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.

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