Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Citrus Biscotti

So for my Birthday this year (Dec 21), my husband bought me Giada de Laurentiis' first cookbook. Let me say that I am in heaven. I have 6 recipes set for this week that are from her cookbook, three of which have already been made. So, hunker down and get ready for some Italian!!!

On a whim on Monday, I decided to make some Citrus Biscotti. Sure the orange and lemons sitting on my counter are for other recipes, but I really wanted some Biscotti. I figured the grocery store isn't going anywhere! I also did not have any pistachios so I used cashews and almonds. I figured that any nut would work :)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from about 1 orange)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
Let's get started.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until they become pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the orange and lemon zests, then the flour mixture, and beat just until blended. A soft and sticky dough will form. Stir in the pistachios and let stand for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and spread on the cookie sheet. Moisten your hands with water and shape the dough into two 11 inch by 4 inch logs. Bake until the logs are lightly browned (35 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise into 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. Arrange the Biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet and cook for 13 minutes. Take out the pan, flip all of the pieces so the other cut side is down and make for 12 more minutes, until the cookies are pale golden. Let cool before serving.

If you want to add chocolate, just get some Bakers Semi Sweet Chocolate (white or dark) and melt using the microwave or double boiler.

Let's have a look!
Doesn't that look great?? Get into the kitchen, whip this up, put on a nice pot of coffee and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mushroom Marsala with Artichokes and Orecchiette

I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and since I had some Marsala wine left over from another recipe, I decided to make it. The recipe calls for thimble pasta (which is really just any small type of pasta). I chose to go with Orecchiette. In Italian, "ear" is orecchio, so this basically translates as "little ears". I guess my Italian in college comes in handy sometimes.

So, let's see what you need to create this simple, easy meal!!!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 3/4 teaspoon
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 pound thimble pasta
  • 1 can of artichokes, liquid drained
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Let's cook.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms have cooked down, about 10 minutes. You want to get your mushrooms tender. Add the Marsala and continue cooking until almost all the wine has evaporated, about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in remaining salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and add it into the mushrooms, Marsala, and onions. Or you can use a Spider strainer like this one that I got for Christmas this year!

Add the artichoke hearts, Parmesan, and cream and cook until the artichokes are heated through, about 5 minutes or so. Stir in the parsley and pepper.

Easy, right? Let's take a look.

Simple! Can't ask for anything better for a weeknight dinner! Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Butternut Squash Lasagna

I love Lasagna. So I was more than pleased when I found this take on it a few weeks ago (by Giada de Laurentiis). It made tons for my husband and I. We even had some to freeze for dinner "for the future".

Oh, this recipe calls for amaretti cookies. They are crisp and crunchy on the outside and sorta soft and airy on the inside. I did not find them at our regular grocery store so I went to our Fresh Market to find them. I would imagine that you could use Ginger Snaps just the same if you can't find these cookies. But I recommend you look for them because they are so good to snack on!!!

So, let's see what you need to get started.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Let's cook and layer!!!

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil. To that, add the squash, coat with the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet, cover, and cook over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes). Cool slightly and transfer the squash to a food processor. To this, add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cook your lasagna noodles according to package directions (unless you are lucky enough to find the no-boil kind). I like to season the water with some salt!

Over medium heat, in a saucepan, melt the butter. Add in the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly. It takes about 5 minutes, but whisk often. Don't walk away or your milk will scorch. Finally, whisk in the nutmeg.

Cool the mixture slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids - A tip: Release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.). Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish, spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese (I used more to be honest). Drizzle 3/4 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Putting Lasagnas together can be alot of work, but are well worth it. I really hope you will give this one a try. Let's see what it looks like.

You know you want to make this dish! I hope you will. I promise, you will not be sorry! Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jeremy’s Mediterranean Shrimp

I love unexpected surprises. This is the perfect example of a meal created with leftover items. My husband “created” this one weekday night when we had no clue what to have for supper. Since that first time, he has added a little of this and a little of that to create this simple weeknight meal!

➢ 1 lb medium shrimp, deveined and cleaned
➢ 16 oz pasta sauce (your choice)
➢ 14 oz Artichoke Hearts, draining half of the liquid
➢ 20 Kalamata Olives, pitted
➢ 2 teaspoons minced garlic
➢ 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
➢ 1/2 red onion, chopped
➢ 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
➢ 8 oz Linguine

Let’s get saucy! Add the pasta sauce and garlic to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Once the sauce simmers, turn down the heat to medium. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives and artichoke hearts. Cover and cook for 12 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile cook the linguine according to package directions.

Finally, add the shrimp to the sauce mixture and cook until they are pink (usually takes about 4-5 minutes). Serve over the pasta!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Wild Mushrooms

For a few weeks, I was on a serious mission to find a good pumpkin pasta recipe. I finally found one! This recipe turned out to be a pleasant surprise (created by Rachel Ray). I thought this was a creative and unique way to have pasta without your normal pasta sauce. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak a serving of vitamin-rich vegetables into dinner without tipping off the kids! Aren’t you curious just from looking at the ingredient list? (If you don’t like sausage, you can always use ground turkey/chicken/beef.)

➢ 2 tablespoons olive oil
➢ 1 lb bulk sweet Italian sausage (we used sausage with sage, which works well, too)
➢ 1/4 lb shiitake mushroom caps (we used button mushrooms)
➢ 2 portabella mushroom caps, halved and thinly sliced
➢ 3 garlic cloves, minced
➢ 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
➢ Salt, Black Pepper
➢ 1/2 cup dry white wine
➢ 1 cup chicken stock
➢ 1 14oz can Pumpkin (100% pumpkin, not pie filling)
➢ 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
➢ 2-3 tablespoons fresh sage, thinly sliced
➢ 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
➢ A pinch of ground cinnamon
➢ 3/4 lb penne pasta

Let’s get started! First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add and brown the sausage and crumble it with a wooden spoon. Push the sausage over to one side of the pan and add the mushrooms, garlic and onion. Cook until the mushrooms are brown. Season with salt and pepper.

When your pasta water begins to boil, add the pasta and a dash of salt and cook according to package directions.

Combine the veggies and sausage and pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook for a minute or two. Add the chicken stock and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin slowly. Once it is incorporated, add the cream, sage, nutmeg and cinnamon. Adjust the salt and pepper if necessary, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 min to let the flavors meld together.

When the pasta is finished, drain the water and add to the sausage mixture. To serve, plate the pasta and top with the cheese and chives!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chinese Lemon Chicken

My dear friend passed this crock-pot recipe to me. It is divine! I think crock-pots have to be one of the greatest things invented. Something about “setting it and forgetting it” is a wonderful thing!


➢ 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
➢ 1/2 cup all purpose flour
➢ 1 tablespoon kosher salt
➢ 12 oz frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
➢ 6 tablespoons brown sugar
➢ 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
➢ 6 tablespoons ketchup
➢ Olive oil for browning chicken

Let’s prepare! Cut the chicken into strips or large chunks. Your choice! Mix the flour and salt together and toss each piece of chicken in the mixture. Brown the chicken in a skillet with some olive oil. You just want to brown the chicken to give it some color, not cook it. Place the chicken in the crock pot. In a separate bowl, mix together the orange juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and ketchup and pour over the chicken. Because I like a little kick, I added between ¼ teaspoon and ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes! Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 4).

To complete the meal, I cooked some rice in my rice cooker and popped some frozen eggrolls in the oven and voila! A nice, easy dinner that is yummy and versatile.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops with Maple Glazed Acorn Squash

I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website and not only is it delicious, but low calorie (1 pork chop, 2/3 cup apple topping, and ½ squash is only 567 calories!). This meal is simple to put together and the cinnamon-apple topping is phenomenal. The sweetness of the topping with the tartness of the apples … Mmmm! And this is a topping that you can put on other things as well – warm pound cake with ice cream for one! Use your imagination.

Ingredients – Pork Chops:
➢ 4 boneless pork chops
➢ 2 tablespoons butter
➢ 3 tablespoons brown sugar
➢ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
➢ 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
➢ 1/4 teaspoon salt
➢ 4 medium tart apples, thinly sliced (we used Granny Smiths)
➢ 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Ingredients – Acorn Squash:
➢ 1 medium acorn squash, halved
➢ 1-1/2 cups water
➢ 1/4 cup maple syrup
➢ 2 tablespoons brown sugar
➢ 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
➢ 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
➢ 1/4 teaspoon salt

Let’s cook! First you need to prepare the acorn squash. Cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out and discard the seeds and surrounding pulp. Place cut side down in baking dish with water. Bake uncovered 350F for 45 minutes. While it is cooking, combine the syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. When the squash is finished cooking, drain the water from the pan and turn squash cut side up, pour the syrup topping into the halves. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes until glaze is heated through.

Moving on to the chops… In a large skillet over medium heat, cook pork chops in 1 tablespoon melted butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until done. While they are cooking, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. When the chops are done, remove and place in a foil wrap to keep warm (but don’t seal – you don’t want the chops to sweat). Add the apples, pecans, brown sugar mixture and remaining butter to the pan; cook and stir until apples are tender.

Easy, right? Let's check it out.
To serve simply top the pork chops with the apples! Gently mix the maple syrup mixture into the squash. Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tilapia with Mango-Pineapple Chutney over Jasmine Rice

I love tilapia. I love mango. I love pineapple. I love Jasmine Rice. I guess this makes for a great recipe for myself :) Sweet, but not too sweet. Savory. Delish! Let's get started!


* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 small red onion, chopped
* 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
* Salt and Pepper
* 1 8-ounze can Pineapple Chunks, drained
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 2-3 Tilapia filets
* Fish Seasoning: ½ teaspoon of cumin, coriander, black pepper, and salt
* 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
* Juice of one lime
* Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
* Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
* Jasmine Rice

Let’s get to work! Prepare the rice according to the package’s directions (we prefer to use a rice cooker).

Mix the seasonings together and sprinkle on both sides of the Tilapia. Place the filets onto a pan greased with some olive oil. Dot butter on the Tilapia and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or until it flakes easily.

Moving on to the chutney. In a sauce pot, sauté the onion, jalapeno, and a dash of salt and pepper in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pineapple, honey, and ½ cup of water, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. To finish off the chutney, add the mango, lime, cilantro, and parsley and stir to combine. Turn the heat to warm (or low) and let it simmer until the fish is finished.

Plate, serve, and enjoy! Let's see what it looks like.
I hope you have enjoyed this recipe and that you will give it a try! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pico de Gallo

Yesterday, I gave you a yummy Frito Pie recipe. In my opinion, nothing is better than making your own pico de gallo. Remember, you can put this over a variety of things. Remember the Honey Lime Chicken recipe? Now you are thinking. See how versatile simple cooking can be? Let's see what you need.

* 2 large tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped finely
* 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
* 1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic
* 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
* 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped finely
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 tablespoon lime juice, fresh
* ½ teaspoon sugar
* salt (to taste)

Mix all ingredients together and place in the fridge for about an hour before serving to let the flavors meld together! We substituted one seeded habanero for a jalapeno to add some heat.

Let's check it out!
Hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Frito Pie

Ahhh, I love a good crock-pot meal! Something about dumping food into one and letting it cook for 8 hours makes me feel like I didn’t have to do anything to create a delicious meal! I also made a Pico de Gallo to go as a topping on this meal. I will post it tomorrow for you! Let's move on to the main course (and keep in mind, if you don't want meat, just omit)!

* 1 1/4 pound ground chuck
* 1/2 red onion, chopped
* 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drain liquid
* 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drain liquid
* 1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drain liquid
* 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
* 1 and 1/2 (1.25 ounce) packages taco seasoning mix (adjust to 1 or 2 packs depending on how seasoned you want it)
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* salt to taste
* 1 teaspoon of minced garlic

* Pico de Gallo
* Sour Cream
* Shredded cheese
* Fritos

Before we can dump, turn on, and walk away, we need to cook the ground chuck. In a medium skillet, cook the ground chuck until browned, then drain. Now, here comes the dump part! Place the ground chuck, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers, brown sugar, garlic, salt (to taste), and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on the low setting for 8 hours. Our crock-pot is a 3 quart and we did experience a tiny bit of overflow! I recommend placing a pan under the crock-pot to catch the spillage.

Let’s eat! Arrange the Fritos in a bowl, pour on your taco soup, then add your toppings! Let's have a look:
Mmmmm right? Well, get to the grocery to get what you need and make it! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Orzo with Sausage, Peppers and Tomatoes

Third day in a row! What do you think about that? Today, I am cooking up a yummy Orzo dish for you to enjoy. This meal is fantastic! So filling and tons of left overs. Let's see what you need!!!

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 ounces Italian Sausage (you can use turkey sausage if you so choose)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, hopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled (or goat cheese)
Let's get cooking! First off, I used two green peppers over the red and orange. Call me cheap, but peppers other than the green colored ones are so expensive! To start off this recipe, you need to get a nice char on the peppers. Place them on a baking sheet, turn the oven on to broil, and place the peppers in under the broiler for about 8 minutes (2 minutes per side). Then place the charred peppers in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes. What will happen is they will steam up and get all nice and soft! Under running water, peel away the charred skin from the peppers and pat dry. Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Moving along... in a saucepan (medium) over high heat, bring the chicken stock, water, and kosher salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, but firm to the bite (about 8-10 minutes).

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage and saute until cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add the peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest off of the orzo. Transfer to a large serving bowl. To the pasta, add the sausage mixture and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Toss well to combine all ingredients. If needed, add some of the reserved pasta water.

Plate up a nice bowl for yourself and top with the ricotta salata (or goat cheese) and sprinkle with some parsley. Enjoy!!

We really really really enjoyed this meal! We probably had 3-4 servings left over. Additionally, we did not add all of the orzo into the sausage mixture. We felt the recipe called for too much. So, I just added some tomatoes we had in the fridge to the left over orzo and had a cold pasta for lunch the next day. Remember, cooking is never perfect! Sometimes you just have to be creative and think on your toes!

Let's check this dish out!

Yumm! The cheese melted and added a nice creamy texture! What are you waiting for? You know you want to try this. Get into your kitchen and try something new.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Olivada with Veggies

As promised, I am back with another new recipe for you!

With the Holidays right around the corner, if you are like me, I have several parties to go to. And I think this is a perfect snack type dish to take to a Holiday party (and it is festive looking as well). I just love Giada! And I found this Olivada recipe one day watching her show, Everyday Italian, on the Food Network! I knew I had to make it. Let's see what you need.

  • 1 can medium, pitted, black olives, drained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetables of your choice (Giada recommends carrots, cucumber, fennel, cherry tomatoes)
Let's put it all together. Place the olives, zest, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the mixture is chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut up your veggies of choice. I suggest fennel as one of your veggies. I have never had it before, but it is SO yummy. Has a nice licorice taste to it! We also used carrots and cherry tomatoes fresh from our garden.

All that is left is to plate everything up and enjoy!!! Let's have a look.

Doesn't it look pretty? And pretty good to eat? I hope you try this. It is really fantastic! Get into your kitchen and try something new!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Winter Minestrone

Happy December! Sorry I have been slack here. I feel like I start off my posts with that very comment here lately. We have made several new dishes and I just have them looking at me waiting for me to write about them. I promise to be better about this!!! So, let's talk soup!

Who doesn't love a good comfort soup??? We made this recipe, curtsy of Giada de Laurentiis, and wow! It was so good. We did two things different in this recipe. We did not use the Parmesan Cheese rind. Also, we used Kale instead of Swiss Chard. I thought the Kale was terrific in this soup and we will be making this again for sure!

Let's see what you need!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
Let's get cooking!!! Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, celery, pancetta and garlic. Season with some salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard (or Kale) and potato and saute for 2-5 minutes. I actually covered the pot at this point to help the greens wilt down. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig (I de-leafed mine first). Simmer until the greens are wilted - about 10 minutes.

While the greens are wilting down, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed mixture, remaining broth, remaining beans and cheese rind (note: I did not use this) to the vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally. (Giada's recipe says to only simmer for 15 min, but I felt it needed to go longer!).

Ladle the soup into bowls, top with some parsley, and enjoy!!!

Yes! It really is that simple! So hearty! So healthy! How could you not want to try it? Want to see what it looks like?

I do hope you will try it!!! I hope to have some more recipes up for you in the next few days!!! Now, get into your kitchen and try something new!

Friday, October 30, 2009


My mom and I loved to be in the kitchen. Growing up, she had all of these little cute food crafts to make. These cute little ghosts were one of the many things we would make together. So, if you need a quick Halloween treat for tomorrow, be sure to try this one. OR, you can try it anytime during the year if you like :)

  • 1 package of Nutter Butter cookies
  • 12 oz Bakers White Chocolate
  • Miniature Chocolate Chips
That is it! Now, here is what you do to make them. Lay out some wax paper or parchment paper in a cookie sheet. Melt your white chocolate. I melt in 15 second increments (stirring in between) because white chocolate can burn very easily. When you have your white chocolate all melted, dip one side of all of the cookies in the melted chocolate. Lay them out on your wax/parchment paper, give them two eyes and put them in the fridge to let the chocolate harden.

Let's have a look at them:

I love easy fun things! I am taking these to a Halloween party tomorrow, along with a Spider Web Cheesecake! I will post the recipe to that (and a photo) once the cheesecake comes out of the oven, cools, and I can decorate it!

Have fun and if you celebrate Halloween, be safe while Trick or Treating.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Roasted Eggplant Pasta with Goat Cheese

Hi there!

I have a great recipe for you tonight. I found this recipe from one of Rachael Ray's cookbooks and I am GLAD I made it! It really reminded me of Eggplant Parmesan without all of the work of frying the eggplant :) The Goat Cheese (well she uses Ricotta Salata) is a nice creamy taste when combined with the eggplant pasta sauce! So want to know how to make it? It is easy! Let's get started.

  • 2 small, firm eggplants, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, cracked from the skins (I used 9)
  • 1 lb penne rigate pasta
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (I used red onion)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 20-25 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn
  • 2 cups ricotta salata cheese, crumbled (any type of crumbled goat cheese will do)
Let's cook! Turn on the oven to 425F while you cut up the eggplant and crack the garlic. Place the garlic and eggplant on a baking sheet (I had to use two). Brush eggplant and garlic with 1/2 cup olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes (I found 18 minutes did just fine).

Cook your pasta according to package directions. While the eggplant is roasting and the pasta is cooking, chop up the onion and basil. Here is a trick I use when cutting fresh basil. I gather several leaves together and roll them up. Then slice. You have nice little strips of basil when you are finished.

Ok! Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions. Meanwhile, the eggplant should be finished. Take it out and place it into a food processor and process into a smooth paste. Add the paste to the onions and stir in the tomatoes. Adjust salt and pepper as needed and heat the tomatoes. Right before serving, mix in the basil.

And you are finished! Easy right? And it is VERY tasty! Serve in a nice bowl and top with the goat cheese. ENJOY!

Let's have a look:

You can't see the eggplant but you sure can taste it! I recommend pairing with a nice red wine. We picked up this one from our local wine store, WineStyles. It is called Good Dog ... Bad Dog. Really nice!

Cute label right? Well, what are you waiting for? Head to the grocery, pick up these ingredients, and treat yourself to a great home cooked meal!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

Hi there!

I am sorry I have been slack! Let me tell you why! I was asked by a local magazine to do a monthly recipe feature, featuring 5-6 recipes each month. I have been busily cooking things for the magazine and I have neglected my blog. So sorry about that!

Before I get started with my recipe, I wanted to give a shout out to my friend who has started a blog on party ideas that she has done in the past. Give her a visit or two or more if you can! She has such fab ideas on entertaining!!!

So, do you need a new festive dessert for the holidays this year???? If so, I have one for you. I found this recipe on a Pumpkin Cake Roll. Looked interested and it has CREAM CHEESE in it. I love cream cheese! I made it last night and wow! It is yummy. Let's get started!

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional confectioners' sugar, optional
Let's put it together.

Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper. (I used parchment paper and it turned out just fine. Also, my pan was not 1 inch thick - more like .5 inch and I had no problem). Grease the paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. (If you are not sure what soft peaks are, here is how you tell. When you lift your beaters out of the mixture, the mixture lifts up but doesn't stay there). Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.

Now you want to bake at 375°F for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Mine took only 12 minutes. So, keep an eye out if you set your timer for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. (Ugh, this was frustrating for me. You just have to get the guts and flip really fast or your cake will break in half.) Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

While that is cooling, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Once the cake has cooled, you are ready to add the filling! Unroll the cake and spread the filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and freeze until firm.

To serve: Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before you are ready to eat. Let's have a look!

See how pretty! The pumpkin flavor is so yummy and with the cream cheese filling... YUMM. You have to try this. I have not frozen this for a lengthy time, but I would assume like many cake type things, you can freeze for a few months and be just fine.

Now, get a move on it! Get in the kitchen and try something new!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Roasted Sage Cauliflower with Gnocchi

Hi there! Wow. I really didn't mean to slack off on my blog. September has been a very busy month work wise for me. And I did receive a bit of exciting news! A friend of mine publishes a local magazine here in my town and she asked me to do a monthly recipe feature for her magazine. Cool huh? I do have some recipes in the feature that are new, so once the magazine hits stands, I will post them to the blog.

Let's talk about what I did for dinner tonight. I found this recipe in the latest Real Simple magazine. It looked intriguing. First off, I love gnocchi! No, I didn't make it. It was store bought, but let me tell you that if you ever have the chance to have some homemade gnocchi, take up the offer. It is so good. My friend's mom makes gnocchi all the time. The unfortunate thing is she lives in San Francisco and I have not seen her in 10 years. Perhaps I should fly out :) Second, I LOVE cauliflower. So two things to this SIMPLE weeknight recipe really drew me in! Let's see what you need:

  • 1 lb gnocchi
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Yes! That is all you need. Simple right? Let's get cooking:

In a rimmed baking pan, combine the florets, olive oil, sage, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400F oven, tossing once or twice during baking. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is golden brown and tender.

While the cauliflower is baking in the oven, prepare the gnocchi according to package directions.

Plate your gnocchi, then the cauliflower mixture, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. That is it! Now, my husband smoked a chicken yesterday and I took one of the left over breasts and sliced it up to mix in with this dish.

We enjoyed this meal very much! Simple. Tasty! However... there was one problem with it. It was a little dry. Once I plated our meal, I decided to melt about 3 tablespoons of butter with a dash of Terragon and poured over our dinner to add some liquid. I plan to work on this recipe and make it better! When I do, I will revisit it and share! Do you ever watch Giada on Food Network? She always adds some of the pasta water when she is making a butter/olive oil sauce for her pasta. Perhaps that was what I should have done?

Moving on... let's take a look at the finished product.
Mmmmm! Let me add that this cauliflower "topping" would make a fantastic side to any dinner you may make ;)

Alright. What are you waiting for. Head to your kitchen and make something new! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

South of the Border Lasagne

Happy Sunday!

Two new recipes in two days! How about that?

I have been craving something similar to a Mexican Layer Dip, and I came across this recipe and knew I had to try it. Again, this is from the AJLI Centennial Cookbook and the recipe specifically comes from the Junior League of Austin. This recipe serves 8-10 (so prepare for leftovers!!!).


  • 2 lbs ground chuck
  • 1 onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 4-ounce can of green chilies (chopped)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups cottage cheese, small curd
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Toppings - use whatever you want - Olives, Sour Cream, Chopped Scallions, Tortilla Chips
Let's get started!!!

First you need to brown your ground chuck over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Then, add the onion, and saute for about 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Sprinkle the chili powder and mix. Add the tomato sauce, sugar, salt, olives, and chilies. Simmer for 15 minutes. NOTE: I felt there was too much salt. When I make it again, I will use only 1/2 tablespoon, rather than 1 tablespoon.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg and cottage cheese.

In a small skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil and add the tortillas one at a time to get them soft and pliable. NOTE: Since they hold so much oil, I recommend having a plate with paper towels nearby to put the tortillas on so the paper towel helps pull out some of the excess oil. Additionally, you will need to add more oil as you go through your stack of tortillas, so don't put that up! Also, I don't know if corn tortillas come in different sizes, but our grocery carries the 4 inch sizes, and that is perfect!

In a 13x9 greased baking dish, layer 1/3 of the meat mixture, 1/2 of the Monterrey Jack cheese, 1/2 of the Cottage Cheese mixture, and 6 tortillas. Repeat. Pour the remaining meat mixture over the tortillas and top with the Cheddar Cheese. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 30 minutes. Let the lasagne rest for 5 minutes or so before serving.

Doesn't that look good??? Now, let's plate it with some chips.

This hit the spot! And we have leftovers to enjoy! Even better! You better get a move on! Time is "a wasting". Get in your kitchen and try something new!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Acorn Squash, BBQ, and Tomatoes

Happy Saturday!

Tonight's dinner was a tag team effort. My husband was in charge of the meat, and I took care of the sides. Speaking of the meat, he bought a Boston Butt. He did two days of brining to it in a mixture of several things. Molasses is about all I remember. He smoked it all day today so it would be nice and tender then he shredded it into BBQ. If you are interested in his recipe, I will be glad to get it from him.

Now, let's talk about the sides. The first one was a repeat of last week, sorta. We have a vegetable garden, and we planted Jelly Bean Tomatoes. Basically, they are like cherry tomatoes but are supposed to be red and yellow. Apparently we had cross pollination and they came out orange! Since we have a million of them, I cut up some and added salt, pepper, shredded mozzarella cheese, and a dash of basil. The Acorn Squash recipe was one out of an AJLI cookbook. I spoke of the cookbooks last week. This recipe specifically comes from the Junior League of Greater Vancouver, BC. So, let's see what you need to make Acorn Squash with Applesauce.

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce
  • 1/4 packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • Butter
Here is how you prepare it. Wash the squash, halve it lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Mix together the lemon juice, raisins, applesauce, brown sugar, and walnuts (I didn't have walnuts, but had pecans, so I used those instead). Spoon the mixture into the squash halves and dot with butter (Mixture and Squash). Place in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of hot water in the bottom. Cover and bake at 400F for 30 minutes; then remove the cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.


When you plate your squash, simply take a fork and mix the squash with the applesauce mixture. So, let's see this dish plated...

Yummy huh? We sure thought so!

Well, what are you waiting for. Get to the grocery, get you some acorn squash, and try something new!! As always, thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Baked Grouper with Mango Salsa and Baked Zucchini

I am back! Sorry that I got slack on posting recipes!

This morning, I pulled out two cookbooks that I have neglected. Both are AJLI cookbooks. AJLI is the Association of Junior Leagues International. Within AJLI, there are almost 300 leagues in 4 countries of women devoted to improve their communities through volunteer efforts.

The two recipes I used for tonight's dinner came out of two different cookbooks put out by AJLI, specifically from the Junior League of Mobile. The Grouper with the salsa was really supposed to be Grilled Snapper, but I decided to use Grouper and bake it. So, let's see what we need to get started:

Baked Grouper with Mango Salsa
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 grouper fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Mango Salsa
Mango Salsa
  • 1 cup chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Baked Zucchini
  • 1 1/2 lbs zucchini, scrubbed, and trimmed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Let's get started. First, I must admit. I bailed on the Mango Salsa. When I got to the grocery store, the mangos were not ripe. So, I bought a Mango and Peach salsa.

So, on to the fish: Combine the lime juice, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, and olive oil in a large shallow dish and mix well. Place the fish in the marinade, turning to coat. Let it marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, turning several times. In your baking dish, coat the pan with a little olive oil, and place the fish in the pan. Salt and pepper both sides, and add several pats of butter on the fish. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375F, until the fish flakes.

This baked zucchini was amazing! It is a keeper in my recipe book for sure. Let's put it together. Slice the zucchini in 1/4 inch rounds. Boil gently in salted water with the onion for 7-10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain in a colander and pour into a sprayed baking pan. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, poppy seeds, garlic salt and pepper, then place on top of the zucchini and lightly toss. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375F.

We grow tomatoes, and since we had one that needed to be eaten, I sliced it up, gave it a sprinkle of salt and pepper, topped it with slices of fresh mozzarella and dried basil.

So, let's check it out.

A nice easy meal! Just the way I like it. The baked zucchini was a surprise! My husband went back for seconds! When he does that, I know he really enjoyed what was served to him!

As always, thanks for reading. Now, get into your kitchen and make something new!!!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Marbled Chocolate Bark

Hi there!

I have fallen behind and I apologize. We are going to a friend's house tonight, so there won't be a "new" recipe to share... well, not exactly. I first tried this recipe back in 2007, I think. It came out of the Kraft Magazine. It is a really simple and yummy dessert. I am sharing with you because I made it last night to take over to my friend's house for our gathering tonight. (As usual, I had two helpers!)

  • 8 to 9 HONEY MAID Honey Grahams
  • 6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 squares BAKER'S White Chocolate
Let's make it!! Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Arrange grahams on bottom of pan, cutting as needed to completely cover bottom of pan; set aside.

Microwave the semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter in medium microwaveable bowl on igh for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until it is well blended. Pour over grahams; spread with spatula to cover completely.

Repeat the above microwave melting steps with the white chocolate. Drop spoonfuls of the white chocolate over chocolate-covered grahams. Immediately cut through the chocolate mixtures with knife (or use a toothpick or chopstick) several times for tiger-stripe effect.

I would place in the fridge at least 1 hour or until firm. (I like to make the night before and let them get nice and firm overnight.) Use foil handles to remove dessert from pan. Peel off foil. Break the dessert into bars. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Let's see what it looks like. (Please note my assistants! And don't worry, they were not allowed to taste test!)
A simple and easy fun dessert! Thanks for reading and go ahead and get into your kitchen and try something new!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Island Bird: Pineapple-Rum Chicken

Hi there!

One think you will learn about me is I LOVE PINEAPPLE! Remind me to share a great pineapple casserole with you later! Once again, I am going into the recipe file on my Mac and sharing with you all a recipe that was new to us about a month ago! Fun, huh?

Island Bird: Pineapple-Rum Chicken
  • 1 ½ cups jasmine rice
  • 1 whole pineapple, cored and peeled (or a can of pineapple tidbits)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (again, I prefer red onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Coarse Salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup spiced rum (I just used light rum)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 6-oz boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • Coarse black pepper
  • ¼ fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Let's make it!!!

Cook the rice according to package directions. We have a rice cooker, which when we finally got one, I wondered what took me so long to get one!

Cut the pineapple into bite size chunks. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the pineapple chunks and the juice from the container, no more than ½ cup, and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rum. Return the pan to the heat, keeping a little distance in case the pot flames up. Let the alcohol cook away, about a minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer, then cook until it is reduced by half and has thickened slightly. (I actually ended up spooning out some of the extra liquid as it didn't really reduce for me.)

While the sauce is simmering, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 6 minutes on each side.

Time to serve! I forgot the parsley and cilantro. Whoops! Still tasted good.

I also paired this meal with a Mediterranean Chopped Salad. Read down and you will see the recipe on how to make it.

Thanks for reading and get out there and try something new!

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Hi there!

Yesterday I shared a Pineapple-Rum Chicken recipe with you. With that meal, I added this chopped salad. Let's see how to make it.

  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 8 pepperoncini peppers, chopped (or Roasted Red Peppers)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Combine all vegetables with the parsley, the olives, cheese, and hot peppers. Dress the salad with the juice of 2 lemons and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season the salad with salt and pepper.

Easy! Let's look at the salad again.

Thank you for reading. Much appreciated. Now, get in the kitchen and try something new!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grilled Honey Lime Chicken

Hi there!

Tonight for dinner, we tried out this new recipe. I wanted a simple weeknight dinner, and this one proved to be just that! Let's see what you need:

  • The juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 rounded teaspoon cumin (this could be omitted)
  • A handful cilantro finely chopped (I used dried - about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon steak seasoning blend OR salt and pepper
  • 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • Lettuce, sliced tomatoes, red onion, and avocado (all optional)
  • 1 cup prepared Salsa Verde
  • 4 crusty rolls, split
  • Flavored Tortilla Chips (such as blue corn, red corn, black bean, chili lime, etc)
So, let's put it together. Grab yourself a gallon bag (or quart bag if you half the recipe), and add the first 6 ingredients and mix. To that, add your chicken, seal the bag, and squish around to coat the chicken. Now, put the bag in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. I marinated mine for about 4 hours.

Note: My husband mixed up our own seasoning blend. I have no idea what he put in it and when I asked him, he said he just eyeballed a whole bunch of stuff, lol!

Time to cook! We used an indoor grill (The Griddler) to cook ours, but you can use an outside grill if that is what you prefer. Cook until done. Pending on the size of rolls you purchase, you may have to cut your chicken in half!

Time to eat! We decided to top our sandwiches with lettuce, avocado, and Salsa Verde. I highly recommend all three of these! We would have added tomato if we had one. And we had red onion, I simply forgot to get it out and slice. The avocado added a nice surprise and texture when I bit into the sandwich.

Simple! Fast! Tasty! This is a winner in my books! So what does it look like?

Yup! Makes you want to go make it, right?

Thanks for reading today! What are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and try something new!

Chicken Enchilada

Hi there!

This once was a new recipe for us, but we have been making it for well over a year. This is also a recipe that you can freeze if you wish! And we all know how nice it is to take something out of your freezer before you go to work, come home, and pop it in the oven! So, let's see how to make it:

  • 3 cups of cooked shredded chicken (I normally buy canned chicken)
  • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion finely chopped (I prefer red onion)
  • 2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 10 (8 inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 cans of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 16oz jar of salsa
Let's put it together!

In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, shredded chicken, onion/bell pepper (reserve about 1 cup for the topping), 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Stuff tortillas with ½ cup stuffing and roll (or fold - pending on how you like to do it). Place tortillas in a greased pan. Cover with 1 cup left over peppers and onions, enchilada sauce, and salsa. Top with 1 cup cheese.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

Easy! Now, let's prepare it if you want to freeze before cooking. Based on my past experience, this is what I recommend. Prepare as directed. Place the 1 cup left over peppers/onions in a plastic bag. Place the enchilada sauce/salsa in another plastic bag. Place the 1 cup cheese in a plastic bag. Place the plastic bags on top of the stuffed tortillas. Then freeze.

Oh, ready to cook? Once you thaw the dish, sprinkle pepper/onions, pour over the sauce mixture, and top with cheese. Then bake at 350 for 45 minutes. The reason for doing it this way is I froze this dish once after I prepared and when I thawed it then baked it, the tortillas were soggy. No one likes soggy tortillas, lol!

I actually did this for dinner last week. Let's take a look!
To go along with the meal, we opened a bottle of red wine :) We are frequent shoppers (and club members) at Winestyles. Because of this, we have become fans of wines from Chile. 35 South makes this wine with organic grapes and it is absolutely delish! It is a Cabernet Merlot blend.

Well, thanks for reading once again! As I always say, get out there and try something new!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thai Chicken Wrap with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Hi there and Happy Monday!

We made this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it! We found it on the Food TV website. I wanted to share with you, even though it is not a Saturday! Really any day is a good day to try something new :) Let's see what you need to make it!

  • 3 (6-ounce) chicken breasts - boneless skinless
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 3 scallions, sliced on an angle
  • 12 leaves basil, chopped or torn
  • 3 tablespoons (or 4 sprigs) chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
  • Salt
Spicy Peanut Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup room temperature chunky peanut butter, soften in microwave if it has been refrigerated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 (12-inch) flour tortilla wraps
So how do you make it? Place the chicken, soy, oil and seasoning in a bag. Mix together and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Heat a grill pan over high heat and grill 6 minutes on each side.

In a bowl, combine cucumber, sprouts, carrots, scallions, basil, mint and sesame with a generous sprinkle of sugar and vinegar. Season salad with salt.

Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne together. Stream in vegetable oil.

Slice cooked chicken on an angle. Toss it in with the veggies and herbs.

I put the tortillas in the oven, top rack, on broil and heated each side. Keep a close eye on it!

Now the fun part! Pile chicken and veggies in wraps and drizzle liberally with spicy peanut sauce before wrapping and rolling. Rolling has been a struggle for me. But, I think I finally have figured it out. Let's look at the mixture on the tortilla.

Ok, see how it is laid out lengthwise? Fold those ends (the short ends) in first. Then your "longer" sides, fold one then the other. You can always roll it like a fruit roll up, but I think rolling this way keeps everything in!

So let's see it plated (and the inside too)! I paired it with some Olive Oil noodles (in a box!!). Additionally, we had some cherry tomatoes on their way "out". So, I halved them, tore up a few pieces of basil and sprinkled with lime juice.

Thanks for reading! Get out there and try something new!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crispy Orange Rosemary Chicken and Edamame Succotash

Hi there!

Guess what day it is? You got it! It is Saturday and that means time for a new recipe. I love using fresh herbs, and since I have a rosemary bush in my backyard, this recipe seemed perfect.

I have to say this was a great summer meal, light, tasty, and a bit of a surprise! The ingredients call for breadcrumbs, so you may suspect you will fry the chicken, but you don't.

Let's see what we need to get this going. (Both are Rachel Ray recipes, however, I did change the succotash recipe.)

Ingredients (for the Chicken dish):
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 6-oz Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion (again, I used red)
  • 2 large carrots (thinly sliced)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped OR 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Zest and juice of one Orange
  • 2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 10 pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs (See my note below)
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
Ingredients (for the succotash - using my changes):
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped OR 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bell pepper (green)
  • 1 jalapeno (red) - optional
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 8 oz frozen edamame (in the steamer bags located in the frozen section of your grocery)
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • A handful of chopped fresh parsley
Let's get cooking. First here is how to prepare the chicken dish. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned, then add the onions, carrots and garlic. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

Turn your oven on to broil!

Dust the chicken and veggies with the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the orange juice and chicken stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, then add the olives (which I forgot to do!!!).

While the liquid is reducing, make the bread-crumb topping. Combine the breadcrumbs, orange zest, parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan. NOTE: My personal opinion was the recipe called for too much of the breadcrumbs. I would reduce it to 3/4 cup if I make it again.

Transfer the chicken and veggies to a baking dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture, covering all of the chicken and veggies. Place under the broiler until the topping is brown and crispy. About minutes, BUT keep a close eye on it!

Moving on to the succotash. The reason I added the red jalapeno is because my great aunt grows them and last week, she gave us about 12 of them in a brown bag. So, I have been adding them to pretty much everything. Some of them were red rather than green. I have to be honest, I didn't know red jalapenos existed. I don't know if there was cross pollination when they were growing, or what. Anyways, they added a nice addition to the succotash and color too! So, if you want jalapeno (seeds or no seeds), I will leave that up to you!

To prepare: Pop your steamer bag of edamame in the microwave and prepare accordingly. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic and peppers (bell and jalapeno). Saute, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the corn and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the edamame at this time. Season with salt and pepper and stir in parsley. Remove from heat and serve.

I love a good succotash! And this one was really yummy. I will defiantly make it again. The regular recipe from Rachael Ray called for butter beans.

I added some mashed potatoes to complete the dish. Let's take a look:

Additionally, I paired this meal with a white wine from Portugal, Aveleda Fonte. It was nice and light with fruity tones. I picked it up at my local Winestyles store. If you have one in your area, you should check it out. I like the label of this wine too. Check it out.

Thanks again for reading! Now, get a move on it! Get in your kitchen and try something new!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Grilled Chicken with Warm Cranberry Salsa & Sweet Potatoes

Hi there!!

A few months ago, we made this yummy dinner. This is another Rachel Ray recipe, with the exception of the sweet potatoes.

I think by far, the Warm Cranberry Salsa has been one of my favorite things I have made with our New Recipe Saturday nights. We have made this salsa on many occasions and served it over not only chicken, but fish, pork, and shrimp.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes scrubbed clean and cut in thin circles
  • olive oil, brown sugar, and butter for the sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of Boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut in half)
  • 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Let's make it:

Sweet Potatoes: These are easy! Thinly slice the potatoes and place on a baking pan rubbed with olive oil. Put a pat of butter on each one and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until they are brown and tender.

Chicken: We have a griddler and generally use it in the summertime over the grill. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning (we do not have poultry seasoning, so we made our own with 2 parts each of salt, pepper, season salt, sugar, paprika, and 1 part sage). Drizzle with a little vegetable oil and add to a hot grill. Grill until done. Before removing, squeeze the juice of one lime over the chicken.

Cranberry Salsa: Preheat a small sauce pot over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of vegatable oil. Add the red onions, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minuets. Add the cranberry juice, dried cranberries, chicken stock, and honey. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquids have reduced by half. Ours really did not reduce by half, so I strained out some of the liquid until it was the consistency that I liked.

Before serving the cranberry salsa, remove from the heat and add the juice of one lime and cilantro. Stir to combine and serve over the chicken.

We paired the meal with some broccoli rice. Let's see the final meal.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and get out there and try something new!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Bowl

Hi there!

I am backtracking a bit. We made this dinner on Saturday, July 11. This was a very yummy meal, I must admit. I had never cooked Bok Choy before, and didn't know anything about how to pick it or clean it. My great friend over at KZK Bags sent me some great YouTube videos on Bok Choy. If you are interested in cooking with this and need a little more knowledge, then start with this video on how to clean Bok Choy and go from there.

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inches ginger root, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks or grated
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushroom caps, sliced, a couple of cups
  • 1 medium bok choy, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces, then cut sticks lengthwise
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup seafood stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 pound vermicelli
  • 4 scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces, then shredded lengthwise into thin sticks
This recipe comes from Rachel Ray over at the Food TV website. So, here is how you make it:

Put vegetable oil, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, mushrooms (I used portabello, rather than shiitake), bok choy, salt/pepper in a medium soup pot and turn the heat to medium-high heat. After a minute or so, add chicken broth and seafood stock. Put a lid on the pot and bring soup to a boil.

Note: I let ours boil for a bit until the bok choy got tender. Additionally, our grocery store did not have seafood stock. This can easily be made using your shrimp shells for this meal.

Next, add shrimp and noodles and cook 3 minutes. Add in scallions and cook 2 minutes, then turn off soup and let it sit 2 to 3 minutes more. Adjust salt and serve.

This dinner was very easy to make! I do caution that it was very spicy! I love spicy foods and can tolerate at a high heat, but this burned my lips! We will cut back on the red pepper flakes when we make this again! And here is the finished product:

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it and get out there and try something new!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Smoked Tenderloin, Mashed Red Potatoes, and Strawberry/Cucumber Salad

Hi there!

Several friends have been on me about starting a blog, so here I am. I will start off with our dinner last night, but may go back and catch up on some other meals we have cooked that have been winners!

Last night was Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Red Potatoes, and Cucumber and Strawberry Salad. My husband handled the Pork 100%, while I did the rest. So, let's get cooking:

  • Pork Marinade (3 tablespoons of seasoned salt, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1/2 tablespoon each of paprika and black pepper, and a teaspoon each of cumin, onion powder, coriander and orange zest. Toss all of that in a gallon bag with enough apple cider vinegar and olive oil to coat the meat. Marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours.)
  • 2 - 2 1/4 lbs Red Potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups Half and Half
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Salad Dressing: 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 2 teaspoons fresh chives (chopped)
  • 2 cups Strawberries (halved or quartered)
  • 1 large Cucumber
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola
  • Red Lettuce Leaves (or substitute any other lettuce you prefer)
Pork Tenderloin: My husband was 100% responsible for this. He smoked it for about 3 hours, then placed it in the oven for 20 minutes or so at Broil to crisp up the outside.

The Mashed Red Potatoes were easy! Half the potatoes (skin on please), and place in a pot with just enough water to cover. Place a lid on the pot and on high heat, bring to a boil. Remove the lid, add some salt (just a sprinkle around once or twice), and let boil for 10-15 min, until they are tender. Drain off the water, and put the potatoes back into the pot. Add the Half and Half, butter, salt/pepper, and mash!

The Strawberry and Cucumber Salad was a nice refreshing surprise. We have a vegetable garden, and have cucumbers coming out the yin yang. I wanted to try something new so I hopped over to Food TV's website and found this nice recipe. You actually are supposed to add scallops to the salad, but we omitted these for our dinner.

Let's make the salad: Whisk the ingredients for the dressing then add in the strawberries and sliced cucumber. Serve over the lettuce and top with the cheese! Simple!

A nice dinner for a hot summer night! And here is the finished product!

Thanks for reading this first post of New Recipe Saturday. Hope you enjoyed it and get out there and try something new!