Friday, December 30, 2011

Basic Pizza Sauce

Since pizza night is pretty common in our house we go through a lot of pizza sauce.  I have my homemade pizza dough recipe down but I really hadn't tried to make pizza sauce.  I just happened to have a couple of cans of tomatoes in my panty and decided to try this recipe out while my dough was rising.

Pizza Sauce:
(adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

1/4 cup olive oil
2- 28 ounce cans of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, cook for a minute.  Crush the tomatoes over the pan.  Add the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Cook over medium-low heat for 40-50 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes as it cooks.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is my all time most favorite soup. When I was a kid it was because of all of the cheese on top, now I really just love the rich flavor of the broth. (the cheese is still great though)

This soup did take a little bit of time to make but it wasn't hard at all and the broth freezes really well.

French Onion Soup [Soupe à l’Oignon]:
(Smitten Kitchen; Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts (8 cups) beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
Freshly ground black pepper

Cheesy Top (Not Optional):
1 tablespoon grated raw onion
1 to 2 cups (to taste) grated Swiss (I often use Gruyere) or a mixture of Swiss and Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
12 to 16 1-inch thick rounds French bread, toasted until hard

Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown.

After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed.

Cheesy Top:
Preheat oven to 325. Arrange six ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bring the soup back to a boil and divide among six bowls. To each bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon grated raw onion and a tablespoon of grated cheese. Stir to combine. Dab your croutons with a tiny bit of butter and float a few on top of your soup bowls, attempting to cover it. Mound grated cheese on top of it; how much you use will be up to you.

Bake soups on tray for 20 minutes, then preheat broiler. Finish for a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top lightly.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigiana

I'm trying new recipes!  Yay for me. 

This is a recipe from Gina's Skinny Taste blog.  I didn't wrap my chicken because I didn't get any chicken cutlets this week.  I just cut into a regular chicken breast and stuffed it with the spinach.  It probably made a difference as far as the points are concerned so take that into account when shopping/making this. 

Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigiana:
(Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes)

Servings: 8
Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts

8 thin chicken cutlets, 3 oz each
1/2 cup whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
6 tablespoons egg whites or egg beaters
5 oz frozen spinach, squeezed dry of any liquid
6 tbsp part skim ricotta cheese
6 oz part skim mozzarella
Olive oil non-stick spray
1 cup pomodoro sauce or your favorite marinara sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry cutlets, season with salt and pepper.  Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp grated cheese in one bowl and 1/4 cup egg beaters or egg whites in another.

Shred or finely chop 1.5 oz of mozzarella cheese and combine with remaining grated cheese, spinach (make sure you squeeze it dry), 2 tbsp egg beaters, and ricotta cheese.

Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of spinach-cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one and keep seam side down.

Dip chicken in egg mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in a baking dish (no toothpicks needed). Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray with olive oil.

Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven, top with sauce then cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 more minutes. Serve with additional sauce on the side and grated cheese.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Turkey Meatballs

I'm not Italian so it is not a requirement that I make amazing meatballs, however, these were pretty good. The taste was great and I love having another use for turkey in my recipe box.  I did have some trouble getting them to stay together but I think that has more to do with my lack of meatball skills and not the recipe.  If you make this let me know how yours turned out, I need pointers.

Turkey Meatballs:
(Food Network- Giada de Laurentiis

1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
26 ounces marinara sauce


Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add the marinara sauce, about 3 cups. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jackie's Chex Party Mix

Everyone makes Chex Mix during the holidays.  This is how I make it.

Jackie's Chex Party Mix:
(adapted from Chex cereal)

3 cups rice, corn, and wheat Chex Cereal

1 package of the pretzel and cheddar Goldfish crackers (there is a bag of them mixed)
1 small can of mixed nuts
1 package of garlic bagel chips
7 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon season salt

Mix the cereal, Goldfish crackers, mixed nuts, and bagel chips together in a bowl. In a small saucepan melt the butter.  Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, pepper, and salt to the butter.  Pour over the cereal mixture and toss well.  I use a large wooden spoon so I won't break the cereal bits.

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour.  Stir every 15 minutes and let cool before storing in an air tight container.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mexican Chicken Soup

It's been cold and rainy here which makes me want soup.  Mr. T and I have both been sick so I decided to make something easy.  Thank you Mr. Crock-Pot inventor!  This was really easy and I think it turned out pretty well.

Mexican Chicken Soup:

3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can of reduced sodium black beans
8 oz frozen corn (about half a bag)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 can fat free chicken broth

1 white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Chipotle

Combine everything in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving take the chicken breast out and chop into bite size pieces.  Add back into the crock pot and let cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Garnish with some additional fresh cilantro.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

Cranberries are awesome. These cookies are awesome.  They're a basic cookie recipe and perfect for sharing. The batter for these cookies also freezes really well.  I like to go ahead, make an entire batch of batter and just cook off what I need.







Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies:
(adapted from Ocean Spray)


2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. 

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sweet Thai Chili Chicken

I invented this recipe!  Well, it's based off a basic breaded chicken... but I chose the flavor combinations.

Sweet Thai Chili Chicken:

2-4 Boneless-skinless chicken breast
2-3 tablespoons egg whites (or 2 egg whites)
2 tablespoons Sweet Thai Chili sauce
1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder

In one bowl/dish combine the egg whites, chili sauce, salt, and pepper.  In a second bowl combine both bread crumbs, more salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumb mixture, making sure that the chicken is covered with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Meal Plan: Week of December 18th

I have been putting thing off all week.  I have had no motivation and have really been just looking forward to this weekend and being with my family for Christmas.

1) Turkey-Black Bean Soft Tacos with Southwest Spiced Rice

2) Soup and Sandwich night. Tomato Basil and French Onion Soup

3) BBQ Beef Roast or Red Beans and Rice

4) Blackened tilapia with broccoli and maybe cheese grits

5) Pizza!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potatoes.  I will eat them pretty much anyway I can.  I've had a bunch of sweet potatoes to use up since Thanksgiving and this is one of the ways I've been eating them.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries:
(Ina Garten- Barefoot Contessa)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chicken with Mushrooms

I've been trying new recipes recently and this is one of the recent winners.  Mr. T and I both really enjoyed this meal. 

Chicken and Mushrooms:
(skinny taste)

8 chicken tenderloins, 16 oz total
2 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup fat free chicken broth
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 200°. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge in flour.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat; when hot add 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil. Add chicken to the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink. Set aside in a warm oven.

Add additional oil and butter to the skillet, then garlic and cook a few seconds; add mushrooms, salt and pepper stirring occasionally until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, chicken broth, parsley; stir the pan with a wooden spoon breaking up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook a few more minutes or until the liquid reduces by half. Top the chicken with the mushroom sauce and serve.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

It's time for Christmas Cookie Exchanges!  I love participating in them and enjoying what others bring.  Here is one of the cookies I'm bringing to a cookie exchange this year. I found in on pinterest through the Six Sister's Stuff blog.

Apple Cider Caramel Cookies:
(Six Sister's Stuff)


1 cup unsalted butter, nearly melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7.4 ounce) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix *Not sugar free*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) bag Kraft Caramels


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and all 10 packets of apple cider mix until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, then mix in the baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough scrapping off the excess as you go up the bowl. Flatten the dough slightly in your hand and place a caramel in the center. Work the dough around the caramel sealing well. Place the cookies two inches apart on the sheets.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. After baking, carefully slide the parchment with the cookies onto the counter. Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm. Twist gently to remove, and cool the rest of the way upside down on the parchment or on a cooling rack.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Red Velvet Cookies

Everyone loves Red Velvet cake (well, a lot of people do at least).  I found this recipe for gooey butter cookies through Food Network and Paula Deen.  Her original recipe uses a box of chocolate cake but since it's a box of cake I decided to go with red velvet.

Red Velvet Cookies:
(Paula Deen)

8oz. (1 brick) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box red velvet cake mix
Powdered sugar to roll the cookies in.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Beat in egg, then the vanilla.  Beat in the cake mix.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up.  Roll batter into tablespoon-sized balls and then roll them in powdered sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

I tried a new recipe tonight!!  (YAY me!)  I found the recipe online on the Cooking Light webpage and I will definitely be making this again.  It took almost no time and only used 5 ingredients.

Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Red Wine Sauce:

(Cooking Light)

4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (about 1/2 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 package baby portobello mushrooms (sliced or just cut in half)
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper; coat with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer steaks to a serving platter; keep warm.

Add mushrooms to pan. Coat mushrooms with cooking spray; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid almost evaporates. Remove pan from heat; add butter and rosemary, stirring until butter melts. Pour sauce over steaks.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cinnamon Apples

My grandma made us cinnamon apples all the time when I was a kid.  They were awesome and I still enjoy them.  Plus, they make the house smell wonderful!

Cinnamon Apples:

1 apple (whatever you have around the house), cut into cubes
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon sugar or 2 packets of Splenda

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Melt the butter.  When the butter has melted add the apples, spices, and sugar/Splenda to the pan.  Stir everything together and cook until the apples are soft.  Stir throughout the cooking time to make sure nothing sticks or burns.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cornbread Dressing

Stuffing and dressing are the same basic thing.  Stuffing is actually stuffed into the bird.  Dressing is baked off in a casserole dish and served as a side.  There are a million and one different recipes out there for the best dressing/stuffing in the world.  I'm not going to say that this is "The World's Best Cornbread Dressing!!!" but it's good and it's what I make every year for Thanksgiving.

Cornbread Dressing:

Cornbread Ingredients:
2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs beaten
1-2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons bacon drippings, melted

Dressing Ingredients:
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
12 slices day old bread, crumbled
2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

To make the cornbread:

Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. Add eggs, buttermilk, and melted bacon drippings and stir into a batter.

Heat a well-greased 10-inch cast iron skillet in a 450 degree oven for 4 minutes or until hot.  Remove skillet from oven and pour batter into skillet. Bake at 450 for 35 minutes or until cornbread is lightly browned.

To make dressing:

Cool cornbread then crumble into a large bowl.

Place celery and onion in a large frying pan with a spoon of cooking oil and cook until tender.  Transfer cooked celery and onion, with all remaining ingredients, to crumbled cornbread, stirring well.  Spoon dressing into a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan or casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookies

Cake mix cookies have been seen all over the place.  A quick google search will give you a million different recipes.  I decided to make some the other night, because I could.

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookies:

1 can of pumpkin
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix everything together.  Spoon batter onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

I love sweet potatoes and Thanksgiving and fall are the perfect time to make them.  This is a basic recipe for sweet potato casserole, which is perfect for all of the holiday get-togethers that happen during this time of the year.

Sweet Potato Casserole:

5 sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, divided (1/4 cup softened)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a casserole dish with non stick spray (or rub butter on it).

Bake the sweet potatoes for 35 minutes.  Once they're out of the oven and cool mash the potatoes.  Put them in a bowl and add the salt, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sugar, and heavy cream.  Transfer to the prepared casserole dish.

In another bowl combine the rest of the butter, flour, brown sugar, and chopped pecans.  Mix together with a fork and spread over the sweet potato mash.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the topping in crisp and lightly browned.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

This is the sauce that was served with the chipotle steak with gorgonzola cream sauce.  I wanted to go ahead and post it in another section alone so that it was easy to find.

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce:
(Queen of Points)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2/3 cup 2% milk
1 oz. (1/4 cup) gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon unsalted butter


Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for a minute. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the milk and bring to a low boil.

Cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Keep warm, but don’t let it boil.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Meal Plan: Week of December 4

It's December in Florida... it's also around 80 degrees right now.  I think it might drop down to 60 at some point this week.  Who knows.  I want to start making come chili and different soups so I can stock my freezer, but I don't really want to have soup/chili when it's hot outside.

It looks like I'm keeping the poultry industry going this week.  :)

1) Pizza Night- I have some dough in my freezer that's calling to be used.

2) Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

3) Chicken Soft Tacos

4) Honey Chicken with vegetables and brown rice

5) Chicken and Mushrooms with roasted broccoli

6) Chicken Rollatini with Spinach

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dry Pancake Mix

I think it's always a good idea to keep pancake mix in the house.  You never know when you're going to have an overnight guest or just want to have breakfast for dinner.  This is easy to make and keeps in the pantry for up to 6 months.

Dry Pancake Mix:
(all recipes)

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda

To make the pancakes:
1 egg
3/4 cup milk


In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

To prepare pancakes:
In a bowl, combine egg and milk. Whisk in 1 cup pancake mix. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden brown.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Butter Pecan Pound Cake

I hope the person that invented pound cake was given a medal.  It's really good and can be changed around to suit any flavor need.  This recipe was given to me by my mom, who got it from a friend.

This recipe takes the basic pound cake and adds pecans (awesome) and rum (more awesome!).  The flavors work really well together and the cake just tastes awesome.  You can feel free to stop with the cake, but the glaze adds a lot and doesn't take much time.

Butter Pecan Pound Cake:
(My mom's friend Nan)

3 cups flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2  sticks butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped     

1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/2  cups of sugar
1/3  cup of water
3/4 cup of rum

In a bowl measure the flour and sift it together with the baking soda.  Set the bowl aside.
In the bowl of a mixer cream together the butter and the sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the flour and sour cream, alternating between each.  Add the vanilla, rum, and toasted pecans.

Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

For the glaze:
In a sauce pan mix together the butter, sugar, and water.  Melt and stir, then add the rum.  Let the mixture come to a light boil and continue stirring for about 5 minutes.

Poke holes in the bottom of the cake while it is still in the pan, about 1 inch apart.  Loosen the cake from the side of the pan.  Pour all but 3/4 cup of the glaze on the cake.  Let it sit for 1 hour then turn the cake out onto a plate and drizzle with the rest on the cake.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quinoa Burger

Quinoa is considered a grain.  It's not something I grew up eating but when I started working at the vegetarian cafe in college I learned to really enjoy this grain.

The flavor of these patties were great.  They were really light though.  I really wanted more texture on with them.  This is the recipe I followed.  I might be turning the rest of the mixture into a hash to add some more texture to it.

Quinoa Burgers:
(eating well living thin)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

To cook quinoa:
In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, finely grated
3 eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, including white parts
1 /2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Olive oil for frying

In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.

Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Measure 1/4 cup and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick  - mixture will be slightly sticky.

Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.   Makes approx. 10 burgers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Cake with Strawberry Frosting

This is one of the most interesting cake recipes that I've seen.   I associate rosemary with savory things, like chicken, not in a sweet dessert cake.  This cake is really good and a great surprise for me.  

I decided to put a strawberry frosting on it.  I think that the flavors in the cake can really stand up to the sweeter frosting.

Lemon Rosemary Cake with Strawberry Frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups turbinado sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
¼ cup lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves
3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup lemon juice
¾ c buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9 inch pan. Cream together the
butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy and a pale yellow color, approximately
5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time making sure they are completely incorporated before
adding the next one. Add zest and rosemary.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine lemon juice, buttermilk and
vanilla in another bowl.
Alternate adding flour and buttermilk mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with
the flour.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until tester comes out clean.

Strawberry Frosting:
1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract4 tablespoons strawberry jam (not jelly)

Mix everything together in a mixer.  Taste as you and and feel free to add more extract, sugar, or jam as you go.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

I had some left over apples from Thanksgiving and decided to make some cinnamon apples.  Then I decided that pancakes would be good.  THEN I decided to just make some cinnamon apple pancakes.

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes:


4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda

To make the pancakes:
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

1 apple (whatever you have around the house), cut into cubes
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon sugar or 2 packets of Splenda


In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Melt the butter.  When the butter has melted add the apples, spices, and sugar/Splenda to the pan.  Stir everything together and cook until the apples are soft.  Stir throughout the cooking time to make sure nothing sticks or burns.

Mix the apple, 1 egg, 1 cup pancake mix, and 3/4 cup of milk or buttermilk together. 

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden brown

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Meal Plan: Week of November 20th

So, I didn't make a single thing last week that was on my list.  We didn't even make it to the grocery store.  Whoops.

Tuna Salad Wraps

Roast Chicken with Rosemary & Lemon

Grilled Chicken with Spinach

Beef Tenderlion with Mushrooms

Crispy Lemon Tilapia

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roasted Broccoli

Mr. T and I both love broccoli.  It's a staple in our house and I'm always looking for new ways to prepare it. This is a basic preparation from Ina Garten but something amazing happens when it is roasted in the oven.

Roasted Broccoli:
(adapted from Ina Garten)

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets off of the stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. (for the two of us I just cut up 1 head of broccoli and adjusted everything else to taste).

Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.  (I turned everything in the pan about half way through, but you probably don't have to)

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hilda's Cake

My mom's good friend Rick has a favorite cake called "Hilda's Cake".  It's a basic southern pound cake kicked up a bit.  Thanks Rick for sharing this recipe with the world.

Hilda's Cake:
(My mom's friend Rick, given to him by Faye Miles)

1/2 cup Crisco
2 sticks oleo (or margarine)
3 cup sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 cup flour
1/2 tsp BP
1 c milk
1 tsp coconut
1 tsp rum

1 c sugar
1/4 cup + 1 T water
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325

Cream Oleo,Crisco and sugar well. Add eggs one at a time. Sift flour with BP and add alternately with milk to the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Add flavorings.

Bake in a greased tube pan 1 1/2 hours. Let cool for ten minutes.Loosen cake so it won't stick and place top side up on rack to cool. Pour on the syrup mixture and let soak in. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving is this week!  Have you decided on all of your desserts yet?  Here is a list of some of my favorite holiday desserts.




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Sides

It's time to start getting serious about Thanksgiving.  There's always so many different types of sides dishes that people like to have.  This is usually based on what was served growing up.  However Thanksgiving is also a great time to try something new.

Here are some side dishes that we rotate through on Thanksgiving.



Macaroni and Cheese
(in the south macaroni and cheese is considered a vegetable)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Bang Bang Shrimp

I love the "Bang Bang Shrimp" from Bonefish Grill.  It's good on it's own but it's awesome as a taco as well.  I found this somewhat slimmed up version online, thanks to Pinterest, and decided to give it a shot.

I just posted the recipe for the shrimp it's self below because I figure that you can all figure out how to make a taco.

Bang Bang Shrimp:

5 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or more depending on how spicy you like it)

1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
4 tablespoons scallions, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce and Sriracha. Set aside.
Combine lettuce and cabbage and divide between four plates. Set aside. 

Coat shrimp with cornstarch, mixing well with your hands.

Heat a large skillet or wok on high heat, when hot add oil. When oil is hot add the shrimp to hot pan and cook tossing a few times until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and combine with the sauce coating well.


Place shrimp on lettuce and top with scallions.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekly Meal Plan: Week of October 13th

We're trying to get back on track with eating in this week.  I also wanted to try out a couple of recipes that I've been holding onto.

1)  Quinoa Burgers with a side salad

2)  Turkey Black Bean Tacos

3)  BBQ Crock Pot Beef Sandwiches with baked beans

4)  Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos

5)  Blackened Tilapia with roasted broccoli

6)  Leftovers

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I love fall.  It give me the green light to make as many pumpkin baked goods as possible.  I love it.  One of my favorite things to make is pumpkin bread.  It's good by itself, as french toast, in bread pudding, or any other way.  It also freezes great.

Pumpkin Bread
(adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2-3 loaf pans with a nonstick spray.  (I say 2-3 because I got 3 loaves out of the batter but the book says 2).  In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the pumpkin and both sugars.  Mix on medium until everything has combined well.  Add the eggs and oil and mix well, scraping down the sides.  Turn the mixer on low speed and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, alternating, starting and ending with the flour.  Mix until just combined.

Divide the batter between your prepared pans.  Bake, rotating pans midway, for 55-60 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice

I love fried rice. I've made it at home a few times but it always involved a packet of stuff from the grocery store, which was probably 99% salt.  I found this recipe on Annie's blog.  She has a lot of great recipes and ideas.  

I changed this one up a little bit based on food we had at home and the fact that Mr. T is not a fan of eggs.  I went with chicken breast, a whole cup of veggies, and dropped down to 2 eggs.  Annie's original recipe is linked below so you can see the original.

Chicken Fried Rice

(adapted from Annie's Eats)

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil, divided
2 eggs, beaten
2 stalks green onions, minced
4 cups leftover brown rice
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, defrosted
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Few drops sesame oil

In  a medium mixing bowl, combine the chicken, salt, pepper and cornstarch, and toss well to coat the shrimp.  Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat.  When a drop of water immediately sizzles and evaporates, the pan is hot enough to add 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Swirl to coat the pan well.

Add the chicken to the hot pan and quickly spread them out so that they are in a single layer, and all touching the pan surface.  (You may need to do this in two batches to ensure even cooking.)  Let it cook for one minute, then flip and cook for an additional minute, so that the chicken is about 80% cooked through.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat on the pan to medium.  Add the eggs to the pan and stir quickly, to break up and scramble the eggs.  When the eggs are almost cooked through but still slightly runny in the middle, remove from the pan to the same plate as the chicken.

Use paper towels to wipe the pan clean and return the pan to high heat.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat.  Once the oil is very hot, add the green onions to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add the rice to the pan and mix well to combine with the green onions.  Spread the rice out evenly over the pan and let cook without stirring, until you hear the rice grains sizzle, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Toss the rice a bit with your spatula, and again spread it out over the cooking surface.

Drizzle the soy sauce all over the rice, and toss again.  Add the peas and carrots, the cooked chicken and eggs, and the sesame oil to the pan.  Toss to combine all the ingredients well with the rice.  Let everything heat back up again until the rice grains are sizzling again.  Add additional soy sauce to taste, if needed.  Serve.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Zucchini Carrot Bread

I don't like zucchini.  My grandmother tried so hard to get us to eat it but it never worked, unless it was in a sweet bread.  I know I'm not alone.  There is some weird transformation that happens when zucchini is shredded and baked into a delicious bread.  It's amazing.

Carrot Zucchini Bread:
(adapted from All Recipes)


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

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and carrots until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meal Plan: Week of November 6th

Last week got a little crazy and we didn't end up eating in as much as we planned on.  Birthday, basketball games, and family time got in the way.  :)  It just means that I can recycle and eat some of it this week.

1) Turkey Burgers with Southwest Cheddar Steak Fries

2) Massive salad with chicken and more than likely some buffalo chicken dressing

3) Skillet-Roasted Chicken Breasts from November/December's Clean Eating Magazine

4) Blackened tilapia with broccoli and cheese grits

5)  BBQ Beef roast in the crock pot

Friday, November 4, 2011

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower was on sale last week.  It made me stop and think about how little I use it and how little I know how to make with it.  This is basically the same recipe as this mashed cauliflower recipe but it was good, so I decided to change it up a bit and make something new from something known.

I still have a ways to go but at least I have found another way to enjoy cauliflower.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash:

1 head of garlic
Olive Oil

1 head of cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable stock

Roast the garlic:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top of the garlic off.

Place the head of garlic in a piece of parchment paper or foil and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic up and cook for 30 minutes.

Make the cauliflower:

Place a pot of water on the stove top to boil. Cut up a head of cauliflower and let it boil for 5-6 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and pat it dry with a paper towel. Add the cauliflower to a food processor along with the salt pepper,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pretzel Rolls

One of our local specialty stores have some amazing sausage choices, including some awesome chicken sausages.  We usually eat them with normal white bread rolls but I decided to be adventurous and make pretzel rolls.  I'm a little scared of yeast breads and this one had an extra step.  What's the worst that could happen?  They don't turn out well and we use normal rolls... not the end of the world.

Plus, i've been slacking on my New Year's Resolution and this would get me closer. 

Pretzel Rolls:
(Tasty Kitchen)

1-½ cup Warm Water (110°F)
1 package (1/4 Oz. Packet) Active Dry Yeast (not Quick Rise Yeast)
2 teaspoons Sugar
4-½ cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
¼ cups Baking Soda
1 whole Egg, Lightly Beaten
Pretzel Salt, To Sprinkle On Top

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water and the yeast and let rest 5 minutes until foamy.

Add the sugar, flour, salt, and butter; mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Cut the dough into 18 pieces (2 ounces each). To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand.

Place the ball on the baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1” between each roll. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.

Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.

In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Put the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

With a pastry brush, glaze each roll with the lightly beaten egg, making sure to coat all sides completely. Top each roll with a sprinkle of pretzel salt. With a sharp straight edged knife, cut a slash or “X” in the top of each roll.

Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Basic Pizza Dough

I, along with the rest of the United States, love pizza.  We do order out for pizza a decent amount but we also love to have make your own pizza nights here at the house.  Basic pizza dough obviously makes great pizza but it also is great for making strombolis and calzones.

This recipe makes 2 balls of dough.  I like to go ahead and throw one in the freezer so i'm always prepared.  If you're cooking for one then cut the loaf into smaller pieces.

Pizza Dough:
(Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Fine cornmeal, for dusting

In a small bowl , sprinkle the sugar and yeast in the warm water.  Mix with a fork and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.

In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine.  Add the yeast water mixture and the olive oil; pulse until the mixture comes together but it still slightly sticky.  Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured work surface; kneed four or five times until a smooth ball forms.

Place dough ball into a slightly oiled bowl, smooth side up.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down, fold onto its self four or five times.  Place back in the bowl, smooth side up, and let rise for an additional 30-40 minutes.

Punch dough down again.  Turn out on a floured surface and divide the dough into 2 pieces.  Knead each piece of dough 4 or 5 ties and turn into a smooth ball.  If freezing, wrap the dough in plastic and let thaw in the refrigerator before using.  Otherwise roll out and top with your favorite toppings.