Monday, November 30, 2009

Annie's Benchiladas

I promise, we are not withering away to nothing over here at Casa de Happy Meals. We are all keeping our pounds right where they are, and then some :) I've got a handful of posts to get caught up on, I've just been busy over at My Happy House. Promise, I'll make more of an effort to stay on top of the food business.

So...onto the good stuff. Meet benchiladas.
I had some chicken thawing, and wanted to do something new. We were getting tired of the regular rotation players. I remembered Lindsay raving about some enchiladas she had made, and that made my decision easy. They come from the wonderful Annie, at Annie's Eats. These are new candidates to the starting line up. Thanks Annie...and Lindsay!


* 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 8 oz. reduced fat sour cream (we used fat free)
* 8 oz. ranch dressing (we used light)
* Flour tortillas (10-15)
* Jar of salsa (we used red enchilada sauce instead)
* Shredded mexican cheese - as much as you want!


1. Cook chicken breasts by preferred cooking method until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit.
2. While chicken is cooling, mix up the sauce. In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the sour cream and half of the ranch dressing. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and Ranch dressing. Stir both until well combined. Shred or chop the cooked chicken and add to the large mixing bowl. Mix well with sauce.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed). Take one tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp. of the sauce from the small bowl. Spread over the tortilla in an even layer. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with salsa to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, to taste. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients (usually makes 10-15 enchiladas).
4. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla). Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cranberry Orange Scones

I had some leftover cranberries from the Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake...well and some oranges. So when I saw this recipe on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, it was screaming my name. I really love to eat scones, so I thought I'd try my hand at making them. Yummy! This is the perfect sweet bread for breakfast. I'll totally make them again...I'll have to try some variation though!

Makes 8 scones

1½ tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup (3.5 ounces) sugar plus 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1½ cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse (I usually do this in the food processor)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a small bowl, toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar. In another small bowl, lightly beat the egg and yolk, then stir in cream.

3. In a food processor, pulse the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. (You can also just smoosh the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers instead of using a food processor.) Stir the cranberries into the flour mixture. Then gently fold the egg mixture into the flour until just combined.

4. On a well-floured surface with floured hands, pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter). With a 2-inch round cutter or the rim of a glass dipped in flour, cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling the scraps as necessary. (Or cut the circle into wedges, which is my standard method.) Arrange the scones about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool about 10 minutes, then serve.

*I did however find the dough to be a bit moist, so I just added some flour as I went.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Macintosh Apple Cake

I had some apples that were quickly going downhill, so I wanted to use them up. Amy over here had an intriguing apple cake recipe. Intriguing because she said it was delicious but it looked ridiculously simple! Well, she wasn't lying. It is reeeeeeally good! I think we each had 2-3 pieces. It was hard to put it away. I'll definitely make it again.

1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs beaten
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups apples, peeled sliced -I used Macintosh & an apple peeler corer- which is a huge lifesaver! Once it went through that, I did was cut them into 6 sections for approximately 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine oil and sugar, blend in eggs. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to oil and sugar mixture. Add vanilla extract, apples and walnuts. Place in greased 9x13 inch pan and bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes in a 300 degree oven.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake

We normally resort to the family recipe for a Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake when in need of a breakfast sweet, but I wanted to try something different for our upstate trip this past weekend. (Don't go on a search for the Cinnamon Sour Cream Cake recipe...I always forget to photograph it...I'll add it to my list of things to do!) I ran across this recipe, and it sounded like the perfect blend of tart and sweet for breakfast. It was a hit. It's definitely not super sweet, but we really liked the flavor.


  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan; set aside. In bowl stir together flour, oats, baking powder, soda, and salt.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar; beat until well combined. Add eggs; beat until well combined. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low speed after each addition until combined.

3. Toss cranberries with 2 tablespoons sugar; fold into batter with orange peel. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly.

4. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool on rack. Prepare Orange Glaze; spoon over cooled cake. Let stand until glaze is set. Makes 12 servings.

Orange Glaze:In small bowl combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons orange juice to make drizzling consistency.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pioneer Woman's French Onion Soup

I wanted to make something new this week, and Lindsay, my official guinea pig, told me I just haaaaaaad to try PW's French Onion Soup. Now, I'm a huge fan of FOS, and PW hasn't done me wrong yet, so it only seemed appropriate to give it a go. I'll warn you the same as Lindsay did- this is not a quick recipe. It takes about 2 hours, only about 30 minutes of hands-on time, but just be warned.

Now that I have appropriately warned you about the time, let me warn you on one other thing. You are probably going to eat way more of this than you need. It is some delicious warmness, and you won't want to put your spoon down. See those three ramekins up there in that picture? I did not make this for Carl, Gibson and me. It was just me. that you are really warned, go buy these ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
4 large or 6 small/medium yellow onions, halved root to tip and sliced thin
1 generous cup dry white wine
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 cups beef broth
2 cloves minced garlic
Worcestershire Sauce
Several thick slices french bread or baguette
5 to 7 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (Swiss, Asiago, Mozzarella, or Romano works, too)

Now do this:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
Place soup pot into the oven with the lid slightly ajar to ensure the onions will brown.
Allow onions to cook in the oven for 1 hour, stirring at least once during the cooking process so onions won’t stick and burn.
Remove pot from pan and place over medium heat. Stir pan, scraping all the brown, flavorful bits.
Turn off heat and pour in wine. Turn heat back to medium.
Cook wine for five minutes, allowing it to reduce.
Add broths and minced garlic and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
Butter one side of the bread slices and broil over low heat, allowing bread to brown and become crispy.

When soup is ready, ladle into bowl or ramekin. Place crispy bread on top, then sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve immediately.

Note: I cut the recipe in half. It would fill about 6 small ramekins. I made half up tonight and will probably have the leftovers tomorrow. I only did the bread and cheese portion for the 3 ramekins I made tonight. ENJOY!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Super Simple & Delicious Sugar Cookies

This is Carl's aunt's recipe, and I love it! It's so simple yet so good. If you like your sugar cookies crispy, just roll the dough thin. If you like them squishy, leave it thicker. So versatile. I love it! I picked up pumpkin and leaf cookie cutters this year, and was pretty anxious to try them out. We are going to my brother's house later today, so these will be perfect to bring along!

1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbls milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder

Cream butter and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients. Chill at least 10 minutes. Roll out, cut and bake. the thinner, the crispier. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.

2 Tbls salted butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanila
3 Tbls milk

Blend margarine and sugar. Add vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth. Add food coloring if desired.

Yields: Approx 20 cookies depending on size of cutter

See? SIMPLE! Happy Fall!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Slow Cooker Oriental Beef & Noodles

Carl needed an early dinner, and I had spotted this recipe on Cooking This and That last week. I knew it was the perfect time to try it since it would be ready right when I got home from work. It smelled divine all day long, and tasted just as good! It was really easy and really flavorful. We'll definitely make this again. Oh and it was especially nice since the temp didn't even reach 60 today. A nice warm you up meal!

Oriental Beef and Noodles
adapted from Cook Once, Eat Twice Slow Cooker Recipes
Makes 4-6 servings

1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir fry vegetables
2 - 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
1 (12 ounce) bottle stir-fry sauce, any flavor (I used Kikkoman Stir Fry Sauce)
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles, broken
1/4 cup green onions, chopped

Coat a 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place frozen vegetables in the bottom and top with stew meat. In a medium bowl, stir together stir-fry sauce, water, and red pepper. Pour over stew meat and vegetables in cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4 1/2-5 hours (I recommend low, it will help to break the meat down more).

At the end of cooking time, discard spice packets from ramen noodles. Stir noodles and green onions into meat mixture. Cover and let stand 10 minutes more. Stir before serving. This can be kept on warm for 1-2 hours.

*After I added the noodles, I added another cup of water to cut down on the sauce. I think it needed it, but it just depends how thick and strong you want it to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

German Coleslaw

My dear friend Monica invited us to her Oktoberfest party this weekend. We were invited to bring our favorite Oktober Brew and enjoy in a feast, but I didn't want to go empty handed food wise. I asked what I could bring and we came to the conclusion of German Coleslaw. Her spread was amazing, and the party was fabulous!

As for the German Slaw, it was a big hit. It had a perfect combination of flavors, and it was REALLY easy. It was a great break from a typical creamy coleslaw. It will definitely make my list of party sides.


  • 1 medium head cabbage, finely shredded (I used half green and half purple)
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 c)
  • 3/4 cup vinegar (I used 1/2 c)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 c)


  1. In a large bowl, combine cabbage and onions. In a saucepan, mix sugar, vinegar, celery seed and salt; bring to a boil. Add oil; return to boiling and cook until sugar dissolves. Pour over cabbage; toss gently. Chill.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Apple Cherry Crisp

I wanted to make something new for dessert on Sunday, and like I said, Everyday Food had tons of ideas! This is actually an apple cranberry crisp, but apparently you can't get fresh or frozen cranberries right now...anywhere! So, I turned it into apple cherry crisp. I assume it was just as good if not better. I'd highly recommend this!


  • 2.5-3 lbs Braeburn or Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2 inch dice (I just used my apple, corer, peeler, slicer and then cut the sections into sixths)
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, rinsed well (I used frozen cherries)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (I omitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Vanilla ice cream as accompaniment


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. But a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, cranberries, walnuts, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and toss well to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Blend the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour the fruit mixture into the dish. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until bubbly and the apples are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream on top.

Baked Chicken with Onions, Garlic & Thyme

This month's Everyday Food is chock full of great recipes! This one seemed perfect for a Sunday dinner. So, we invited the in-laws over, and enjoyed a nice Sunday chicken dinner.

  • 1 whole chicken (cut into 8 pieces)- I used 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound new white potatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 large red onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 head garlic cloves, separated and left unpeeled
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1/4 c evoo
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • coarse salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange chicken, potatoes, onion, garlic, thyme and lemon in a 12x16 inch roasting pan. Whisk together oil and vinegar and drizzle over chicken and vegetables. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Turn chicken skin side up. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 50 minutes.

*If you are going to use boneless, skinless chicken like me, I'd suggest doubling the vinegar and oil and start checking it at 40 minutes instead of 50.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Raisin Challah French Toast

I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful coworker bring me some raisin challah bread. She is celebrating Rosh Hashanah and brought a few of us our own loaves! She highly recommended making french toast with it, so I didn't delay. We enjoyed it this morning!

Not much of a recipe here, but here's what I did:

1. Cut the challah in 1/2 inch slices- I did 4 slices
2. Mix two eggs, 1/4 c milk and 1 tsp of cinnamon in a shallow bowl
3. Heat a pan on med-high and spray a non-stick spray
4. Dip the bread in the egg mixture, flip and dip again
5. Cook the bread on each side for approximately 4 minutes- be sure to check it though of course!
6. Eat it! Mmmm! We sprinkled with powdered sugar, and of course used real maple syrup.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken

I needed a slow cooker meal that would appeal to the masses, especially our one friend with a delicate palette. I knew chicken would be a good choice, so I went to and used slow cooker and chicken in my recipe search. This one seemed to be simple enough to appease the picky, but flavorful enough to avoid a boring dish. It did just that! Is this like a flavor explosion in your mouth? No. Was it super easy and a great meal for a group of girls? Yes. I served it with a Betty Salad, yum!


  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used 5 large chicken breasts)
  • 2 (11 ounce) cans condensed cream of Cheddar cheese soup (I also added one can of cream of chicken soup)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I upped this to 3/4c)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts inside. In a medium bowl mix together soup and milk, and pour mixture over chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garlic powder.
  2. Cook on High for about 6 hours. Note: Do not lift lid while cooking!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Broccoli Slaw

When I host a party, I usually like to make at least one new recipe and one reliable recipe. This way, I at least know that I have one good salad, side, whatever, but then I get to try something new out on a whole bunch of guinea pigs! This past Saturday, we had Carl's cousins over for a cookout, so I decided to try this broccoli slaw from Smitten Kitchen.

And the results? Guinea Pigs say- Success! I'll definitely keep this one in the rotation! I tripled the recipe, and had enough for our party on Saturday and then some to take to my parents' house on Sunday...and we still have a little leftover.

*My go to recipe was Spaghetti Salad
. ALWAYS a crowd pleaser!

Here is the recipe copied from SK:
Broccoli Slaw
Adapted a little bit from family, a little bit from Apartment Therapy

Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing (Adapted from this salad.)
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise (this is more than is in the original, to thicken the dressing further)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply had chop it into smaller pieces. I used the stem and the flowerets, but if you have a broccoli stem aversion you can just use the tops.

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli (if you’ve skipped the stems, you might not want it all; I otherwise found this to be the perfect amount) and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lindsay's Buffalo Blue Cheese Chicken

Lindsay over at Love Deliciousness did a spin off of the Laughing Cow Chicken- which I happen to love. She used Frank's Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese. Need I say more? No. No, I do not need to say more. That is enough.



* 2 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally 3/4 of the way through (so you can stuff the inside)
* Appx 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
* Seasoning to taste (we used "Extra Spicy" Mrs. Dash seasoning)
* 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
* Frank's Red Hot sauce to marinate


1. Marinate chicken breasts in hot sauce for at least a couple hours - we did ours for about 4 hours.
2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Open each chicken breast up and sprinkle blue cheese crumbles and seasoning inside the middle. Fold chicken back over to original shape.
4. Dip chicken in bread crumbs to coat. Place on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, and turning half way through

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pasta with Roasted Tomato Sauce

I wanted something light and easy for tonight since I was dining alone. This recipe in the new Everyday Food magazine caught my eye the other day, and seeing as I could use up some goodies from the garden, it was an easy pick tonight. It was just what I needed. Nice flavor, light and quick! (Granted...that doesn't include the time for roasting tomatoes, but since I didn't have to tend to them while they roasted, I didn't count it towards the actual time)

So...step 1: Cut 10 plum tomatoes in half and lay cut side up on an edged cooking pan. Sprinkle with sugar and roast in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. (I used my toaster oven)

coarse salt and ground pepper
10 roasted tomato halves, roughly chopped
1/2 c evoo
3 tbsp capers (optional)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 lb spaghetti
handful fresh basil leaves, to taste

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine tomatoes, oil, capers (if using), and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot; toss with tomato mixture. Serve pasta topped with basil.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feta & Olive Stuffed Mediterranean Chicken

A few weeks ago, I had to make a deliver some wedding goods to my friend Tricia. I couldn't go empty handed, so of course I brought the most wonderful strawberry rhubarb pie. And as a trade for wedding goods and pie, I was fortunate enough to experience a delightful chicken dinner. I requested the recipe on the spot, but it wasn't until Tricia started her own blog that I decided to give it a go. It was as great as I remembered. Carl loved it. It will become a regular.

I am copying Tricia's exact recipe notes as they are very helpful...and funny.

the goods:

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (the bigger the better)
2 oz. crumbled feta (i just buy a small tub)
1 small can of chopped black olives (do not drain)
1 c. fresh salsa (i like to use Chuck and Daves)
1 bag (5 oz.) of baby spinach
1 large lemon
extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

here's what you do:


1. combine can of chopped olives and crumbled feta together in a bowl. drizzle in OO until a paste is made. set aside.

2. after you clean and trim the chicken of excess fat, cut a pocket in the side of the breast. make sure you dont cut all the way through.

**dont panic if you do cut all the way through- it will be ok.

3. stuff as much feta-olive mix in the pocket of each breast of chicken as you can, season with pepper and salt. set the left over feta-olive mix aside.

4. in a large skillet, heat 2 TBS. of OO on med-high heat. brown both sides of the chicken until golden brown (RS says this should take 2min).

**again- do not panic if some of the feta-olive mix falls out of the breasts- if you made the mistake of cutting through the breast- just be careful when turning and transfering.

5. when chicken is just starting to brown, transfer into a baking dish. (i use a glass 9*13). drizzle with OO and top with the remaining feta-olive mix. bake for 15-18min until cooked through.

6. when chicken is about 2min from being done. heat the salsa on the stove until hot, then remove from heat.

7. top chicken with slices of lemon (this really makes the meal in my opinion) alongside the salsa-topped spinach.

* I however did not do the spinach and salsa portion- I just had a side of fresh homegrown steamed green beans and baked potatoes. DELISH!!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Why haven't I thought to make these sooner? Seriously? They are my favorite thing to get at a fair/festival/carnival and I was craving one hardcore tonight. Carl said to just make one myself, so after a few minutes of googling, I was off and running. These are seriously easy and seriously delicious! I found the recipe here.


* Refrigerator biscuits - 1 roll
* 1 cup cooking oil
* 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (I made a mix of 1/2 c sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon)
* Paper lunch bag


Place cinnamon sugar in paper lunch bag. Heat cooking oil in large frying pan. Test for hot enough: Drop of water will sizzle.

Separate dough into individual biscuits-"ear". Stretch each biscuit until they just about have holes in them. They do not have to be perfect. Gently drop each "ear" into the hot oil. As soon as one side becomes golden, flip them and let second side get golden. DO NOT WALK AWAY. They burn quickly.

Place "ears" on paper towel to soak up excess oil. Shake "ears" in paper bag of cinnamon sugar. Serve warm with ice cream or just plain. Make lots, they will go quickly.

Cost to make these? Maybe $3 for 5 smallish ears. Much better than $5 for one crappy one at the fair! What are you waiting for? Stop reading, go make these!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pizza on the Barbie!

Mmmmm pizza. Mmmmm grilling. Why didn't we do this sooner? I took tips from Lindsay, and it went well. Next time, we'll make the grill a little cooler as it burned the one portion of the crust a little bit, but it was still REALLY good. We will definitely do this again...and again.


* 1 tube pre-made pizza crust (We used a Jiffy mix)
* 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1 cup pizza sauce (we used more than that...we like it saucy!)
* Meat and veggie toppings of your choice (We did pepperoni, green pepper from the garden and black olives.)


1. Preheat an outdoor grill for low heat and spray grate with cooking spray
2. Roll out prepared pizza dough to a size that will fit your grill.
3. Place on grill for 5 minutes, or to desired doneness, and flip over. Now add the sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
4. Cover the grill and allow to cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moist Zucchini Bread

My boss grows zucchini, and it's coming in faster than she can eat it, so she brought in a few to share. Zucchini is actually one of the things I prefer not to eat, and so at first I was going to decline the offer. But then I remembered! ZUCCHINI BREAD! So I grabbed a piece and headed home. I searched my favorite online site, and found this one. I made it and took it up north with us, it was perfect, really moist and really flavorful! And don't worry if you aren't a zucchini fan, it tastes nothing like it.

I only have one loaf pan, so I just made one loaf, and then I made 12 muffins. The muffins only took 20 minutes, so if you are in a time crunch, it's a great option. Plus, they are already personal size :) And sorry for the craptastic picture. Like I said, I took it up north, I had to work with what I had.


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F ( 165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in oil and sugar. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder, salt and nuts; stir into the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Super Easy and Impressive Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

One of my top 3 favorite desserts is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, and it is my absolute favorite pie. Yet again, I found myself thinking, why haven't I ever made it before? We were going to Carl's parent's house on Sunday, and we offered to bring dessert. So I decided to try my hand at it, and to top it off, I decided to do a lattice top for the first time.

Wowsa- ok, 1. This pie is phenomenal. I'm not kidding. If you are a fan of the berry and the barb, MAKE THIS! I am already getting ready to make it again on Wednesday. I'm completely serious. 2. It is REALLY easy, even the lattice top. If you've never tried one do it. Youtube a tutorial on it, it was even easier than they made it look. And it's so impressive! AAAAAaaaand now I'm contemplating just making one for myself tomorrow. Hehe.

Now, I cheated. I used refrigerated dough, Pillsbury to be exact. I really find it to be tasty and, well easy. But feel free to try the recipe included below, I found it here.

For crust
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 10 tablespoons (about) ice water

For filling
  • 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
  • 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)


Make crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)

Make filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter flass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.

Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

* I actually warmed the oven to 400, then before the put the pie in, turned it down to 375. Then after 20 minutes turned it down to 350. It turned out perfectly for me

My First Wilton Cake Sans Training

I've made my nephew's birthday cakes each year, he turned 5 last week, and his party was on Saturday. The theme was pirates, so when I saw the Wilton mold of a pirate ship, I knew that would have to be it. I've used Wilton molds in the past, but I've never actually used the tips. This year, I decided to up the ante and go all out. Granted, I've never taken a Wilton course (although...I might now). I used a cake mix, but I made my own frosting, so I'll include that below along with my own tips.

Wilton Buttercream Frosting:
1 tsp vanilla
1/4c evaporated milk
1/2 shortening
1/2 butter (unsalted)
1 lb powdered sugar (4 cups)

Mix in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

My own tips:
  • Regardless of what your cake says, just double the frosting. It's easier to just double it and have extra rather than have to stop mid-frosting and make a new batch if you run out. I know this by experience...
  • Buy extra couplers- the white plastic part that attaches the tip to the frosting bag. This way you don't have to wash them between colors. Again....experience only here. :(
  • Give yourself plenty of time! Luckily I didn't have anything else planned that day, so I could just work on it until I felt it was done.
  • Make your cake the day before if possible. This way you don't have to wait for it to cool and get burnt out by spending that much more time working on it!
  • Practice with the tips a little on the back of a cookie sheet to get the hang of it.
Really, I think the classes would be nice, but for simple enough designs, you can totally do it without them!

So, I won't make you wait any longer! Here it is, I'm pretty happy with it. Although, I'm looking forward to perfecting my skills in the future!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baked Egg Rolls

For a girl that loves fried food, these baked egg rolls, that I found here, were pretty darn good! Next time I will definitely add more things to the filling such as veggies and maybe mini shrimp to give them more flavor. Otherwise they were great and crisped up well!

You’ll need:

* egg roll wrappers
* a bag of cole slaw mix
* a can of mushrooms
* 1 tsp garlic, minced
* 1/4 tsp ground ginger
* a splash of soy sauce
* salt and pepper
* cooking spray or olive oil in a mister (I use olive oil in a mister)


* mung bean sprouts
* can of tiny cooked shrimp
* anything else you think would be good inside of the egg rolls
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put your cole slaw in a large microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave 3-6 minutes.
2. Chop your mushrooms and put them in a mixing bowl. This is also when you’d put in the bean sprouts, shrimp, or other fillings.
3. Add the soy sauce, garlic and ginger.
4. By now your cole slaw mix should be cooked. Drain it to get out any excess liquid as no one likes a soggy egg roll. Combine it with the rest of the filling.
5. Place a bit of filling in the center of each wrapper. (See that little bowl? That has water in it, which you’ll need for sealing the edges.)
6.Fold in two of the corners.
7. Put a bit of water on the top edges with your finger. Fold up the bottom, and roll as tightly as you can to the edge. It helps if you tuck while you roll.
8. Repeat for the rest of the wrappers, and place the egg rolls on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil (mmm… olive oil). Spray the tops of the egg rolls with the oil, too.
9. Bake 15 minutes, then flip the egg rolls over and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving (this will let the wrappers get a little more crisp too).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

I had orange shrimp at PF Changs not too long ago, and so I thought I'd try my hand at orange chicken at home. I was a little nervous as Asian fare usually seems complicated, but I found this very easy to follow. I personally would have liked it a little more savory than sweet, so I would add more soy next time. Otherwise it was really good!


* 1 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes (I only used one very large chicken breast)
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
* 1 (6 ounce) package crispy chow mein noodles
*I also used about 2 cups of frozen veggies- I added them in with the chicken


1. In a small bowl combine the orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, salt, garlic and brown sugar. Mix well.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. When oil begins to bubble, add chicken. Saute until cooked through (no longer pink inside), about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Add orange sauce mixture to chicken and cook until sauce begins to bubble. Add flour, a little bit at a time, until sauce has thickened to your liking. Add bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute; serve hot over chow mein noodles.

My Notes: I definitely had enough sauce, but if you are going to make it with 4 pieces of chicken, I would increase the amount, but I like things saucy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

5 Star Rouladen

This recipe comes all the way from Germany, literally. It came from Carl's great-grandma, who taught it to her daughter-in-law, Carl's grandma. She then passed the recipe to her daughter-in-law, Carl's mom. So naturally, my mother-in-law followed tradition and honored me with this recipe. And now (with a touch of hesitation as I feel as though this is sacred ground I am treading here), I'm sharing it with you!

The first time I had this meal was just a few short weeks into my relationship with Carl. I'll be honest, it didn't look all that appetizing, but my hesitations quickly fled after my first bite. This dish is so tender, so juicy, basically a festival of flavors in your mouth! So, if you have ALL day to cook, and I'm not exaggerating, and you want a guaranteed to please feast, include this one on your menu. It won't fail you!

Start with this cast of characters:

  • 3 lbs sirloin tip- cut as thin as humanly (or bladely...) possible. Call ahead to your butcher. Tell them you need it REALLY thin and mention that freezing it for awhile helps. Trust me on this.
  • 6 white onions, diced
  • 1 lb bacon, chopped very finely, but not cooked
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Mustard
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Small metal skewers- most commonly used for turkey

Make an assembly line of sorts with 3 pieces of meat laid out flat. If there are holes in it, just adjust the meat so they overlap. Give the meat a nice coating of mustard, a sprinkle of onion and bacon and season with salt and pepper.

Starting on the end closest to you start rolling it up and then pull the sides in- secure with a metal skewer. Hard to explain, but the visual should help. Repeat until the sight of meat, mustard and onion make you want to punch someone. Or until you run out of meat...that works too.

Heat up your skillet and melt the butter in it. If you do a full batch, you will most likely need two skillets, electric skillets work the best! Once the butter has melted, lay each of the meat rolls into the pan and cook them on medium until browned, turning once. This should take approximately 20-30 minutes.

Crank the heat down until the liquid is BARELY bubbling. Let it cook for approximately 4 hours. This could vary though, but when the meat is almost falling apart, it's Rouladen!

With the leftover drippings, make a gravy with water and cornstarch. It is a requirement to serve this with mashed potatoes. Trust me. (I've made you trust me a lot with this haven't I? Don't worry....I'm trustworthy)

We are looking at meat, more meat, mustard and onion. How much more German can you get? I plan to make this dish for many years and hope to pass the tradition on some day!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Smothered BBQ Ranch Chicken

This recipe has apparently been floating around, but I finally saw someone mention it today on this blog. It was REALLY good. I can't wait to make it when Carl is home!

4 chicken breasts (I used 2 large breasts)
3/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used 2/3 c)
3/4 cup fat free ranch dressing (again, 2/3 c)

Mix ranch and bbq sauce together- pour over chicken in frying pan.

Let simmer for 30-35 minutes until cooked. Top it with shredded cheese (I used cheddar), a sprinkle of chopped bacon (I omitted), and a handful of chopped scallions (load it up!).

*Mine only needed about 20-25 minutes and after about 10 minutes I poured in about a 1/4 cup of water to keep it from drying out.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Shhh, I'm a little behind on posts. For Carl's birthday, I wanted to attempt his favorite dessert, flourless chocolate cake. Almost every time we go to a new restaurant, he will ask if they have it. But, since I was making him a restaurant style dinner for his birthday, I figured this only seemed appropriate, so I tried a recipe on He now says this is what he wants for his birthday cake every year, haha.
*Please note, this is more like a fudge than anything. Very rich! I served it with raspberries and whip cream, which in my opinion, made it perfect!


* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
* 1 cup unsalted butter
* 6 eggs


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
6. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grilled Turkey, Brie & Apple Sandwich

So I've told you about Lindsay, right? Well she keeps me sane during the day. Lots of times it's with recipes she finds on other blogs. Well, the other day she found this one. Wowsa. I love simple things like this once in awhile since I'm home alone most weekdays. This was the perfect dinner for me tonight! Thanks Lindsay! And thank you Food Alla Puttanesca for blogging this lovely combination!
Turkey, Apple, and Brie Paninis
High-quality bread (I used homemade.)
Sliced turkey breast deli meat
Thinly sliced green apple
Dijon mustard
Thin slices of Brie

Spread a thin coat of Dijon mustard on each slice of bread. Layer turkey, Brie, and then apple. Heat George Foreman with panini plates or panini press. Spray with cooking spray and cook until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Cut diagonally in half and serve.

*My notes: I just grilled mine since I don't have a panini press- worked wonderfully. Also, be sure to not use too much dijon, it's a powerful flavor and can easily mask the brie.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cherry Chicken Salad

I really love chicken salad, and if it has dried cherries in it, that is a huge bonus! I wanted to make my own, so I searched and found this one. I just love Mostly because you can search by ingredient.

Anyway, what a great basic chicken salad! I will definitely make this again. I'd love to experiment with it in the future. I think it could be modified just a tad and be spectacular!!


* 3 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced
* 1/3 cup dried cherries
* 1/3 cup diced celery
* 1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans
* 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon buttermilk
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup cubed apples (optional)


1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, dried cherries, celery, nuts, mayonnaise, milk, salt and pepper and apple if desired. Toss together well and refrigerate until chilled. Serve on toasted cracked wheat bread or croissants.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

When it comes to cake, I love a light and moist white cake with a fresh strawberry filling and fluffy whipped white icing. Carl would rather have a decadent chocolate cake with something just as rich for the frosting. It's his birthday week, so guess what kind of treat I made. Yep, Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting, Ina style. They are for dessert tomorrow, but I had him taste test one. He's impressed. Perfect!


* 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
* 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup good cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
* Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:

* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 cup creamy peanut butter
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bourbon Braised Chicken & Apple Sausage with Onions

I bought Emeril's Chicken & Apple Sausage yesterday, but rather than just grilling them, I decided to follow the recipe on the back. To be honest, I felt it was a bit time intensive for sausage. Don't get me wrong, it was really good. The flavor was definitely not what I was expecting, in a good way! Although, the next time I make them, I will try simply grilling them.

* 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
* 4 links Emeril's™ Chicken & Apple Sausage, whole
* 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
* 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
* 2 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
* 1/2 cup dark beer
* 3 Tbsp. Bourbon

Serving size:

2-4 servings

Heat medium-size skillet over medium-low heat for 30 seconds. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and add onions and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes until onions are partially browned. Season with salt and pepper and place thyme sprigs in skillet. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until sausage is browned, about 15 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add beer; reduce heat and cook, covered for 15-20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining butter and bourbon. Remove thyme sprigs before serving. Serve sausages and onions in toasted French or Hoagie roll. (I served mine on a pita)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chicken Penne Al Fresco

I had full intentions of making a completely different pasta dish tonight, but after I hit my third strike with the ingredient list, it was out. I decided to just go with the trusty and found this one. I wasn't expecting much and boy was I surprised. What a great, light, easy pasta dish! I HIGHLY recommend you try this! I kind of cut the recipe in notes are below.

* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, sliced (2 cloves)
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes (1 medium tomato, chopped)
* 3 cups penne pasta (1 cup)
* 3 3/4 cups chicken broth (1 can, about 1 3/4c)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
* 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves, (1/2 tsp dried +5 small fresh leaves)
* 2 cups diced cooked chicken (1 x-large breast cooked in olive oil)
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I probably used even more than that)

1. Coat a microwave-safe casserole dish with olive oil; stir in the garlic and tomatoes. Cover and microwave on High until tomatoes begin to burst, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Remove garlic and tomato mixture from the microwave and crush the remaining tomatoes with a fork. Stir in pasta, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover and return to microwave. Cook on High until pasta is tender, 16 to 18 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove pasta from the microwave, then stir in the basil, chicken, and Parmesan cheese.

*1st cook time only took about 3 minutes for me. Second cook time took about 13.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I had my two oldest nieces over on Saturday, and the original plan was to make chocolate chip cookies, but I found this recipe in the back of the newest Everyday Food magazine, and we agreed we definitely needed to try them! They were easy and really yummy!

1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole-wheat flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c light-brown sugar
1 large egg
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate cut into 30 squares (I used semisweet)
15 large marshmallows halved horizontally

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse oats until finely ground. Add flours, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; pulse to combine. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter an sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, scraping down side of bowl. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture just until combined.

2. Drop dough by tablespoons, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets. Top each with a chocolate square. Bake just until lightly golden, 11-13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Remove sheets from oven; heat broiler. Top each cookie with a marshmallow. One sheet at a time, broil until marshmallows are lightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. Makes 30 cookies.

Chicken Quesadillas

I love love love quesadillas. I used to order them all the time at restaurants, but I decided to give them a go at home. One thing to know is that I love I loaded that up!

2 tortillas
1 large chicken breast
1/4 red onion- chopped to 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 green pepper- chopped to half inch pieces
1/2 package of taco seasoning
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese

Cook the chicken in a little olive oil. Add the taco seasoning as instructed on the package- usually includes adding water. Add the green pepper and onion and simmer until liquid evaporates and vegetables soften.

Heat a skillet to medium-high. Spray one side of the tortillas with non-stick cooking spray. Lay a tortilla in the pan, spread 1/4-1/2c of the chicken mixture on one side of the tortilla, sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and fold the tortilla over. Repeat on other side of pan with the second tortilla. Allow each side to cook for 1-2 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

I actually preferred these the second day. I also really liked them with taco sauce as opposed to salsa- yum!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lemon Parm Pasta with Chicken

I tend to keep dinner simple when Carl is gone...which is often, but I wanted something better than a sandwich tonight. Luckily I have Lindsay on emergency standby, and she recommended this recipe! And remember...I always trust Lindsay...or at least her taste buds :) It was originally from Spark People.

This was the perfect quick, light and fresh recipe for this warm spring night! I'll definitely keep it in my rotation!

* 1/2 lb. angel hair pasta (I used about a 1/4 lb)
* 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces (I used one regular sized chicken breast)
* 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 2 cloves)
* 2 tbsp butter (1 tbsp butter)
* 3 tbsp lemon juice
* 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (It's know I still doubled it!)
* 1 cup reserved pasta water (I used about 1/2 c)


1. Bring large pot of water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter in large skillet. Saute chicken and garlic until cooked through.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. Add lemon juice and Parmesan to chicken shortly before pasta is done.
5. Toss the cooked pasta with the chicken mixture.
6. Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water to extend the sauce.

*My suggestion is to wait until the water is boiling and the pasta is in the pot to start the chicken. Mine cooked up pretty quickly, even with the heat on low.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Prize Winning Baby Back Ribs

I've been dying to make our own ribs as that is something we've never tackled before. I bought a 2.5 lb slab, and followed this recipe.


* 1 tablespoon ground cumin (1/2 tbsp)
* 1 tablespoon chili powder (1/2 tbsp)
* 1 tablespoon paprika (1/2 tbsp)
* salt and pepper to taste
* 3 pounds baby back pork ribs (I used 2.5 lbs.)
* 1 cup barbeque sauce (I used 1/2 c Baby Rays- it was plenty for basting and dipping)


1. Preheat grill for high heat.
2. In a small jar, combine cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Close the lid, and shake to mix.
3. Trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. Run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and each rib, and snip off the membrane as much as possible. Sprinkle as much of the rub onto both sides of the ribs as desired. To prevent the ribs from becoming too dark and spicy, do not thoroughly rub the spices into the ribs. Store the unused portion of the spice mix for future use.
4. Place aluminum foil on lower rack to capture drippings and prevent flare-ups. Lightly oil grate, and lay ribs on top rack of grill. Reduce heat to low, close lid, and leave undisturbed for 1 hour. Do not lift lid at all.
5. Brush ribs with barbecue sauce, and grill an additional 5 minutes. Serve ribs as whole rack, or cut between each rib bone and pile individually on a platter.

*We actually should have brought our time down just a touch, but these were still really really good! I will definitely follow this recipe again!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chocolate Ice Cream

I got an ice cream maker attachment for my birthday back in March, so I deserve a slap on the wrist for waiting this long to use it. But I think knowing what I've been missing out on all this time is punishment enough! Wow. I don't think I'll ever have the need to buy ice cream in a carton. This is just too good to not go through the extra effort. I used the "Easy Ice Cream" recipe out of the newest Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine.

8 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups heavy cream

1. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and salt until blended. Add in cocoa powder. Gradually whisk in milk.

2. Cook over medium stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard thickens slightly and evenly coats back of spoon. (it should hold a line drawn by your finger), 10-12 minutes.

3. Pour custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl set over ice. Stir in cream. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until chilled. Churn in an ice cream maker for 30 minutes. Transfer ice cream to a resealable plastic container and freeze until firm, about 7 hours. It will keep up to 3 months....yeah right. Trust me, it won't last nearly that long!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Worth Mentioning Again: Mediterranean Orzo Salad

I made this salad awhile back, but posted it with a couple other items. I really feel as though this deserves it's own post. It's really light and refreshing, perfect for the warm weather months!

1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed and in 1 inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper optional
3/4 c uncooked orzo pasta
1 can garbanzo beans
1 package (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c pitted whole kalamata olives
1/2 c snipped fresh parsley
1/4 c prepared Greek vinaigrette dressing

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine asparagus, bell pepper, onion and oil in a medium mixing bowl. Press garlic into mixing bowl; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Arrange vegetables on a bar pan (or cookie sheet). Bake 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and deep golden brown. Remove from oven; cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare orzo according to package directions, drain and rinse under cold running water. Place orzo in large mixing bowl, add vegetable mixture, beans, feta cheese, olives, parsley and salad dressing. Toss gently and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

I doubled this recipe for our party on Sunday, and it was a perfect amount. There were about 25 people here. I also recommend more olives...but I really like olives!

Courtesy of Pampered Chef

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grilled Jalapeno Chicken

(*My pic sucks...I was too excited to eat it and was moving fast!)
I went to look for a recipe on, and this was the featured recipe. It sounded soooo good, I modified my meal plan to fit it in. I'm really glad I did too, because it was really really good! If you like a little spice, you will love this. Carl just kept saying, this is sooo good! And I agree.

I only made about a 1/3 of the recipe with one extra large chicken breast.


* 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
* 1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian dressing
* 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (I used jarred sliced jalapenos)
* 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 6 slices bacon (I skipped the bacon)
* toothpicks (I used turkey skewers...seemed safer than toothpicks)


1. Place chicken breasts in a dish with the Italian dressing. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat the grill for high heat.
3. Stuff each jalapeno half with cream cheese. Roll chicken breasts around jalapeno peppers. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of bacon. Secure with toothpicks.
4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange wrapped chicken breasts on the prepared grill. Cook for 20 minutes, turning frequently, or until bacon is browned and the chicken juices run clear.

Grilled Veggies

This really isn't a recipe, I just needed a veggie to go with our meal tonight, so I threw together what I had and crossed my fingers.

1/4 of a Red Onion- sliced
1/4 of each a red and orange pepper
6 campari tomatoes
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
2 cloves of garlic

Mix all together in a bowl and place in a grill basket. Grill on medium for about 10 minutes. Veggie requirement complete.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BBQ Chili Chicken Thighs

This was another on the spot meal decision. Chicken thighs were on sale at the store, so I grabbed them. I've never made this cut of meat before, so I figured I'd give it a try. I just searched for recipes for chicken thighs, and found this one.

I cut the entire recipe in half, and while I did enjoy the crispy chicken skin, I think I'll stick to chicken breast. I just prefer a leaner meat with less work, as does Carl. But we both agreed we WILL try this same recipe using chicken breast. The sauce was really flavorful and great on the grill. You could use this marinade on pretty much anything.


* 1 (12 ounce) bottle chili sauce
* 1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
* 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
* 10 cloves garlic, minced
* 4 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper


1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first seven ingredients; mix well. Remove 1/3 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Add chicken to bag; seal and turn to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours.
2. Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Grill, covered, skin side down, over medium heat for 20 minutes. Baste with some of the reserved marinade. Turn; grill 10 minutes longer or until the chicken juices run clear, basting frequently.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Carl really doesn't even like corn, but I just couldn't help myself when I saw these little guys at the store. I decided to have our entire dinner made on the grill tonight, and the corn was no exception. As we were eating them, Carl said "This was a pretty big risk knowing I don't like corn, but I actually really like it." I really think this is the best way to cook corn on the cob! It keeps it so firm rather than stringy. Yum!

Remove all the husks and clean the ears. Tightly wrap them in double thick aluminum foil. Heat the grill to medium and place ears on the rack. Cook them for 30 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm Martha's Cooler Younger Sister...

...Because I don't have all the time in the world to make everything from scratch. I'm far too busy doing other better, cooler, more fun shopping after work? Well anyway, I didn't have time to meal plan this weekend, so I had to wing it while shopping. I remembered a dish I made often while Carl and I were dating, but again another meal we've haven't had since being married. Scalloped Potatoes & Ham, the quick way. There is a much more elaborate way of doing this, but this is my quick fix. It never fails to satisfy!

1 Center Cut Ham Steak (You'll find this by the ham, sometimes by the deli meat)
1 Box of Scalloped Potatoes (Think Betty Crocker....remember- you are younger and's ok to get it them of a box)- Including the ingredients it calls for

Yeah, that's it.

Make the potatoes according to the box directions. Each brand is a little different, but basically the same. They usually need to bake between 25 and 35 minutes. While they are baking, trim and cut the ham into 1ish inch pieces. I'm not picky, whatever floats your boat. After the potatoes have been in about 10 minutes and have set up a bit, take them out of the oven and dump the ham in. Give it a quick stir to incorporate the ham. Put it back in the oven for the duration of the cooking time or until golden brown on the top. Eat!

Simple. Fast. Delicious. Take that Martha.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sloppy Joe's...from SCRATCH!

Growing up, I think the only way I had Sloppy Joe's was out of a can. And rightfully so, it was a quick and tasty option for dinner, and if you were like my mom and had 6 kids, the former was extremely important. But for me, with no time to meal plan this weekend and some ground beef thawing in the freezer,I had to figure out dinner quick and work with minimal items so I didn't have to stop at the store. We haven't had sloppy joe's together....EVER, so what a great option! And, I found this recipe that sounded great, and I knew I had all the ingredients. It was better than the canned stuff, and really not that much more involved. I highly rec this for your next quick, easy, tasty dinner! I served it with some raw veggies and dip.


* 1 pound lean ground beef
* 1/4 cup chopped onion
* 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
* 3/4 cup ketchup
* 3 teaspoons brown sugar
* salt to taste
* ground black pepper to taste


1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.
2. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
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