combine the water, lemon juice and halves, salt, and sugar. Whisk until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the chicken to the bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. If the brine does not fully cover the chicken, rotate the chicken halfway through the brining process. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl add half of the BBQ Rub and the butter. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate for a few minutes if the butter begins to melt after mixing. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Use your fingers to gently release the skin from the flesh of the breasts and legs. Spread the butter mixture evenly under the skin and over the breast and legs. Pat the remaining BBQ rub mixture all over the bird. Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack and bake until golden and the juices run clear, basting frequently, for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Baste the chicken thoroughly with the drippings in pan, return to the oven, and let bake until the skin is brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Carve the meat and arrange on a serving platter. Serve with Lemon and Walnut Waffles, if desired

BBQ Rub: 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homemade Honey Mustard

My husband loves the honey mustard from Wendy's so I knew I had to find a way to make it so that we weren't always going to Wendy's...for the chicken nuggets of course, but also to actually get some honey mustard. Many of you may already know how to make your own honey mustard, but for those non-experimental, basic condiment users like me, here is the recipe I found (It was in video form here.):

1 part yellow mustard
1 part honey
2 parts mayonnaise

Like the video suggested, I did 1/4 C mustard, 1/4 C honey, and 1/2 C mayonnaise. We used French's yellow mustard, Kroger clover honey, and Best Foods Olive Oil Mayonnaise.

I think it turned out great and is so tasty with chicken nuggets and corn dogs. My little guy likes to dip his fingers in it and eat it that way. I stored the leftovers in a little tupper in the fridge and it's been great. If you only want a small amount then halve what I did. Let me know if you like it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thai-Style Ground Beef

I am no fan of Thai food. Sorry, maybe I just haven't had the right stuff. I really don't like curry and it saddens me. It always sounds and looks so good to me, but I cannot even tolerate the smell, let alone the taste.

This is the best thing I've eaten in a long time. Of course I think you could use ground turkey or a substitute to make it healthier. I did not love it so much on rice, but really liked it as lettuce wraps. We're making it again tonight! I have to give a shout out to this cooking blog "Just Cook Already." I came upon it by accident and they are really good about consistently updating unlike ourselves. Here is the link to the recipe. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nutty Caramel Cookie Tart

We made this on Sunday because I saw it on the Food Network Pillsbury challenge. It was not a winner on the show, but a winner in my book. So good! I did not put chopped peanuts on it, though, just because that didn't sound very good to me. I also put a few butterscotch chips just because I had them. I thought I had overcooked the cookie, but it turned out perfect. It was super easy too.
Go here for the recipe and eat it up, yum!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pineapple Chicken

(Weight Watcher friendly)

8 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained (1 small can)
2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP Soy-sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 TBSP Splenda (sugar optional)
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
1-2 lb. breast, cubed

Combine all ingredients except rice in large ziplock bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer. Place chicken and all marinade in a sprayed baking dish. Bake 30 minutes or until done @ 350 degrees. Serve over rice.

Serves 6
Weight watcher points: 6 points each
By: Lindsey Simon

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chocolate Mint Pinwheel Cookies

I was searching online for cookies and came across this recipe. It uses a Betty Crocker sugar cookie pouch and is very tasty.

What you'll need:
1 pouch of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
1 egg
1/2 C. softened butter
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. mint extract (peppermint)
green food coloring
wax/parchment paper

First, mix the sugar cookie pouch with 1 egg and 1/2 C. softened butter. Divide the dough in half. Mix 1/4C cocoa to one half. Mix flour, 1/2 tsp. mint extract and 2-3 drops of green food coloring to the other half of the dough.

Roll the chocolate dough between two sheets of wax paper to about 8 in. x 14 in. Set aside. Roll the mint dough between 2 new sheets of wax paper to about the same size. (I used parchment paper and it worked fine too.)

Remove the top sheets from the mint dough and the chocolate dough and carefully lay the mint dough on top of the chocolate dough. Slowly roll the dough starting at the long side. (note: if you do it too quickly, like me, you'll end up with air pockets -- see below. Also, I rolled from the short end -- more design, less cookies). Wrap rolled dough in wax paper and freeze for at least 2 hours.

After 2 hours, cut dough into slices 1/4 in. wide.

Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blueberry Smoothie

A couple weeks ago we went blueberry picking and got this recipe for a smoothie. We tried it this morning and it was delicious!!

2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
1 ripe banana
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup orange juice
ice (we added this ourselves to make the smoothie a little more thick - so just add as much as you want or feel free to leave it out)

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yummy Sugar Free Snack

I found this idea on Sparkpeople and tried it today. It was so good.

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 chocolate, sugar free pudding snack pack
  • 1 very large dollop of lite whipped topping

= about 200 calories. I love it! I also added strawberries and raspberries, but think it would have been better just with the above ingredients.

Cream of Tomato and Artichoke Soup

I know what you are thinking, we should not be having soup in the summer, but it's been cold enough here to do so.

I found this recipe blog and tried this soup. It was yummy. I hope to be a little more on top of it in a few weeks and get some new recipes to ya!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

2 TBSP cocoa
2 cubes margarine
1 cup water

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. soda

Pour hot mixture into dry ingredients

1/2 cup sour milk (to make sour milk - do milk less 1 TBSP vinegar)
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Bake in large sheetcake pan at 350 for 18-20 minutes

1 square margarine
4 TBSP cocoa
6 TBSP milk
4-5 cups confectioners sugar

When cake is done, layer a bag of miniature marshmallows over top and put back in oven till marshmallows start to brown. Take out and let cool. Spread frosting over top. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blintz Pancakes

It is finals week for my husband. That means I am not going to be seeing him. Dinner is going to be fast and easy. This recipe is one that my kids love. Honestly, who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?

Blintz Pancakes:

1 C. flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 C. sour cream
1 C. small-curd cottage cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten

topping of your choice: strawberry or blueberry syrup or jam are our favorite.

Combine the dry ingredients.
add everything else.
mix until combined.
I use a 1/4 C. measuring cup to scoop and pour on a greased hot griddle.
Turn when edges are set.

These are REALLY good and super easy!

Make them.

You'll be glad.

I got this recipe from "Taste of Home: Good Food Kids Love". Santa put it in my stocking.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chicken Italiano

This is one of mine and my husband's favorite recipes. It's super easy and so yummy! It's our favorite meal to make on Sundays because it's a crock pot recipe. When we get home from church dinner is practically done! My kind of cookin!!!

Chicken Italiano (crock pot recipe)

- 4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts (I usually put mine in frozen)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 8oz cream cheese (I either use the fat free or 1/3 less fat)
- 1 package dry italian dressing mix
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 can mushrooms, drained (this is optional. If you're like us and love mushrooms, try putting in fresh cut ones. It's yummy!)

Place chicken in the crock pot. Mix together the water and dry italian dressing mix. Pour over chicken. Mix together (I use an electric hand held mixer) cream cheese and cream of chicken soup. Fold in mushrooms. Pour over chicken (this mixture doesn't really pour because it's so thick, but it will liquefy as it cooks). Place crock pot on high for 4 hours. Before serving, shred the chicken with a fork or knife. Best served over rice.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares

I dedicate this post to my cousins, who have asked for this recipe long ago and I was a slacker and never passed it on. I have made these for 2 baby showers and they were a hit. My mom found them and they are from this website.

This is one of those recipes you have to go slow and read all the directions carefully. I had trouble my first batch and then my second was decent. My third and fourth I made simultaneously with ease with the new love of my life, my food processor. It is a very rich dessert - really not one of those you can eat a huge piece of. Delish - enjoy!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Adapted from Gourmet, December 2003

Time: 9 3/4 hr (includes chilling) (45 minutes active time)
Makes 64 (1-inch) petits fours


For crust
3 1/2 oz graham crackers, crumbled (1cup)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope, will just about half of envelope)
1/4 cup whole milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (12 1/2 oz) (recipe follows)

For glaze
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup


Make crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

Finely grind crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.

Make filling: Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath (I was able to fit mine in a 9×13-inch baking pan) in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

Glaze cake within 2 hours of serving: Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into 1-inch squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut. (Don’t skip this step! A clean knife is essential for uber-neat squares.)

Note: Cheesecake (without glaze) can be chilled up to 3 days.

Dulce de Leche (Milk Caramel)

Pour 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored.

Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wheat Rolls and Orange Rolls

In honor of Carrie C. giving up white sugar and flour, I am posting a wheat roll recipe. :) I made these Cloverleaf Honey-Wheat Rolls Sunday and they turned out great. I think they would be great for kids because they use whole wheat flour and they are cloverleaf shaped so kids can pull them apart easily. I hope you like them. Go Carrie, Go!! You're my hero!

Also, if you are feeling a little less healthy and don't have the will power of Mrs. Chilton, I made these orange rolls for Easter dinner and they were yummy. They use reduced fat sour cream as a butter subsitute so they aren't too bad -just a lot of sugar. And really, what's so wrong with that? :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The best pancakes

Don't let the name fool you, even though these are slighltly healthier than regular old pancakes, they taste so good!

Hearty Pancakes

1 cup all purpose white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 Tbsp butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in egg, buttermilk, and butter. Pour batter 1/3 cup full onto lightly greased hot griddle. If using electric griddle temp approx 340 degrees.

Buttermilk Syrup

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Melt buttermilk and butter together, add sugar, bring to a boil. TAKE OFF HEAT, add vanilla.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Enchiladas galore

Here are a few Mexican recipes I have found and loved as of late:
  • 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti shells
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the Tomatillo sauce:

  • 1 pound tomatillos, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 cups grated fontina cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Boil manicotti in salted water for 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water and set pasta aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat and mix in chicken, tomatoes, cilantro and sour cream. Set aside.

To make the Tomatillo Sauce:

Place tomatillos, onion, jalapeno and garlic in a baking dish. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatillos turn golden around the edges and are soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and blend ingredients together until smooth. Use reserved pasta water to thin sauce, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To make the cheese sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Add cheese and nutmeg and stir until melted. Season sauce with salt, to taste.

To assemble: Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Stuff manicotti tubes with chicken mixture and assemble in a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over the top. Bake 30 minutes until cheese is bubbling. Drizzle tomatillo sauce on Maniladas before serving.

My notes: I actually just did enchiladas because my manicotti shells kept falling apart and also I just used monterey jack cheese because it was much cheaper than fontina. I also put a little cream in the salsa because it was too spicy for me. Delish - my new favorite chicken enchiladas:

Kaye Briggs' Chicken Enchiladas:
These are super easy and there are two ways to do them. The first:
Stir together:
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tub of sour cream
  • 1 can of diced green chiles, drained.
  • 1 lb. chicken (I'm guessing, I usually use 2 breasts)
  • plenty of cheese

Fill tortillas with mix above mixture and with cheese. Put in greased 9x13 pan and top with remaining sauce and more cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and bubbly.

Next version is new and improved of the last version:
Stir together:
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tub of sour cream
  • 1 can of diced green chiles, drained
  • 1/2 of rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1-1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.
  • lime juice and cilantro (optional)
Fill tortillas with above mixture and shredded cheese Top with remaining sauce and plenty of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and bubbly. Yum!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo

It's about time. This is my first post. I feel bad that I haven't posted any recipes thus far. All I can say is I have 2 excuses, I'm too busy and I don't have any good enough recipes to share. But I was shown this recipe by a friend and thought I'd share it with you. It's very flavorful and light. It gets me excited for summer. It's a good recipe to bring to a luncheon. So here it goes...
Roasted Shrimp & Orzo (from Barefoot Contessa)

Olive Oil (I used EVOO)
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta. I used one box of it.)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 3 lemons)
Black Pepper
2 lbs shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup minced scallions (green onions)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (they were out of fresh dill at the store so I used dried dill but make sure to use a lot less if you're using dry dill)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (I again used dried parsley)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
3/4 lb feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the orzo and boil for 9-11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Pour over hot pasta and stir well.
Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Roast for 5-6 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook.
Add the shrimp to the orzo and then the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, and onion. Toss well. Add the feta cheese and stir carefully (my husband doesn't like feta cheese too much so I left it out and sprinkle it on my portion when I eat it). Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

This recipe is super easy and very yummy and refreshing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Soup's On!

Three-Onion Soup with Cheese-Smothered Toast

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow or Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks (white part only), rinsed well an chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan rind
  • Reserved bread from bread bowls or 4 slices sourdough baguette, French or Italian bread, about 1-inch thick and lightly toasted
  • sliced Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, sugar, and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, parmesan rind, salt, and pepper, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler. Top each bread slice with a slice of cheese. Ladle the soup into individual ovenproof bowls and place a cheese-topped bread slice in the center of each bowl. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

MY NOTES: So, I saw this on Robin Miller's Quick Fix on the Food Network, but it called for wine. Then I checked her book out of the library and found one without, but it only called for 4 cups broth and the other one had 6 cups. I thought it could have used more broth honestly, so 6 cups for me next time. (Make a double batch and freeze up to 3 months)

Also, I don't have "ovenproof bowls" so I just toasted my bread, same effect. The parmesan rind is optional - I didn't have one and it tasted fab. We LOVED this and we used swiss cheese, but I really want to try it with the Gruyer. And the cheese is the most expensive thing to buy - everything else is under $5! Same with this next recipe-

Italian Pork & Beans

  • 3 Tbs. EVOO
  • 1/3 lb chunk of Pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 celery ribs with leafy tops finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cans white beans drained
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • crusty bread for mopping
Heat EVOO in skillet over medium heat. Cook pancetta (or ANY meat, I've used chicken, sausage, ground beef, bacon, turkey bacon, anything you like) for five minutes, until crisp. Add veggies, garlic, and bay leaf and cook for five more minutes. Add white bean, season with S&P, then stir in stock and tomato sauce and heat through. Remove bay leaf and serve. So easy, love it from Rachel Ray.

Flamin' Chicken Chili

No picture, but a favorite among EVERYONE who tries it. I love it because you can buy all the ingredients and put it in your pantry and it's fantastic to just throw together without having to go to the store.

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and cubed.
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-26 oz. cream of chicken soup
  • 1-4 1/2 oz. can mild diced green chilies, drained
  • 1-10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1-16 oz. can ranch style beans, drained.
  • Cilantro and lime juice to taste. (fresh lime is worth it, 1-2 limes)

Combine and heat through.

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies - Thin Mints

My husband and I made these Thin Mints Saturday night and they are soooo good! They don't take long and there are only 4 ingredients. The recipe says it makes about 2 dozen, but I guess it depends on what size bag of chocolate chips you get because we went through a sleeve and a quarter of Ritz crackers. It also says 1-2 tsp of peppermint extract - we used 1.5 tsp.

Support the Girl Scouts, but if you're short on cash, this is a great substitute.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Texas Sheet Cake

Sorry Tricia this is late - I just remembered :( Not the best picture, but this was Texas Sheet Cake. I know Cara has a recipe so if she wants to post hers too I'd love to try her recipe sometime and have a cake-off!

Combine dry ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Melt 1 cup water, 2 sticks margarine, and 5 Tbs cocoa.

Combine all ingredients, plus:
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I usually just use my cream or milk and put 1-2 tsp of lemon juice and let it stand for five minutes and it will curdle)
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so - just watch and when toothpick or knife comes out clean, your cake is done.

Frosting: the key is to make the frosting while your cake is in the oven and put the frosting on the hot cake as soon as you take the cake out of the oven.
Melt 1 stick margarine and 4 Tbs. cocoa together.
Add to 1 tsp vanilla and 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Add cream until it reaches the desired consistency.

Spread frosting on hot cake and let stand until ready to serve. If the cake stands until cooled, just heat each piece you serve for a few seconds in the microwave and the frosting soaks into the cake. Besides that, any cake that requires 3 sticks of margarine or butter is a good cake recipe, right? You can bake this in a 9x13 pan or on a cookie sheet for brownies. My mom used to do cut it on a cookie sheet and put it in saran wrap and freeze them. It was a fantastic after school snack.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chicken Crescent Wreath

2 tubes (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1C (4 oz.) shredded Co-Jack cheese
2/3C cream of chicken soup
1/2C chopped fresh broccoli
1/2 C chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 C chopped water chestnuts
1 can (5 oz) white chicken, drained or 3/4 C cubed cooked chicken
2 Tbs. chopped onion

Arrange crescent rolls on a 12-inch pizza pan, forming a ring with the pointed ends facing the outer edge of pan and wide ends overlapping.

Combine the remaining ingredients; spoon over wide ends of rolls. Fold points over filling and tuck under wide ends (filling will be visible).

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves: 6-8

This is one of my husband's favorite dinners. The nice thing about this dinner is that you can put whatever vegetables in it that you want -- you could even change up the meat or the soup (cream of mushroom, cream of celery, etc.). When I made this the other night I used a can of mixed vegetables instead of broccoli and red pepper. I think my mom got this from a Taste of Home magazine, but I could be wrong. Try it. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sausage and Egg Casserole with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Everyone has different Egg Bakes. I have an Italian recipe with foccaccia bread and zucchini that I love, but this one is fantastic. Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil can be found at Whole Foods. Alas, I cannot take credit for finding this recipe. It was Doug's stepsister Chelsea, who made it for her hubby's pancake b-day party. I had her email it to me so I could make it a few Sundays ago to accompany french toast (which Doug makes at our house), strawberry sauce with orange zest, water, and powdered sugar and of course sliced strawberries and homemade whipped cream. It was all delicious.

You can view the complete recipe online at:


  • 1 pound Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
For Egg Mixture:
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sauté sausage in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of fork into small pieces, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons parsley; stir 1 minute. Spread sausage mixture in prepared dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Whisk eggs, egg yolks, half and half, whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, and salt in large bowl to blend well. Pour egg mixture over sausage mixture in dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons parsley over. Bake until top of casserole is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Bon Appétit
April 2002

P.S. As a plug for Lisa's coconut lime banana bread - make it. You will not be sorry. It is fab.

Monday, February 16, 2009

She put the lime in the coconut, she drank em' both up!!

This recipe is the best banana bread recipe EVER!! I've made it over a dozen times. It is amazing. It's off of the Cooking Light website:

I've used lime yogurt as a substitute for the plain to give it an extra 'limey' flavor. Instead of rum, I use the rum imitation flavoring. I put in a full teaspoon of vanilla and I add the same amount of rum flavoring as vanilla. (1 teaspoon) Enjoy!

Thai Chicken Pizza

I got this recipe from my friend Kristin Lowe. It is super delish! I also add 2 tablespoons of gluten which I found made the crust light and puffy. Try it-you won't be disappointed. It goes great with Sriracha sauce. Spicy!!
Peanut Sauce:1/4 c. creamy peanut butter2 T. Hoisin sauce (I did not include this when we made it because I haven't been able to find it)1 clove garlic, minced1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes1 T. granulated sugar2 T. brown sugar2 T. water2 tsp. sesame oil (or canola oil)2 T. soy sauce1 1/2 tsp. minced onion1 tsp. minced ginger-root

Mix above ingredients in microwave safe bowl. Pour this mixture into blender and blend for 15 seconds or until mostly smooth. Pour back into bowl and microwave for 1 minute. The peanut sauce should be darker now. At this point, you can add more sesame oil to achieve desired consistency.

Toppings:1 cup cooked, chopped chicken1 1/2 c. grated mozzarella1-2 green onions, sliced (you could also try using thinly sliced red onion instead)1/4 c. grated carrot2 tsp. minced cilantro1 T. chopped peanutsSpread peanut sauce onto prepared pizza crust. Sprinkle 1 c. mozzarella, onion, chicken, carrots, cilantro, nut, and then the rest of the mozzarella. Bake pizza for 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees, or until edges of crust turn golden brown.Here's the pizza crust recipe I use (thanks to Mike's mom) just in case you don't have one you like:

Pizza Crust 1 1/2 c. warm water1 pkg. yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)2 tsp. salt3 T. Oil31/2 - 4 C. flour, enough to make a stiff doughDissolve yeast in water. Add other ingredients and knead for 8 minutes. I actually don't let the dough rise at all, so pizza night is actually pretty time friendly. I just plop the dough on a cookie sheet on which I've drizzled olive oil and sprinkled corn meal and use my hands to roll it out. Then put your toppings on and bake it up.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Finally, my first post! This is one of Pampered Chef's freezer meals, that I got from a friend who did a Pampered Chef party for me a couple years ago. It's great because not only can it be a freezer meal to save for later, but it's done in the crock pot, which I love because it's easy! And, it is soooo good!

Aloha Pork Chops

4-6 boneless pork chops (thick)
½ green (or red) bell pepper, chopped
½ cup dry onion
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 bottle (18 oz) honey-mustard BBQ sauce
Nutmeg (optional)

Place pork chops in greased crock-pot. Sprinkle pepper and onion over chops. Spread pineapple over top. Pour BBQ sauce over all. Cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 3-4 hours. Cut meat in pieces and serve over rice. If making a meal to freeze, put all ingredients in larger freezer bag. Freeze.

That's it...Enjoy!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Super Easy Sides

Well, tonight we were dying to go out to eat, but luckily I watched an old episode of 30 minute meals of Rachel Ray and I got the ingredients for these sides that looked delicious and they were really good and so quick. We are so lucky to live next Snider's meat market on Highland and about 6200 South. So I just had a couple Sweet Bourbon Chicken Breasts on the side.

BLT Salad (my new fave ingredient is Balsamic Vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or minced and crushed with flat blade of a knife
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 large heart romaine lettuce
  • 1 head Traviso lettuce or radicchio
  • 1 pint multi colored, red or yellow cherry tomatoes
Directions: Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add bacon, cook until crisp then drain on paper towels.

In a salad bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar and stream in extra-virgin olive oil to incorporate the dressing, season with salt and pepper and stir in chives. Shred lettuces and add to the bowl. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl along with bacon. Toss salad to coat evenly with dressing and serve.

Roasted Thick Potato Chips
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing potatoes
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grill seasoning
Directions: Heat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Thinly slice the potatoes lengthwise 1/8-inch thick. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on nonstick baking sheet. Brush the potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, rosemary and grill seasoning. Bake potatoes turning once 25 minutes until crisp.

Doug and I actually thought the seasoning was a little too strong. Honestly, I think they would be good with just a little salt and pepper. Another way to cook potato fries at home is to whip egg whites together until fluffy and toss the potatos (cut like spears). Salt and pepper to taste. Cook at 375 or 400 degrees until golden brown, turning once. So this isn't the exact recipe, but I did get it from What to Expect When You're Expecting. We've made those a few times and when I was pregnant, I liked them with mustard! I really don't like mustard that much.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Baked Sesame Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I'm so excited to be a part of this blog!  I thought I would do my first post as my all time favorite recipe.  

My mom found this recipe years ago in a newspaper, so the source is vague.  When I was in high school I received a $2500.00 scholarship from Tyson Chicken in a contest (recipe didn't have to be original).  This is also the dish my mom would bribe my brother with if he brought a girl home. :0) This is great for entertaining but not great for the waistline. 

 I have included two great sides for this dish.  The chicken itself is super easy and takes awhile to cook so the other sides can be prepared while it is in the oven. 

-12 large halves of chicken breasts boned and skinned (I usually just prepare 6, but don't half anything except the chicken and butter.  I've found the batter sauce isn't deep enough if you do.)
-2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 T. water
2 T. soy sauce
***2 tsp salt
***1/4 tsp pepper
***1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. sesame seeds
3/4 c. butter 

***I like to use Dixie Fry instead of the flour, salt, and pepper.  However, it is hard to find in some places.  The original recipe calls for flour but the Dixie Fry gives it extra flavor.  

Heat oven to 400.  Divide butter between two 9x13 baking dishes and melt in oven. (Only need 1 pan if halving). Blend eggs, water, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.  Dip Chicken into egg mixture then into flour (or Dixie Fry).  Sprinkle both sides with sesame seeds.  Arrange the chicken breasts in the baking dishes, turning to coat with butter.  Bake for 40-50 minutes.  Serve with Creamy Mushroom Sauce.  

CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE (I don't halve this)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. plus 2 T. flour
2 (10 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
white pepper
1/4 c. FRESH parsley, chopped
1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms but I HIGHLY recommend fresh chopped mushrooms.

Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Stir in flour.  Remove from heat; add chicken broth and stir until smooth.  Return to heat; cook and stir until thick.  Add cream, salt, and a pinch of white pepper, parsley, and mushrooms.  Serve hot over chicken breasts.  I also use it as a gravy over the potatoes.


Mashed potatoes (boil with a couple cloves of garlic) Add sour cream when mashing.  Sauce goes great on these.

BACON CARROTS (Sounds weird, but I'm telling you these are the best carrots in the world.  I have SO many people compliment me on these).

-3 lbs. fresh carrots (I actually just buy the frozen ribbon carrots and you can't tell a difference).
-5 slices of bacon
-3/4 tsp. salt
-dash of pepper
1/4 c. snipped FRESH parsley

1.  Peel and slice carrots in med. saucepan.  Combine w/ 1/4 c. water and salt.  Cover and simmer five minutes.  Remove from heat and drain.  (OR USE FROZEN AND COOK IN MICROWAVE!)
2. Meanwhile, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain.  SAVE DRIPPINGS.  Crumble bacon.  
3.  Pour 3 T. bacon grease (I know...horrible for you but SO good) over carrots.  Serve carrots with crumbled bacon and parsley.

Okay, I hope this all makes sense.  Let me know if you have questions.  :0)

Raspberry Trifle

This recipe is so easy it's not even a real recipe, but it's delicious.
We have it for Christmas Eve, but it works anytime and you can change the flavor of filling or the fruit.


1 frozen Sara Lee pound cake (you can use fresh too)
1 large package Instant Vanilla pudding
1 package raspberries or 1 bag frozen raspberries
thawed and drained
2-3 kiwi - peeled and sliced
1 container Cool Whip (I use Lite)

Slice the pound cake in cubes. Put one half in the bottom of a glass trifle dish, or punch bowl.
Prepare the pudding as directed on package and spread one-half on top of the cake.
Layer all the kiwi along the sides of the glass container vertically so you can see from the outside and spread any remaining on top of the pudding.
Spread one-half of the raspberries (reserve about 5)
Cover with Cool-Whip
Repeat cake, pudding, raspberries and Cool-Whip
Top with remaining raspberries.
Refrigerate until serving.

So easy and always impressive!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thai Basil Hummus

I had this last night at dinner group and loved it. So I thought I'd share it, for us hummus lovers.

1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans
2 Tbs. peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, roasted
juice and zest of 2 limes or one lemon
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
a couple pinches of salt
pepper to taste
1/2 c EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

In food processor combine roasted garlic, garbanzo beans, ad 1.2 of liquid from can of beans. Blend.

Add peanut butter, basil, zest and juice of limes or lemons, cayenne, salt, pepper. Blend.

Drizzle 1/2 c EVOO while blending.

Let flavors blend in fridge for a few hours.

The world is better when there is hummus among us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

OOOO, my first recipe post. I feel so much pressure. This should be a work of art or something...well, maybe not. I made this the other day because it is one of our favorites and I remembered to take a picture! That totally makes it blog worthy! I must make a confession to start this off...I am a VEGETARIAN. I know, crazy right? I never intended to become one but for some reason my last two pregnancies left me this way. I just can't eat meat. I didn't decide this, my body decided it. So I will be giving you my meatless delights. Which, by the way, are amazing! Veg. meals only take about 30 minutes top! SWEEEEEET! Just what I want!

Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Cream

1 lb. fettucine
1 T. olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 2 T.) although, I never have this on hand so I usually don't put it in.
16 oz. of mushrooms (the recipe says 8 oz. of shitake and 8 oz. of white, I just do whatever)
1/2 t. salt (whatever that's supposed to do??)
1 1/2 C. vegetable broth
1/3 C. heavy or whipping cream
1 C. fresh basil or parsley, chopped (if I don't have fresh I just used dried to taste, about 1 T.)
1/4 C. sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (for some reason I can't find sun-dried tomatoes in nowhereville where I currently inhabit, so I just use the dried kind)

My hubby is totally against following directions. He is a wing it man when it comes to cooking. I have to admit, he is REALLY good at it. I have some of his habits now when it comes to dishes like this. Here is what I do: just heat the oil in a skillet (just pour some in, I like to use more than 1 T.) add the shallot, green onion, chives or whatever you decide to use for that ingredient. Cook for a minute-ish. Add the mushrooms and salt (1/2 a t.??? puh-leez!) cook until tender about 10 minutes-ish. Add broth and cream and let it boil for three minutes-ish, stirring every once in a while. At this point I start my water boiling for the noodles. This is where I add my salt. Once it starts to boil put salt in the water, I usually pour some in my hand then dump it in. This gives the noodle great flavor and you don't really need salt in the sauce. Make sure your noodles are al dente. That means they must NOT be all! My hubby is very particular about this. He served a mission in Italy. Capiche? Then when the noodles are perfecto, drain, return to pot, dump the sauce on top, and add the sun-dried tomatoes. It is dee-lish! Hope you like it! (hope you can interpret my nonsense as well!) If you need further instructions this is from Good Houskeeping Vegetarian Meals.

red velvet just sounds delicious

Red Velvet Bars
I found these from Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee on the food network. I tried them as cupcakes, but they are more like brownies. They looked hideous as cupcakes, but still make my mouth water. Way easy, too. Here's a tip though, because if you're like me you just zip through a recipe and don't pay attention if it's easy. You cook the cake layer and the cream cheese layer. So don't put the cake in and then start on the "frosting". I didn't do that, but I'm sure I could have easily.

Cake: 1 box (18 1/4 oz) German chocolate cake mix (recommended: Betty Crocker)
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 oz. red food coloring (recommended: McCormick)
For Cream Cheese Layer: 16 oz. cream cheese, softened (recommended: Philadelphia)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 by13-inch baking pan lightly with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat with an electric mixer on low speed, cake mix, butter, egg, and food coloring until combined. Press cake mixture into prepared pan; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake layer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 by13-inch baking pan lightly with cooking spray; set aside. Prepare bars as directed. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until bars barely start to pull away from sides. Cool completely before cutting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chicken Tikka and Mint Chutney

I picked up this book for my friend's birthday and picked one up for myself too. At Costco it was a very reasonable price. I tried the chicken tikka on Sunday and it was so good. If you like Indian food you should try it. (You should also invest in some garam masala - the spice blend - because it's in almost every dish.)

Chicken Tikka (serves 4)

1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 inches ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/4 lb skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into cubes
wedges of lemon

For the marinade, blend all the ingredients (except chicken and lemon wedges) in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.Put the chicken cubes in a bowl with the marinade and mix thoroughly. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 400 F. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and put them on a metal rack above a baking tray. Roast, uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and browned around the edges. Serve with wedges of lemon.

my notes: I didn't have time to marinate overnight, but I did marinate for 2 hours. We also grilled ours, which was really good.

I also made up a mint chutney recipe (from several I looked at on the internet) because my friend made some naan (flat bread) and I have to have mint chutney with naan. Here is that recipe:

Simple Mint Chutney

1 1/2 bunches cilantro
1/2 bunch mint leaves (about 1/2 cup packed)
2 limes, juiced
2 jalapenos, seeded and ribbed (only if you want less spicy)
1 onion
1 can green chilies
salt to taste

Chop everything roughly and blend in a food processor. I added the green chilies at the end because mine seemed to dark with too many leaves. I'm going to try something a little different next time but everyone liked this one.

A note about food processors: I used to think the only one available was a Cuisinart (which is pretty expensive). But there are lots of other brands available that start around $40. If you haven't bought one yet because of this, you should shop around. Mine was only $40, holds the same amount as the Cuisinart, and works fairly well. (There are smaller ones too, that start at $10 or so, but they never fit quite enough for me.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Asian Style Succotash

from Rachel Ray and it is so easy and delicious. It is even good cold for lunch the next day!

1 red bell pepper, chopped and seeded
2 generous handfuls of snow pea pods, coarsely chopped
2 cups frozen corn
4 scallions, chopped
3 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. hot sauce

Heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper. Cook for two minutes, then add pea pods, corn, and scallions and cook for three minutes. Toss with lime juice and hot sauce.

I've tried everything except the banana muffins and Leigh's soup is my highest recommendation! I can't tell where the flavor comes from because there aren't a lot of spices to add, but it was so great!

Meaty Marinades

Sorry I have no pictures for this post as I haven't recently made these, but I thought I'd share just a few of my favorites with you.

Salmon Marinade

I got this from my friend Ashley and I love it. I've never had it with anything but Salmon, but I suppose you could try it with anything. And it doesn't have to marinade for too long, but the longer the better.

1/2 cup Dijon mustard or honey mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1 clove minced garlic or about 1 tsp garlic powder

Easy Pork Marinades (From a pork package label, if you can believe it)

1. Squeeze a lemon with 1 cup BBQ sauce

2. 1 cup BBQ sauce with 2 Tbs. Texas Hot sauce

3. Equal parts BBQ sauce and soy sauce.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Banana Bread Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Posted by Cara

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce or butter (we use applesauce to cut out calories and it tastes great)
2 medium bananas (mashed about 3/4 cup)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 bag (6 oz.) chocolate chips

* cream sugar and applesauce (butter)
* mix in bananas and lemon juice
* add milk, stir
* add eggs, stir
* add flour, soda and baking powder - blend well
* add chocolate chips / walnuts

Bake at 325 for 25 - 30 minutes

If you make a loaf instead of muffins - bake for 35 - 40 minutes


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Light Italian Wedding Soup

If you get everyday food you already have this recipe and you should try it, because it's SO good.

Light Italian Wedding Soup (serves 6)

1 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (14 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
2 heads escarole (2 lbs), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped. I actually used spinach, because I didn't think anyone would like the escarole

1. In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Using 1 Tbsp for each, roll mixture into balls.

2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add broth and tomatoes with juice; bring to a boil and turn down to simmering. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to the surface, about 5 minutes.

3. Add as much escarole (or spinach) to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.

per serving: 250 cal, 9.8 g fat (3 g sat.), 23.6 g protein, 19.3 g carb, 4.8 g fiber

notes: I doubled this recipe and used it the next night as pasta sauce. I took out the meatballs and blended the soup. Then I cooked it in a pan until it was reduced by about half (cook on high heat, stirring so it doesn't burn on the bottom). I cooked some shell pasta and reheated the meatballs in the sauce (since it was very hot at that point) and gave everyone some sauce on their pasta with a few meatballs. The sauce was a little weird looking because of the spinach and tomato combination but it was fabulous!

ps - I was trying to include a picture, but it's not working right now. Sorry.