Welcome Fellow Food Enthusiasts

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sausage Fondue

I am a HUGE breakfast fan and this is one of my favorite recipes. SOOOOO good!

10 slices of bread, cubed (crust cut off)
2 cups grated American cheese
4 eggs
1 1/2 lbs link sausages cut into fifths
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk

Place cubed bread in a 9x13 baking dish. Top with grated cheese. Brown pieces of sausage; drain. Place cooked sausage on cheese. Beat eggs with 2 1/4 cups milk and dry mustard, then pour over the mixture and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, add 1/2 cup milk to mushroom soup. Pour over mixture and bake at 300* for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until done.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

mistake cake

Yay! My first post on this wonderful food blog - I'm officially a cook!

I love looking at recipes online of the same thing and adding and taking away ingredients that sound delicious. That's kind of how this recipe came about. I got the idea from here and just tried to make it easier and more delicious. The first time I made this cake I doubled it to make it fit a nine inch cake pan. It looked absolutely delicious... for like a half hour. When I came downstairs it had split in half and looked terrible. I had to scoop it up and put it in a trifle dish, but it still tasted amazing. So this time I just put it in a trifle and it looked pretty good!


1 box Devil's food cake mix
16 ounces of sour cream
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 carton of strawberries chopped in pieces (save a few perfect ones for decoration)

Prepare the Devil's Food cake mix as directed on the box using two 9 inch circular pans, use lots of Pam so they'll come out easily. Let the cakes cool completely. When cooled turn them upside down on plates so they'll come out. Use a sharp serrated knife and cut horizontally so you create four layers of cake (via the pic below).

While the cake is baking you can make the cream layers. Mix the sour cream, powdered sugar and whipping cream on high for 5-7 minutes until fluffy. Add a few drops of red food coloring and the chopped strawberries.

This is where I made the mistake the first time - you have to use a trifle dish because the cream filling isn't thick enough and there are too many layers that it will just topple over otherwise. However the nine inch pans are slightly larger than the trifle so you have to cut it in pieces and make it fit. I found that cutting off the two sides of the cake and fitting them in the trifle makes it easier. Then you can use the middle part of the cake to fill the rest in to adjust for size. I hope that makes sense, ask me in person if it doesn't. Start with the chocolate cake layer on the bottom, then the cream, then the cake and so on. End with the cream layer on top.

Ta da!
Save the pretty strawberries for the top and you're done! Put in the refrigerator to help the cream filling firm up. I also found that eating this the next day is wonderful as well because the cake has soaked up some of the filling. Bon appetit!

Carrot Cake

After getting a big bag of carrots for yesterday's Carrot Calzone, it's seems only fitting I make carrot cake too. Thankfully book group is Tuesday night at my house, so there should be plenty of people to eat the carrot cake. I'm not much of a box cake person, but I do have to try a lot of scratch recipes until I find a cake recipe I like. This is my Aunt Gwen's recipe, and I think it's fabulous.

2 c flour
2 c sugar (I use 1-1/2 c since I use frosting. Use 2 cups if not using frosting)
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 t salt

*sift together and set aside*

1 1/2 c canola oil (in my carrot calzone blurb I mentioned the use of carrots to absorb the oils and fats in making tuco. Though I'd assume the oil would all be absorbed by the carrots, I still only use 1 c and it's still a moist cake)
4 beaten eggs
3 c shredded carrots (though I actually use 4 cups - it makes it healthier, no? Also, don't use the preshredded carrots found at the market. I made that mistake once thinking it would be OK - nope. None of the oil was absorbed, and the carrots didn't really cook into the cake. Use freshly home-shredded carrots. Trust me.)

*mix well*

Here's three cups of shredded carrots
though I use 4 cups

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. This won't be a runny cake batter like with a cake mix. It will be very heavy.

Bake at 325 for an hour (until fork comes out clean).

I don't like my top too dark.
The instructions are to cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes,
but I've had much more success at the lower temperature for more time

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 c butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 t vanilla
Powdered sugar, to taste

It is soooo important the cream cheese and butter be room temperature. If they are not, you'll have chunky frosting. Icky! I combine the butter and cream cheese and let the mixer whip them smooth, and I mean smooooth. Then I add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, the recipe calls for one box or a half of a bag, but I add about half of that. But if you have a sweet tooth, add a box's worth.

You gotta taste it as you go...

And since I needed a picture of a piece of cake, I sacrificed presentation for Tuesday night and cut out the center piece to eat (and of course I couldn't it back in.)

I was so tempted to pull a Bill Cosby and fill the hole with paper towels and frost over them,
but I didn't have the guts to do it...

And what do you do with leftover frosting? Of course you can use it all on the cake if you want, but I choose to make...

Graham crackers and frosting


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carrot Calzone [Cook Challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

While living in Uruguay, I learned to make a lot of different tucos, or sauces. Regardless of the pasta the tuco was to be served on top of, it always contained shredded carrots. I was told they used the carrots to absorb the oils and greases from the meats. Regardless of the reason, they are yummy sauces.

While in DC, another dish my cousin taught me was her favorite dish that her mother-in-law prepares. It isn't actually a calzone, but it is a bit like one. And, the main ingredient is carrots. So of course I had to learn. Yum!

Ingredients: (this is enough for one calzone, I made two tonight, thus the pictures with two)
4 large carrots, sliced
Garlic, about 1 head - more if you prefer, cut not mashed
Peppers, optional (I use a couple sweet peppers)
Tomatoes, optional (I've done it both ways)
Fresh Mozzarella cheese (I get those yummy Belgioioso "logs" from Costco)
Pecorino Romano cheese (a fresh block, not powdered in the green can)
2 Hard boiled eggs
Olive Oil
Dough, bread or pizza - I use homemade, the frozen Rhodes bread loaves work too

1. Slice the carrots.

I'm a KitchenAid girl. And I like my attachments. Yes, I LOVE my food processor, but sometimes this is an easier clean up. I used my slicer attachment, much easier then slicing that many carrots.

2. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a pan. Saute/cook the carrots, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes. I supplement with water if the vegetables get too dry or stick. Cook until the carrots are soft, not mushy - about half an hour. Hard boil the eggs while everything else is cooking.

3. I prepare the dough prior to cooking. I start to prepare the carrot mix after I do the last punch down of the dough prior to rising for the last time. With the carrots done, I roll out the dough. I put cornmeal on a cookie sheet (I also use silpat) - lay the dough on the cookie sheet. (You want to prepare the calzone on the cookie sheet, it's hard to transfer after prepared.)

4. Spread the carrot mix in the center of the dough. Be sure to spread all the way to the end (no one like the end cinnamon rolls if they don't have the sugar and cinnamon, same with this - the end bite should have something to bite.) Pat the mix down. Top with mozzarella cheese slices (I like mine really cheesy so use about 1/2 lb or half a "log" per calzone)and grate some Parmesan atop. Slice the eggs (2 eggs per calzone) atop the cheese. I know - carrots, cheese and eggs? It really is good.

5. Fold the dough over the concoction. Seal tightly. Spread some olive oil on top and sprinkle some more cornmeal. Then cut some slits in the top of the dough. It doesn't need to rise, just place it right in the oven.

6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. (20 minutes for 1, 25 for 2)

As you can see, I didn't seal the left one well enough, it opened in the oven.

One calzone will serve 3-4 adults - they aren't very dense.


Friday, April 23, 2010

quinoa salad.


for those of you who have never heard of quinoa, here's some info: it's kind of like a grain. you cook it like rice. it's popular with vegetarians because of its high protein content. it's a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. it is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. why am i cooking with it, you ask? because my mother-in-law gave me a bag of it. i had to look it up online and find recipes to cook with it! you could make this same recipe with couscous or rice if you're not up to experimenting with quinoa... though i recommend it because it's yummy! you can find it in the bulk foods ailse of your grocery store.

this is a use-what-you-like, forget-about-the-rest kind of recipe. i'll highlight what i used.

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups cold water {i always need at least 2 cups of water because the lid on my pan isn't really tight}
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup snow peas, shell peas, celery, or green beans
1 - 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 green or red pepper, sliced thin
1 medium ripe tomato
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or basil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted sunflower seeds or toasted cashews

chopped scallions, dried unsweetened cranberries, raisins or apricots, greek olives, minced jalapeno pepper, fresh mint.... and of course i'm not a vegetarian, so i threw some feta cheese on top.

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper

options: pinch of cayenne, garlic powder or fresh minced garlic, minced fresh or dried ginger


1. soak the quinoa 15 minutes in cold water
2. rinse thoroughly, pour off most of the water and drain through a large fine mesh strainer
3. place in 2 qt pot with the water, salt and oil
4. bring to a boil
5. turn the heat down to very low, cover and cook for 15 minutes
6. remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with lid on
7. fluff gently with a fork and set aside to cool.
8. steam the carrots and green veg for 5 minutes, rinse in cold water
9. chop the tomatoes, herb and cucumber
10. blend dressing ingredients with a whisk or shake in a jar
11. gently combine veggies, walnuts, quinoa and dressing in a large bowl
12. cover and chill

{next time i plan to use cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, and mexican seasonings... yummmm!}

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Southwestern Egg Rolls

So I'm positive that my bad picture taking skills don't do this justice....

and I've realized that part of the reason I'm a bad food blogger is because my recipes are usually like  "however much of this, however much of that, throw in some spices..blah blah"

So, I'll try to give some amounts of things but keep the former in mind and realize that you can pretty much throw in whatever sounds good to you and it will make just as many egg rolls as tortillas you can fill!

You Need: 

2-3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts 
1 can drained and rinsed black beans
1/2 cup chopped red or green (or both!) pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 cup chopped spinach
2 cups cooked white or spanish rice or brown rice
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
pinch ground red pepper
8-10 flour tortillas
oil for frying

To Do:

Saute onion (if using) and red pepper for a few minutes.  Throw everything else EXCEPT CHEESE into the pan and stir and mix until heated through. Once everything is heated remove from heat and stir in the cheese until it melts.  Put about a 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan and let it heat up.  Wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth and throw in the microwave for 30-40 seconds, just until soft and pliable.  Get them out and pull one out at a time and fill with the mixture, probably about 1/2 to 3/4 cup.  Wrap in the sides first then roll up, tucking as you go so it is all enclosed.  Use tongs to place, seam side down in the oil.  Fry just a big until golden then flip over and fry the other side. Repeat with all that you can make. Transfer as you go to a baking sheet and when they're all done, put in 350 oven for about 20min or until they look sorta crispy.  Serve with ranch to dip in! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Re: Cook Challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking.

My second "cook from scratch" recipe (my first was here) was Megan's delicious homemade Macaroni and Cheese dish. See picture and recipe here. Loved it.

My third and final dish for the Cook Challenge was another Jamie Oliver recipe, but I'm so sad to say it didn't turn out. Not at all. It was super bland. I thought I followed the recipe pretty straight forward, but somewhere between England and America - this recipe got lost in translation. Boo. This was it here.

Gina's cooking from scratch conclusion: I loved the experience of cooking from scratch. But a few things I didn't like. 1) Not having most of the ingredients on hand = more expensive grocery bill, 2) Non-popular items, or things I hadn't heard of before = expense, again, and a frustrating grocery shopping day . . .with two kids, and lastly 3) spending an hour making my own stinkin' marinara sauce by hand, just to be let down when the entire dish didn't turn out. :(

What were your conclusions?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Caribbean Pork Loin with Pineapple Raisin Relish [Cook Challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

I had planned to make something I learned to make on my recent trip to Toronto, but it's a bit like this recipe, as in takes more than a day to prepare. With the busyness of the last few weeks, I forgot all I needed to do to prepare the pork loin. So last night I found this recipe in my friend's magazine. Turned out pretty good.

Pork Loin Ingredients:
1 c oregano leaves
1 c cilantro
1/2 c pineapple juice
1 T lime peel
3 T lime juice
2 t salt
4 cloves garlic
1-1/2 t cumin
*1/2 c olive oil
*4lb pork loin (recipe calls for bone in, I prefer boneless)

Pork Loin Instructions:
Trim your pork loin of any visible fat (at least, that's what I did). Cut slits across the top of the pork loin (so that the sauce can soak into the meat) and place in a roasting pan.

Combine all the ingredients without stars listed above in your food processor or blender. Once everything is well pureed, add the olive oil as you continue mixing. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce on top of the pork loin.

Bake at 325 degrees for 60-90 minutes (until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees). I poured some more sauce onto the pork loin 30 minutes in and the last of the sauce onto the pork loin 60 minutes into the baking time.

Once cooked, remove from oven and wrap the pork loin in tin foil for 10 minutes.

Pineapple Raisin Relish Ingredients:
1 1/2 c pineapple
1/4 c pineapple juice
1 c golden raisins
4 green onions
3 T lime juice
2 T cilantro
1/4 t salt

Pineapple Raisin Relish Instructions:
I put it all into the food processor and just hit the pulse a couple times to chop and mix it all up.

Optional Tortilla Chips:
8 corn tortillas, quartered
Canola oil

* Fry the tortillas in the oil (I'm sure you figured that out)

Remove the pork loin from the tin foil, slice into medallions, garnish with relish and chips. I also quartered some limes so that you could add more lime flavor if wanted.

Two of my friends, some of the satisfied dinner guests who joined me for dinner tonight.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Other Food Enthusiasts

What's your favorite food websites or blogs?
Besides Eat Your Veggies, Peas of course. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mini Calzones

This is a quick and easy meal and a staple around our house. The best part about it is that you can change it to your liking.

8-10 Rhodes rolls (about 2 per person)
mozzarella cheese
1-2 egg whites

Canadian bacon


unthaw rolls they don't need to raise, and flatten out into circles. In a bowl mix cheese, pepperoni, sliced olives, and mushrooms, or other optional ingredients, with the egg whites. This will help it took stick together and cook better. Place large spoonfuls onto each dough circle. Then fold in half and pinch the ends together.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until tops are golden brown. Use pizza sauce or ranch for dipping. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mini Monkey Bread

I found this recipe off of another food blog... justgetoffyourbuttandbake. It is packed full of yummy things to try. They were also featured on if I could. I have a cute friend who is pregnant and craves cinnamon so I made these just for her, and they were delicious.


12 Rhodes Dinner rolls thawed, but still cold
1 stick of butter, melted
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Cut each dinner roll into 6 equal pieces. In a bowl, combine butter and corn syrup and stir until well mixed. In another bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Dip each roll piece in the butter mixture and then in the sugar mixture. Place 6 pieces in each well sprayed cup of a 12 cup muffin tin. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let double in size. (Watch them so they don’t rise too much!) Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 15-20 minutes. Combine icing ingredients and mix well. Drizzle over monkey breads if desired.

Cool at least 5 to 10 minutes before removing from pan, or they fall apart.

These are really scrumptious . . . make sure that you aren’t home alone. You might just eat them all!

Alexander's Meatloaf

Now that we have heard of the Red Flame Seasoning salt, I thought I could share a recipe that will taste great with it. I know we all have recipes for meatloaf but to me, the seasoning brings out the flavor of it. This recipe is from my side of the family. I had my sister over with us for dinner and she noticed my meatloaf tasted different. I asked, "How so?" And she said that it has a lot more flavor in it and tastes better and that was when I told her it was the Seasoning Salt. It is an option if you want to try my recipe with this Seasoning Salt.

1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 slices bread, in pieces (I use wheat)
1 egg
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1/2 onion, diced
Seasoning Salt

Mix all together and put in loaf pan. Sprinkle some more Seasoning salt on top. Cook at 400* for one hour.

The Red Flame Seasoning Salt is made by my husband's family catering business, The Red Flame, and not too long ago, we decided to market it. You can use it in almost anything. We LOVE it in our mashed potatoes, or even in buttered mushrooms. It can go on any meat. Fish, poultry, red meat, etc. You can put it in some vegetables. I've heard some people put it in popcorn. I've never tried it and don't know why we haven't yet. Haha. The container is pretty big and it last a long time, but it also depends on how often you use it. You can buy it for just $5. If you would like, you can email me at if you're interested in it and I'll be happy to get it for you. Or, you can go online at and click on the Prices and Contact and email or call them from there. Don't hesitate to email me with any questions. It goes straight to my phone and I usually respond right back. I guarantee you, this is a must have in your kitchen!!!

Tatertot Casserole {+ Red Flame Seasoning}

I revamped a recipe from a Foxboro Ward cookbook and made it my own. This casserole is super easy to make, and a good stand-alone meal with a piece of bread to dab it up with. I think this is a good husband dish for all those meat-and-potato] fellas out there.

tatertots (how much is up to you)
red potatoes, quartered (how much is up to you)
can of green beans
1 lb ground beef, seasoned (I suggest Red Flame Seasoning Salt)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
minced onion (I use the dry minced onion - how much is up to you)
1.5 cups cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef in a large skillet with onions, add desired seasonings. Combine the rest of the ingredients in with the browned beef. Stir to mix, then heat. Spoon entire heated mixture into a 9x13 pan. Top with cheddar cheese. Cook for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

{Red Flame Seasoning Salt}
I got this new seasoning salt by Red Flame that is my new favorite thing, so I have to share. I loooove this seasoning. I just barely got it but have used it on three dinners already. I mixed it in with my spaghetti sauce a few nights ago (it did wonders for it), used about 1 Tbsp on my Goulash last night . . . Y-U-M-M-Y, then of course, used it with my tasty Tatertot Casserole. You can purchase this amazing seasoning salt through Staci Jackson (one of our cooks!) for cheap cheap. Everyone needs this in their spice cupboard. Love it. Thanks Staci!!

(I'll have Staci post more about it just in case you're interested.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese [Cook Challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

I know some might say mac and cheese...really? But this is so delicious you have to try it. Our sweet neighbor brought us in dinner one night, and this in now a family favorite at our house. Originally from recipe created by Patti LaBelle.

1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni
8 TBSP butter + 1 TBSP butter
1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese
1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup (8 ounces) velveeta, cut into small cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a deep 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water just to a boil over high heat. Add oil, then elbow macaroni. Cook until the macaroni is just tender, about 7 min. Do not overcook. Drain well. Return to the pot.

Melt butter in a saucepan (or microwave) Stir into the macaroni. Then add half-and-half. In a large bowl mix muenster, cheddar, and monterey jack cheeses, and add 1 1/2 cups of the cheeses to the macaroni. As well as the cubed velveeta and the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and dot with 1 TBSP of butter. The sauce will be runny.

Bake until bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dr Pepper Chocolate Cake

Dr Pepper in a cake you say? I say, can you think of any good reason why not to add Dr Pepper to a cake, especially when it makes it taste so good?

I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen posted by missamy. I printed it several weeks ago and have been waiting patiently for a reason to bake it (other than to satiate my cravings for cake).

Bake sale patrons, you will not be dissapointed tommorow if you plop down some cash for one of these babies, I know I'm going to!

Dr Pepper Chocolate Cake
From Tasty Kitchen

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups Dr Pepper Soda (this is exactly one full can of Dr Pepper, don't take any sips first!)
1/2 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 stick Butter, Salted (8 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (they recommend dark cocoa powder, I used the regular old stuff - it's still good)
2 cups Sugar
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 whole Eggs
1/2 cup Buttermilk

For the Frosting:
1 stick Butter, Salted (8 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (again they say dark, I say use whatever)
8 tablespoons Milk
4 cups Confectioners Sugar (powdered Sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease or spray with cooking spray a 13x9x2" baking pan. (*I used the individual square portions pan and I greased and floured because I needed them to come out clean) Combine the Dr Pepper, oil, butter and cocoa powder in a large saucepan over medium heat. When it comes to a simmer, mix well and turn the stove off.
Mix dry ingredients together (sugar, flour, and baking soda); add to the mixture in the saucepan and mix well but don't over beat.
In a separate small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and buttermilk together, then add them to the saucepan and combine the batter well. (Note- My chocolate mixture was not completely cool, so I added a couple of spoonfuls to the egg mixture to tempur it before adding the eggs to the rest of the mixture. Avoiding curdled eggs is a GOOD thing.)
Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Directions for the frosting:
In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder and **milk together over medium heat, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time, combining after each addition until smooth. Pour over the warm cake.

*Cooking time was relatively the same for my small squares, I would check it at 20 minutes and then add time as needed if you are going to cook it this way. My pan has 12 small squares and I had enough batter to make 7 additional cupcakes which cooked for the same time as the squares.
**Next time I will add less milk to the frosting if I am using the small square pan. Because each cake was domed on top most of the frosting ran off the sides and dripped off. Less milk would make it less runny, more likely to stick to the cake.

Ariel's Lemon Yogurt Cake: Revisited (aka Lime Cake)

For some time I have wanted to make the Lemon Yogurt Cake that Ariel shared a while ago. Today I had the perfect opportunity to bake all of the recipes on my "wish list" for a bake sale this weekend.

I am not going to post the entire recipe again, because you can find it on the archives here, but I will say that I made a couple of small tweaks out of whimsy and necessity. My version has no yogurt in it, so I simply call them Lime Cakes.

First, I used sour cream instead of yogurt (out of necessity)

, I used Lime instead of lemon (to suit my whimsy)

, I used a new cake pan that made individual square cakes. Baking time was about 25 minutes on 350 degrees. I wanted to make individual cakes for the bake sale for two reasons: People pay more for small things. It's just my theory, but think about it; jewelry, cell phones, noses... (suits my whimsy and out of necessity)

The bottom line here is I agree with Ariel that this recipe is very versatile, and I plan on experimenting with other citrus. You should try it too!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Apple-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Yup, another apple recipe. In my mind, when I make dessert with fruit as an ingredient, it makes the dessert healthy ... right? I use apples a lot because I love using this:

My all-in-one apple peeler, slicer and corer.
I love it!

(also works great for potatoes and anything else I need sliced and peeled...)

2 1/2 c flour
1 T cinnamon
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 c butter, melted
4 eggs, room temperature
6 apples - peeled, sliced, cored (you may borrow my little tool if you like...)

Mix together all the dry ingredients.
Add the apple slices to the dry ingredients and toss.
Melt the butter. Whip the eggs and add about 1/3 of the melted butter to the eggs and mix. Then add the rest of the butter to the eggs.
Add the egg/butter mix to the dry ingredients + apple.
The end result will not be a wet cake batter.

Here's a picture of my batter.
Hopefully you can tell there is still a lot of dry flour...

Spoon the mix into a well-greased bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for 60 minutes.
Cool for 15 minutes and carefully flip the pan for the cake to drop out.

Optional Glaze:
1 c water
2 T water (really, that's all you will need.)

Drizzle the glaze atop the cake before serving.

(Fall) Apple Bavarian Cheesecake

This is one of the desserts I made for the bake sale tomorrow. Actually, I made two of these. The treats I made sort fall in line with our challenge since it is from scratch... I put the "fall" in parenthesis since it's spring right now. I think this is delicious any time of year.

Step 1 - Crust
1 sleeve graham crackers
1/3 c butter, room temperature

I put the graham crackers in my food processor until fine crumbs. Add the butter and process. Press the buttery crumbs into a 9" pie dish.

Step 2 - Cheesecake
16 oz cheese cake, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs

I actually mixed all these in my food processor too until smooth. Pour into pie dish.

Step 3 - Topping
1 apple - peeled, sliced, cored
3 T sugar
1/4 c almond slices
1/4 t cinnamon

Lay the slices atop the cheesecake, sprinkle with almonds, sugar and cinnamon.

Bake cheesecake at 350 for 40 minutes or until sets (I do 45 minutes and haven't had issues). Cool on rack. Cool in refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.


spice rubbed tilapia.

this is a very simple rub that would also be good on chicken.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt {i used less}
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

mix all rub ingredients well.

brush olive oil onto the tilapia fillets. rub the spice mixture onto the oil-coated fillets. grill the fillets on medium heat for three to four minutes per side.

{at the last moment, i realized my grill is out of propane, so i cooked them in a pan on medium heat for 3-4 min on each side. they turned out great.}

Chicken Curry [Cook Challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

If you like curry, you'll love this recipe! You can use more or less curry, depending on how spicy-hot you like it.

2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut in strips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1-2 TBSP curry (the more you use, the spicier it will be)
1 1/2 cups diced apple
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 TBSP flour
2 cups cooked rice (you can use white or brown)

Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Stir-fry chicken with onion and garlic until chicken is browned. Add curry, apple, salt (optional) and 1 cup of broth. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is done. In a covered container, shake flour and 1/2 cup broth to prevent lumps. Stir into chicken mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Serve over cooked rice.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beef Pot Roast [Cook challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

This is the BEST pot roast I have ever had, and there was no dry onion soup packet involved. It's suprisingly simple, of course it comes from the Pioneer Woman, so it has to be good right? I must admit that there is beef stock, but there are brands that have no preservatives in them, just read the labels. Of course, you could always make your own.

Beef Pot Roast

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
2 whole Onions
6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup red wine (I use beef stock)
2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).

Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate. Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.

If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate. With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up. When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.

Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Mashed potatoes, made from scratch of course, pair perfectly with this yummy meal.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta [Cook Challenge: Redescovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

I love this recipe because it is totally forgiving.  If you want more, ham, add it! More chicken, bacon, done!  It's one of those give and take kind of recipes. 
Plus, I count this as my cooking from scratch because I make my own "afredo" sauce, and really, am I going to go kill the animals for meat? or make my own pasta....yeah..... :)

You Need: 

2-3 cooked, shredded chicken breasts

1 -2 cups chopped cooked ham (not lunch meat).  You can buy ham like this in a package or I usually have one of the boneless hams in my freezer I just cut up

1 jar bacon bits (or you can cook and crumble your own if you want!)

2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese ( I also throw in some grated parmesean)

approx 3 cups alfredo sauce (You can use WHATEVER kind you want, bottled, packaged, or make your own, I make my own so I'll include the recipe I use)

1 box cooked pasta, whatever kind you like, just not spaghetti noodles

To Do:

Cook the pasta and throw in into a big mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients, salt and pepper, toss all together.

Put it in a 9x13 dish

Top with some extra cheese (of course!)

Bake, covered with foil, in a 350 oven for approx 20 min. Remove foil and set oven to broil for maybe 5 min.  Watch it, just until the cheese on top begins to brown a little.

"Alfredo Sauce"
I put it in quotes because it's not really alfredo sauce, it's kind of a cheat.  Alfredo sauce can be really heavy so I try to save a little bit and I do it this way.

3 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups milk
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 c parm cheese
1/2 c mozzerella cheese

Make a roux by melting the butter in a saucepan first.  Once the butter is melted, throw in the flour, salt and pepper and using a whisk, whisk it together till it is combined.  It will probably be in clumps.  Whisk in the milk, slowly.  You have to whisk a lot so that those clumps dissolve into the milk.  Throw in the garlic powder and garlic salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, continuing to whisk, or else you will end up with clumps.  Once the mixture begins to boil, it will start to thicken.  Once that happens,turn down the heat, and throw in the cheeses.  Adjust spices as  necessary.  If it is too thick, add a little more milk.  If it is too thin, let it simmer a little longer and throw in some more cheese.  Done!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crunchy Garlic Chicken [Cook Challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

My first recipe for this cook challenge turned out lovely. The chicken had a great taste and texture. My husband said it looked too pretty to eat. But he ate it anyway. :) I even made my own dressing for the spinach leaves under the chicken. Jamie Oliver said all you ever need for a good dressing is oil, acid, and salt n' pepper. So I doused a bit of olive oil on it, freshly squeezed lemon, and dashed a bit of salt and pepper.

1 clove garlic
1 lemon
6 cream or plain crackers
2 Tbsp butter
4 sprigs fresh italian parsley
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
2 skinless chicken breasts fillets, preferably free-range or organic
olive oil

To prepare your chicken: Peel the garlic and zest the lemon. Put your crackers into a food processor with the butter, garlic, parsley sprigs, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whiz until the mixture is very fine, then pour these crumbs on to a plate. Sprinkle the flour on to a second plate. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Lightly score the underside of the chicken breasts. Put a square of plastic wrap over each one and bash a few times with the bottom of a pan until the breasts flatten out a bit. Dip the chicken into the flour until both sides are completely coated, then dip into the egg and finally into the flavored crumbs. Push the crumbs on to the chicken breasts so they stick—you want the meat to be totally coated.

To cook your chicken: You can either bake or fry the chicken. If baking, preheat your oven to its highest temperature (475°), place your chicken on a sheet pan and cook for 15 minutes. If frying, put a frying pan on a medium heat, add a few good lugs of olive oil and cook the chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through, golden and crisp.

To serve your chicken: Either serve the chicken breasts whole, or cut them into strips and pile them on a plate. Beautiful and simple served with a lemon wedge for squeezing over, and a tiny sprinkling of salt. Great with a lovely fresh salad or simply dressed veggies.

This recipe is taken from Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

BBQ Chicken Crescent Pizza

This easy "pizza" has become a staple in our house.  The recipe came from one of the winners of a contest that Rachael Ray had on her show.  We love it!

  • 2 tubes crescent rolls
  • 1 1/2 cups hickory barbeque sauce
  • 1 - 2 cups cooked chicken (I usually George Forman mine and cut it up)
  • 6 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled or an equal amt. of bacon bits
  • 2 cups cheddar or colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon scallions, chopped
  • 1 sandwich-size resealable bag 
  • Sliced fresh avacado

Heat oven to 375˚F.

Roll the crescent rolls out and place them on a cookie sheet. Pinch 2 sheets together in the middle to create 1 large dough. Bake 8-11 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and turn on broiler.

Spread the barbeque sauce over dough. Sprinkle the chicken, bacon and cheese over the top. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler until the cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes.

Combine the ranch dressing and chili powder in a small bowl. Pour into re-sealable bag and cut off a small tip at the end of the bag to make a pastry bag. Drizzle the dressing over the top and garnish with the scallions and avacado.

Cut into squares and enjoy

Monday, April 5, 2010

Strawberry Cake

It wasn't until the last piece was left that I remembered to snap a please know this is absolutely delicious despite the sloppiness.

I was in Walmart the other day and they had their large containers of strawberries on sale for 75 cents each, so I grabbed a few. I couldn't wait to make my favorite strawberry dessert {for the easter dinner postlude} and have extra for this divine smoothie by Ariel.

Strawberry Cake Recipe:

Make a white cake mix as directed and put in 9X13 pan. Bake and cool.

Take 1 package of Strawberry Danish Dessert and make as directed {pie glaze}.
Clean and thinly slice a large container of fresh strawberries.
When Danish Dessert is cool, add strawberries.

8 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 cups of whipping cream {not imitation}
2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar together, then add 1/2 cup whip cream, mix well. Then add another 1/2 cup of whip cream, mix well, then add the rest of the whip cream and mix well. Beat until stiff peaks form and don't fall. Spread on top of cooled cake, then strawberry glaze.

May be made the night before.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Yummy Sweet Peppers, Garlic, Onion and Olive Oil [Cook Challenge: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking]

Sorry, I don't actually know the actual name for this dish. So I called it what it is. Four ingredients, that's it. I recently visited my cousin's family in the DC area. Her husband is a born and bred Italian. So she's picked up the yummiest recipes over the years when she visits his family in Italy. Our challenge was to cook from scratch. I'll admit, it's an easy one for me because that's really all I do. But here's what I've been making for my lunches since I returned from vacation. (Leftovers store well.)

A while back Gina posted the Catenzaro Italian Spaghetti & Sausage recipe. In her words, "don't be surprised by how easy the recipe is, and how few ingredients there are." The same goes here folks. Really, everything I've learned from my cousin's mother-in-law, via my cousin, has only a couple ingredients and it is SO good and flavorful. So here's how you make this one.

One bag of mini sweet peppers from Costco (of course you can get them anywhere)
One onion (I've used regular yellow or white or sweet Walla Walla - they all work)
3 bulbs Garlic (that's the full bulb, not a little clove - but put in what you are comfortable with)
Olive Oil

I slice the onion first, do the painful thing and get any possible tears out of the way first. Slice, don't chop. Place in the pan.

(I figure you don't need an image of a sliced onion...)

I clean off the garlic skins, cut off the ends and then cut each bulb in half (the really big ones in three maybe.) But you want big pieces of garlic. This isn't really the seasoning, it's part of the dish. You'll cook it so long, the garlic chunks will be soft and sweet - SO good. This one you do chop so to say. Add to the pan.

Big chunks of garlic
Cut of the tops and bottoms of the peppers, slice 'em in half and clean out the guts (you know, the seeds and the white stuff) and slice the long way (top to bottom). They are mini peppers so you won't have terribly long slices, but again, slice, don't chop. Add to pan.

Lots of peppers
Get a good mix of yellow, orange and red
Now I eyeball the olive oil. This isn't Rachel Ray adding a couple swigs of EVOO to the pan. You need to coat the veggies. I add enough to make the veggies shine. (To quote Cristian, my cousin's hubbie, "the best part is the sauce.") I'd say the more sauce the better but this is oil, so you don't want pools on the bottom of the pan. Remember as the veggies cook down, they do add some of their own juices to the sauce.

Hopefully you can kind of see the glistening of the olive oil coated veggies

I simmer in the covered pan (don't want to lose any liquids... sauce...) at medium heat for about 20 minutes, and then I allow it to cook, still covered, at low heat for at least 40 minutes. At first, you'll really smell the garlic and the onion, but about 40 minutes in, the sweet smell starts to really come out. Cook for about an hour in all or longer if you want, stirring or tossing the veggies every ten minutes or so.

I added extra sauce to this plate, just so you could see it.
You should get enough extra sauce if served with a spoon.
Hopefully you get the idea.
Serve with bread (you need something to dip in the sauce.)


ps: if you can think of a better name, I'm open for suggestions.

Veggie Pizza

This is a great appetizer!

For the bottom crust: Crescent Rolls (sheet) using a 9x13 pan
Cook at 375* until golden brown

Cream layer:
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Cut any vegetables
(For mine, I used broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, shredded carrots and topped it off with shredded cheese)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup

 We really like this soup and think it tastes close enough to the real thing to pass in our books!

1 lb italian sausage
3 large potatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 can bacon bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups kale or swiss chard, chopped (i've even used spinach in a pinch but the kale gives it a much heartier feel, which i like better)
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream

cook and crumble sausage, drain grease

combine onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, and garlic in a pot and cook over med heat until potatoes are tender

add sausage and bacon bits

salt and pepper to taste

simmer for another 10 min or so

turn to low heat and add kale and cream

heat through, serve and enjoy!