Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cherry & Apple Handpies

This is totally a cheater recipe, but they look so cute and rustic that it's easy to look the other way when I say I did nothing from scratch. Of course, you can substitute any of your favorite homemade recipes for dough or pie filling, just follow the general guidelines.

  • 2 Rolls of refrigerated pie dough
  • 1 Can of Pie filling (I used apple and cherry)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Crystal Sugar

  1. Using very cold dough, unroll the dough and cut out six, circles, approximately 6 inches in diameter. I used a medium sized Pyrex bowl- works perfectly. You will have to re-roll the dough since you can only get 2 circles at a time from a 9 inch crust.
  2. Place 2 Tbsp of pie filling in the center of each circle.
  3. Whisk together the egg and water, and brush the mixture on the edges of the pie crust.
  4. Prepare your egg wash by whisking together the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash on edge of dough circles, fold filled dough in half and seal the edges with a fork.
  5. Chill hand pies for at least 30 minutes before baking.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Remove pies from refrigerator and brush with remaining egg wash. Sprinkle on crystal sugar and cut a small slit in the top of each pie to let out steam.
  8. Bake about 20-25 minutes. When done, pies should be golden brown and flaky.
  9. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield 6 Handpies

Adapted From

I'm linking up with The How To Mommy for Tasty Thursday!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Simple Apple Pancakes

This is another one of those "hardly a recipe" type deals. I've made apple pancakes before, but not quite like this. This one just seems genius. I spotted it on...wait for it...Pinterest. The Holy Grail. Anyway, it's simple.

1. Peel, core and slice an apple. I use an apple corer peeler slicer :)
2. Mix up your favorite pancake batter and heat up your griddle.
3. Dip the individual apple slices right into the batter and place them on the hot griddle.
4. Cook as you would a pancake.
5. Enjoy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crispy Chicken Over Creamy Pasta

I found this recipe over at Jamie Cooks It Up. I was intrigued by the new Philly Cooking Cremes, but the only review I had heard was a bad one. This recipe sounded tasty, and I wanted to give it a try myself. I was nervous, but there was no need to be. It was delicious and fairly simple to pull together for a weeknight meal. I'll definitely make it again and am interested in trying some of the other Cooking Cremes too!

Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

3 large chicken breasts

5 C corn flakes
3/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 C milk
6 T olive oil
1 12 oz package bowtie noodles (farfalle)

1 10 oz container Philadelphia Cooking Cream (Italian Cheese and Herb Flavor)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 C chicken broth
1/2 C milk
fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

1. In a small food processor crush the corn flakes into crumbs.
2. Add the 1/2 t salt to the 3/4 C flour. Stir to combine.
3. Place the flour, milk and crushed cornflakes each into their own separate pan. Loaf pans work well for this. If you don't have three loaf pans, do not dismay. You could use pie tins, or round cake pans...what ever works for you.
4. Place your chicken breasts in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and seal the top.
Pound the chicken flat with a meat mallet. You will really be thankful for the Ziploc bag in this step. Who wants a bunch of chicken guts flying around their kitchen? Not me...that's who.
5. Take a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and cut each breast in half.
6. Dredge the chicken in the flour. Be sure it gets covered on both sides.
Lay the floured chicken onto a small cookie sheet and slide the sheet into the freezer. Let it hang out there for about 5 minutes.
7. Start cooking your pasta.
8. Remove the chicken from the freezer and dredge each piece in the milkand then immediately into the corn flake crumbs. Again, be sure both sides are covered well.
9. Add the olive oil to a hot skillet.
10. Carefully lay each chicken piece into the hot oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes....
or until the underside of each piece is nice and golden brown. Turn the pieces over. If the bottom of the pan is dry add just a bit more olive oil to the side of the pan. Swirl the pan around a bit to let the oil flow to all sides.
11. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Let the chicken cook for about 7 more minutes, being careful not to burn the bottoms. Burned bottoms are not advised. In any shape or form. Thank you.
12. When your chicken has been cooked through remove it from the pan and place it on a plate. Cover with tin foil.
13. Into the same pan pour your broth. Philly Cooking Creme, Cream of Chicken, and milk. Whisk the sauce around and let it get all warm and bubbly. Should only take about 3 minutes.
14. Slice your chicken into strips and serve over your cooked pasta and sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley if you choose.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This isn't the first time I've made this recipe. It isn't even the second. It might be the third. I can't remember. Anyway, I've made it quite a few times, and every single time, Carl gets disappointed when it's gone. You might think, "Well gee Molly, just make a double batch!" And to that I'd say I was already ahead of you, and I make triple batches :/ It's delicious. It's the perfect soup for these cool fall days and I, too, get sad when it is all gone!

I've adapted a bit since that original recipe, so these are actually my instructions.


  • 3 turkey bacon strips, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (more if you like it thick, less if you like it thinner)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Optional (I don't use the following, I'm more of a purist :) )
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley


  1. In a stockpot, cook bacon until crisp (I spray my pan with a little cooking spray since the Turkey Bacon doesn't produce grease). Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the same pot until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. I add the bacon in at this point and stir, but you can also just top the soup with the crispy bacon.
P.S. I apparently cannot photograph potato soup. I promise, I tried. Twice. I gave up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

We're 2 for 2 this week folks. Another one that's hitting the regular rotation list. I spotted these on Foodgawker thanks to Mrs. Regueiro's Plate. I modified it just slightly, but I'll note what I did differently below in purple. Both Carl and I loved these, and it was a quick process. This is a great weeknight dinner!

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce (Frank’s Buffalo Wing) , plus extra for garnishment
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 6-inch yellow corn tortillas
  • Shredded butter Lettuce
  • Diced onions mixed with cilantro- 1 small onion with about 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro
  • Avocado slices- I omitted
  • Ranch dressing
  • Green onions, sliced thinly
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles- how do you not have blue cheese with buffalo?? You don't! :)


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, cayenne, and garlic powder. Season the chicken pieces with pepper, then dredge in the flour mixture.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the Dutch oven and once it gets hot, add chicken and cook on both sides – about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Once the chicken is done, set it aside in a bowl and toss with ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce.

Use the skillet from the chicken and fry up the tortillas on medium for about 10 seconds a side.

Assemble 10 tacos, dividing the toppings evenly among each taco.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chopped Autumn Salad

You know when you find a recipe, and you think "Oh my goodness, I'm making this every night!"? Yeah, that happened tonight. I won't actually be making it every night, but it most certainly will be making it's way into our regular rotation.

Little story before we get to the recipe though, you can skip it if you don't like reading. I don't mind. Something really weird happened with this recipe/website. When I meal planned on Friday, it included chicken. But today, when I went to make it, gasp, no chicken. My dinner went from a main dish to a side dish, poof! :/ Oops. But no fear! I just sauteed a chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, sliced it and laid it on top. We'll call that a main course. Delish! (I'm still trying to figure out how I thought there was chicken in this salad...)

*6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
*2 medium pears, chopped
*1 cup dried cranberries
*1 cup chopped pecans
*8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
*4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
*Poppy seed Salad Dressing (I like T. Marzetti)
*Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette)

*On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette) If you prefer your salad to have more dressing, feel free to experiment with the combination.

*I did not edit any of the recipe write up from the original source, however, I agree with all that she said. The only difference was that I only needed about 3/4 cup of dressing- 1/4 balsamic and 1/2 poppy seed. I also swapped dried cherries and walnuts in, just because that's what we usually use and had on hand. The chicken was most certainly a welcome addition, but it's delicious either way. I used 8 cups of romaine, and there was enough for 4 entree sized salads.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Makeshift Chicago Dogs

WARNING: This hot dog is an imposter! It is NOT a true Chicago Dog. You've been warned.

I love, love, loooooooooooooove Chicago Hot Dogs. The ingredients seem so strange together, but something about them just works. Delicious. Problem is, some of the ingredients are hard to come by, especially outside of Chicago. I made what I had work. You can try it too. :)

  • Turkey Dog - It's supposed to be all beef :/
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Pickle Spear
  • Pepperocini Pepper, sliced in half- these are supposed to be the very hard to attain sport peppers
  • Onions, chopped
  • Ground celery mixed with Kosher Salt - supposed to be celery salt
  • Poppyseed Bun
  • Mustard

Just assemble the dog as shown above. One thing to note is that poppyseed buns can be hard to come by. I just sprinkled some seeds on a plate, brushed the buns with some melted butter and dipped the buns to coat. Worked alright in my opinion!

This is no true Chicago dog, but it definitely works in a pinch when the craving is too much to fight!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

I love all things buffalo. It's a delicious flavor. My good friend, Lindsay, sent me this recipe and said I simply must try it. So I did, because I always follow directions. Did we love it? Eh. Was it tasty, absolutely. I think it was a little more rich than I expected. I was hoping for more spice. It was then that Lindsay told me she had doubled the Frank's. Ah....that would definitely help! So, without trying it that way, I hesitantly suggest you double the Frank's.

*Little tip, if you want a quick way to shred chicken, the food processor works in a pinch. Just be cautious with it so you don't puree the chicken. A few quick pulses is all it needs.


  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tomato Sandwiches with Basil Mayonnaise

Carl wanted a tomato sandwich today.  I had no tomatoes, but we were about to leave for the Farmer's Market.  Sounded like a win to me.  I bought some heirloom tomatoes since mine are not cooperating.  Then he took it up a notch and asked if I could make some sort of basil mayonnaise.  Sure!  Why not?  Ina had a perfectly acceptable sounding one, and I had all the ingredients, including basil from the garden, so I got to work. 

Uh, yum!!!!  We'll be using a lot of this, and if I can figure out how to freeze it, I will.  Otherwise, I'll just freeze my basil and use it all year long!  Too bad heirloom tomatoes aren't in season all year long.  That would rock.  I just used some English Toasting Bread I had bought at the market last week.  Carl had two sandwiches...that should tell you something.


  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 10 to 15 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 slices country loaf bread
  • 1 heirloom or Israeli tomato, sliced


Whisk together the mayonnaise, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Spread the mayonnaise mixture on the top of 2 slices of bread. Place the sliced tomato on top of one
bread slice. Place the remaining slice of bread, mayonnaise side down, on top of the tomato. Cut the sandwich in half and serve.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Uh yeah. If you like buffalo sauce, go make this. I'm not saying anything else.
  • 1/4 cup cooked shredded chicken, warm
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon mayo (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon carrot, grated
  • 1 tablespoon celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon green or red onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 tablespoon blue cheese, room temperature, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, room temperature, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter.
  1. Mix the chicken, hot sauce, mayo, carrot, celery and onion in a small bowl.
  2. Assemble sandwich and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Notes: I omitted the celery and mayo. I also used a butter substitute for the bread.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dried Cherry Buttermilk Scones

I was looking for ways to use up some buttermilk and came across this recipe for dried cherry buttermilk scones. I love scones. I had dried cherries. Easy decision.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the (optional) topping:
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup turbinado or demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and sugar. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until you can see small pea-sized chunks of butter. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla and buttermilk, then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until almost completely mixed, then add in the dried cherries and mix until the dough just starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into a circle, then cut 8-12 wedges, placing them on the baking sheet.

Brush the scones with milk, then sprinkle heavily with the turbinado or demerera sugar and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They should be golden brown on top and feel light inside, or a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Let cool slightly, then enjoy!

Notes: These are a bit drier than the blueberry scones I make, but still delicious. I froze mine and it took about 20 minutes in the oven from frozen.

*For freezing the scones- flash freeze them (put the scones on a parchment/wax paper lined baking sheet and stick in the freezer) for 20 minutes. Remove, wrap individually with aluminum foil, place in a freezer safe bag and store until ready to bake!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins

I found a recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup that I wanted to try (check back tomorrow for that recipe!) and thought I'd pair it with cornbread. A quick search brought me to this recipe for Buttermilk Cornbread. Lucky me forgot that I even wanted to make this, and dinner time arrived without me noticing. I had already made the soup yesterday, so I debated making the cornbread all together. I decided to improvise and just make it into muffins so it would bake faster. I couldn't be happier with my problem solving skills on this one. Definitely a good call on my part!

These are super easy and come together very quickly!

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8x8 pan, or a muffin pan- it makes 12 muffins.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt:
1/2 c butter

Let cool a second, then add:
1/2 c sugar

One at a time, stir in:
2 eggs

Combine and then add to the mix:
1 c buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda

Last, mix in:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Stir until well combined and few lumps remain, then spread into pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or 20 minutes for muffins. It's done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Olga's Bread, Snackers and Cheese Dip

I <3 Olga's. And if you don't know what Olga's is, then you live in the wrong part of the country. They make the most delicious pita bread. It's sweet, but not too sweet. It's soft and chewy. It's delightful. We've been really cutting back on our restaurant trips (if you couldn't already tell by the surge of blog posts), and so I wanted to attempt to curb my Olga's craving by making their bread. I found a copycat recipe, but I'm not sure if the creator has ever been to Olga's.

I attempted making the snackers as directed and I also tried it as the pita bread. It's not that it was bad, but you know when you are expecting one thing and you get another- it tastes awful? It was kind of like that. Granted, after I got the whole disappointment that it simply wasn't a copycat recipe, the bread tasted delicious with my BLT. The snackers, however, were nothing to write home about. And the cheese dip wasn't on the top of my list either. Carl said it was good, I think I was just overwhelmed that it really not what I was expecting. There is another copycat Olga's bread that I want to try, so I'm hoping that will taste more like the real deal. Otherwise, this bread is perfectly suitable for our BLT nights!

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups Borden's eggnog, canned
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided use

Combine water, sugar and dry yeast in measuring cup and stir to combine. Let stand to proof until doubled (about 5 minutes).

Meanwhile, beat all of the eggnog with only 3 cups of the flour. Set the remaining 1/2 cup flour aside to use when kneading bread later.

After adding about a cup of the flour, work in the yeast mixture beating well. Work in the rest of the flour until completely mixed. Turn into a large, greased bowl and invert another bowl, same size if you can, over dough so you can see it rising.

After it begins to rise (15-25 minutes) work in the last 1/2 cup flour, kneading well into the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Return to greased bowl and cover again to let rise until doubled (about 90 minutes).

Separate instructions for the snackers and bread below.

For the Snackers:

When doubled, turn out onto floured surface and cut into 8 equal portions; roll each into ball and then flatten each with rolling pin to make a very thin circle. Cut each circle into 6 inch triangles. Place these 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet.

Spray tops with garlic-flavored Pam or use plain Pam and dust with a little garlic powder. Then dust well with paprika and seasoned salt.

Bake at 350˚ about 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch.

For the bread:

When doubled, turn out onto floured surface and cut into 8 equal portions; roll each into ball and then flatten each with rolling pin to make a very thin circle. Heat a skillet on medium-high. Do not spray or coat the pan with anything. Heat each dough round for approximately 1 minute on each side, but keep an eye on it and allow to cook until mottled brown spots appear.

Cheese Dip:


* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
* 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, divided
* 1/3 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the Swiss cheese, 1/3 cup almonds, mayonnaise, onions, pepper and nutmeg. Spoon onto a lightly greased pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees F for 14-15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Serve warm with crackers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad

Simple. Cool. Refreshing. Healthy. This little salad has it all. It would be great paired up with some Panko Shrimp but also paired beautifully with the Thai Chicken Pizza! Definitely loved this one!


1 cucumber peeled and thinly sliced

1 carrot, matchstick-julienned

1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup of rice vinegar

1/4 cup of sugar (or Splenda equivalent for low carb diets)

1 tsp. of thai chili garlic sauce

pinch of salt


In a microwavable small bowl add rice vinegar, sugar, chili garlic sauce, and salt. Heat the bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir the vinaigrette until the sugar is completely dissolved. In a medium size bowl add the sliced cucumbers, carrots, and red onion. Pour vinaigrette over the cucumber mixture until well tossed. Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thai Chicken Pizza

I love Thai food. Mostly L2 Chicken Spicy. What? You don't know what that means? Well, what it means, is that I've only ever had Thai cuisine at a restaurant, and that's what I order. I've never dared to make it in my own kitchen, until tonight! The photo looks disgusting, I realize. I made my own dough and it was cold, and too dense, but I'll do better next time. It didn't matter, this tasted awesome! I combined a couple recipes I found, here and here. I'll be back later to discuss that yummy little salad.

cornmeal, for dusting
Your favorite pizza dough
olive oil for brushing crust
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella
4 scallions, slivered diagonally
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 c. shredded carrot
3 TBSP peanuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
Sweet Chili Thai Sauce (found in the ethnic food aisle)

1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

2. Dust working surface with cornmeal. Roll out pizza dough and cover with Sweet Chili Thai Sauce- you'll want a nice even coat, you can always add more later which is what I did. Brush uncovered bordered with olive oil. Sprinkle half the cheese over the sauce, then top with chicken. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the chicken, then top with scallion, bean shallot, and carrots.

3. Place pizza on pizza stone using a pizza peel or large spatulas. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and golden. Remove pizza from oven and top with peanuts and cilantro. Let cool for three minutes, then serve.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pesto Veggie Manicotti topped with Fire Roasted Marinara

I've mentioned it on here before that I am not a huge fan of meat in my pasta. I am, however, a huge fan of pesto and veggies in my pasta. I saw this dish on foodgawker and it was screaming my name, especially since I had just made some pesto last week. It uses a fresh fire roasted marinara sauce, which is another one of those "why didn't I do this sooner" types of pantry items.

  • 15oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 box of manicotti noodles (1/2 box of large shells works too!)
  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup of grated carrots
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan/romano cheese
  • 2-4 tbsp of pesto (adjust intensity to suit your tastes!)
  • mozzarella cheese for topping (go lean or go cheesy!)
  • to taste: black pepper, salt, parsley, oregano, thyme & garlic powder.
  • 16 oz fire roasted marinara, or your favorite red sauce (recipe to follow)
Preheat your oven to 350. Gently boil shells for approx 11min or until tender/al dente. Drain & arrange cooked noodles in a glass baking dish with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom. Fun fact: if you roll the noodles in the red sauce it will help prevent them from sticking/wilting! Dice and sauté, onions and garlic together with shredded carrots and 1/2 tsp of olive oil. In a large bowl, fold ricotta, parm/romano cheeses, pesto, and torn spinach together with all your herbs and spices. Next, add your veggies to the mix. You are free to use your fingers, but putting the stuffing in a bag with a hole cut in the corner and squeezing is muuuch easier =) Stuff the noodles gently and pour a generous pile of sauce on top. Top with sliced or grated mozzarella/parm cheese and bake for approx 20-30 minutes at 350F

Fire Roasted Pasta Sauce:

  • Need:
  • 28 oz can diced/crushed tomatoes
    14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
    approx 4 oz of tomato paste (controls the thickness)
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp dried basil
    1-2 tsp dried parsley
    3 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a blender or food processor, add tomatoes and blend for just a few seconds, until tomatoes look more crushed than diced. Pour tomatoes into your crockpot, season, and walk away! Set crockpot to low if you'll be leaving the house and high if you'll be around the house. No crock pot? Simply add to a sauce pot and cook at low to medium-low on the stove-top.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Baked Shrimp Scampi

I needed something to pair with the previously posted mushrooms. My original plan was to do some simple lemon, garlic shrimp on the grill, but at the last minute, I changed my tune and wanted to do a scampi of some sort. A quick search brought me to this recipe, Baked Shrimp Scampi. It's an Ina recipe, so, folks, grab your butter! There are a lot of ingredients, but it came together quickly, and would certainly impress your guests! I would love to see this paired with a simple oil and basil spaghetti like I made a few weeks ago. The flavor was so rich that it just needs a simple pairing.

Baked Shrimp Scampi
adapted from Ina Garten, Back to Basics
serves 6 (I cut the recipe in half)
  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko
  • lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat oven to 425.

Butterfly the shrimp by cutting along the outer curve of each shrimp, and opening like a book. Do not cut all the way through, just deep enough to help them stand up.

Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, white wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside while you prepare the butter mixture.

In a small bowl, mash together the butter with the remaining ingredients, through the panko. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and mix to thoroughly combine.

Starting from the outside of a gratin dish or pie plate, arrange the shrimp in a single layer, cut side down, curling the tails toward the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Drop the butter mixture over the top by the spoonful, and bake 10-12 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked through. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown the top, and serve with lemon wedges.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Portobellas

I've been doing a lot of gawking. Foodgawking that is. I saw some bright green goodness in these Spinach & Cheese Portobella Mushrooms and wanted to give them a try. It calls to grill them, but I wanted to do all my cooking indoors, so I cooked them stove top in a skillet on low heat, turned out great! Need:
  • 2 large Portobella Mushroom Caps
  • 3 wedges Laughing Cow Cheese (or ~2.5oz other soft, spreadable cheese)
  • 10 oz package frozen Spinach, thawed and drained (I actually sauteed some fresh spinach in just a touch of olive oil)
  • S&P
  • Olive Oil

Warm grill on medium-high or warm some olive oil in a skillet on medium low.

Wipe down the mushroom caps to clean and scrape out the gills and stem.

Defrost the spinach, and mix together with the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide the spinach mixture in half and fill the mushroom caps.

Brush olive oil on the bottoms and sides of the mushrooms, and place stuffed side up on the grill. Cover and cook until the mushrooms are softened and the spinach is hot and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Or cook on the stove 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the grill and serve while hot.

Thanks to Ketchup & Chutney for the recipe and detailed instructions!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fresh Roasted Salsa

You know when you figure something out that is ridiculously easy, or just kind of a no-brainer and you question your own intelligence? Enter homemade salsa.

I got the basic recipe from a fellow January Mom, but tweaked it just a bit from my own experience.

  • 7-8 tomatoes- I use on the vine, Roma would work too
  • 2 Jalapenos
  • 1/2 Onion- I use one small
  • 2 Tbsp of cilantro- use 1 Tbsp if you aren't a huge fan
  • 1 Tbsp of salt- use a little less if you aren't a salt fan, but that's a weird thing not to like...
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime (roll the lime on the counter a bit before cutting to loosen up the juices)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tomatoes, jalapenos and onion in half. If you want a spicier salsa, leave a good portion of the jalapeno insides alone, if you want it milder, pull the seeds and rib meat out. I do a happy medium there. Prep a baking sheet with a little olive oil. Place your veggies, cut side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Let the veggies cool a bit, then put the jalapeno and onion in a food processor. Pulse a few times. For a watery style salsa, add the tomatoes and pulse a few more times. For a heartier salsa, press down on the tomato pieces to drain some of the liquid out, then place them in the processor and pulse a few more times.

Mix together the lime juice, cumin, garlic, salt and cilantro. Pour over the veggies, and pulse a few more times to mix. Yields about 3 cups of deliciousness.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fall Apart Slow Cooker Cube Steak with Gravy

I have said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl. I had bought some cube steak at the market this weekend, and made this recipe. I was pretty disappointed in the outcome to say the least. So when I realized I had about twice the amount I actually needed for that recipe, I knew I would have to try something else this week with the remainder. I decided to go with a classic cube steak recipe, however when I was searching around the Internet, I was consistently missing one key ingredient from each one. So, I decided to make up my own thing.


1lb or so cube steak cut into individual portions
1/2 packet of onion mushroom mix (or whatever mix you prefer)
1 packet of gravy mix (I used Au Jus)
4 cups water, divided
Flour for dredging
Canola oil


Heat 2-3Tbsp oil in a skillet on medium-high. Dredge the steaks in flour and let sit for a few minutes. Brown the steaks for 1-2 minutes per side. Place in a slow cooker on low. Mix 2 cups of water with the onion mushroom mix and pour over the steaks. Cook for approximately 7 hours. Mix the remaining 2 cups of water with the gravy mix and pour into the slow cooker. Allow to cook for another 30 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes.

*I made my mashed potatoes with buttermilk, butter, salt and pepper- ah ma goodness. Highly recommend that!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fiesta Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

I've made a Mediterranean orzo salad before, and Carl adored it! It's a pretty time consuming side dish, so when I saw this fiesta style orzo salad that seemed a little simpler for a weeknight, I knew I had to try it. Good move Molly, good move. Delicious, easy, weeknight winner.

P.S. My picture sucks. Please don't judge this recipe by it's photo.

The Ingredients:

1 Cup Cooked Orzo
1 Cup Frozen Whole-Kernel Corn- I used a can of corn because I needed it to come together quickly and had originally planned on grilling some corn on the cob
12 Cherry Tomatoes – quartered – I had a bunch of on the vine, so I just diced 2 of those those
3 Green Onions – sliced
1 Can Black Beans (15 oz.) – rinse and drained
1/4 Cup Low Fat Buttermilk
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro – divided
3 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Light Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Canola Mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Red Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves – crushed
1 Peeled Avocado – cut into 8 wedges- I omitted
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Parsley- I omitted...not on purpose. I forgot.

Cook orzo according to package directions – don’t add salt or oil to the water. Drain and rinse. Place orzo, corn, tomatoes, green onions, and black beans into a large bowl and toss.

Whisk together buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, fresh lime juice light sour cream, mayo, chili powder, salt, pepper, ground red pepper, and garlic.

Drizzle dressing over salad and mix to coat. You can eat it immediately, or refrigerate it up to a couple days.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tropical Salsa Topped Coconut Crusted Mahi Mahi

We bought some flash frozen Mahi Mahi at the market last week, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. When we were in Hawaii, I had coconut crusted Mahi Mahi and it came with a side of tropical salsa. Dinner? Check.

This was really light and refreshing. I drizzled some of the liquid from the salsa over the fish. Perfection! For the fish, I based it off this recipe with a few minor changes.


    12 oz Mahi Mahi
    1 cup finely chopped coconut
    2 eggs
    .5 cup whole wheat flour
    Salt, Pepper, Cayeen Pepper (To taste)


Preheat Oven to 375
Spray a baking Sheet with Pam
Cut Mahi Mahi into 4 equal serving pieces (3 oz. each)
In a bowl or plastic bag, Mix Flour, salt and both peppers until evenly blended.
In bowl, lightly mix 2 eggs
Place chopped Coconut on a paper plate
Dredge fish in flour mixture to cover.
Dip Fish in Egg and then the coconut to cover (may need to press down a bit)
Place on Baking Sheet and spry tops lightly with more PAM. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork and coc0nut is golden

*I pan fried the filets in about 1 tbsp canola oil for 60 seconds a side first, then put the whole pan in the oven for 8 minutes.

For the Tropical Salsa, I used this recipe. Just mix the following ingredients.


  • 1/4 of a fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 3/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I cut this in half)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Steak Salad with Bacon, Crispy Potatoes, and Blue Cheese Dressing

Wow. OK, even if you just make the dressing to use on whatever you choose, do it! I used a good Roquefort, and it was Mmm Mmm unbelievable if you like Blue Cheese Dressing.


  • 4 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used turkey bacon)
  • 8 ounces Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak (1 inch thick)
  • 3 ounces blue cheese (such as Stilton or Roquefort), crumbled (3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces (about 8 cups)


  1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add the potatoes to the bacon drippings, season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a second large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the blue cheese, sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, scallion, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Divide the lettuce among plates, top with the steak, bacon, and potatoes, and drizzle with the dressing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Broiled Cheesy Tomatoes and Basil Spaghetti

I saw the broiled tomato and basil spaghetti recipe in a Real Simple magazine, but knew I needed to chicken it up. So I used a Parmesan Crusted Chicken to make a lighter version of Chicken Parmigiana. Ahh...maaaa.....gosh! Delish!!!

Parm Crusted Chicken:

Serves 4

4 large chicken breasts
3 eggs, beaten (I used egg whites as I had used the yolks to make mayonnaise)
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
fresh lemon to serve

  1. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  2. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling-wrap and thin out with a rolling pin or mallet.
  3. Combine the breadcrumbs with the cheese, salt and paprika. Place this in a shallow, wide bowl.
  4. Place the beaten eggs in a similar bowl (big enough to dunk the chicken into).
  5. To coat the chicken, dunk it first into the egg mixture and then place into the crumbs, coating the chicken well and patting down the crumbs.
  6. Place the chicken in the frying pan and allow to fry for 2 minutes per side until the crumbs are crispy and the chicken is cooked through but still moist.
  7. Serve hot with fresh lemon.

Broiled Cheesy Tomatoes over Basil Spaghetti:


  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more, shaved for serving
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving


  1. Heat broiler. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Dividing evenly, sprinkle the slices with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the oil with the garlic and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic oil, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with the tomatoes, additional basil, and shaved Parmesan.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zucchini Salad

I was a little apprehensive about zucchini. I've never really been a fan unless it's in zucchini bread, and we all know that bread's flavor has nothing to do with the zucchini. But the tag line under the photo is "not a fan of raw zucchini? This sure to make you a convert." Done. Let's give it a try.

1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (3 oz)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp small dill sprigs
Lemon zest, plus 1 tbsp +1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Toss together zucchini, cheese, oil, dill and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with lemon zest.
Source: Martha Stewart Living August 2011

Turkey-Corn Salad with Pan Dripping Dressing

So here is where you need the pan drippings from the previously posted turkey breast. This was also in the Martha Stewart Living August edition. This is a seriously light and healthy salad. So much so that I really should have had some bread with it. But if you are on a diet, by all means, scarf down a huge portion of this, because you can't go wrong!

1-2 cups shredded or sliced turkey from Roast Turkey Breast
1.5 cups corn kernels (3-4 ears) *We grill ours in tin foil on medium for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes
1 tomato, chopped and drained
1 small jalapeno chile, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (2 limes)
1 small head Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
3 tbsp fresh cilantro

1. Toss turkey with corn, tomato, jalapeno and onion.
2. Whisk together reserved pan drippings and lime juice. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to coat. Toss in lettuce and cilantro.

The Perfect Roast Turkey Breast

I don't make turkey nearly as much as I should. Finding this recipe in Martha Stewart Living will definitely change that. It calls for a whole turkey breast, skin on, bone in, but my meat market only had 5-6lb birds, so I bought half of one. It was perfect. We ate it sliced the first night and made it into a salad the next, recipe to follow!

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper (I used black)
1 bone in, skin on turkey breast (about 2.5 lbs)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together oil, salt and pepper; brush over turkey.

Roast turkey on a rimmed baking sheet until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 140 degrees and climbing, about 30 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes. Slice turkey as needed. (Reserve pan drippings for gravy, or my next recipe)

*I roasted my turkey for about 35 minutes and it climbed nicely to 160 degrees in 15 minutes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Orange Chicken: Take Two.

I tried making an Orange Chicken awhile back. Most likely, I wasn't crazy about it, because I haven't made it since. Perhaps because it was a "healthier" version of Orange Chicken. However, this one from Annie is definitely memorable. Spicy. Sweet. Savory. It's got it all.

I will say, it's a process. This isn't a quick dinner, but the reward is worth the work!

For the marinade and sauce:
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
6 tbsp. white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1½ lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
8 thin strips orange peel (optional)

For the coating and frying:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups peanut or canola oil (I like a combination)

To make the marinade and sauce, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan; whisk to blend well. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well. Refrigerate and let marinate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Place the saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add the mixture to the saucepan with the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the strips of orange peel, if using.

To prepare the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy. In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend. Drain the chicken of the marinade in a colander or large strainer; pat dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F. Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking. Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350˚ F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces. Serve over rice, if desired.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

I love lemon poppyseed muffins. I have since I was little. Not really sure why I've never made them in the past. Thanks to the lovely Annie, I finally did it. I found these to be just a touch salty, so I might do a scant 1/2 tsp next time. I doubled the batch and actually got 24 nice sized muffins plus 24 mini muffins. So I'm thinking I also could have gotten 24 big muffins. They were a hit, and will definitely be on my list for any brunch or afternoon gathering. Nice and light with a lot of flavor!

For the muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)

For the glaze (optional):
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Combine the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir briefly to combine. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest and the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in two additions alternating with the yogurt, beating each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the muffins are still warm, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to make the glaze. Drizzle a small amount of the glaze over each muffin. Let the glaze set before serving.

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